Arbitrage is a term borrowed from economics, which refers to it as the practice of taking advantage of a state of two, or possibly more, markets. A person who engages in arbitrage is called an arbitrageur.
Similarly, arbitrage in betting involves taking advantage of an imbalance of fixed odds offered by online sportsbook in order to make a guaranteed, but usually small, profit. It is often referred to risk-free betting, and in theory it is; but in practice, that statement is often far from the truth. There are many sites offering arbitrage services and alerts when an arbitrage opportunity is created, but there are many factors weighing against the usefulness of these services.
Taking advantage of these arbitrage opportunities involves betting on all possible outcomes of a match or situation. While this sounds ludicrous on the surface, what was neglected to mention was that the bets are made at different bookmakers; if a book spread over multiple bookmakers totals less than 100%, an arbitrage opportunity is created and can be calculated via a number of calculators, some of which are located online. By betting on all three outcomes, a profit – albeit small, depending on the stake – can almost be guaranteed. Almost, because you need to make all the bets at the given or better quotes, or the arbitrage situation may collapse.
The first and foremost factor weight against arbitrage betting is that the quote given by an online betting site is not necessarily the live quote, but more of an indication. It may be possible that on the surface an arbitrage situation may exist, but when connected to the dealer and given a live quote, matters could be quite the opposite. If you have already placed the bet at another site and the arbitrage situation does not exist any more, you may have blown your dough unless the bet to which you are committed wins. Otherwise, you may be able to settle for a small loss at the site that gave two different quotes as they are still likely to be similar.
One site that displays arbitrage opportunities is BetBrain. It would take the most dedicated of arbitrage watchers to shop around for odds at every online betting shop known, and to have an account already there in preparation to bet.
BetBrain simplifies the first process by allowing you to view instantly arbitrage opportunities through its software, but it is your prerogative to have an account at each of the online betting sites. There are some services that claim to do all the dirty work for you, but it’s likely that you will end up spending more money on the service than you will earning from the arbitrage profits.
Arbitrage betting isn’t as risk free as you would first think. Never the less it’s a good strategy, but it shouldn’t be your only one. If you are going to engage in Arbitrage betting you should shop around for odds by signing up with different sites. Gamebookers.com is great for arbitrage betting because it has an excellent P2P (player to player) feature where you can get slightly better than normal odds.