In this article we will explain you what is arbitrage betting (arb bet), how do you find arbs, how profitable they are and why in modern (online) betting this type of bets don't occur as often as they occurred in past. We will also mention some sites built for searching for arbs and how they become obsolete thanks to the fact that all bookmakers now have instruments to track and ban such behavior. We will also mention which bookmakers do support arbitrage betting now.
What is arbitrage?
Arbitrage is an term that comes from field of economics and finance. Arbitrage is the practice of taking advantage of a price difference between two or more markets where the profit is made from the difference between the market prices. In betting, this can be usually done by using several different bookmakers and taking advantage of them having different prices on the same market. As there are hundreds of bookmakers in the world, it is normal for some of them having different opinion about the price of some match.
If on example there are 2 different bookmakers that offer over/under 2.5 goals on a certain soccer match. It is possible that 1 of them has odds of 2.1 on over of goals and the other one has the same odds on under of 2.5 goals. This means that if you stake 100 of EUR at one bookmaker on over, you might profit 110 EUR, but if you at the same time stake 100 EUR on under at other bookmaker, you also profit 110 EUR. In the end, you have stakes of 200 EUR in total and what ever happens in the match, you will win 210 EUR. This is the most common and most simple type of arbitrage.
It will be a very rare situation that you will encounter such an easy arb with 50-50% of chance markets. So, you have to know how to calculate chances (odds) and stakes you need to place in order to profit from arbitrage betting. On example, if you find a 3-way market (1X2) with odds 2.5-3.3-3.5. This is an arb situation, but the percentage of return on this market is 99%. This means there is only 1% of profit made from this arbitrage, and if (for some reason) you decide to take advantage of this arb, you have to place different stakes on each selection in order to profit equally from any of 3 possible outcomes. We could get in details how to exactly calculate stakes on this example and how to calculate odds that are in arbitrage, but we won't. In further text we will explain all the reasons why not.
How do I find arbitrage bets to make?
There are many sites on internet that either offer a calculator to find out if odds make an arb bet and what is the stake you have to make, or have automated service that searches arb bets over the whole internet and makes suggestions on stakes. Most known ones are oddschecker and oddsportal. There, you can find arb of up to 10% of profit, which in theory secures a nice profit in the long run if taken repeatedly. The sad truth is that this theory never comes true in practice anymore. In order to explain you why, let me give you a little chronology of arb betting.
So, today there is still some chance to make arb bets, but there are factors that significantly reduce your chance to make money in the long run:
Much less arbs existing – all odds are much more aligned between bookmakers and changes in markets are done within 1 minute. Even if you find some arbs using special software, the chances are that by the time you login and place that bet, this arb doesn't exist anymore.
Bookmakers are hostile towards arbers – from my own experience of working for the industry in sectors of odds trading, risk management and clients segmentation, I can tell you that arbers are the type of customers we can detect very fast (often after 1st or 2nd bet). Once they are detected, their accounts are either closed, or more often limited to minimum possible stake per bet.
Not awarding withdrawals – Even if your initial arb bets go through and even if you manage to hide them among other bets at first, financial department double check all withdrawals and in coordination with trading department check all betting activity of winning clients. So, there is almost no chance that arber will be undetected for a long period of time and making profits at 1 bookmaker thanks to arb bets. Bookmakers have access to all odds changes in the world for every match and if they find you being an arber, your withdrawal might be rejected due to “fraudulent behavior”.
Are there still companies that do not ban arbitrage betting?
The answer is YES, but only a couple of them. Pinnacle Sports is one of the most known for accepting bets on dropping odds and arbitrage, but when there is an arbitrage bet on Pinnacle, you have to be able to place the other bet somewhere else. The only long term solution is that the other side where you place the second half of arbitrage bet is a betting exchange. Betting exchange, because you are 100% sure that they will not reject your stake, limit your account or change the amount you can place on a certain outcome. The hard part is that all arbers know this and try to exploit the difference as soon as it occurs, so odds will not stay for long in arb situation. Betting exchange will follow Pinnacle odds or Pinnacle will lower the odds due to arbers placing their bets (they need to balance the risk). Also, it is not easy to juggle with the available liability in betting exchange and the amount that Pinnacle will accept from you.
You can always try with a small – new and inexperienced betting company with possibly low level of technology applied, but we guarantee that this won't last for long either. It is fair to say that arbitrage betting is still alive, but it is barely surviving and it is much harder to make money from it than it used to be. To make a permanent and stable source of income in the long run is almost impossible only by arbitrage betting today. So we recommend you to take a look at our other articles in order to educate more in betting and find out alternative ways to make profit from betting.