10 Tips for Arbitrage Betting

Some novice sports bettors believe it's impossible to make money gambling, but by learning and utilizing arbitrage wagers, you can lock in profits each time.


Those who prescribe to the notion that “there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch” have yet to take arbitrage betting for a spin. The unique sports betting strategy leads to guaranteed profits when arbitrage opportunities exist at multiple or individual online sportsbooks.

What is Arbitrage Betting in Sports?

Also referred to as “arbing,” arbitrage is a betting strategy in which a sports bettor places a wager on both sides of an event outcome and, in turn, lock in guaranteed profits no matter the end result. For novice bettors, one may read this and immediately think this betting option is impossible and more than likely, some sort of illicit scheme or scam. It’s not.

However, all that glitters is not gold and arbitrage betting does pose some risks that every bettor should be aware of before submitting a ticket.

Arb Sports Betting Risks

Prior to placing an arb bet, be sure to know each online sportsbook’s terms and conditions as they apply to sports betting outcomes. Some may score draws/ties differently or cancel a bet if a key player is announced as inactive before a match.

  • Realize when odds are too good to be true

Similar to knowing the rules, remember that oddsmakers screw up from time to time and post the incorrect odds on the board. In sports betting, this can cost the betting exchanges thousands of dollars if not corrected. Each sportsbook typically has the right to correct an odds error, thus cancelling half of your arb bet.

  • Pace of betting is too slow

In order to maximize your arbitrage betting profits, you need to place the bets with two different sportsbooks within a reasonable amount of time before the bookmakers get hip to the value on the board and update the odds.

  • Wager accidents

Hall of Fame UCLA basketball coach John Wooden once said “be quick, but don’t hurry” and this can apply to arb betting, too. When in a rush to get the best real money odds, a novice bettor may “fat-finger” the bet slip and select the wrong side of the bet.

  • Lack of experience

Simple lack of experience is the easiest risk to successful arb betting. Be sure to read the tips below prior to placing your first wager.

How Do You Make Money with Arbitrage Betting?

The easiest way to explain how to bet online and make money arbitrage betting on sports is with an example scenario. First, know that there are three ways to arb bet:

  • When multiple sportsbooks offer different prices on a bet.
  • When multiple sportsbooks offer different moneyline prices, which allows you to bet both sides and lock in profit.
  • When odds or lines change after an initial wager, which allows you to bet both sides (hedge).

Arbitrage Betting Example

Let’s say the Chiefs’ moneyline opened at +110 against the Buccaneers. You wager $100 to win $110.

Action on Kansas City bumped the Chiefs line down to -115 and Tampa Bay is now a +105 favorite. You risk $100 to win $105.

You can wager on Tampa Bay at +105 and regardless of if the Chiefs or Bucs win, you are guaranteed a $5 profit.

What are Arbitrage Sports Betting Tips?

1) Study Several Online Sportsbooks

In order to maximize the number of arbitrage betting opportunities during the course of the sports calendar, you’ll need to study several online sportsbooks and create an account at multiple. Only under these conditions will you be able to locate strong odds discrepancies that allow you to arb bet and guarantee profits.

2) Learn How to Quickly Navigate Sportsbooks

Time is money and bookmakers know if odds they set are getting hammered, it’s time to adjust. If you’re unfamiliar with how an online sportsbooks is structured and how to quickly place bets on it, this can cost you the best arb odds and limit your return profit or, even worse, leave you stranded with one bet that isn’t covered on the other side.

3) Research How Sports Odds Work First

Gamble Online offers a complete guide to sports odds. If you’re new to sports betting, be sure to review not only our sports odds explained page, but individual bet types guides from moneyline wagers to spread betting.

Once you get the hang on it, you’ll realize that arbitrage betting opportunities are numerous when online sportsbooks offer sports event live betting options.

4) Come With a Significant Bankroll

At the grocery store, the offer is something like “buy more, save more,” but at your favorite online sportsbook, arbitrage betting may require you to wager more to guarantee more profits. When an arb betting scenario features a minus-money favorite on one side of the bet, you’re going to need to wager a significant amount of money for the bet to work. The guaranteed profit still exists, but you need to be able to front the money first.

5) Patience Is a Virtue

If you’re looking to win hundreds and thousands of dollars in a short period of time, arbitrage betting is not for you. This is a grind it out strategy where 2-3% profits are the norm. If you can embrace arb betting as a marathon and not a sprint, you can be very successful and build a four-to-five figure bankroll over the course of a year.

6) Leverage Casino Bonuses at the Sportsbook

Forget the free lunch, most online gambling sites that boast both a casino and sportsbook offer generous casino bonuses where funds can be used on popular table games, slots and even at their online sportsbook. The best part is when you sign up for a new account and place your first deposit, most welcome bonuses are a dollar for dollar match, which increases your bankroll off the jump and allows you to maximize returns on your first arbitrage bet.

Note: be sure to review betting requirements that may need to be fulfilled before withdrawing any funds.

7) Only Bet at Legit Sports Gambling Sites Online

With sports gambling laws easing and the popularity of the industry on the rise, dozens of new online sportsbooks seem to launch every week. However, some of the shiny new toys on the internet aren’t always the best. We’ve taken the liberty to independently review the safest online sportsbooks, while also featuring blacklisted sportsbooks that new players should avoid.

8) Know Sportsbook Frown Upon Arb Betting

Surprise, surprise, surprise, online sportsbooks don’t like losing money. While this is a simply stated fact, it’s also true that in an effort to differentiate themselves from dozens of other betting shops, bookmakers must try to create unique odds to attract new players.

9) Utilize Arb Betting Calculators

Just like online sportsbooks offer parlay calculators that highlight how much you could win should all 2+ legs of your bet slip win, arb calculators highlight how much you are guaranteed to win and confirm your notion that the two bets are truly an arbitrage scenario.

10) Fade Arb Betting on Smaller Leagues

This is important because wagering a significant amount of money on a table tennis semifinal or lower-tier soccer league is a bright red flag for bookmakers that something is amiss. This could get not only the match pulled off the board, but your account flagged.

Joseph Ellison

Joseph is a dedicated journalist and horse racing fanatic who has been writing about sports and casinos for over a decade. He has worked with some of the UK's top bookmakers and provides Premier League soccer tips on a regular basis. You'll likely find him watching horse racing or rugby when he isn't writing about sport.

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