What Is Arbitrage Betting?

Arbitrage betting is the process of covering all of the outcomes of a sporting match at different odds, so as to guarantee a profit. It's an attractive way to make money with sports betting, since it involves significantly less risk than other betting strategies when done correctly.In this short guide, we'll look at the basics of arbitrage betting, including everything from how it works to how to get started. We'll also discuss the risks of arbitrage, and some alternatives, so you can make the decision on whether it's the right strategy for you.

What Is an Arbitrage Bet?

An arbitrage bet, also known as an arb, is a collection of two or more bets that cover all of the outcomes of a sporting match. The purpose of arbitrage bets is to take advantage of the differences in odds across multiple exchanges or sportsbooks, guaranteeing a small profit regardless of the outcome. Arbitrage betting has significantly grown in popularity over recent years, since it boasts a profitable, but risk-free approach to sports betting. We'll discuss the profitability and risk profile of arbitrage later, but for now, how exactly is it supposed to work?

How Does Arbitrage Work?

The idea behind arbitrage is simple. By betting a proportional amount on all the possible outcomes of a sporting match, you can be sure that whatever happens, you'll only lose a small amount that corresponds to the commission taken on whichever of the bets wins. The way that betting arbitrage makes money is by taking advantage of different odds available across various exchanges or sportsbooks. In football, for example, you might be able to bet on (back_ the Home team at one bookmaker with odds of 1.6, and bet against (lay) that same team at another bookmaker with odds of 1.54.

As long as you place proportional bets, the size of which you can calculate using an arbitrage calculator, you'll make a small profit no matter which team wins the game. In this case, a £100 back at 1.6 odds, and a corresponding £103.90 lay at 1.54 odds, would guarantee a profit of £3.90 no matter who wins, not accounting for the exchange's commission. Of course, commission does play a role in sports betting, and it can have a big effect when dealing with such small amounts. For example, on the Betfair Exchange, commission on winning bets starts at 2%. As a result, this arbitrage opportunity might not be profitable. However, if the difference between odds is big enough, there are definitely opportunities to guarantee yourself a profit after commissions.

How Much Can You Make?

As you can see, the risk-free nature of arbitrage betting comes with small profits. Most would say that an arb which makes you more than 5% profit is a good one, but there are opportunities to make more than 10% on illiquid markets. With most arbs, though, you can expect to make a couple of percent after accounting for commissions.Aside from that, how much you can make with arbitrage really just depends on the size of your bankroll, and your ability to find quality arbs. The best betters might be able to make 5 or 6 figures a month, but most casual punters should be satisfied with more than £100 a month, given the low risk associated with arbing.

How to Find Arbs

One of the main limiting factors in making money with arbitrage is being able to consistently find good arb opportunities. After all, you're competing against tens of thousands of other hungry punters, who'll likely be trawling the same bookmakers as you. As such, the best way to find arbs is to use an automated system. Unless you think you can build your own system, you'll have to use third-party arbitrage services, which usually come at a monthly cost. This is where arbitrage stops making sense for the casual better, since they'll have to pay just to see the potential arbs.

Risks of Arbing

It's easy to think of arbitrage betting as being risk-free. However, there are some risks associated with arbitrage, that can make it as risky as any other type of sports betting if done improperly.The major risk in arbitrage is not being able to cover the remaining outcomes in time. For example, you might back an outcome on one exchange, and see the odds change before you can lay it on another. Most of the time this will only result in you losing a small amount, since you'll still place the lay, but at unprofitable odds.

The real risk is if odds quickly move against you before you can place the opposite bets. If this happens, you can either place the opposite bets to guarantee yourself a loss, or place no bets, and risk your stake on the outcome actually taking place.Professional arbitrage betters have to take into account all of these variables. As a result, they rely on automated systems and fast internet speeds. If you're doing things manually or have spotty internet, you can find yourself in a lot of trouble.

Hinto: An Alternative Betting Strategy

If you're looking to make a few hundred pounds a month from sports betting, we think we have a better approach. Our sports betting algorithm, Hinto, uses huge datasets from past sporting matches to generate profitable football and tennis tips. Sure, you'll win some bets and lose others, but our algorithm has generated an average monthly profit of more than 12% over the last two years. Chances are, you'll make a lot more money with a free trial of Hinto than you ever would from arbing!

Conclusion

Arbitrage betting is a clever, low-risk way of making a guaranteed profit from sports betting. By backing and laying the same outcome at different odds, you can be sure you'll walk away with a profit no matter what happens. However, serious arbitrage betting often requires the use of automated systems, which can spot and act on profitable arbs faster than any human ever could. As a result, we recommend trying alternative betting strategies, like Hinto, which are a lot friendlier on the casual punter.