What is Arbitrage Sports Betting & How Does it Work?

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Arbitrage Sports Betting

Sports gamblers are often looking for the best ways to get value out of their selections, and one of the most prominent tactics that often arises is arbitrage sports betting. In this article you will learn all about arbitrage in sports betting, and how to make money with sports betting arbitrage.

What Is Arbitrage Sports Betting?

In essence, sports betting arbitrage is pretty straightforward to understand. It is simply the gambler betting on all the possible outcomes from an event with any of the winning wagers returning a profit. The important aspect that must be considered to understand how sports betting arbitrage works is the odds. Gamblers must always ensure that they make selections that ensure a winner will cover the money that was placed on the bet.

This tactic is the best way to gain profit on selections when two Canadian sportsbooks disagree about the potential outcome of an event. The gambler would bet on the higher selection with one sportsbook, before then betting on the other selection with the other sportsbook. Typically this tactic will only work when there are two selections involved in the event. That makes it a perfect online sports bet in a game such as tennis.

An Example Of How To Arbitrage Sports Betting

Arbitrage Sports Betting - How Does it WorkThe best way to understand how to arbitrage sports betting is using an example. The example graphic displays the odds on a tennis match, with the odds that could be set by an online sportsbook.  Not all matchups on sportsbooks offer a chance to be profitable.  To be make an arbitrage(sure bet), you need to understand if such an opportunity exists to profit in a two sided sports match occurance.

Sportsbook 1 is offering the best odds for Rafa Nadal who they consider to be the favourite (his odds to win are just over 73.5%), while Sportsbook 2 offers the best odds for the underdog, Roger Federer, at around 18%.  This gives a total of just over 91%, When this total is below 100% then an arbitrage situation exists. Advanced calculations, usually from an arbitrage calculator, can estimate if the opportunity exists in an instant.  

If you have $100 total to wager, in this example, you would place a $80 wager on Nadal to beat Federer with the Sportsbook 1.  This is were the arbitrage tactic comes into play, as we would then place a second wager on Federer to win the match at Sportsbook 2. The stake for the second bet will be about $20, which would mean that the returns on either selection would be almost identical. The returns would indicate that placing both bets will see a profit of a little over $9 on your $100 layout. Not too shabby at all!

When Does Arbitrage Betting Not Work?

As we mentioned, arbitrage betting only works when there are two selections available to the punter. That means that sports such as soccer and horse racing could not be used due to there being three or more selections. Horse racing would particularly be an example of arbitrage not working across all sports, as there are typically more than five horses running in every race.

However, there are specific soccer markets that could be used when arbitrage betting, with the over/under markets being an example. The draw no bet is another example of a market that can be used when arbitrage betting. However, as a general rule, it is best to stick to the match result markets, as it is simpler to understand for those that are not familiar with the tactic.

Is Arbitrage Betting Popular?

There are many gamblers around learning about how to find arbitrage in sports betting every day, and that is because it has been used on countless occasions ever since the birth of sports betting. It may not be a tactic that is used by those that like to bet on sports because of the love of the action, but it is hugely popular with mathematicians that are looking for gaining profit on every bet that they make.  In fact, this style of betting couldn’t be further away from the traditional betting that gamblers around the world join sportsbooks to make wagers on, as it is solely about the number differences between the sportsbooks. Many gamblers that use this method would even tell you themselves that they have no interest in the sports that they are betting on to take advantage of this tactic.

What Is Matched Betting?

Matched betting is a form of arbitrage betting that is most commonly used by gamblers around the world. Those that don’t know what is arbitrage betting have often match betted without even knowing. Matched betting is simply wagering on two outcomes with two different sportsbooks to minimise the stake that is lost.  This is often done by taking advantage of a welcome bonus with one sportsbook and making a bet on one selection, before then using a different sportsbook to cover the opposite selection. Once again, this works best when it is on a sport such as tennis, as there are only two possible results. That eliminates the risk of a draw from the equation, which would mean a losing wager should the match end in a tie.

Is Arbitrage Betting Legal?

Arbitrage betting is 100% legal around the world. However, to say that it is frowned upon by sportsbooks would be an understatement. Sportsbooks consider this type of betting as unfair, as it ensures returns from a bet regardless of the outcome.  Sportsbooks don’t have a problem with gamblers winning huge returns on bets, but this style of betting ensures that the bettor is a winner regardless and that profit is always achieved. Most Sportsbooks have begun to clamp down on this style of betting, as they now share information of the bettors with other sportsbooks to ensure that those arbitrage betting with huge amounts of money can be pinpointed. While there is no fool-proof was to find the bettors that use this method, they can be easily found by a pattern of large bets and consistent returns.

And the winner is...the punter!

Arbitrage betting will remain popular among gamblers, as it is a hugely popular way to ensure that you walk away with a profit from every bet. There isn’t much skill that is involved to understand how to use the tactic, but you will need to act quickly when you find the desired odds. Furthermore, you should also ensure that you look as close to a typical gambler as possible to minimise the risk of getting caught by the sportsbooks.

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