Arbitrage How Does This Work Within Sports Betting

Arbitrage: How Does This Work Within Sports Betting?

There are many different options and strategies available for betting on sports matches. Some work, some don't. We regularly examine a potentially profitable betting strategy and assess whether it is wise to try it out. Today we are going to talk about arbitrage in the context of sports betting strategies. 

Arbitrage as a sports betting strategy means that you place bets in such a way that you are guaranteed to make a profit. Guaranteed to make a profit. It is something that is of course music to the ears of every avid sports fan.

Facts About Arbitrage BettingArbitrage betting is not for beginners! It is a complex strategy that requires careful calculations and quick execution.This strategy goes against the industry's practices, and many bookmakers frown upon it.Non GamStop bookmakers may include terms and conditions that discourage or prohibit this strategy

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Pure Arbitrage

Arbitration works as follows: You place bets with different non GamStop bookmakers on the same match. However, one bookmaker has designated player A as the favorite while the other bookmaker sees player B winning. This different view is essential for pure arbitration. After all, appointing a favorite has consequences for the odds of a match.

Let's take a tennis match between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal as a fictional example. Bookmaker ABC sees Djokovic as the favorite and assigns him odds of 1.5. According to this bookmaker, it is not likely that Nadal will win this match and odds of 2.5 are attributed to him.

Knowing this, you shop at other bookmakers. You are now looking for a bookmaker who has a completely different view on the outcome of this match. Then you arrive at bookmaker XYZ and are pleased to see that they think Nadal will win. He has odds of 1.75. According to this bookmaker, Djokovic has less chance and has odds of 2.25.

You now have the option to play arbitrage. At Bookmaker ABC you bet a tenner on a victory for Nadal and at XYZ you bet a tenner on a victory for Djokovic. You are one hundred percent sure that one of the two players will win the match because in a tennis match there is simply no draw possible.

So, you win either €22.50 if Djokovic wins, or €25 if Nadal wins. In both cases you win more than twice a tenner bet and you have therefore made a profit before the match is even played.

Legal StatusArbitrage betting is not illegal, but it is generally not welcomed by non GamStop bookmakersWhile there are no legal consequences for practicing arbitrage betting, it is important to understand the rules and regulations of your country.

The Essential Elements of Pure Arbitration

In this example we played with a stake of tens of euros, but in practice, in these types of cases, enormous amounts are of course played. A can't lose bet is of course worth gold.

To play a successful pure arbitrage you need two essential elements:

1) A match where there will be a winner

2) Odds of more than 100% on your stake

Pure arbitration only works if there is a winner at the end of the match. When a third result, an undecided one, is possible, we no longer speak of pure arbitrage. In addition, it is important that the odds on both players are more than one hundred percent of the value of your stake. Betting two times one euro, so two euros in total, at odds of 1.75 is by definition a loss.  

Arbitration, Is It Allowed?

Betting on sports with the certainty that you will win a bet because you are smarter than the bookmaker is not prohibited. It is just not appreciated at all by non GamStop bookmakers.

If a bookmaker discovers that you are placing your bets in this way, you are guaranteed to be limited on your bets. After all, bookmakers are commercial companies that aim to make a profit. They are not interested in players who make structural profits in the longer term.

So it's not illegal, but you won't make any friends with it. Moreover, it is quite time-consuming to play according to arbitration. After all, you have to compare a lot of bets from different bookmakers to arrive at a bet that qualifies for this way of playing.

Naturally, non GamStop bookmakers also do what is necessary to limit arbitrage opportunities. They compare their own odds with those of the competition and adjust predictions where necessary. In most cases, bookmakers try to keep matches between themselves where they see different favorites below a certain odds betting value so that playing arbitrage does not pay off.

Tennis is a sport that is very suitable for arbitration. This is because there are only two players involved and there is always a winner at the end of the match. In cycling, when betting on two or more cyclists for a certain race, according to a certain betting strategy, there is no longer any arbitrage because there are many other riders who can also qualify for victory.


Football is a sport that qualifies for arbitrage betting. However, this is not pure arbitration when it comes to normal competition matches or matches from the group stage of a tournament such as the Champions League or a European Championship or World Cup for national teams.

In these matches, in addition to a victory for one of the two teams, there is the possibility that both parties leave the field without a winner. This third option makes the arbitrage unclean. It also means that the non GamStop casinos is less concerned about placing a bet on both sides. After all, there is still a 33% chance that you will lose the bet.

Double Chance

What you actually do with this impure arbitrage is that you give yourself a double chance without it having a huge impact on your odds. With a double chance bet, your odds are significantly reduced by the bookmaker because your chance of winning increases exponentially.

By betting on both teams at equal odds, you essentially play the same game for higher profits.

As an example we choose a match between Ajax and PSV. Ajax has been given odds of 2.25 by Toto, a draw is quoted at 3.65 and a PSV win is worth 2.35. When you select the option for Double Chance Ajax or PSV in the Toto app, you may only be left with odds of 1.10. By playing through an unclean arbitration, your profit on the match increases if one of the two teams wins.

You do not necessarily have to play dirty arbitrage at different bookmakers. By betting on both teams with equal odds in matches, you can easily play this strategy with one bookmaker. That saves a lot of time and research.

Formula 1

A current example of unclean arbitrage is the current situation in Formula 1. There is a clear battle going on there between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton. The chances of winning for both drivers are estimated to be almost equal for each Grand Prix. Because there is serious competition, the odds are rated at well above 2.0. Here, a bet on both Hamilton and Verstappen is profitable because the bet on the losing driver is compensated in the winning driver's profit.

As the season progresses and the title battle remains exciting, it becomes more unlikely that the teams of Verstappen and Hamilton, namely Red Bull Racing and Mercedes, will let their second drivers Sergio Perez and Valtteri Bottas win. In some matches they will have to make way for their teammate who can use every point in the World Cup battle.

Then playing this strategy is very lucrative. In summary, playing pure arbitrage may not be the smartest strategy to use, but it is certainly not forbidden. Keep in mind that the bookmakers will take measures if you win too much.

By playing an unclean arbitrage you give the bookmaker another chance to win the bet, but you ensure yourself a greater chance of winning than you would have with a single bet and you increase your winnings compared to a double chance. This method is definitely worth playing around with.