How To Do Arbitrage Betting

There are a number of ways to gamble. Players can use different currencies to gamble, some opting for cryptocurrency gambling while others play with traditional currencies. Players can gamble on table games, card games, and sporting events, to name just a few. And players can make a number of different types of bets, including outright bets, over/under, or using the point spread.

There is a new type of gambling that has recently gained popularity in the gambling community called arbitrage betting, “arbing” for short. This form of gambling has been used to bet on sporting events. The genesis of the name “arbitrage betting," also called arbitrary betting, comes from the financial industry.

Historically, some financial trading offices would buy and sell commodities in different markets to take advantage of price differences. By buying a commodity for a low price in one market and selling the commodity for a higher price in another market, the financial company would earn a profit on the difference.

This article explains what arb betting is, how gamblers can arbitrage bet to make money (including by using sports arbitrage betting strategies), the potential downsides of arbing, the legality of arbing, and some tips and tricks to successfully implement arbing.

Arb Betting Basics

The basic premise behind placing arbitrage bets is simple. The point is for the player to collect his or her winnings based on margin after identifying arbitrage betting opportunities. The margin is the difference between the odds of winning a bet and losing the bet. Therefore, the player must execute two bets.

The first bet will be to place something called a “back bet.” A back bet is when the player places a bet on an outcome happening in the sports event. The player will place this bet with an online sportsbook or offline at a retail outlet.

The second bet will be to place something called a “lay bet.” A lay bet is when the player bets the opposite to the back bet, meaning that the player bets on an outcome not happening in the same sports event. A lay bet can be done on a sports betting exchange.

Of note, a player should remember that both bets must be placed on the same sporting event.

If a player correctly places his or her bets, the arbitrage strategy will guarantee a profit. An arbitrage profit is always guaranteed by the player’s back bet being at higher odds than the player’s lay bet. Thus, even if a gambler is not interested or does not have a background in sports, arb betting is still an option. The key is for the gambler to be able to sport the arbitrage opportunity, not know what is happening in sports. If done properly, an arb bet can guarantee a profit regardless of the odds offered. Although a guaranteed profit is ensured and there is almost no risk that the player will lose money, the profit may be very small.

Arb Betting in Action

Generally speaking arb betting is easy to comprehend. A player makes a back bet with an online sportsbook and a lay bet with a sports betting exchange. The player will then make a small profit from the difference. But how does this work in practice? For a bit more substance as to how arbitrage betting can be applied, SportsTypist have provided an example below.

Let us assume that you want to bet on a horse race in the United States. The horse named Bourbon is the 3.5 decimal odds favorite to win the race. That means that if you placed a $100 bet on Bourbon to win the race and Bourbon won, then you would win $350 total ($100 wager returned and $250 profit). On the sports betting exchange, the player can place a lay bet on Bourbon at 3.00 decimal odds. That means that if you placed a $100 bet on Bourbon to lose the race and Bourbon lost, then you would win $300 ($100 wager returned and $200 profit).

Players should note that there is normally a small commission associated with placing a lay bet. This commission is normally only 2% or so, but will need to be accounted for in the calculation.

Using the Bourbon horse race example, if Bourbon wins, then the player receives a $150 profit based on losing the $100 wager for the way bet, but making a $250 profit for Red Rum winning the race. And if Bourbon lost the race, then the player would receive a $100 profit based on losing the $100 wager for the back bet.

A critical component to calculating arb betting is to make sure that a gambler calculates the losing wager by subtracting the bet (either the back or lay part of the arb bet) from the player’s winnings. It is also important to remember that if the back bet is successful, the gambler must pay a commission cost. Other websites such as this one can provide further examples of how to make smaller profit bets by becoming one of the many successful arbitrage bettors.

Legality of Arb Betting

There are not currently any laws that prohibit arb betting. That means that there is no law to explicitly cite to if authorities wanted to prosecute a player using arb betting.

However, sportsbooks do not approve of arb betting. A big reason arb betting is frowned upon is because the gambling industry is based on the premise that “the house always wins.” But with arb betting, that is not true. Even if the gambler receives a small profit, the gambler is still technically always winning.

To the extent players consistently win on their wagers, the sportsbook and/or sports exchange betting website will begin to monitor the player’s activity. Players should realize that there are practical risks with arb betting. For starters, the sportsbook and/or sports exchange betting website can have their account(s) restricted by the websites. These restrictions can be as minor as limited maximum stakes per bet, or can be as extreme as having the account closed. The most serious consequence seen on forums is that some players have been blacklisted by sportsbooks. When a player is blacklisted, this means that they are prohibited from every gambling on the sportsbook website again. And without having access to a sportsbook, there is no way to place a lay bet – half of the formula for placing an arb bet.

Avoiding Detection

Taking a step back, and understanding that arb betting is not illegal, it is interesting to think that bookies do not approve of arb betting. Sportsbooks and sport betting exchanges are only in business because they understand probabilities and take advantage of those differences to make a profit and run a company. Why should gamblers not be allowed to utilize the same strategy?

Indeed, sportsbooks and their employees are extremely shrewd gamblers, and can quickly shut down arbitrage opportunities. But to the extent the arbitrage opportunity is not flagged by gambling operators, there are certain tips that gamblers can follow to try to avoid detection.

The number one tip for avoiding detection when arb betting is to bet on the most popular gambling sports – horse racing, football, an NBA game, a tennis match, and American football. These three sporting events attract the largest number of volume bets by far, and horse racing and football attract a global audience. This is in stark contrast to something like rugby or baseball, which is not as popular worldwide.

For example, football gambling is offered in so many different markets around the world. Because of this, it is harder to flag suspicious back bets and lay bets because there are so many bets being placed and in so many different markets. But there is a negative to applying this conservative arb bet strategy – the profit margin is much smaller. The reason the profit margin is smaller in this circumstance is because there are only two or three possible outcomes in many markets.

But with respect to horse racing arb bets, this might be the best opportunity for larger profit margins. Horse racing has the highest volume of betting activity, but also has multiple runners in each race. This results in a much wider variety of potential results. Price fluctuations between back bets and lay bets in different markets are very often as well. What this all means is that implementing an arb betting strategy for horse racing is not only possible, but also safer than arb betting on other sporting events. 

Helpful Hints for Beginning to Place Arb Bets

When first starting to place arb bets, gamblers should consider purchasing arbitrage betting software. There are many companies that offer cost-effective software to help gamblers spot arbitrage opportunities. Most of the arbitrage calculator software that is available reviews sportsbooks and sport betting exchanges on a continual basis to determine arbitrage opportunities. Gamblers should know that this arbitrage calculator software is legal and safe. Its sole purpose is to identify potential opportunities for gamblers to further review.

Another hint is to go old school and place your back bet at offline retail betting shops. Although these shops are obviously not as convenient as online sportsbooks, gamblers can receive a certain level of anonymity by using retail shops. And although gamblers cannot place their lay bets in a retail shop, placing the back bet in a retail shop will obviously make it much harder to track a gambler down as an arb better. If a gambler wants to implement this tip, then it is critical to keep a player’s retail account separate and apart from the player’s online sports betting exchange account. Linking these accounts makes it just as easy for bookmakers to identify an arb bet.

Another tip is to limit the amount of an arb bet. This hint is common sense – to the extent a gambler plays large arb bets to multiply the margin of profits, the more likely it is for the player to be flagged and blacklisted as an arb better. Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. To the extent an arb bet gambler is conservative and only places small bets, it will be harder to identify the strategy. And couple this approach with a popular football sporting event or highly anticipated horse race and it is nearly impossible to spot an arb bet.

With each bet, it is a prudent strategy to use different sportsbook companies and not use the same sportsbook and sport betting exchange on a repeated basis. Holding multiple accounts with different companies will make it difficult for one company to target you as an arb bet gambler.

Once an arb bet gambler gets good at placing arb bets, it may be time to take things one step further: deliberately lose some bets. Known as “mug bets,” these are small bets that the arb bet gambler can make to lose a portion of the profits. The mug bets should be discreet and subtle, but will be a way to have a loss on your record and help dispel any suspicions that you are arbing. Instead of a sage arb better, you will look like an inexperienced gambler that will confuse bookies when they start to analyze your profiles. 


Arb betting is an exciting new type of gambling strategy. Gamblers looking for a sure-fire way to always win money at each sporting event should take the time to learn about arb betting and invest in software to identify potential arbing opportunities. But arb betting is not all sunshine and roses. Not in the least. Sportsbooks and gambling sites are always on the lookout for arbing and are fast to penalize or blacklist gamblers who implement arb bet gambling. Also, be sure to make the right choice on where you play. Check out TOP5 sportsbooks before you start.

In response to this witch hunt, arb betters can implement a number of helpful strategies and tips to avoid detection. By choosing the correct sport (preferably football and horse racing), using multiple accounts with different companies (some of which should be offline), not getting too greedy with the amount of money placed on an individual arb bet, and placing mug bets, a gambler can successfully implement arbing over the long haul and see a small, steady rate of return on their sports gambling books.