What Is Arbitrage Betting? – How Does Arbitrage Work in Sports Betting?

Arbitrage betting is an interesting approach to sports betting, but it takes some careful consideration and research in getting it right. We’ve put time and effort into placing a number of our own arbitrage bets to bring you pivotal information on how to manage a strategy like this yourself.

Arb betting requires a certain level of commitment to research and planning, both of which can amount to steady returns on investments with your sports bets. There are a few key factors to understand in the process of arbitrage betting, though, including using an arbitrage betting calculator, which makes this form of betting even easier.

What is Arbitrage Betting?

The idea of arbitrage betting may seem a little complex to new betting fans at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’s not all that difficult to execute. The overall idea of arbitrage betting is to bet on every outcome of an event (or market) to ensure a profit or return on investment. To do this, the bettor needs to use two or more sportsbooks where they will place the original bet on one result with Sportsbook A and the opposite result with Sportsbook B.

arbitrage betting betonline nfl

With the North American sports betting market set to hit $54,336.49m by 2030, finding multiple sportsbooks with good odds may not be as daunting as one might think. The profits when using an arbitrage sports betting strategy are not always going to be high, but when the strategy is used correctly, your profits quickly start to compound.

Examples of Arbitrage Betting in Sport

To make things a little bit easier for you, let’s take a look at a few examples of how arbitrage betting works in the real world.

In this example, we wagered $500 in total on 2 different outcomes for a match between the two following tennis picks, Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz. As you can see, there are slight differences between the two sportsbooks with their odds. Using an arbitrage betting calculator to calculate arbitrage can help you create these bets without having to run the numbers yourself, but more on those shortly. For now, this is what an example of an arbitrage bet looks like.

Wager Djokovic Alcaraz Potential Payout
Sportsbook A $107.67 -500 370 $506.05
Sportsbook B $392.33 -345 300 $506.05

How Does Arbitrage Betting Work?

To understand how this betting term ‘arbitrage betting’ works, you need to understand what an over-round is. If betting were completely fair, then the probability of a match would total 100% (e.g., outcome A: 70% and outcome B: 30% chance.) However, sportsbooks need to ensure they make a profit, regardless of the outcome of an event, so the total probability of a match will be greater than 100%.

So, the goal of arbitrage betting is to try and find implied probabilities on an event that will be less than 100%. By finding this discrepancy between two sportsbooks, you can ensure a profit. With that said, working this out yourself can be a bit taxing, which is why punters opt to use a betting arbitrage calculator. These calculators can help you determine what the implied probabilities are and whether or not an arbitrage bet is viable with the odds you have entered.

Calculate A Profit From Sports Arbitrage Betting

When you try to execute a sports betting arbitrage strategy, it’s always a good idea to use a calculator to help you figure out exactly what your payout will be. These calculators are easy to use, and you can find plenty of free ones to use.

arbitrage betting calculator arbitrage calc
Source: arbitragecalc.com

All you have to do is enter the odds of the event you want to bet on for Bookmaker A, the odds for Bookmaker B, and then the total stake you are going to use for both bets. The calculator will then show you exactly what your total payout will be, your return on investment, and your total profit.

Benefits and Types of Arbitrage Betting?

When done correctly, arbitrage betting is essentially risk-free betting. On top of that, and while they may not always be massive, you are receiving consistent returns on your investments. And, of course, arbitrage betting removes the stress of relying on the results of the events you bet on, as you already have every angle covered.

There are a few types of arb betting that include simple arbing, where you simply bet on a single event with two different sportsbooks. Then there is cross-market arbing where you are betting on specific markets with two different sportsbooks. Then you have your same-time arbitrage betting, where you bet on an event with odds offered by two different sportsbooks at the same time. Finally, you can exploit moving odds to secure a profit off your bets with price movement arbitrage betting.

Is Sports Betting Arbitrage A Good Strategy?

An arbitrage wagering strategy can be an immensely good betting option, especially as it works on most sports, from soccer odds to politics betting. But, there are risks and a couple of cons involved with it, too. Let’s take a look at a few pros and cons of a betting strategy like this.


  • Ensures a profit
  • Removes the stress of waiting on results
  • Compounds your wins over time
  • Works on all sports


  • Big bankroll required to use the strategy
  • Cash is often tied up to keep your bets rolling, i.e., lack of liquidity
  • Some sportsbooks are averse to the strategy and may ban you from the site

Is Arbitrage In Sports Betting Risky?

Arbitrage in sports betting is a solid betting strategy but like any strategy, it does come with its own set of risks. For example, your bets can be quite time-sensitive as the odds can shift and change at a moment’s notice. This may result in you missing out on an opportunity or overextending yourself and what ultimately becomes an event that falls outside of your arb betting criteria.

Another thing to be wary of is the rules of different sportsbooks. For example, if a match you were using for your arbitrage betting strategy was postponed, sportsbooks may have different rules in terms of returning your stake or settling your bet. This can leave you to the whims of the sportsbook, and it may, in turn, upset the balance of your arb bet.

Arbitrage Betting vs. Hedging and Trading

Arbitrage betting, hedging, and trading are all approaches to ensuring a profit. Arbitrage bettors take advantage of sportsbooks offering different odds before an event starts. By placing bets on all possible outcomes, sports bettors can ensure a guaranteed profit, regardless of the final result – remember, an arbitrage betting calculator can make life easy!

Hedging, on the other hand, occurs during or after an event and involves placing multiple bets to manage risk or secure a guaranteed return. For example, a bettor might place a second bet against an initial one to limit potential losses or guarantee a profit as circumstances change.

Trading focuses on dynamic decision-making during the event, with bettors strategically buying and selling bets based on changing odds. This often occurs on betting exchanges, where real-time odds movements present opportunities to lock in profits and cash out.

The main differences among these strategies revolve around timing and the number of bets placed. Arbitrage betting is executed before the event, where hedging is placed during or after, and trading is done exclusively during an event.

Best Sports For Arbitrage Betting

There are plenty of sports that are suited to arbitrage betting. You can pick and choose sports that you prefer but they do need to give you the option for betting on opposing outcomes. For example, betting on the NFL at a top NFL betting site is viable because you can bet on one team to win with Sportsbook A and the other team to win with Sportsbook B.

To ensure you cover your bases, you would need to place a bet on a draw as well with a third sportsbook. An arb calculator here makes your life much easier.

The point is there are a number of sports you can bet on with an arbitrage betting strategy. Sports like tennis are easier, with only two outcomes, and some sports are slightly more complex with three. Remember, you can also bet on specific markets like BTTS that only have two outcomes as well.

Arbitrage Betting Everygame NFL Lines

Tips For Finding Arbitrage Opportunities In Sports

I wanted to come up with a couple of tips that you can use to help you cement your betting arbitrage strategy. The key here is always preparation, but there are a few other things to consider as well, like looking out for odds boosts to get the biggest price.

Start Smaller

Usually, you will need to increase the size of your bets to see any kind of decent returns with your arbitrage betting, but to get the hang of the approach as a whale, try to start small to get a feel for how it works.

Manage your Bankroll

When it’s time to ramp up to bigger bets, make sure that you manage your bankroll. While arb betting ensures a profit, things can go wrong, so you need to account for what you are realistically able to lose on your bets. Play within your means. Most of the best offshore sportsbooks offer gambling controls to help you keep an eye on your wagering.

Look out for Less Popular Sports and Markets

You won’t be the only one who is taking on arb betting as a strategy. As a result, the more popular sports and markets can be difficult to find arb value in as they have been carefully monitored. As such, it’s a good idea to look for value in niche sports and markets, while live sports betting can throw up opportunities.

Keep Monthly Records

It’s a great idea to keep track of your arbitrage bets throughout a month-long period. This way, you can keep tabs on the amounts of money being staked and rolling profits for the month – and perhaps where you made mistakes that you can rectify the following month.

Find Reliable Tipsters

You can find tipsters and sports betting enthusiasts through social media pages on Twitter or even on sites like Reddit as well. You can have a look at the responses to these Reddit sportsbooks pages to see how reliable they have been. These outlets can alert you to possible arb betting opportunities that you may not have otherwise found yourself. You may find an account that becomes your main arbitrage betting finder.

You can also learn more about sports betting with our Sportsbooks Knowledge Base, covering handicap betting, underdog betting and more, while free NFL picks are also available.

Sports Arbitrage Betting FAQs

Is arbitrage betting legal?

What is an example of arbitrage gambling?

How can you spot an arbitrage bet?

What does ARB mean in sports betting?

Can I use betting bonuses for arbitrage betting?



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