Finding the best price in betting markets is the goal when we’re placing a typical bet. Line shopping is clearly a vital part to arbitrage betting, but instead of finding the best price, we’re looking for substantial differences in betting markets. That’s the key part of this whole strategy. The disparity in pricing is going to be the best possible way for us to find arbitrage opportunities. The more significant difference in pricing means a bigger arb, and the bigger the arb, the larger the guaranteed profit.
However, although arbing can be highly profitable, it’s vital that bettors are aware of all of the outcomes of an event before they begin placing their bets. Most American markets have only two possible outcomes due to overtime being a constant in every sport. NFL games can end in a tie, but this should only be a concern if you’re arbing a moneyline wager.
Soccer is the most popular sport in the world, but comes with three possible outcomes, unless bettors are wagering betting an Asian handicap market. Any market that you’re not familiar with should be checked for all possible outcomes, as this can a mistake here can be deadly and cost you both sides of your bet.
Example Of Arbitrage Betting In Sports
Here’s an example of arbitrage, using MLB betting odds from two different sportsbooks. These odds are found from the overall betting market, where there are lots of different opinions on games and differences in MLB line movements. In this example, our overall stake on the wager will be $1,000. The two selections are playing against each other, the easiest way we can assure a guaranteed profit when it comes to MLB arbitrage.
|MLB Baseball: Pittsburgh Pirates at St. Louis Cardinals|
|Wager 1||Wager 2|
Bet on Pittsburgh Pirates
Bet On St. Louis Cardinals
Using these odds, we can find room for profit. Our wager on the Pirates would be as follows:
- A $460.00 stake +130 provides us with a potential profit of $598.00. A winning bet in total returns $1,058.
Our bet on the Cardinals:
- A $540.00 stake at -105 provides us a potential profit of $515.29. A winning in total returns $1,055.29.
We can get down to the numbers and figure the exact amount down to the cents we need to bet to have an absolutely equal outcome on each side, but as you can see from the above calculations – we are profiting about 5.5% regardless of the outcome.
Sports Arbitrage Margins
The above example is likely in line with the percentage that most can expect on arbitrage opportunities. The sports betting market changes rather quickly and most bookmakers follow the industry leaders on moves, so there’s a limited window to act and usually not much of a difference in pricing in most areas.
Some professional sports bettors solely go after arbitrage opportunities and others that look for spots to arb as part of their wagering repertoire. Most arbs usually fall into the 2-5% range. There may be some opportunities for larger arbs (10-15%), but these are rarer. 2-5% may not seem like a lot to make on each wager, but keep in mind, if you’re a professional level bettor – you’re going to get a lot more money down on each side than an amateur. If our bankroll above were $10,000, we would be able to arb for an easy $550 or so, compared to $55 in profits.
An arbitrage bettor with a six figure bankroll can make quite a bit of money if he is scouring the internet for opportunities. If you have the bankroll and the access to online sportsbooks around the world, the potential for significant profits is very real.
Sports Arbitrage Betting Market
In today’s age, the worldwide betting market is always changing. Smaller sportsbooks will generally follow line moves from the largest bookmakers, but the big boys will disagree from time to time. There is also going to be delays when the market moves between sportsbooks.
Steam moves are an excellent opportunity for bettors to look for arbitrage windows. However, the window for betting these is commonly quite short. The betting market adjusts rapidly, and most sportsbooks will have their lines modified to be in line with major markets within a matter of minutes, perhaps seconds. Sportsbooks that are slow to move their odds are known to have “stale” lines. These sites are ideal for arbs because their markets will be slower to move than more efficient sportsbooks.
Do Sportsbooks Mind Arbitrage Players
Generally speaking, it’s not something that sportsbook managers like to see. The reason for this is that when you bet arbs, you’re looking for at least one off market price for one of the legs of your bet. The issue here is that bookmakers don’t like players “chasing steam”, which will often be the case whenever there’s a potential arbitrage. Arbing, along with steam betting, may get your account banned or limited eventually.
Profitability In Arb Sports Betting
There are many professional sports bettors that arb for the majority of their income. However, most of these bettors have access to international bookmakers, which gives them a much larger odds selection than those living in the US. Their ability to move money around is also another asset that those betting from the U.S. don’t typically have available. Without e-wallets, it’s considerably tougher to move money around to different sportsbooks quickly. Although, it’s becoming easier in US markets thanks to improvements in payments within the past few years and the introduction of Bitcoin.
There are a few arbitrage software programs available, most notably Arbets.com and RebelBetting.com. As you will see, these are exclusively marketed towards European or UK markets. The number of reliable betting sites in US markets is considerably smaller than those in the liberalized sports betting markets of Europe. Sports betting sites in Europe are heavily regulated, and players have legal recourse to get their funds back if there is a dispute. This cannot be said for bettors wagering at offshore sites from the US.