Punters use arbitrage sports betting to beat bookmakers and gain the upper hand when placing sports bets on specialized platforms. The strategy promises bettors to make a profit no matter which team or competitor wins. While this might make bettors feel they are looking at a sure win, things are pretty different.
Although not illegal, the approach is complex, goes against the industry’s practices, and may have adverse outcomes.
At Oddsmatrix, we understand that unfair betting practices affect sportsbooks’ bottom lines, reducing investments in innovative technologies and R&D, which translates into a stagnating customer experience that can’t keep up with market demand. We provide the best odds so that you can offer your customers the best possible betting experience and encourage them to bet honestly.
We make it our purpose to share our expertise with our community and provide data-backed betting solutions that offer you the most accurate pre-live and live odds feeds, stats, scores, and settlements.
This article will tell you everything you need to know about arbitrage gambling, how to identify it, and reduce the number of arbitrage bets placed with your sportsbook business.
Arbitrage betting, also called arbing, is meant to help bettors reduce their bets’ financial risks to zero, increasing their chances of getting a profit. For this to happen, bettors place wagers on all possible game outcomes through two or more bookmakers.
Arbitrage bettors don’t need to understand the sports, do the research or have information on each competitor. However, they still need to invest time and effort to calculate how much to bet on each result and figure out what is the safest way to not draw attention to themselves.
The critical element of successful arbitrage betting is that punters have to do the math and identify sportsbooks that differ to such an extent in odds that they guarantee they’ll make money, no matter the result.
Time is also of the essence here, as bettors need to place their bets more or less simultaneously on each result.
The term arbing comes from the discrepancy between the back and lay outcomes, called an arb. The first condition to generate profit is to ensure that the back wager is higher than the lay.
Most sports betting arbitrage tactics involve bookmakers for the back odds and booking exchanges for the lay. Still, bettors may also identify opportunities between sportsbooks, especially since these are more common than you’d think.
Punters who want to make money off arb betting usually have accounts with several bookmakers, as they switch between them, to ensure they don’t get caught.
Moreover, since they know arbs come and go quickly, they are always prepared to place their bets. This is why sportsbooks need to be even quicker and change their odds as soon as they identify odds movements.
Let’s take American football as an example and say that the Jets go against the Bills in a game. Sportsbook A may open the market at $1.8 (e.g., 150) for the Jets and $2.2 (e.g., +120) for the Bills, while Sportbook B may give the Jets a $1.5 (e.g., 200) and the Bills a $2.5 (e.g., +150).
The discrepancies in odds are a symptom of the two sportsbooks disagreeing over each team’s winning chances. In this context, a punter looking for arbitrage betting opportunities may take advantage of the differences and place $55.55 on the Jets, with Sportsbook A and $40 on the Bills, with Sportsbook B. This way, no matter which team wins, the punter would have bet $95.55 while earning $100.
The OddsMatrix American football odds enable you to populate your betting offer with accurate and constantly verified fixtures. Follow competitors’ payout and tweak odds from sport down to a market level so that you can prevent arbing.
In horse racing, things are different because punters can’t back all 8-10 horses competing, so this is where betting exchanges come in. Since these enable bettors to back and lay outcomes, they may use your sports betting platform for the back and the betting exchange for the lay. Simply put, they may bet on and against a particular horse winning the race.
Doing the math, in this case, is a bit more complicated since betting exchanges have more complex formulas that often include commissions and liability winnings. Here is an example of an extended comparison:
Arbitrage sports betting calculators make things easier for bettors.
Arbitrage betting isn’t illegal and has zero legal consequences for those practicing it.
Still, since arbitrage goes against the fundamental moral betting rules, sportsbooks don’t allow it on their platforms.
As a sportsbook, if you want to prevent arbitrage betting, it is advised to treat the matter with seriousness and cover its repercussions in your terms and conditions, showcasing that these bets are frowned upon and that you reserve the right to investigate and take action when cases are identified.
Many bookmakers close or restrict users’ access to accounts when they have proof of arbitrage bets. This is why those specializing in arbitrage betting have a network of people they may use to place bets for them. Sign-up offers and bonuses are not spared by those looking for arbitrage opportunities; more often than not, bettors will leverage your sign-up bonuses for arbitrage betting.
One can place arbitrage bets on all sports, but they are easier to track in more niche sports with a smaller pool of punters. This is why it makes more sense for bettors to focus on popular mass-market sports, like horse racing and football.
One of the most popular sports for arbitrage betting is horse racing. If your sportsbook offers this sport, you must watch out for arbing. The many possible outcomes and common odds fluctuations make this sport attractive for arbitrage bettors.
On the other hand, football has many markets available, which increases the bettors’ chances of identifying arbitrage potential. The downside is that the differences in odds generate small profits, given that only two or three outcomes are possible.
Since arbitrage betting is a mathematics game, first-timers might fall into the trap of placing specific arb bets, putting $9.7, for example, on a particular outcome. Experienced sportsbooks find this suspicious and investigate the matter, which is a vital sign of arb betting.
This is why many punters who specialize in arbitrage round up their amounts. While the tactic slightly changes the profit levels, it attracts less attention, making it unrecognizable to inexperienced sportsbooks.
Keeping an eye on the value of bets and investigating cases that appear too accurate is an excellent way to spot arb betting.
Since punters know that arbitrary betting may get them in trouble with sports betting companies, many try to keep their anonymity as much as possible. To ensure their activity isn’t tracked and remains low profile, they never connect their online accounts with their brick-and-mortar ones and choose to place back bets with physical betting shops.
While retail betting is less convenient than online betting, arbitrage bettors prefer it because it makes it drastically reduces the chances of them getting identified.
Recently, Oddsmatrix has developed synergies with Leapbit, the B2B sports betting supplier that delivered retail-focused solutions. The merger enables OddsMatrix to expand its sports data APIs solution, offering an even more complex product that satisfies the need of retail and online betting operators in regulated markets.
Given the relatively small margins they receive from arb betting, punters might tend to play with significant amounts to make their efforts count. Their stakes will often stand out, getting close to the maximum ranges your business allows. If you pay considerable attention to the available data and investigate curious cases, you might just be able to identify and flag arbitrage sports betting.
Of course, specialized bettors know that big bets attract attention, so they will try to blend in with others. This is why they prefer soccer cup finals or Grade 1 horse races that draw an extensive pool of bettors, some more daring with their money.
Professional arbitrage bettors, those who make their living off this, will frequently cash out. This is another sign you need to track.
While some punters make a living from arb betting and use dedicated software to identify opportunities across multiple sportsbooks, others just notice a chance and try to make the most of it.
An excellent way to protect your sports betting business from arb betting is to ensure you offer the best odds so your customers don’t go around looking for other bookies. This strategy isn’t only excellent for driving loyalty and decreasing the chances of having to deal with arbitrage bets on your platforms and in your shops.
OddsMatrix enables you to populate your betting offer with accurate, reliable fixtures based on cross-checked data, guaranteeing one of the most precise pre-match and live data services in betting. Moreover, our solution enables you to follow competitors’ payout and tweak odds from sport down to market level.
Contact us, and we will show you how our reliable services enable you to keep your business safer from arbitrage gambling.