Gambling, particularly sports betting, has always been known as a game of win or loss where the higher the risk, the more you can either win or lose. This way, the bookmarkers have been sure of making profits while the bettors stake their money on the losing occurrence. Over the years, experienced bettors have always tried to devise mechanisms and develop strategies to maximize their chances of beating the bookie. One such winning strategy which has gained popularity in recent years is arbitrage. This post will shed some light on both the possibilities of arbitrage in betting and the risks involved.

What is Arbitrage Betting?

Arbitrage betting (‘Sure betting’) is a practice in sports betting in which the players use mathematically proven scenarios, allowing them to bet on all possible outcomes of a sporting event with a guarantee of making a profit irrespective of the final result. The technique capitalizes on bookies’ competition leading to overstated odds or odds output errors.

Players who exploit such situations, arbors, use web scrapping to identify arbitrage opportunities and then place a bet for every outcome but with different bookmakers. Based on the opportunity identified, the arber will mathematically calculate the wager for each outcome in such a way that any bet that wins, a constant profit is a guarantee. This may sound like something hard, but practically, arbitrage in sports betting is possible.

Arbitrage Sports Betting Possibilities

Though most bookies have a strict stance against arbitrage betting (arbing), it is a legal practice as there are no laws against it apart from the individual bookmakers’ terms and conditions. Moreover, it is a free market and nearly impossible for your bookie to spy on your activities on other sites. On the other hand, bettors may justify the practice as only a tactic of picking the best paying odds from their betting platforms. In sports betting, arbitrage is possible in several ways:

1. Bookmakers Odds Inconsistency

If there is significantly contrasting odds for the same on different bookies’ websites, you can bet on all possible outcome on the different sites with guaranteed returns. This may occur due to various reasons such as a mistake in the odds output, bookies differing opinions regarding an event or competition strategies among the operators. With free tools like web scrapping and online arbitrage calculator, bettors do not require any mathematical skills or betting experience to identify and capitalize on such opportunities.

2. Back-Lay Betting

Another sports arbitrage possibility is open in back-lay betting exchanges where you can bet for or against a particular outcome like a player will score or not score. This kind of arbitrage works the same way as the contrasting bookies’ odds though in this case, an arbitrage opportunity arises if the lay odds are lower than the back odds on the same site or different sites.

3. Betting with Bonus

Promotion bonus has become a common marketing strategy where bookies offer players free money for joining their sites. While in most instances such bonuses are attached to some terms and conditions, they can create a sports arbitrage when wagered on minimal loss bets until the player can withdraw both the bonus money and the real deposit. Arbers can also hop from site to site converting the free welcome bonus into profit. 

Sports Betting Arbitrage Risks

Like any other investment involving money has some level of risk, and the same applies to arbing. Even worse, betting arbitrage requires a lot of money to make a significant profit since the margins are usually small so if any unprecedented occurrence happens, the bettor can lose a huge amount. Some sports arbitrage risks include:

1. Regularly Changing Odds

One of the main dangers in sports arbitrage is shifting odds since the bookmakers adjust odds depending on the betting activities. This can also happen when the bookie realizes and corrects an error in odds output. Arbitrage in live events like live betting can be riskier since the odds can shift fast depending on how the event unfolds. You may have identified an opportunity and placed your bet at one bookie’s site, then the odds shift before you complete the second bet.

2. Bookmaker Detection

Bookmakers do not support arbitrage betting and may take action whenever they detect such a practice. This can result in bet cancellation, in which case your remaining bet is exposed to normal risks. Some bookmakers can decide to permanently or temporarily close your betting account, which may lead to the loss of all your funds in the account.

3. Maximum Bet Limits

This refers to the highest stake you can wager on a particular event. Bookies can set a low max bet which minimizes your arbitrage profits to almost negligible.

4. Bettor’s Mistake

You may have correctly identified a viable betting arbitrage but make a mistake when calculating the amount to stake in each outcome or mix up the odds when placing your bet.


Arbing or ‘sure bets’ has gained popularity in the modern age owing to advanced technology and the internet, which makes it easy for players to identify opportunities and calculate stakes that will earn them profits regardless of the outcome. Though it is a sure bet, arbitrage betting has its risks, so to take full advantage of such deals, you should understand potential threats and work out a way of navigating them.

Founder, editor, and contributor at Technosoups. Shubham has been a gadget freak since longer than he cares to admit and loves everything to do with technology. He loves to address tech issues​es and write tech how-to's in a way that it can be followed by everyone.