What is arbitrage betting and how to calculate it

The world of sports betting is vast and diverse, offering punters numerous strategies to maximize their profits. One such strategy, often considered a “risk-free” method, is arbitrage betting. For African punters looking to delve into this technique, understanding its fundamentals is crucial. This article will introduce you to the concept of arbitrage betting and guide you on how to calculate it.

What is Arbitrage Betting?

Arbitrage betting, often referred to as “arbing” or “sure betting”, is a betting strategy where you place bets on all possible outcomes of an event at odds that guarantee a profit, regardless of the result. This opportunity arises due to discrepancies in odds set by different bookmakers.

Example: Imagine a tennis match between Player A and Player B. Bookmaker X offers odds of 1.90 for Player A to win and Bookmaker Y offers odds of 2.10 for Player B to win. By strategically placing bets on both players across the two bookmakers, you can ensure a profit no matter who wins.

How Does Arbitrage Betting Work?

The principle behind arbitrage betting is simple: exploit the difference in odds across bookmakers. Bookmakers set their odds based on various factors, including their own assessments, market trends, and sometimes errors. These differences, although often small, can be leveraged to guarantee a profit.

How to Calculate Arbitrage Betting

To successfully engage in arbitrage betting, you need to determine:

  • The appropriate amount to stake on each outcome.
  • The potential profit or return from each bet.

The Formula:

  1. Identifying an Arbitrage Opportunity:
    • Calculate the implied probability for each outcome using the formula: Implied Probability=1 / Odds
  2. Determining if an Arbitrage Opportunity Exists:
    • Sum the implied probabilities. If the total is less than 1, there’s an arbitrage opportunity.
  3. Calculating the Stake:
    • Use the formula: Stake on Outcome=Total Stake×Individual Odds /Sum of the Odds

Example Continued: Using the tennis match example, let’s calculate the arbitrage opportunity:

  • Implied Probability for Player A at 1.90 odds: 1 / 1.90=0.5263
  • Implied Probability for Player B at 2.10 odds: 1 / 2.10=0.4762

The total implied probability is 1.0025. Since this is slightly above 1, the margins are very tight, but with larger discrepancies, clear arbitrage opportunities can arise.

Risks and Considerations

While arbitrage betting sounds appealing, it’s essential to be aware of potential pitfalls:

  • Bookmaker Limitations: Some bookmakers might limit or close accounts that consistently engage in arbitrage betting.
  • Stake Limits: There might be limits on the amount you can stake, which could affect the profitability of the arb.
  • Timing: Odds can change rapidly. If you place a bet with one bookmaker and the odds change at the second, you might end up in a non-arbitrage situation.
  • Errors: Always double-check calculations and ensure you’re placing the correct amounts.

Arbitrage Betting in the African Context

For African punters, the growing number of online bookmakers provides ample opportunities for arbitrage betting. With platforms like Betway, 1xBet, and bet365 offering competitive odds, the African market is ripe for arbing. However, always consider factors like transaction fees, especially when using mobile money platforms, as they can eat into your profits.

While it requires effort, research, and quick decision-making, the rewards can be substantial. For African punters willing to delve deep into the numbers and constantly scout for opportunities, arbitrage betting can be a lucrative venture.