Arbitrage betting, also referred to as 'Arbing' or 'Surebets', can be extremely profitable as there are numerous profitable arbitrage betting opportunities which arise throughout each day.
The question is, where do you find them?
Arbitrage betting is when you place a bet on all possible outcomes so that you return a profit no matter which outcome occurs. This is only possible when the odds with a bookmaker and/or exchange are favourable and these opportunities usually aren't around for long.
How to find arbs
It is possible to find arbs manually although given the number of sports, events and individual markets for those events, this can be extremely time consuming and so it's highly recommended that you use readily available software to find profitable arbs. There are a two main options when it comes to arbing software:
1. An Odds Matcher (Generally available via matched betting sites)
2. Specialist arbitrage software
Odds Matchers compare the odds at bookmakers to those on various betting exchanges. They are then ranked based on those with the highest value. Odds matchers are usually used for matched betting and so some may have a filter on them to exclude arbs as arbing is generally not recommended when matched betting. However, with most odds matchers, you can turn this filter off to search for arbing opportunities.
One of our favourite odds matchers which is available is that provided by MatchedBets.com. Their odds matcher is extremely fast and auto-updates. As arbs are usually not around for very long, having an odds matcher which updates when the odds change at the bookmaker or exchange is very handy.
The image below shows some available arbs found using the odds matcher.
As we can see, there are many matches where the back odds are greater than the lay odds which means we can lock in a profit by covering all outcomes.
Once we have found an arb, we need to calculate the ideal stakes to use so that we return a profit regardless of the outcome. To to this, we can use a matched betting calculator or arbitrage calculator. As we are using the MatchedBets.com odds matcher, we will use their calculatorin this example.
Using a stake of just £6.10 for our bookmaker bet, we're able to lock in a profit of £2.57 whether our horse wins or loses.
We have just a stake of £6.10 and this means our lay stake is £9.13 on the betting exchange. We don't want to exceed a lay stake of £9.20 as that is how much is available at the current odds on Betfair as shown in the odds matcher and calculator. If we placed a higher lay stake, we may not get our bet matched.
As well as being aware of the liquidity in the exchange markets, another thing to look out for are arbs where there is a very large difference between the back and lay odds. These can seem like very profitable opportunities but it is possible that the bookmaker has listed incorrect odds and will most likely void all bets if this is the case. If they do so and your lay bet loses, you could be left out of pocket. A good way to spot whether a bookmaker has listed incorrect odds is to check the odds on various other bookmaker websites. If other bookmakers are offering odds much lower, then it's likely an error and you should avoid placing bets on it.
One more thing to take into consideration are exchange fees. You may be used to entering the exchange commission into the calculator for your lay bets but if you find an arb between two exchanges, you will need to factor in commission for your back bet also. A matched betting calculator will be able to handle this and you just have to remember to enter in the exchange commission percentage for both your back an lay bets.
An alternative to using an odds matcher at a matched betting site is to use dedicated arbitrage software. The advantage of using arbing software is that they're more likely to find more profitable arbs on a range of markets for sports around the world.
There are many different software providers available, some of which we have reviewed. Below is a selection of what we consider the best arbitrage software available.
1. RebelBetting - RebelBetting is a piece of software which compares the odds of tens of thousands of markets from around 80 bookmakers to find arbitrage betting opportunities. You'll find arbitrage opportunities between bookmakers and exchanges and bookmaker to bookmaker. When testing RebelBetting, we found the number of arbs and the value of those arbs to be excellent.
2. BetSlayer - BetSlayer may only be a few years old but it is one of the most popular arbitrage software products. The software finds a huge number of arbs from which you're able to lock in a profit by covering all outcomes. Take a look at our BetSlayer review for more information.
3. BetBurger - Founded in 2014, BetBurger has more than 75,000 members. The software searches for profitable arbs for both pre-match and live events giving customers a lot of options. Betburger also provides 'Value Bets' which are bets they believe have been overpriced by the bookies.
Should you use an Odds Matcher or dedicated Arbitrage Software?
The better option in terms of finding more profitable arbs is to use dedicated software. However, it comes at a price which is usually several times more than a subscription to a matched betting site. We recommend getting to grips with arbitrage betting using an odds matcher and if you eel comfortable doing it and once you have gained some experience, consider taking the next step to increasing your profits through arbing by trying one of the arbing software services we have listed above.