Sharbing guide: How to profit from matched betting in shops
Sharbing is the tactic of finding arbitrage betting opportunities in betting shops. This handy sharbing guide will show you how to get started. An arbitrage bet is where the back odds are higher than the exchange lay odds, which enables you to guarantee a profit by covering all outcomes.
If team A can be backed at odds of 11/10 (2.10) and the lay odds are 1.99, you can lay at 1.99 at the exchange to lock-in a profit.
It can be daunting when transitioning from online matched betting to physical betting shops. Read on for a simple guide to making profit from matched betting in shops.
Your sharbing journey will start with rouding up the paper coupons from the major betting shop outlets – Betfred, Coral, Ladbrokes, Paddy Power and William Hill.
The main focus of sharbing is on football match odds. The betting shops release printed coupons throughout the week:
Midweek coupons – released on Monday mornings,
Weeekend coupons – come out on Wednesday mornings,
There are also day-specific coupons for Friday and Sunday matches.
The bookies can be slower to cut coupon odds compared to online, while the lay odds are constantly changing throughout the week, so you can find arbitrage betting opportunities during this time.
You need to manually compare the coupon prices to the exchange lay odds. Coupon odds are displayed in fractions. To convert from fractional to decimal take the first number of the fraction and divide by the second number, then add 1.
11/10: [11 divided by 10 = 1.10] + 1 = 2.10
6/5: [6 divided by 5 = 1.20] + 1 = 2.20
This is a key part of sharbing and will soon become second nature.
If you spot a potential sharb, check the price hasn’t been cut before placing your shop bet.
Look at the in-shop price screens (Ladbrokes and William Hill have these) or place a 50 pence accumulator to check the current prices. If the original coupon price is held, then place the sharb bet.
If you’ve never been in a betting shop before, simply pick up a coupon (such as “Weekend Quickslip”) and mark the relevant sections:
Bet type – “Single”,
Unit stake – e.g. “£50”
Mark the Home team, Draw or Away team for your selection (these might be displayed as “1”, “X” and “2”).
“1” = the home team to win
“x” = the match to finish in a draw
“2” = the away team to win
On football coupons, the home team is always displayed first (on the left-hand side) in the traditional 1×2 format.
Finally, give your completed betting coupon and your cash to the member of staff.
Note that if your desired sharb price has been cut, remain calm and ask the shop stafff to void your bet and refund your cash. They are required by law to issue a refund, so be assertive if you meet resistance.
How to lay sharbs
Using your smartphone, you can either:
a). Fully lay to lock-in a small profit regardless of the result. For a £50 sharb at 11/10 (2.10) back odds and 1.99 lay odds, you would lay £53.30 on Smarkets for £2.23 guaranteed profit.
b). Or underlay to make slightly more profit if your team wins or break even if they don’t win. For a 2.1/1.99 sharb, an underlay of £51.02 at Smarkets gives £4.49 profit if your back bet wins or £0.00 break even if your lay bet wins.
There is a matched betting calculator at beatingbonuses to experiment with different laying strategies.
Here’s a reminder of some popular underlay stakes, if using Smarkets at 2% commission:
£10 bet, lay £10.21
£15 bet, lay £15.31
£20 bet, lay £20.41
£25 bet, lay £25.51
Take the back bet stake i.e. £20, divide by 50 (=£0.40), add £0.40 to the original stake gives a £20.40 lay for a £20 back bet. However, I always add 1 pence to lay stakes as Smarkets rounds down lay amounts.
To highlight potential profits, some recent sharbing profits from a full underlay on £50 shop bets:
2.50/2.24 = £11.73 profit
2.10/1.79 = £14.68 profit
Of course, the profit you make on each sharb will depend on your stake size and the difference between the back and lay odds.
You will need at least a few hundred pounds of float money in your exchange account for a good sharbing run. The above examples would require £100 for the shop bets and £103.58 at the exchange for the lay bets.
In addition to football match odds, you can find sharbs on under/over goals, correct score, half-time/full-time, both teams to score. Other less mainstream markets offer great potential like cricket, boxing round markets, NFL, motor racing.
Get connected: You need a smartphone with a good internet connection to check exchange lay odds.
Cash is king: Use cash when sharbing to maintain a supply of cash for different betting shops.
Be vigilant: Double check that the coupon odds are honoured before placing your bet. Also, double check your betting slip before you leave the betting shop, as sometimes staff forget to mention when prices are cut. If the price is cut, ask staff to cancel/void the bet.
Sensible staking: Don’t go too high with your sharbing stakes, be sensible and stick to £80 or less. I’d suggest around £50 stakes. Otherwise you’ll stand out and may get Shubbed, which is the shop equivalent of gubbing.
Lay straight away: Lay your sharbs immediately to lock-in profit, don’t wait as the lay odds could drift.