(1) Arbitrage between Two Bookmakers in One Betting Market
This is the classic form of sports arbitrage (sure bets) in football betting.
The arbitrage opportunity relies on at least two bookmakers evaluating the same event differently, each offering different odds. Taking advantage of these price differences is the key to creating an arbitrage, or “arb”.
For example, bookmaker ‘A’ offers a price of 2.04 on the ‘Over 2.5 Goals’ market, whilst bookmaker ‘B’ is pricing the ‘Under 2.5 Goals’ bet for the same match at 2.08.
This is an arbitrage opportunity, or “surebet”. Both prices return more than even money, and of course one of the bets will definitely be a winner.
To ensure the same profit whatever the outcome, the stake money is weighted on each outcome. With bookmaker ‘A’, 50.49 units are wagered at 2.04 odds; with bookmaker ‘B’, 49.51 units are placed at 2.08 odds.
The total stake is 100 units, and no matter which bet wins, the guaranteed return is 2.99 units (almost 3% profit on the total stake).
Sometimes, “arbs” with 5% or more return may be found in the market, although larger arbs occur more seldom in this “classic arbitrage/surebet market”.
The situation described above is the easy option. For more advanced gamblers who enjoy thinking outside the box there is another type of arbitrage opportunity available, and these arbs often achieve a higher return. This of course relies on knowing where to look…
(2) Cross Market Arbitrage Betting
Due to the explosive growth of the Internet and the increase of betting customers, bookmakers now offer more and more betting options.
This means that the market is not limited to the historical standard sports betting markets such as gambling on the outcome of a match (home, draw, or away), or on goals; there are now many more betting choices within a single game and thus more arbitrage openings.
For some of the more popular matches there are often over 100 different bet types available in the market.
This enormous coverage opens up cross-market arbitrages opportunities but, in order to find them, creative thinking is required.
The Big Advantage of Cross Market Arbitraging
Many cross market arbitrages are not obvious; therefore, the opportunity remains viable for a much longer time. Surebets between bookmakers in only one betting market have a limited lifespan, sometimes only minutes as demand and supply in the market fluctuates.
It is said that there are about 60,000 different combinations of arbitrages using cross market methods, and this means that everyone seriously interested in arbitrage will certainly be able to identify a preferred strategy for identifying unusual arbitrage groupings…
Some Cross Market Arbitrage Examples:
- Team 1: More than 0.5 goals
Team 2: Clean Sheet
- Match result: Draw
Draw no bet: Team 1
Asian Handicap Team 2: +/- 0
- Total goals: 1
Total goals: 2
Total goals: Over 2.5
Time of first goal: No Goals (or 0-0)
- Match result: Draw
Draw no bet: Team 1
HT/FT: Team 1/Team 2
HT/FT: Draw/Team 2
HT/FT: Team 2/Team 2
Caution! Not everyone bookmaker has the same bets on offer, and with some, a bet is not necessarily known by the same name as it is with others. Equally, the same bets may be subject to different conditions with different bookmakers.
Cross Market Arbitraging Requires Thinking outside the Box
Cross market arbitraging does not only entail placing straight forward bets, e.g. final score: 0-0, goals by only one team, and both teams to score. There are plenty of cross market arbitrages such as: Match result = draw, Draw no bet: team 1, and Asian Handicap team 2: +/- 0.
In this case, if the match finishes drawn the stakes for bets 2 and 3 are returned, but if team 1 or 2 win the game then the stakes for the other 2 bets are lost. This certainly requires some thinking and accurate calculating before committing to place the bets for a guaranteed profit.
Recommended Sports Arbitrage Services
If you fancy a taste of cross-market arbitraging, then consider subscribing with an automated arb finding service. Unfortunately, none of the really good sites are free, and usually there are also no free trials.
However, please note the one service we will document below have their software available for free download to demonstrate arbs in the range up to 0.6% (Rebel Betting). Of course, profits this small are hardly worthwhile, so you will have to subscribe to see the higher arbs.
Arbitrage services are not cheap and one of the reasons is certainly the extremely high programming effort required, which does not stop after the software has been developed. You will always see new bookmakers and/or new betting types added to the armoury at your disposal.
On the other hand, there is a limited customer base which is interested in purchasing niche products such as these. The competition between arb finding software producers is high, and many of these providers share a relatively small market of perhaps just 20,000 serious customers worldwide.
The best automated arb finding service
which we have tested at the time of writing is:
Rebel Betting: A one week subscription is €39, a one month subscription is €129, a six month subscription is €499 and one year costs €799. There is an ongoing free arb feed for all arbs up to 0.6%.
Rebelbetting provide a wide range of cross market bets and also update them as soon as they are detected. Their tutorials are comprehensive and ultimately they are easy to use.
If you thought cross market arbs were limited to three or four markets then you may be surprised to see some opportunities flagged up involving up to 20 bets on the same game.
Cross market arbitrage is a real science and turns betting from a form of gambling into pure investing.