What is Arbitrage Betting?

Sports arbitrage betting is a strategy that allows bettors to take advantage of differing odds offered by various bookmakers. By identifying significant variations in opinion among bookies, arbitrage bettors can ensure a profit, regardless of the outcome. In this article, we will explore the concept of sports arbitrage betting, discuss when arbitrage opportunities occur, examine the legality of arbitrage betting, explain how bookies respond to arbers, and highlight the risks and problems associated with this approach.

Using the Odds:

The foundation of sports arbitrage betting lies in the odds set by bookmakers. These odds are subjective and can vary from one bookie to another. When the disparity between opinions is significant enough, an arbitrage opportunity arises, guaranteeing a profit.

When do arbitrage opportunities occur?

Arbitrage opportunities occur when bookmakers have differing opinions on the outcome of a specific event. Factors that contribute to these opportunities include variations in bookmakers’ risk management, different algorithms used for odds calculation, and varying levels of market efficiency. These disparities can be found in various sports and events, although they may not be available for extended periods.

Example: Tennis – Rome

Let’s consider a tennis match to demonstrate how sports arbitrage betting works. The following odds are being offered by two bookmakers for the semi-final match between D. Medvedev and  S Tsitsipas:

S Tsitsipas – 2.44

D. Medvedev – 1.65

After researching other bookmakers, we discover that Betway offers better odds for Medvedev to win:

S Tsitsipas – 2.44 (Pinnacle)

D. Medvedev – 1.85 (Betway)

To determine the correct stake for each bet, we use an arbitrage betting calculator. Assuming a total stake of £1000, the calculator calculates the following:

S Tsitsipas – 2.44 – Stake: £431.24

D. Medvedev – 1.85 – Stake: £568.76

Using these odds and stakes, we can achieve a guaranteed 5.2% return, regardless of the outcome.

If Tsitsipas wins, the calculation is as follows:

£431.24 x 2.44 = £1052.21

(£1052.21 – £1000 total stake) = £52.21

Likewise, if Medvedev wins:

£568.76 x 1.85 = £1052.21

(£1052.21 – £1000 total stake) = £52.21

These betting opportunities are readily available every day, allowing savvy bettors to profit from discrepancies in bookmakers’ odds.

Legality of arbitrage betting

The legality of arbitrage betting varies depending on the jurisdiction. While it is generally considered legal in many countries, some regions may have specific regulations or restrictions. It is crucial for bettors to research and understand the laws and regulations governing gambling and betting in their respective jurisdictions.

What do bookies do when they detect arbers?

Bookmakers are aware of the practice of arbitrage betting and employ measures to protect their interests. When bookies detect arbers, they may take several actions, including limiting the maximum stake amount for specific bettors, closing or suspending accounts, or adjusting odds to minimize potential arbitrage opportunities. It is essential for arbitrage bettors to remain discreet and manage their betting activities carefully to avoid detection.

Risks and problems that can occur

While sports arbitrage betting offers profit potential, it is not without risks and problems. Some challenges that can arise include:

  • Limited opportunities: Arbitrage opportunities may be scarce and short-lived, requiring constant monitoring and quick decision-making.
  • Account limitations: Bookmakers may limit or close accounts of successful arbitrage bettors, reducing their ability to capitalize on future opportunities.
  • Errors and delays: Mistakes in odds calculation or delays in bet placement can result in missed arbitrage opportunities or potential losses.
  • Financial constraints: Large capital requirements are often necessary to maximize returns from arbitrage betting, which may limit participation for some bettors.
  • Bookmaker disputes: Disputes with bookmakers regarding settlement of bets or account balances can occur, leading to potential complications and delays.

Read the article “Betting on the Wrong Event” for additional information.


Sports arbitrage betting presents a viable strategy for those who seek guaranteed profits in the betting world. By capitalizing on differing opinions and using an arbitrage betting calculator to allocate stakes, bettors can mitigate risk and ensure positive returns. Remember to explore various sporting events and bookmakers to identify profitable opportunities. Start leveraging the power of sports arbitrage betting to enhance your betting portfolio.