The words sports arbitrage, arbs, sure bets are synonymous and mean the sure bet. In this game mode, the player bets on all possible outcomes of a match and manages to incur a profit irrespective of the outcome of the game.
This way of betting has emerged due to the differentiation of yields among the bookies. Therefore, to place such a bet, the player must have an account with at least 3-4 bookies. Of course, in as many bookies you are registered, you increase the chances of finding sure bets with greater efficiency. There are two types arbs: The normal bet where every possible outcome of a match is offered by all the companies and the Back / Lay bets offered by bureau.
The slightest variation in odds, can determine if there is a sure bet or not. The profit rate varies but is usually between 1% -5%, but there are cases where it may be much larger. Most sure bets usually exist in tennis, but occasionally opportunities are found in other sports too. A real example is below:
Match: Igor Andreev vs Richard Gasquet
Time: 6-Jan-08 9:53 pm
Total Stake: 1000 €
Bookemakers: Pinnacle & Ladbrokes
Stake: 472 €
Winnings: 1585.92 €
Stake: 528 €
Winnings: 1584.00 €
Profit: 584.90 €
Once we explained this behavior, some legitimate questions arise. The most important of them is: Why bookies do not control their performance and what they gain from all this?
The answer is simple: With the sure bets bookies aim at increasing “popularity” in order to gain more customers. Although most of the times they control their odds by setting them on the average of the market, sometimes this is not achieved and results in creating opportunities for players. The second reason is that with this type of strategy, we bet on the same event at three different bookies. That means that one of them pays its customer, while the other two are getting paid by him.
Some helpful tips for those interested to get involved:
- We open accounts in as many bookies so we can find more sure bets
- In the beginning at least invest smaller amounts, as it takes some time to get familiar with this game mode
- When we place a sure bet, win on one company and we lose two more. If we observe that we gain the same bookie several times, it is good to stop playing this for a while, so we do not make them suspicious and they lower the betting limits of our account.