Sports Betting Arbitrage, Scalping, Sure Bets, Sportsurebet and Arb Trading all refer to the one thing, the idea of making a guaranteed profit from a difference in odds between sportsbooks. Normally, backing all outcomes of a single sporting event at a single bookmaker would result in you guaranteeing a loss of a few percent – this is the bookmaker’s margin. However, if we take the best competing odds from different bookmakers, it is possible to make it so that guaranteed loss turns into a guaranteed profit. By betting on those high odds so that your winnings are the same no matter what the outcome, you are arbing.
For the purposes of this article I am making the assumption that most people practice sports arbitrage betting to supplement their income on a part time basis. You should be able to make between 5% and 10% on your capital every month, this does not include any extra money you can make by using any free bets or bonuses. Before you start betting however it is prudent to spend some time practicing to make sure you know what you are doing and that you are confident on procedure. If you have $5000 to invest then don’t be too concerned about making all of that $5000 work for you straight away.
So practice with small amounts first. See how long it takes you from receiving your alert or finding your opportunity, to placing your bet. Time yourself. Make notes on any problems that took more time than expected.
Bonus sports arbitrage
Many bookmakers offer first time users a signup bonus in the range $10 – $200 for depositing an initial amount. They typically demand that this amount is wagered a number of times before the bonus can be withdrawn. Bonus sport arbitraging is a form of sports arbitraging where you hedge or back your bets as usual, but since you received the bonus, a small loss can be allowed on each wager (2-5 %), which comes off your profit. In this way the bookmakers wagering demand can be met and the initial deposit and sign up bonus can be withdrawn with little loss.
The advantage over usual betting arbitrage is that it is a lot easier to find bets with an acceptable loss, instead of an actual profit. Since most bookmakers offer these bonuses this can potentially be exploited to harvest the sign up bonuses.
By signing up to various bookmakers, it’s possible to turn these ‘free’ bets into cash fairly quickly, and either making a small arbitrage, or in the majority of cases, making a small loss on each bet, or trade. However, it is relatively time consuming to find close matched bets or arbs, which is where an arb / close matched bet service is useful.
As well as spending time physically matching odds from various bet sites to exchanges, the other draw back with bonus bagging / arb trading in this sense is that often the free bets are ‘non-stake returned’. This effectively reduces the odds, in decimal format, by 1. Therefore, in order to reduce ‘losses’ on the free bet, it is necessary to place a bet with high odds, so that the percentage difference of the decrease in odds is minimised.