beginners guide to sports betting

Sports betting has been around since the beginning of sports, and customers have always and will always look for an edge. Whether it is the way information is gathered, or the way that information is compared, customers are always looking to scrap and claw towards the best possible number for a particular wager. Not all practices are kosher or are treated the same by the sportsbook operators.

Although it's not a condoned sports betting strategy, arbitrage betting is something used in sports betting that customers can use to take advantage of the smallest of inefficiencies between sportsbook operators that comes with stark downside.

What Is Arbitrage Betting In Sports Betting?

Arbitrage in sports betting is a strategy where a customer takes advantage of differences in odds offered by different sportsbook operators to place wagers on all possible outcomes of an event in a way that guarantees a profit, regardless of the result.

By placing bets on both outcomes (win and lose) with the two different bookmakers, the customer can lock in a profit regardless of the outcome of the event.

Examples of Arbitrage Sports Betting

There are three common examples of arbitrage betting, with two being slightly more common than the final example. The most common and easiest way to apply this method is when different sportsbook operators offer different prices for the same game.

Two books are offering different prices on a game at the same time, so a customer can bet both to guarantee a profit or at least break-even. If the customer wagers $100 on the Mets money line at +110 against the Atlanta Braves at Caesars, they would profit $110 with a Mets win. If the same customer makes a wager on the Braves at -105 on DraftKings, their wager (Risk $105 to win $100) would guarantee either a break-even or $5 profit.

Result if Mets Win: Total risk $205, return if Mets win $210 (stake ($100 + win $110)), net result, $5 profit.

Result if Braves Win: Total risk $205, return if Braves win $205 (take ($105 + win $100)), net result, $0.

These arbitrage betting opportunities are more often available to customers wagering on when lines first are available and do not last long, as when the money comes in on an event the lines will change throughout the day.

Arbitrage Sports Betting Examples Continued

The second common arbitrage betting example has to do with something customers should always be doing in their daily routine for sports betting, which is line shopping.

A customer can shop around two or more sportsbook operators and find two books that have different prices on the same prop. This is way more likely to happen in the prop market for the four major sports as the main markets, such as totals, spreads and money lines are very similar across the major outlets.

For example, let's say the Los Angeles Lakers are sitting both LeBron James and Anthony Davis for the next game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. When the starting lineup is announced, a player who usually plays around 10 minutes a game is being forced into action for about 20-25 minutes per game, someone like Wenyen Gabriel. FanDuel lists Gabriel's over 6 rebounds at +115, while DraftKings lists Gabriel's under 6 rebounds at +110. A customer can wager $100 on both, and they are guaranteed either $10 or $15 in profit.

The last example of arbitrage betting is more of a line movement play. A customer must wager early and pay attention to live movement for a specific game, but they can secure a guaranteed profit if the timing and line movement moves in a customer's favor. The Los Angeles Dodgers open +110 and a customer places a wager of $100 on them. Next, a lot of dollars come in on the Dodgers and the line drastically moves to -115. Their opponent, the St. Lous Cardinals, wind up being +105 before the first pitch. The customer can now wager $100 on the Cardinals and guarantee either a $5 or $10 profit no matter who wins.

Arbitrage Betting Notes

To use arbitrage in sports betting as a successful strategy, a customer must be diligent in researching different bookmakers and their odds and must act quickly to take advantage of any discrepancies in the odds. It also requires a significant amount of capital to place multiple bets at the same time, and the ability to manage risk effectively. Customers should also be using as many sportsbooks as possible, as sportsbook operators can identify these betting trends and it is frowned upon in their eyes.

The main sportsbook operators provide nightly odds boosts, free bets and other offers that enhance the odds of a particular market. Finding out how to use these boosts and free plays to be an additive to the arbitrage betting method can make the run of successfully grabbing small profits last longer than expected.

Downside Of Arbitrage Sports Betting

It is impossible to only use arbitrage as a sports betting strategy and is not a standalone method. It's difficult to win any significant amount of money if by solely betting arbitrage opportunities because of the small profit margins. Even in the examples above, if things go right, customers are locking in profits of $5 or $10 depending on unit size. Which is another downside of arbitrage sports betting, is that it usually takes a significant amount of money to make any meaningful profits.

Additionally, sportsbook operators may become aware of arbitrage betting strategies and may limit or ban customers who engage in them, which can limit the potential for profits. Finally, sports betting arbitrage opportunities are relatively rare, and the profits may not be as large as other betting strategies.

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Looking for more free sports picks and sports betting tips?

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