Arbitrage Betting Strategy

What Is Arbitrage Betting Strategy - How Arbitrage Betting Works

Every bettor is always looking for sure bets or a way to improve their winning chances drastically. While such a thing doesn’t exist, the closest thing to it is sports betting arbitrage.

Also known as arbing, it allows you to back and lay the same outcome in a sports event. It guarantees profit regardless of which part of the bet wins or loses when done correctly.

Our arbitrage betting guide will tell you everything you need to know about it. We’ll also show you specific arbing strategies that may work and the best bookies for arbitrage betting.

What Is Arbitrage Betting?

In the most straightforward words, arbitrage betting (arbs, sure wagers, miracle bets, sure wins) is a betting technique where you place stakes at different bookies to cover the same outcome, but from both sides. It is done to guarantee profit. For example, you can bet on Manchester United to win and lose in the city derby so that you won’t risk anything.

Why would you do this? It’s simple. Bookies set the odds, so you lose if you cover both outcomes of an event. Imagine if you could pick the favourite to win, the underdog to lose, and bet on the draw at great odds too? In that case, bookies won’t exist. To offset it, bookmakers include an over-around in the pricing, which gives them an advantage over punters.

But that’s not to say that bookies can’t be beaten. You’re guaranteed a profit by covering 2 outcomes of a sporting event at different arbitrage betting sites.

How Does It Work?

Many punters have heard about arbing as a surefire way to profit from a sports event. In reality, it’s easy to place but not win. The 2 bets involve a fixed betting bookie and a wagering exchange since laying a bet is only possible at the latter. Arbing is very popular in horse racing, although it can be applied to football or other sports. Betting exchanges see plenty of arbitrage wagers, but you should read our arbitrage betting guide in depth before trying it.

Sports betting is never that simple, especially with bets like this. Remember when we said it could be profitable if done correctly? Well, that’s the thing – you need to find value odds for arbitrage betting to work. And how to find arbitrage bets of value? By scanning the market, of course. Reading our guide will also help you with arbing so you never stick to bad odds that won’t guarantee profit.

To truly learn how arbitrage betting works, you’ll need to see (or try) an example. That’ll come later in the article. All you need to know is that you need a bookmaker and an exchange for the back and lay bets.

Arbitrage Via Betting Exchanges

Beating the bookies is possible via match betting and arbitrage at betting exchanges. The only part of arbing that happens at an exchange is the lay bet. That’s the opposite of a back wager and means betting on an outcome not to happen. For example, you can lay a bet that a horse won’t win a race if you find good odds. The other part of arbing, the back bet, can only be placed at the best bookies for arbitrage betting.

While on the subject of exchanges, it would be great if you already have a live membership at Betfair or Smarkets. These wagering exchanges allow arbitrage betting and have pretty great odds too. Just keep in mind that you’ll need more money on your balance to cover the eventual loss and the lay bet.

The top arbitrage betting sites will make it easy to spot value bets on the lay side that are shorter than the back odds at a regular betting site. In that case, you can bet on both platforms and get the guaranteed profit.

Do Bookies Allow Arbing?

The more accurate question would be, why do bookies hate arbing? The answer is obvious – because they will lose. However, no bookmaker can stop you from arbing. Since you’re placing the lay bet at an exchange, they can’t prove anything. It’s the same with matched betting, which can’t be stopped, but can be prevented. The same goes for arbs.

Bookies are intentionally not arb-friendly, offering dull odds, so you don’t take advantage of them. The good news is that there are still sharp bookmakers on the market where arbitrage betting can be profitable. The top arbitrage sport betting opportunities come when the lay price is shorter than the back odds.

BetZillion’s guide lets you find the best opportunities and claim guaranteed profits.

Arbitrage Betting Example

When pricing any market, bookmakers always factor in the edge so that the total odds on all outcomes go over 100%. With that, they effectively try to end arbitrate or match betting. Any arbitrage system relies on the combined odds having less than 100, so the edge is in the punter’s favour. Finding these bets is tough, but you can spot more than a few at arb-friendly bookies and betting exchanges. Some punters claim that an arbitrage bet finder tool can help, but those are too unreliable and too few if you ask us.

We’ll give you some examples if you’re still wondering how it works.

Tennis Arbitrage

Roger Federer

Novak Djokovic

Betfair odds



Bet365 odds



From these odds, it’s clear that your arbitrage bet, in this case, should be on Federer at Betfair and Djokovic at Bet365. By covering both outcomes, you get guaranteed profit. It will be small, but making some money on a bet with insignificant risk is still safe.

Of course, it would be best to use a calculator to check the returns. Some sites allow you to enter the odds and wagers yourself and will automatically tell you what to expect regarding returns.

Horse Racing Arbs

A similar example can be applied to any sport. Horse racing is a popular choice for arbers since betting exchanges have some of the top racing odds. Remember that you’ll need to factor in the commission at betting exchanges, so arbing is not precisely the type of bet for new punters.

The good news is that if you’re willing to learn and try it a few times, you will master it quickly. It’s the key to guaranteed profits, even if they are smaller. It sure beats parlays with 10+ selections and a 1% chance to get them all right. With a solid live arbitrage betting strategy, your chances will drastically improve.

How to Find Arbs?

Since bookmakers hate arbing and matched betting, it can be tough to find these wagers. As mentioned earlier, each betting site’s odds are tweaked enough, so you don’t use sports betting arbitrage to your advantage. We often get asked how to find arbitrage bets. If you’re wondering the same yourself, we’ll give you an answer below.

Seasoned punters will look for arbs themselves. It means manually ‘combing’ through the market to find bets that offer value. Remember – the market percentage of good arbs should be under 100%. If you have a list of top bookies and betting exchanges and a match in mind for arbing, you can open them up and compare the odds. It’s not easy and is undoubtedly time-consuming, but it’s the best way if you like to do things by yourself.

The easy way would be to use arbitrage bet finder tools or software. These are rare and cost a penny, so we don’t think experienced punters would use them. But if you only bet arbs, it could spot opportunities. It’s easier and faster than manually looking for arbs, but most punters would go the old-school way.

The biggest problem with scanning the market yourself is that arb opportunities rarely present themselves. It was possible when bookies made mistakes in the past, but now, it takes time. The best sportsbooks in the USA are sophisticated and use software that never allows the edge to go in the favour of customers. Still, you can find arbs yourself if you do the work without paying thousands for good software.

How Often Do Arbs Appear?

Arbs are getting harder and harder to find. Sportsbooks move lines by on the fly now, constantly scanning the market to see what the competition offers. There are no significant differences between sportsbooks for point spreads and moneylines to identify good arbs correctly. That can be solved using expensive software, but it never comes for free.

Manually looking for opportunities is time-consuming. Even though punters swear by it, there’s a big chance you’ll lose good odds when you find arbing features. One good idea is to look for props and markets that aren’t that liquid. Still, limits on these markets will be low, and it’ll be hard to make anything solid in return.

There’s no good formula for finding arbs, but watching the sports betting space online will find some good bets.

How Much Profit Can You Make Via Arbing?

Let’s be clear with something – arbing is not the way to make record profits. Those require parlays and a lot of expertise and luck. The best you can hope for with arbitrage betting is around 1%-5% of the money you wagered. For example, a reasonable calculation would be $1-$5 in profit for every $100 wagered.

If you’re wondering why the profit is so tiny compared to singles or parlays, arbing gives you a much better chance to succeed. If you’re not satisfied with such a small profit margin, it may not be the right choice. However, if you learn how to use it properly and find bets of value, it can certainly be rewarding.

The Difference Between Arbs & Price Boosts

Sports betting arbitrage gives you guaranteed profit but at the expense of small wins. On the other hand, a price boost is a temporary increased price on a specific event that you can take advantage of. It comes in handy if you’re planning arbs on a big event and spot a price boost. In that case, you have a higher guaranteed profit thanks to the promotional price.

With regular arbs, you can count on a smaller profit. Price boosts mean accepting the promotion by the bookie, which can probably lead to better wins.

What Are the Downsides?

The main downside of arbitrage betting is that it’s not highly profitable. It is the closest way to a surefire strategy, but arbs don’t guarantee a great return. Price boosts can help in that regard, but still, the money’s tiny.

Arbs are also constantly changing as bookies are looking to eliminate this practice. They don’t want anyone to make a profit, no matter how small. Two arbs won’t stay the same throughout the day, so you need to act fast. If you miss a good opportunity, it’ll likely be gone.

Searching for arbs manually is the best way to spot great deals, but still time-consuming. That’s the price you pay for guaranteed profit.

Is It Worth Using Arbitrage Betting?

The answer is yes and no. Sometimes, you can spot good arbs and make a guaranteed profit, no matter how small. Still, it’s not a strategy suggested for new punters. Arbitrage sports betting opportunities are few and far between these days. We recommend trying arbing at once and seeing if it works for you.

If you’re satisfied and you think you can find the right arbs, by all means, go ahead.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is arbitrage betting profitable?
    If done correctly and at the correct odds, arbing can be profitable. Remember that the back part of the bet must be at higher odds than the lay to make a profit.
  • Is betting arbitrage illegal?
    It’s not illegal per se, but bookies hate it. Many outright prohibit it, while others constantly change their odds, so it doesn’t happen.
  • How to find arbitrage betting opportunities?
    The best way to spot good arbs is by searching for them manually. You can also use free or paid software that finds good arbing opportunities.
  • Is arbitrage betting risk-free?
    Yes, as long as you learn your way through it. The risk-free part means covering 2 outcomes on a single event at a bookie and exchange.
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    Jimmy E
    Writer & Tipster

    Jimmy is our on-duty tipster and writer. His favorite sports are cricket, tennis, and basketball. If you’re looking for the best betting tips in the business, Jimmy’s your guy. His tips and events previews are among the most read at BetZillion.

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