Arbitrage betting is a little used form of sports betting that allows gamblers to hedge their wagers by placing two bets on the same game. With arbitrage betting, you are finding odds that favor you no matter which team wins the game. Here’s a closer look at this type of sports bet and a consideration of how you can exploit it.
How Arbitrage Betting Works
With arbitrage betting, you look for lines on the same game that allow you to bet on both teams so that no matter who wins, you make a profit. It sounds odd, but it is possible. In order to do this, you need to research the odds offered by numerous online sportsbooks. Start as early as you can, because you may benefit from taking a line on one team when the odds are first posted, and a day later getting a good line on the other team at a different online sportsbook.
Let’s say you’re interested in wagering on the matchup between the Boston Bruins and the Philadelphia Flyers. You find a line on one site that looks like this:
You take the Bruins at +120, which means if you bet $100 and they win, you’ll make $120. On another site, you find this line:
You now take Philadelphia at +115. Which means if you bet $100 on the Flyers and they win, you make an extra $115. If the Bruins win, you clear a profit of $20 and if the Flyers win, you profit by $15.
Why does this occur? Sometimes early lines are inaccurate, especially in under-bet sports such as hockey. Also, at times various books can have a different take on a game. Both of these opportunities offer smart sports bettors the chance to make some easy cash.
How to Find Lines
As noted, it is important to look at lines early on and to constantly monitor them from various sites. The NHL is often a good place to find arbitrage wagering opportunities, as handicappers pay less attention to the league than they do to the NFL and the NBA, on which a majority of the sports bets are placed. Also, MLB is a good place, especially games that feature two teams that are having meaningless seasons. Very few bettors will place money on such a game, and that means that handicappers won’t spend a lot of time in making the line. For you, it’s a golden opportunity.
There is also another method, although it is more difficult. Instead of the looking at just the money line, check out the puck line for hockey and the run line for baseball and compare them to the money line. The odds almost reverse themselves once the additional 1.5 goals or runs are introduced to the game on these sport specific lines.
For example, you’ll find that hockey Team A is the underdog and has value when listed in the money line, but that Team B, at -1.5, is a solid bet with the puck line. In betting these two, you’d wager on the team in the money line that is listed as the non-favorite (Team A), getting odds that may look something like +135. When the 1.5 goal spread is introduced, you may find that Team B is now at +125, as they have to make up two goals. Therefore, you’d bet on them.
In order to win this type of arbitrage setup, either Team A will have to win outright or Team B will have to beat the puck line. That makes this scenario less attractive than the arbitrage scenario involving different money lines. You can still lose both bets if Team B wins by less than two goals. Thus, you need to have some insight on Team A’s goalie and Team B’s offense to make this bet.
Make Smart Bets
It’s not easy to find arbitrage betting scenarios that will always work in your favor. This technique works especially well for games that are seen as being close, as these are the contests where the lines will change just enough so that you can eke out a profit. Pay attention to the lines when they are first posted and monitor them on a daily basis. If you find a disparity on two sites at any time, go for it and wager both teams.