Arbitrage Betting – What If The Odds Change?

What happens if the odds change?

Generally speaking, the longer you take to place the bet the more chance the odds will change. Ideally you need to be placing your bet as soon as you receive your sports arbitrage alert or as soon as you find your arb. Large amounts of money being placed very quickly on a particular event will shorten the odds so it is important to act as quickly as you can.

However if you are home based, have your computer switched on and act as soon as you receive your alert then this should not be a problem.

If the odds have changed by the time you come to place your bet these are the options available to you:

  • Continue to enter the odds in to the arbitrage calculator as normal, there may still be an arb available although it maybe smaller. If it is still available then decide whether to take it or not. I take 1% and above.
  • If the arb no longer exists then leave it and wait until the next one.

But what happens if the odds change mid way through placing your bets?

This can be a problem but if you follow the advice described below then it need not be a large one.

Always make sure that the first bet you place is the one with the smallest odds.

This is the bet that will have the greatest impact in terms of changing your profitability; the longer odds have less impact. Therefore if you place this bet first and manage to get it on at the odds you want, it is more likely the rest of the arb will return a profit.

The first bet is placed and accepted but the odds change so dramatically for the other selections that the arb is no longer available before you get the chance to place the bet?

In this situation we are already committed having placed the first bet so the exercise becomes one of damage limitation. Take the following steps:

If the event you are betting on is fairly popular check to see which are the next bets odds available using:

  • The betting exchanges. As these sites are betting exchanges the odds available will usually be higher than those offered by the bookmaker. Note that a commission is charged on any wins on an exchange.
  • Odds Comparison sites. These are two of the most popular odds comparison websites and can tell you very quickly the different odds available in the market. 

Whichever method you use, select the next best odds available and proceed with the bet.

It is always better to complete the bet and take a small loss than to leave part of the bet open and potentially suffer a larger one.
If you do this then you are gambling and this is not what arbitrage betting is about.