Arbitrage betting is a gambling technique that gamblers use to find value in the markets. By backing opposing outcomes, you can guarantee a small profit whatever the result. “Arbing” is a skill for savvy gamblers, but you can make a decent profit if you do your research.
What is Arbitrage Betting?
Arbitrage betting is a method where you back two opposing outcomes to guarantee a profit. Usually, you will be using a traditional bookmaker plus a betting exchange that lets you lay odds as well as back them.
With a lay bet, you are backing a team or player NOT to win. In essence, you are taking the role of the bookmaker by betting against the gambler. By hunting out favourable back and lay odds, you can return a guaranteed profit.
You can also use arbitrage betting at bookies with wildly different market odds. In most matches, there will be one favourite and one underdog.
Arbitrage betting example:
In a Wimbledon tennis match, Player A is priced at 1.90. His opponent, the outsider, is priced at 2.30.
However, another bookmaker may take a different view. They might make the outsider favourite at 1.90 and the favourite as a 2.30 shot.
By using arbitrage betting, you can back the same player at 2.30 at two different bookmakers and ensure a small profit.
Example: Back and Lay to Guarantee a Profit
Here’s a good example of how you can back two outcomes to ensure a return.
You decide to back Liverpool to win their Premier League game versus West Ham at odds of 2.40. The bet might be at a fixed odds bookmaker or a betting exchange like Betfair. You can also find odds for them NOT TO WIN on the betting exchange at 2.10. You can now back both outcomes and come out with a profit.
How to Use an Arbitrage Calculator
You can calculate just how much you’ll need to bet by using an arbitrage calculator. You’ll find plenty of these online.
In our example, you enter the odds of both results to ensure a profit.
Fixed Odds Bet
Liverpool v West Ham (Home win): 2.40
Should stake: £46.01
Potential profit: £64.41
Liverpool v West Ham (Liverpool NOT to win): 2.10
Should stake: £53.99
Exchange commission: 5%
Potential profit: £56.41
By backing both outcomes – Liverpool to win and not to win – you can return a guaranteed profit of £10.42.
Arbitrage and Matched Betting
You can also use arbitrage in no-risk matched betting. Matched betting is a technique where you can take advantage of a bookmaker’s free bet offer. Sign up and make a first real-money wager of your choice. In return, the bookie will award you with a free bet up to the same value. Now you can use arbitrage to lay the same bet on a betting exchange. Either way, you win. Plus, you receive a no-risk free bet in the bargain.