You'll no-doubt come across profitable arbing opportunities when matched betting and have probably heard that they should be avoided at all costs when matched betting. In this article we'll be taking a look at what arbs are and whether there are any times when it can be ok to take advantage of them.
What are arbs?
Arbing, also known as arbitrage betting, is when you bet on all outcomes on an event which stakes which will guarantee a profit regardless of the result. Sound familiar? Yes, matched betting is similar to arbing except that no free bets are required as you are able to simply lock in a profit due to favourable odds across more than one bookmaker and/or betting exchange.
You may find arbs from which you can profit from by covering all outcomes at different bookmakers but the most common arb you will come across is between a bookmaker and an exchange. This is when the back odds at the bookmaker are higher than the lay odds on the exchange.
For example, a quick search using the odds matcher below brings up a very profitable arb in the 5:25 at Salisbury for the horse 'Jean Valjean'.
The back odds for the horse at 10Bet are 13.0 and the lay odds at Betfair Exchange are just 7.2.
Let's take a look at how much profit we could make from this arb by inputting these odds into a matched betting calculator.
As shown above, using just a £10 stake at the bookmaker and by placing a lay bet of £18.18, we're able to lock in a profit of £7.27. We could also increase these stake to £100 to lock in a profit of £72.70!
There are usually dozens of arbs available at any one time which make them very tempting to take advantage of. After all, placing just 1-2 of these arbs per day could exceeded your usual matched betting profits.
Should you take advantage of arbs?
We've shown that arbs are easy to find and that it's possible to make a lot of profit from them.
So why shouldn't you?
Well, bookmakers aren't too keen on customers placing arbs as they lose money on them. They usually occur when bookmakers are too slow to update their odds and so are effectively offering odds greater than they should be. If a bookmaker becomes aware of you taking arbs on several occasions, it's likely that they'll ut restrictions on your account.
Another reason why you shouldn't arb is because sometimes, bookmakers post odds in error. These are usually easy to spot as the back odds will be a lot higher than the lay odds. It's not uncommon for there to be some difference between the back and lay odds but a big difference (such as the example above) should be a warning that the bookmaker has posted incorrect odds. When bookmakers do this, they usually have it in their terms that they are entitled to void bets. If your back bet is voided and your selection wins, you could end up with a loss as your lay bet with the exchange will lose. Therefore, if you do decide to take advantage of an arb here or there, stick to the lower-value ones.
So, should you ever take advantage of an arb?
We don't recommend placing arbs with bookmaker accounts which have value. These are accounts from which you are able to profit from in other ways such as free bets and other promotions. However, you may have accounts at bookmakers which very rarely offer you any promotions or accounts which have been gubbed and so you are ineligible to receive any promotions. These accounts may be considered worthless to you and so you wouldn't mind too much if you get stake restricted for placing arbs. It is with these accounts from which you may consider arbing and making profit from while you can.
Best Place to find arbs
As mentioned, you can either find arbs using a dedicating arbing service such as RebelBetting or BetSlayer which are both excellent, or you can simply use an odds matcher at a matched betting site. The latter is the cheaper option and we recommend Profit Squad who's odds matcher software updates in real-time allowing you to find arbing opportunities quicker. Arbs are usually not around for very long and so finding them fast is essential.
If you'd like to try Profit Squad, you can sign up for 14 days for £1 or if you enter the promo code 'MBSITES' when registering, you will get 1 months access for just £4.99.