Understanding Arbitrage Betting and Its Potential Benefits

What if we told you that you could guarantee yourself to win at sports betting? It wouldn't be much, but guaranteed to win. That's arbitrage betting.
Understanding Arbitrage Betting and Its Potential Benefits

Arbitrage betting, often termed “arb betting” or “arbing,” is a strategy employed in sports betting that guarantees a profit regardless of the outcome of an event.

That’s right. You can’t lose!

It’s a fascinating concept that hinges on the differences in odds offered by different bookmakers.

While this might sound too good to be true, it’s not. It absolutely works, but they’re hard to find.

What is arbitrage sports betting?

Arbitrage sports betting is a betting technique where you place multiple bets on all possible outcomes of an event at odds that guarantee a profit no matter the result.

This is possible due to the variance in odds offered by different sportsbooks.

It’s akin to a financial trader looking for price discrepancies in markets – a practice grounded in precision and strategy.

These days, the odds between the various sportsbooks — BetMGM, DraftKings, FanDuel, etc. — are often too close to each other to cover, but you can still find gems out there.

How arbitrage betting works.

The essence of arbitrage betting lies in finding “arbs,” situations where the combined odds offered by different bookies lead to a guaranteed profit.

For example, one bookmaker might offer high odds for the Carolina Panthers to win, while another offers high odds for the Kansas City Chiefs. By calculating the right amount to wager on each outcome, you can ensure a profit.

Imagine a tennis match with two players. Caesars offers odds of 2.10 for Novak Djokovic to win, while DraftKings offers odds of 2.10 for Jannik Sinner.

By placing $100 on each player at these odds, you spend $200 but are guaranteed to win $210, netting a $10 profit regardless of who wins.

While this seems simple, and it is, there is some work that goes into it. 

The benefits of arbitrage betting.

Think you’re ready to get into arbing? There is plenty to be excited about when it comes to using this strategy—

  • Risk mitigation. The primary allure of arbitrage betting is its low-risk profile. Unlike traditional betting, where your money is staked on one outcome, arbitrage betting covers all possibilities. Place the bets and wait for your guaranteed win.
  • Steady profit. Though individual profits from an arb are typically small, they add up over time, leading to steady income streams for disciplined bettors. If you can find these gems regularly, you will have yourself a money machine.
  • Skill development. Engaging in arbitrage betting hones analytical and numerical skills, as it requires quick calculations and decision-making.

Why isn’t everyone placing arbitrage bets? Well, they’re tough to find. They have minimal downside, but the wins aren’t typically lucrative.

Strategies for effective arbitrage betting.

As we said, finding the right games ripe for arbing can be challenging. So here are a few tips to help you get on your feet—

  • Utilize technology. Use software and tools designed for arbitrage betting. These can quickly identify profitable opportunities and calculate the optimal stakes.
  • Maintain multiple accounts. To take full advantage of differing odds, hold accounts with various bookmakers. While you’re at it, get their promotions and bonuses as well.
  • Stay informed. Keeping abreast of sports news and events can give you an edge, as sudden changes often lead to arbitrage opportunities.
  • Money management. Effective bankroll management is crucial. Spread your funds across various bets to minimize risk.

Arbitrage isn’t necessarily difficult once you have the hang of it. Use these tips, and you’ll become a pro-arbitrage bettor.

Challenges and considerations.

While arbitrage betting offers many benefits, it also comes with challenges.

When you’re winning like a boss, you’ll draw attention to yourself. Bookmakers may limit or close accounts of successful arbitrage bettors. We’ve seen first hand FanDuel shut down an account that was suspected of arbing — which they were.

Think about it. The sportsbooks are in this game for a profit, and when you’re arbitrage betting, they can’t make a profit. While arbitrage is perfectly legal wherever sports betting is legal, that doesn’t mean sportsbooks don’t frown upon it.

On top of that, arbing requires a significant time investment and initial capital. The profits from this style of betting are slim, so having a lot of money to put on the table will help you get going. After all, you have to make multiple bets, some of which are guaranteed to lose, in order for your win to happen.

One last thing to note on the challenges is how fast odds can change. You might head to BetMGM to place a bet and return to DraftKings to counter it, and the odds change. Now, arbitrage no longer works in this scenario. When this happens, you just better hope that the first bet pays.

Think Arbitrage Betting is for You?

Arbitrage betting stands out as an intriguing approach in the sports betting industry. By exploiting differences in bookmaker odds, it offers a low-risk strategy to gain consistent profits. 

However, like any betting strategy, it requires diligence, patience, and a willingness to learn and adapt.

Could you become an arbie full-time? Sure, but don’t expect it to happen overnight. Growing a bankroll that is big enough to generate profits to sustain your lifestyle takes a while. 

For now, we recommend you keep an eye out for potential arbitration opportunities and see if you can make some side-bucks on them.


Matt Brown

Head of Sports Betting and DFS

Matt’s love for sports betting and daily fantasy sports, coupled with a deep understanding of football, hockey, and baseball, shapes his innovative thoughts on Hello Rookie. He has a B.S. in Aeronautical Computer Science and a M.S. in Project Management.