One way you can put the sports betting odds more in your favor, and win money betting sports online with relatively little risk, is to engage in arbitrage sports betting.
However, sports betting with arbitrage, at its best, is not easy and is not for the lazy bettor. With arbitrage betting, you will have to earn your profit by being smart and doing research, as well as acting quickly and decisively when you see opportunities.
Use of computer-powered arbitrage betting software has made arbing more accessible than in the past, but you still have to be prepared to do your homework if you want to make money using arbitrage betting systems.
Taking Both Sides of the Bet, and Hoping for Middle Ground
The basic idea of arbitrage betting is simple in theory: you identify different odds being offered by different bookmakers on the same event, and then you place bets in a way that gives you a chance to win both bets, but then if one bet loses, the other bet wins and covers the loss.
For example, if the Chicago Bulls are -10 at one online sportsbook, and -13 at another online sportsbook, you might bet with the Bulls at -10, but bet against the Bulls at -13.
The optimal outcome of this bet, of course, is that the Bulls win by 11. This is called “middling” and would mean that you would win both of your bets.
Because the line of a sporting event often turns out to be quite accurate (bookmakers are good at what they do, after all), this glorious middling is not all that unusual, and is the most profitable result that can come from arbitrage betting.
Identifying and Executing Arbitrage Sports Betting Opportunities
Of course, it’s not always so simple to identify arbitrage opportunities. Lines and odds are frequently changing, so you need quick fingers to place bets at one site and then still catch the other end of the arbitrage bet at another site.
What’s more, bookmakers are always on the lookout for bettors who are exploiting arbitrage betting. Because arbitrage betting, done right, reduces risk of loss, with one bet covering another, arbitrage bettors frequently bet very large amounts. This, naturally, scares bookmakers, who don’t like this kind of “revising” of the typical house-favoring odds.
The first big challenge, then, is to identify arbitrage sports betting opportunities. The second big challenge is to execute the actual arbitrage bet effectively and in a timely fashion.
To help with these challenges, some sports bettors use computer programs that alert them to arbitrage opportunities and these programs may even execute bets automatically.
Arbitrage Betting By the Numbers
If you are planning on using an arbitrage sports betting system, it’s very helpful to be good with numbers. Math geeks definitely have an advantage in this method of betting.
The first couple times you are venturing an arbitrage bet, it’s smart to write out the numbers by hand, so that you understand exactly why, mathematically, you are placing the bet. Bettors who don’t do this hard work, or who just plain aren’t smart enough with numbers to comprehend what’s happening, will find that arbitraging entails much the same risk as regular betting.
In other words arbitrage sports betting only works if you know how to do it. But hey, that’s not the only thing in life you can say that about!
This is not to say that you can’t arbitrage a bet here and there in a more casual manner. But if you want to be consistently profitable long-term, you need to put in a certain amount of work. You also need to set up a real system to aid you in identifying and executing arbitrage bets.
Keep in mind, too, that arbitrage betting, unless you score that coveted middle ground, only yields a profit of the differential between the bets that you are devising, rather than the “double your money” dynamic that takes place when laying down a straight wager.
For this reason, you need to bet more money, or bet more frequently, or both, in order to make large profits from an arbitrage sports betting system.