Arbitrage Sports Betting

how to bet on sports

Most people believe betting to be a speculative affair where only the luckiest, most skilled gamblers make money. However, this is only half the truth. You don’t need luck or a lot of skill to win at sports betting sites. In fact, you probably only need to know that you can bet on a particular sport. How is that even possible?

Enter arbitrage sports betting. Arbitrage gambling involves betting on all possible outcomes of a game on two or more sportsbooks. It allows bettors to earn profits regardless of their skill level, making it a pretty common way of making money through betting. 

How Can You Take Advantage of Arbing?

You have probably considered betting on two outcomes of a game to avoid losing money. Sportsbooks know this temptation all too well. Thus, a bookie will set their odds in such a way that you’ll lose money if you bet on each outcome of an event on their platform at the same time. However, the opportunity isn’t entirely lost. 

Different sportsbooks create different odds for the same sporting event. If you can find sportsbooks with a big enough difference in odds, you can gain profits regardless of the game’s outcome. This is what bettors call arbitrage betting. Take an NBA game between Miami Heat and the Nets;

  • Miami Heat -165 (at Bookmaker A)
  • Nets +180 (at Bookmaker B)

To make a profit regardless of the outcome, you’ll need to wager $100 on Miami Heat at sportsbook A and $57.36 at sportsbook B. This gives you a profit of $3.24. The winnings are not much in this example because of the relatively small bet size. But with larger wager sizes, you can make a lot more. You’ll also be doing this across multiple games, further amplifying your winnings. 

A Step-by-Step Guide to Finding Betting Arbitrage Opportunities

Finding arbitrage bets involves combing through different sportsbooks while noting the differences in odds. Once you find a large enough difference, you calculate the winnings to see if it’s possible to make a profit from the arb. 

Now, this is a long and tedious process. You’ll have to go through dozens of sportsbooks doing lots of maths each time. Fortunately, there is something you can do to save you the time and effort; use a program that tracks arbing. 

Such software crawls through many sportsbooks, compares the odds, and does the maths on your behalf. It then alerts you when it finds a profitable opportunity. 

Differences Between Hedging Bets and Arbitrage Bets

Like Arbitrage, hedging bets involve wagering on both outcomes of a game by capitalizing on the difference in odds. But this time, do this on one sportsbook rather than on different ones. This is possible because even within a single sportsbook, odds change over time. 

So, if you had wagered on a particular outcome at older odds, you can use a hedging calculator to tell you how much you need to wager at the latest odds to return a profit.   

Why Do Multiple Sportsbooks Offer Different Odds?

Odds differences are often due to the choice of the sportsbook. Some sportsbooks, especially new, ambitious ones, offer above-average odds to help them stand out from their competition. As for already established bookies, odds compilers in one betting platform sometimes read the bet differently from those in others. 

Odds also differ when one sportsbook is slower to react to a shift in the betting market. Other times, it’s down to mistakes made by an odds compiler. Whatever the reason, these discrepancies present an opportunity for bettors to make money through arbitrage sports betting. 

Why Bookmakers Dislike Arbitrage Bettors

If a bookmaker realizes that a bettor is engaging in arbitrage betting, they will ban the bettor. Why? As you can imagine, sportsbooks don’t like it when bettors consistently make profits. This costs them money. And it bothers them a lot more if the bettor is doing it in such a way that guarantees a profit regardless of the outcome. 

Thus, sportsbooks will collaborate with one another to identify arbitrage bettors. They do this by sharing information and security servers. But to the bettor, It does seem a little unfair that a bookmaker will ban you for winning, despite it being perfectly legal. Is there a way to avoid getting caught?  

How to Avoid Getting Caught With Arbing

Arbitrage bettors get away with this style of betting more often than not. If you plan on doing the same, keep the following tips in mind; 

Don’t withdraw and deposit money frequently

When making regular profits, you may be tempted to deposit and withdraw your money frequently. However, this will alert the sportsbooks of your activities. Thus, you only want to make occasional deposits and withdrawals. 

Use different bookmakers

Don’t use the same sportsbooks every time. Spread your bankroll across several online sports betting sites to make your bets look sporadic so that you minimize your chances of being discovered.

Don’t max bets too frequently

Of course, the more you wager the more money you stand to make. However, sportsbooks are on the lookout for people who max their bets all the time as this is a sign that they’re trying to maximize their arbitrage profits. 


Arbitrage betting is a smart way to make money, even for punters with little skill. All you have to do is invest in an arbitrage bet tracking software and have a large enough bankroll to maximize your profits. 

However, sportsbooks don’t like it when bettors are guaranteed profits and will ban you if they suspect you of arbitrage betting. Therefore, you need to be careful if you plan to use this method to earn some extra cash. 


Dan Weiner

Hailing from Atlanta and attending college at the University of Texas, Dan is passionate about sports, particularly college football and soccer. He's a diehard Atlanta pro sports and Texas Longhorns fan. He likes every sport and will watch anything and everything the weirder the better. He joined Betsperts after an 11 year career in television production at ESPN.

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