You may have heard the term ‘arbing’ before while chatting about betting. In this article, we’re going to explain how arbing is a fantastic way to build your bank, with very little risk. Arbitrage betting is basically when you place a bet on all outcomes of sport, therefore locking in a profit regardless of the result.
Arbing takes a lot of planning and organisation, but other than that it requires no skill or edge, unlike most other betting systems. This is why arbing is viewed as one of the best ways to build your betting bank.
What Is Arbitrage Betting?
Arbitrage Betting, or ‘arbing,’ as it is usually called involves placing multiples bets across all outcomes of an event to lock in a profit. You need the odds in your favour to do this, however, there are usually plenty of arbing opportunities between the bookmakers and exchanges.
Arbing can work two ways, the first one is when Betfair, or other exchanges, have a price which is lower than the bookmakers are offering. So for example:
You back a horse at 6.0 with a bookmaker and lay 5.5 on Betfair. You will lock in a profit regardless of the result when the exchange price is lower to lay.
The other example is when you have a two-runner market (IE. Tennis, cricket (Limited Overs) or American Football) and two bookmakers have very different prices meaning you could back both and win. For example, one bookmaker could be 2.0 on Team A and another could be 2.2 on Team B. Backing both would lock in a profit.
A quick way to pick up spotting an arb is looking at the bookmakers over-round. An over-round is basically the percentage that they are betting to. A perfect over-round, as you will see on Betfair, is always as close as possible to 100%. But most bookmakers will bet to around 120%, maybe even 140% – that’s 20% to 40% of the book going straight in their pocket! To Arb, you will see an over-round of under 100% between two or more bookmakers.
There are plenty of online calculators that are free to use to get your stakes correct to lock in profit.
Is Arbing Legal?
Yes, arbing is 100% legal! You have nothing to worry about from that point of view. What you should be worried about is your bookmaker accounts getting closed. Bookmakers hate arbing – mostly because they don’t like getting caught out over the exchange price.
If you are consistently backing big arbs between the bookmakers and the exchanges, it’s highly likely that the bookmaker will restrict or even close your account. A clever thing to do would be to space out big arbs with a couple of other bets you would like to place so that your account can last a little bit longer. Be warned though, bookmakers have zero tolerance for arbers!
Is Arbing The Same as Matched Betting?
Yes, just without the free bets. Matched Betting will focus a lot on getting free bets and locking in a profit that way. While arbing is more placing two bets off against each other and locking in a profit.
Most Matched Bettors could eventually be called arbers when their Free Bet offers run out. Arbing takes a little more work than Matched Betting with Free Bets, so it’s not for everyone.
What Events Can I Arb In?
Everything, really. It all just depends on the prices. Horse Racing is always a good sport for arbing as it’s likely that bookmakers will get their prices wrong at least a couple of times a day because there are so many races. If you’re quick you can get your bets on and then lay off on the exchanges.
Tennis, Cricket (Limited Overs) and American Football are all good sports for arbing too as there has to be a winner so there are only two outcomes. If a bookmaker takes a different view on the game, you could easily back 2.2 on both sides before the start of the game.
Because there are so many people trying to Arb, and also the fact that bookmakers don’t like arbers, arbs generally don’t last for too long at all. You have to be fast, know where to look for good arbs and also be very organised.
Understanding Betting Exchanges
To be a successful arber you have to be at least familiar with using Betting Exchanges. Betfair is by far the biggest and best exchange, but there are others too. Betdaq, Smarkets and Matchbook are all trying to increase their share of the market and you can get your business done across all these exchanges.
There will be more liquidity on Betfair, which is a huge benefit because when you’re arbing you want to lock in profit as quickly as possible. You don’t want to be waiting for ages to get your bets matched.
Remember while you’re backing with the bookmaker, you are laying on the exchanges. Essentially becoming a bookmaker yourself. This means that you will need a bit of extra cash in your exchange account to cover liabilities. For example, laying a 4/1 (5.0) shot for £200 will give you liability of £800. You might have put £200 on a 9/2 earlier, but you have to have the balance to lay off.
Even if you understand exchanges, don’t forget about the commission! You will have to factor commission in when calculating what stakes to use and to level up your profit. The commission you pay on exchanges will vary. It will range between 2% and 5%. Betfair are 5% and the likes of Betdaq and Smarkets are 2% – however, there is more liquidity on Betfair. The more you turn over the more your commission will decrease over time with Betfair; although it would take a huge amount to get it down to 2% on Betfair.
Is There Any Software That Can Help Me With Arbing?
Yes, there are loads of online tools out there that can help you. It’s just about finding the right one that suits you. Have a look around online and try to find the one that you like using the most – they are all mostly the same software and bet matching tool.
Matched Betting arbs can be found all the time because of the free bets creating a bigger edge. It’s a little bit more difficult to find outright arbs, especially as it’s something the bookmakers will change quickly. Using software will obviously cut down on the amount of time you have to spend, which is a huge bonus and the biggest reason for using the software.
What Do You Do When Arbing Goes Wrong?
Like everything with betting, there is always some risk. Arbing is no different. The risk is certainly far lower than outright betting, however, there is still a risk.
The biggest risk when arbing is you can’t lay off and you’re stuck with a bet. This is exactly what you don’t want. That’s why most arbers use Betfair over the other exchanges because there is more chance of getting your bets matched quickly.
There is always a risk that the odds go against you too. Because there are so many arbers fighting over the same arb, the odds can move quickly. If this happens to take a small loss and move on. It is hard to do but it has to be done.
This can happen quite easily. You back something at 4/1 (5.0) with the bookmakers and see it’s 4.7 to lay on Betfair, however, someone takes the price out the 5.0 just before you place your lay. You’re now forced to lay at 5.1 and therefore lock in a small loss. This is hard to accept mentality, however, remember it’s a million times better than just keeping your bet and hoping it wins! You do not want to do that. You will always have little setbacks like this, however, if you keep a clear head that’s all they will be – little setbacks.
What Betting Bank Do I Need For Arbing?
The answer to this question is easy – whatever you are prepared to lose. There is no set amount that will work for arbing or any other betting strategy. The amount you are willing to bet, and can afford to lose, is what your betting bank should be.
A betting bank is always a very personal thing, and if you go too high you could make mistakes. On the other hand, if you go too low you might not care and throw in some mug bets – and that’s a fast way to the poor house!
Also factor in that your betting bank has to suit the situation. You might be able to place £1,000 at 5.0 with the bookmaker but there is only £500 to lay on the exchanges – then there is no point placing the big bet with the bookmaker. Remember that the market has to be big enough for you to get matched; so you can’t let your bank increase so much that there isn’t enough liquidity for you.
Make A Big Effort To Keep Records When Arbing
Make Excel your best friend. Some days you could have a huge amount of arbs and you need to keep track of them. You need to list what and where you backed them, at what price and the return. Then balance that off with your lays in Betfair. You really need to keep track of everything because mistakes can happen very easily.
Top Tips To Profit When Arbing
Be Organised – Have a set plan and time set aside for looking for arbs. This might be evenings after work or just weekends, but box it off. You can have a nice little side income through arbing but you need to do a little bit of work. Being organised means you’ll make fewer mistakes, keep good records and won’t miss out on opportunities. That will make all the difference to your profit at the end of each month.
Try Placing Bets in Bookmaker Shops – As we have said above, bookmakers don’t like arbers. They will more than likely close down your account if they feel you are only backing arbs. Obviously, when you bet in shops, there is no real record and bar the shop manager knowing your face, you’re likely to get a decent bet on. Using exchanges on mobile is so easy these days, you can have a profit locked in before even leaving the bookmaker shop.
Try Appear As A Normal Punter – This is more important online, but it can be applied to shops too. The longer you appear to be a normal punter, the longer your account will stay open. We wouldn’t recommend throwing money away on mug bets or mad acca’s, but try and back a few short-priced favourites on the Premier League then lay them off on Betfair. There won’t be much difference in the prices on the big games and it’s only a small price worth paying when you are making good money off arbs.
Don’t Bet Too Big With Bookmakers – Try to fly under the radar when getting your bets on. It’s tempting to increase stakes because that increases profit, but the biggest your stakes are the more likely your account is to be flagged to a trader. The average punter isn’t going to have £400 on a low-grade handicap at Wolverhampton in the morning, but they might have £50. Always think what would the bookmaker like to see, and try and stay within those boundaries to keep your account open for longer.