It is a fact that gambling is built around a system that ensures that the house will have an edge over bettors, definitely making it a profitable business. In the sportsbooks industry, the story doesn’t change a bit.
But we are not here to demonize bookies (although many agree we do have a love/hate relationship with them), we are here to talk about Arbing or Arbitrage Betting, a table-turning strategy that can make gamblers build a steady income if done properly.
The Fundamentals of Arbing
To understand arbing, we must first know how bookies build their odds. As we stated before, bookies want to be the ones with an edge in the gambling business. To obtain that edge, they use statistical analyst teams, AI software, supercomputers, and many other resources to accurately predict what could be the scores for a particular sports event. With those numbers in hand, odds are offered and depending on the influx of bets they can even change these odds on the run (book balancing) to ensure their profits. Fortunately, not all bookies have the same opinion, so even for the naked eye, different bookies will have different odds.
Arbing works by betting on all the possible outcomes of an event, profiting from the marginal differences between odds regardless of the final results. In essence, it works and profits the same way bookies earn their money. And because of that, arbers are desirable as a fly in a soup plate. If bookies find you arbing, you are at risk of getting your account “gubbed” (restricted betting limits), or getting your accounts closed. Understanding those risks, keep reading.
The Winning Formula
The most common (and easiest) type of arbing is the “Back/Lay” betting that works on the premise of one winner, one loser. The formulas used in the following example will illustrate better the idea.
Also, the not less important thing is that you have not to be treated as an addicted gambler. For those categories, bookmakers will have additional attention. Despite the fact that there are UK casinos not with Gamstop option in 2020, your compulsive gambling behavior could have an impact and force you to make some incorrect bets.
Bet365 odds for the following event are Arsenal 2.9 vs Barcelona. 3.20. However, we found at the Betfair exchange 3.00 odds For Barcelona, making a clear arbing opportunity because the lay odds are lower than the ones from the bookie. For those unaware, an exchange is a betting market where bettors can match bets between them in the “exchange” of a commission. With all that in mind, let’s calculate our bets and profits.
Betting £100 on Barcelona’s 3.20 odds with Bet365 and winning, we’ll earn £320. This is the back bet.
In the Betfair exchange, we make our bet on Barcelona as the loser. This is the lay bet.
To correctly size your lay bet and keep profitable we follow this formula:
Lay Stake= back stake*(back odds/(lay odds – exchange commission))
Our example will look like this:
If Barcelona loses, we earn £103.5 but we lose the £100 bet365 stake.
If Barcelona wins, we lose £216,95.
To calculate our Lay/bet profits we use these formulas.
Profiting with the bookie:
((Back odds-1)*back stake) – ((lay odds-1)*lay stake)
((3.20-1)* £100) – (3.00 -1)* £108.47) = £3.05 profit
Profiting in the exchange:
lay stake *(1-exchange commission)-back stake)
£108.47 * ((1-0.05) -100) = 3.05 profit
Either if Barcelona wins or loses, Arbing allows us to have a 3.05 profit over a 100 bookie bet. And this is the most common cause. But sometimes, bookies make mistakes. They don’t make the correct follow-up or become so cocky about their predictions by putting insanely outrageous odds (mostly in horse racing). If the bookie would have a 5.2 odds with Barcelona, and the exchange has the same 3.00, we’ll earn £67,46 per £100 staked with the bookie.
Now, before fueling your betting pipe dreams, understand that Arbing is a hide-and-seek marathon. Getting caught, and losing accounts is a serious drawback to your income. Although arbing is not illegal, it is not well seen by bookies. An irony in business apparently designed to frame bettors, but these are the risks we accepted.
Tips to Get out of the Bookie radar
Act like a regular bettor. If you want to have a good bankroll you should keep yourself cold-minded. Bookies profile each customer and scan their betting patterns so if they find you shaving their earning too frequently you are out.
Make reasonable bets on reasonable events. 5000 bets in a FIFA World Cup final won’t call for a red flag but a 50 bet in 3d division Pakistan soccer will definitely do.
Avoid huge Arbs. It might be tempting to bet on them, but sometimes bookies made intentional mistakes to flush out arbers from their system. Be wary, always.
Remember, Arbing is about to be a long-term winner, not a one-hit-wonder.