Full guide to arbitrage betting

Good betting knowledge is an immeasurable part of the success of every punter. In an attempt to help you to gain the needed information we created our page “Betting Knowledge”, which aims to help you become more knowledgeable and make informed betting decisions. Our goal is to update the university area as often as possible provide engaging content, and show you how to apply different betting strategies that at first look hard, but with easy examples and explanations, everyone can take advantage of them.

Our team has years of experience in the betting industry and all of us know how stressful it is when you are losing bets and make wrong betting decisions. Nobody likes to lose money. If you want to avoid these unhappy moments always prepare yourself with the right betting strategy and never stop learning.

Today we decided to examine in details what is arbitrage betting, all of its pros and cons, how to use it, and the most valuable information about it. We are sure that if you are a long-time bettor, you would know what arbitrage betting means, or at least you have heard something about it. But if you are new into the betting industry you would be very attracted by the arbitrage betting. Essentially through applying arbitrage betting strategy, you can always be on profit with very limited to no risk involved. Yes, you read it right – on profit.

Take a look below and see how you can do it and find easy examples for that.

What is arbitrage betting?

Arbitrage betting is also known as arbing, surebets, and miraclebets. It arises on betting markets due to either bookmakers’ differing opinions on events’ outcomes or bookmakers’ errors. To put it simply, this type of betting means that you regularly place multiple bets on all possible outcomes of an event at odds that guarantee you a profit. If you use arbing, you are always going to be a winner, regardless of the game’s result.

The bookmakers often offer to us lower odds than the real market price in order to make a profit. Because of that, they reduce the opportunities for arbitrage very quickly, and you have to be concentrated when you use that kind of betting, in order to take advantage of it.

You can use the arbitrage betting on all sports including football, horse racing, tennis, and others. You just need to be fast, dedicated, disciplined, and well-prepared before starting with arbitrage betting.

How arbitrage betting works.

The easiest way to understand how you can benefit from arbitrage betting is explained in these simple example:


                                                                                                                        Example one

1. In a tennis game, you have 2 players to bet on, for example, Rafael Nadal vs Roger Federer.

2. Betfair has odds of 2.10 for R.Nadal to win, while bet365’s odds for R.Federer to win are 2.10.

3.  If you bet £100 on Nadal to win in Betfair, and the same amount on Federer’s win on bet365, your total stake will be £200.

4. If R.Nadal wins, you will make £210 or £10 profit. If Federer wins, you will again make £210 profit or £10 profit.

5. In the end, you will have £210, no matter who wins, which means that you make 5% Return of investment (ROI) in both cases.

That example can be used for all sports where you have 2 outcomes. In our opinion, tennis is a preferred sport for arbitrage betting, but you can find arbitrage opportunities in all other sports, we also like arbing on football. If you have more than 2 outcomes and you need to calculate your stakes, don’t worry, just use our Surebet calculator (remember arbitrage betting and sure betting means exactly the same), fill the arbs odds, and it will automatically calculate the stakes, showing you whether that bet is profitable or not. Bettingmetrics sure betting calculator is designed to quickly do the computing for you, and show exactly how much to bet on each selection so you can focus on placing the bet not really doing the computing manually.

Example Two

Here is another arbitrage example, but this time we are using football to show you how it works. We will place 3 different bets with 3 different bookmakers.

Our betting bank now is £100 and the game where we found opportunities is between Liverpool and Manchester United. The best arbitrage odds for home win is 1.95 in bet365. The most profitable odds for away win is 5.55 in William Hill. The best odds for a draw is 4.20 in Betfair.

1.            You have to bet on Liverpool win – £55.08

2.            Bet on Manchester United to win £19.35

3.            Bet on draw £25.57

Placing a combination of Those 3 bets will guarantee you profit!

1.            If Liverpool wins £55.08 x 1.95 = 107.41

2.            If Manchester United wins £19.35 x 5.55 = 107.39

3.            If the game ends in a draw £25.57 x 4.20 = 107.39


In this case, no matter how the game ends, you will be on profit, making between £7.39 and £7.41! And this example is working with a bank of £100, imagine if you start with £1000. In general terms, we would advise you to be careful with 3-way arbitrages as sometimes the bookmaker may adjust the odds and you may end you in a situation where you cannot cover your risk. Two-way handicaps (bet on over-under, Asian handicap, draw no bet, both teams to score and others )are much easier to do and involve less risk

How to calculate whether a sports game is good for arbitrage betting or not?

If you do the math by yourself, you have to make simple calculations in order to confirm whether an arbitrage worthy or not. The first thing to do is to calculate the Individual Arbitrage Percentage (IAP) of the chosen game’s all possible outcomes. You should find the best odds available for each result and then apply the following formula.

(1/odds) x 100

This will give you the IAP for each ending scenario. Let’s apply this formula to the tennis match we used in Example 1. The best available odds for Nadal to win were 2.10, so you would do the following calculation.

(1/2.10) x 100 = 47.61%

The best available odds for Federer were 2.10, so the calculation is the same.

(1/2.10) x 100 = 47.61%

Now you have the IAPs for the two possible outcomes. The next step is to add these together, which in this case would give you 95.22%. This figure is known as the Total Arbitrage Percentage (TAP). When TAP is below 100%, you have an opportunity for profitable arbitrage betting.

There are only two possible outcomes for this example, but sometimes you will be looking at markets with more than two final results. You must remember to always add the IAPS for ALL possible outcomes or your calculations won’t give you the right information.

If you want to find out how much you have to bet on each outcome, use this formula:

(Total Stake x IAP) / TAP

Arbitrage betting and its risk.

We told you, that the arbitrage bets are an absolutely sure way for profit and this is true as this is their essence. However, as with everything, there are some little things that you should aware prior to going ahead. There are two major risks that are associated with arbing – we categorized them as operation and bookmaker risk.

The operational risk is associated with as a punter. For example, you miscalculate the stakes, you make a typo error and instead of £10 you place £1 or even worse £100.

The bookmaker risk – is associated with the lifespan of arbitrage bets, changing odds and of course bookmaker’s terms and conditions.

Usually, an arbitrage opportunity would last for too long, from experience the sure bet will last around 30 minutes, so you have to be quick enough or the arbie will run away. The general rule of thumb is the closer to start of the event you get the shorter the life span of the arbitrage opportunity will be.

You should also be careful not to end up in a position where you have placed one of the selection and the other bookie adjusted its odds. If that happens you should first check whether some other bookies are offering similar odds and if yes place your bet there. Alternatively, you can either cash out and lose a small amount of your initial stake or place the bet at lower the lower odds and take the loss.

Although arbitrage betting is a legal activity, bookmakers don’t really like the players who use it. Why? It’s easy to guess – they just don’t want to lose money, and they know the fact that the arbitrage bets are costing them a lot. Because of that, they often limit suspected of arbitrage betting players, or they directly block their betting activities. Sometimes the bookmakers can cancel your bets if they made a mistake, and that’s why, you should take a deep look at the Rules of each bookmaker, which odds you intend to use for arbitrage betting.

We advise you approaching professionally to the arbitrage betting, paying high attention to the bets you make, and following few rules to ensure avoiding limitation for as long as possible.

How I can avoid limitation?

Most of the bookmakers, and especially the popular ones have huge teams and software, which work to detect arbitrage betting, put limits, or at worst cases, close accounts. Please note back in the days, bookmakers used to close accounts quite often where this approach is not that popular nowadays in fact in the 95% of the cases they will only limit your account.

Below is small but tested and easy to follow guide that will help you increase the life span of your bookmakers account and therefore place arbitrage bets for a longer period with a single bookmaker.

1. Place different bets –  If you do arbitrage bets regularly, you have to place different bets. Try to bet on popular games or tournaments, live events. Occasionally place some accumulator bets and play casino games. If you place only arbitrage bets, your bookie will surely get suspicious and flag your account which means that a trader will be assigned to your ID and track your activity.

2. Make more bets with round sums –  the arbitrage software and calculators will give you the amounts in decimal stakes such as 41.58. If you frequently use decimal amounts for your stakes, the bookmakers will notice that fact and your account will be blocked instantly. For that reason, just bet with the closest round number like £42. You can take that approach even further and aim to bet with a whole number such as £40, £45 or £50.

3. Set a deposit and withdrawal limits – This is one more trick to hide your arbitrage bets. If you win a huge amount, do not take it off immediately, and try to withdraw your money as rarely as possible. This something we have noticed is effective and have nearly doubled the life span of our accounts.

4. Track your betting bank - If you win few arbitrage bets with one bookmaker, in your next bet intentionally put a bet, which is very likely to lose. Eventually, you will make a profit through arbitrage betting, because you will place a profitable bet for the same event with another bookmaker. In this way, you will lose some money with the first bookmaker and it will like it.

The right formula staying out of bookmakers' radars is to open accounts in different bookmakers’ websites and keep a good betting bank in each one of them. Switch your bets, and keep having losses and winnings in each account.

Arbitrage betting is an activity that will require time and efforts from you. You will be requested to place over 50 bets per day in various bookmakers so keeping a close eye on your results, and bookmaker balance is really important. There are various ways you can do that. For example, you can build your own excel spreadsheet, or download already built spreadsheet – in both cases you will lose a lot of time to understand how the formulas work, and you will end up making a lot of typo errors.