Arbitrage betting (also known as arbing), is where you place bets on all possible outcomes of an event to lock-in a profit.
Customers who place arbitrage bets are known as “arbers”.
An arb bet is where there is a discrepancy in the odds between different betting companies. Betting on all possible outcomes will make a profit.
Where can I find arbs?
Arbs can be available in various betting markets such as:
- A two-way market such as tennis, snooker or cricket with two possible outcomes (player/team A wins or player/team B wins).
- Or, a three-way market like football Match Odds (home team wins/draw/away team wins).
Arbing is different to gambling on an event. Arbers use simple maths to profit on a betting market.
Bookmakers and arbing
Bookmakers dislike arbing as it’s not profitable for them in the long-term. If a bookmaker suspects you of arbing, they’re likely to restrict your stakes and close your betting account – this is called a gubbing.
Is arbing risk-free?
Arbitrage betting is not risk free. The odds can change between placing your different bets with each bookie or exchange. You need to be quick when placing each bet.
What is arbitrage betting?
The word “arb” is short for “arbitrage bet”.
Arbing occurs when a bookmaker’s odds are too high compared to the rest of the market.
Arbitrage betting opportunities are usually available when a bookmaker’s system is slow to change their odds. Also, bookmaker traders sometimes fail to spot arbs.
The goal of arbing is to guarantee a profit regardless of the outcome of an event.
How to do arbitrage betting
Arbitrage betting between bookmakers and betting exchanges is simple.
You need the back odds (at the bookie) to be higher than the lay odds (at the exchange). Fore example:
- Backing at Evens (2.00) at a bookie,
- then laying at 1.90 on the exchange
As your bankroll increases, you can arb on different events and increase your stakes.
Horse racing is good for arbing, but only on gubbed accounts. The two most common arbing strategies are to:
1). To lock in a profit by laying at the exchange to cover your bookmaker back bet, or
2). To ‘underlay’ your bet.
Underlaying means that if your selection doesn’t win, you make no profit.
If you win an underlayed arb, then you will make more profit than from a standard lay.
Underlaying gives an opportunity for extra profit for no loss.
The OddsMonkey Oddsmatcher is great for finding arbs. Look for 100% rating or higher.
Bookmakers perspective of arbitrage betting
Bookmakers do not like arbitrage bettors. Arbers make a profit from a standard bet (rather than a free bet like in matched betting), and arbers take too much long-term value from the bookmaker.
Matched bettors often place mug bets to give value back to the bookie, whereas arbers will only bet on value selections.
Bookies can spot arbing activity, especially on horse racing. If your bets consistently beat the Starting Price (SP) by a big margin. Consistently arbing a bookie will lead to stake restrictions on your account.
Arbs and price boosts
There is a difference between arbs and price boosts.
Bookmakers don’t intend to offer arbing opportunities, as arbs are unprofitable for bookies.
On the other hand, bookies actively promote their price boosts to gain new customers.
Price boosts allow matched bettors to lock-in a profit. For example the Skybet weekly special treble. This can be backed at Skybet and then layed at Betfair for guaranteed profit.
Therefore, it is wise to matched bet on price boosts and enhanced odds, but try to avoid the temptation to arb.