Arbitrage Betting – A Beginners Guide

| September 27, 2010 | 3 Replies

In a nutshell

Arbitrage is all about guaranteed profits. It’s when you are able to bet on an event and make a profit regardless of the outcome. This is generally as a result of a significant difference of opinion between two or more bookmakers.

Advantages and disadvantages

Arbitrage opportunities are like gold dust to bettors, as they provide you with the perfect bet – one that is guaranteed to win. Unfortunately they are also very difficult to spot and so to make money from the technique you have to put a lot of time and effort into it.

Another downside is that bookmakers naturally don’t take too kindly to it and if they suspect you of ‘arbing’, you are likely to have any future bets refused. As such, it’s importing to cover your tracks when placing arb bets by varying bookmakers and rounding up any unusual stakes e.g. £724.42.

Finally, because the profit percentages are generally quite small, you will need a hefty bankroll to make the most of arbitrage opportunities. However, this is not a particularly big problem because if you do the maths right, you’ll never make a loss.

Step by step

1. Find two bookmakers offering significantly different odds on the same two outcome event.
2. Take the amount that you want the bet to return and divide it by the decimal odd of selection one.
3. Repeat the calculation for selection two.
4. Note down the two figures – these are your stakes – and ensure that you are making a profit regardless of the outcome.
5. Decide whether to bias your win towards one selection.
6. Make sure that you’ve rounded off your stakes to avoid arousing suspicion.
7. Place your bets and wait for the money to start rolling in!

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Example one:

Nikolay Davydenko is playing a little known qualifier in the first round of Wimbledon. One bookmaker believes the qualifier has next to no chance and prices him at 4.5. Another is less convinced and goes 1.35 for a Davydenko victory.

You want your two bets to return £500, so you divide this amount by the decimal odd of the selection, so for Davydenko that’s 500 / 1.35 = 370.37…

And for the qualifier it’s 500 / 4.5 = 111.11.

You now round off the two figures to the nearest ten pounds – that’s 110 and 370 and regardless of who wins, you are left with a risk free profit of around £20 (that’s 500 minus 370, minus 110).

Example two:

A betting exchange and a bookmaker are at odds over whether Liverpool will finish in the top four this season. The bookmaker is offering 4.0 on them NOT to manage the feat, while the exchange are offering 1.39 on the opposite.

You can see that £738 is available to match on the exchange and you decide that you want to bet the full amount. You now have to find out how much how the bet would return (738 x 1.39) and use this figure (1025.82) in your staking calculation i.e. 1025.82 / 4 = 256.46.

This gives you two stakes – £738 on Liverpool to finish in the top four and £256.46 on them not to finish in the top four. Round the latter number to 255 and you now have a guaranteed profit of just under £30.

Where can I use this technique?

In order to spot as many arbitrage opportunities as possible, it’s important to keep an eye on as many bookmakers and betting exchanges as possible. As such, you can use this technique with anybody.

It is however, a good idea to try and vary who you win with. After all, if you are consistently winning big money from Ladbrokes for example, you are likely to find yourself blacklisted before too long. Therefore if you do find that you have been particularly successful with one company, try and give them the least likely outcome when placing future arb bets so that you rack up a few losers.


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Comments (3)

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  1. Graham says:

    Hi there.

    Can you tell me of a website or company where I can receive Arbitrage tips
    to save me having to work everything out?


  2. Gary says:

    Hi Matt,
    Did you not have a dutching calculator at one time which helps to work out the necessary amounts required for arbitrage betting?

  3. Matt Houghton Matt Houghton says:

    Hi Gary,

    I don’t have one on this site but there is a good set of calculators here…

    Just look under Tools.


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