Imagine betting on tennis online and knowing that you are guaranteed to earn a profit regardless of who wins. It sounds too good to be true, but it is actually a pretty common practice called arbitrage betting.
“Arbing” has helped a number of savvy punters beat the bookmakers by removing the risk from gambling, ensuring that every angle is covered and promising a guaranteed profit whatever the outcome.
Dozens of the best betting sites are vying for your business, and they will offer slightly different odds on the same sporting event. In some instances, you can exploit these differences to lock in a profit regardless of the result.
First you need to find a bookmaker that is offering odds that are above the market average on a particular player winning a match. Then you have to find a rival bookmaker that is offering above average odds on his opponent winning that match. It is often possible to bet on both players to win the match and be assured of a profit either way.
These discrepancies can occur for a number of reasons. A bookmaker might offer above average odds to stand out from the crowd and attract new customers. It might be slow to react to a shift in the market, or a trader could have simply made a mistake.
For anyone wondering what is arbitrage betting, the easiest way to explain it is with a basic example:
For anyone interested in online sports betting, arbitrage betting really is the Holy Grail. It promises risk-free returns and guarantees you a profit. You just have to be alert enough to identify discrepancies between different bookmakers’ odds and display the necessary speed and agility to get your bets on quickly. You need to keep an eye on betting exchanges, and you should also take advantage of sign-up bonuses.
The downside is that it can be time consuming, as you have to compare a huge number of odds before you find an arbing opportunity. The margin you earn is quite low, so you need to invest large sums in order to make small profits. However, if you are diligent you can make a healthy profit over a prolonged period of time.
Cross-market arbing significantly increases the number of potential opportunities for you to lock in a guaranteed profit. An example is betting on Arsenal to beat Liverpool with one bookmaker, and betting on Liverpool-draw double chance with a rival bookie. If you can find a large enough variance in the odds, you will ensure a return regardless of the final result.
Alternatively, you could mix match goals and the clean sheet market when plotting your live arbitrage betting strategy on football betting. If you back the home team to score more than 0.5 goals, and the away team to keep a clean sheet, both at odds in excess of evens, you are guaranteed a profit.
Cross-market arbs are often less obvious to bookmakers than traditional arbs, so they often remain live for longer. For anyone interested in sports spread betting, arbitrage is also possible, as you can play rival sites off against one another.
Arbitrage betting is perfectly legal, but the vast majority of bookmakers hate arbing and they take steps to combat it. It is a risk-free way to gamble profitably, and savvy arbers could take bookmakers to the cleaners if they did not fight back. They are entitled to shut your account down or limit it at their discretion, and they will not hesitate to do so if they notice patterns that suggest you are arbing.
A handful of betting sites welcome arbers, as they are confident in their traders, but most will clamp down on it. They are not allowed to confiscate your winnings and they must honour bets that have already been placed, but you risk a lifetime ban by arbing.
Some punters are able to fly under the radar by keeping bet stakes down, betting on unusual arbs and on less popular sports, spreading themselves across a huge range of bookmakers and teaming up with friends for arbing purposes.
You can use odds comparison sites to find the best prices on various sporting events and identify potential arbs. You must then set up accounts with a wide range of online betting sites and be prepared to move quickly when you spot an opportunity.
It is possibly easier to fly under the radar when arbing in betting shops, as you do not need to provide any ID, but you can work a lot quicker online and you have many more bookmakers to choose from.
The best place to find odds that differ from the market average is an exchange like Betfair. Exchanges have no problem with arbing, as they simply allow visitors to bet against one another and charge a small commission fee on every wager placed. Examine the markets available at Betfair Sports and you are likely to spot some intriguing opportunities for arbitrage betting, allowing you to delve into this fascinating world.
DISCLAIMER: Online Wagering is illegal in some Jurisdictions. It is your responsibility to check your local regulations before playing online. GDC Trading Ltd takes no responsibility for your actions.
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