What are Surebets or Arbitrage Bets in sports betting?

An arbitrage bet, also called surebet, miraclebet, or sport arbitrage, arises when bookmakers disagree on outcome of a sport event. By placing one bet per each outcome with different betting companies, the bettor can make a profit regardless of the outcome.

Arbing, or arbitrage betting, is a betting procedure which allows bettor to place one bet per each outcome with different bookmakers in a way that guarantees a profit. A bettor who takes advantage of arbing is often referred to as arber.

An arb arises when there is a difference between odds that allow a profit to be made by covering all outcomes with different bookmakers. An arb can arise when there are two outcomes (like in tennis match), but also when there are multiple outcomes (like in soccer). Surebet opportunities arise when bookmakers disagree on odds, or when they make a mistake when determining the odds.

Why do surebets arise?

The bookmakers set out different odds. Competitors then push the odds up to set them out as high as possible. So, after some time the odds are so overpriced which leads to surebet opportunity.

Surebet example

Here is the real life example from Betlamma website of arb that existed at one moment:

Surebet example

This is an example from soccer match between Helsinki and Tps. The odds for Total Goals 0-3 are 2.1 with Soccerbet and the odds for Total Goals 4+ outcome are 2.15 with Betsafe. Those outcomes cover any amount of goals that can happen in the match. Also notice that both outcomes are larger than 2 which makes them overpriced and that is clear sign of an arb.

This example features our integrated surebet calculator which can greatly speed up the process of arbing. There we can see that if we have total amount of £100 and place £50.59 on Total Goals 0-3 outcome with Soccerbet and £49.41 on Total Goals 4+ with Betsafe, no matter how many goals happens in the match we are securing the return of £106.24, and thus profit of £6.24.

Do bookmakers allow arbing?

Arbing is completely legal, but not many bookmakers welcome regular arbers which might not surprise you. The main reason is off-course that it costs them money. But identifying arbers often is a challenge for bookmakers. Arbs not rarely arise in matches between top teams which, by betting on those matches it makes even harder for bookmakers to detect arbers.

If you are consistently winning, the bookmakers will closely monitor your activity and, if betting patterns lead them to suspect you are arber, your account could be restricted or closed, sometimes without warning. Matched bettors refer to this as gubbing. Some bookmakers claim they will never restrict or close accounts, but they are very few of those.

How much can be made from arbing?

Surebet opportunities occur many times, each day. However tipical return on each investment is usually low. Top arbs which occur on Betlamma are usually up to 8-9%. Arbing is no "Get Rich Quickly" system, even if you have large amounts of cash available. Arbing takes time to master and requires patience, diligence and composure. Bear in mind that winning money from bookmakers is tax-free.

Professional arber Simon Renström is quoted as saying “If gambling is a high-risk lottery, in comparison sports arbitrage is more of a low-risk high-yield investment method. “While not completely risk-free, most users reach a very high ROI (return on investment) compared with other investment methods; an average of 10 per cent to 15 per cent per month is common.”

Arbitrage betting tips

  • Just like with matched betting, keeping track of your transactions is advisable.
  • Have many accounts with a variety of bookmakers.
  • Creating a spreadsheet to monitor your transactions is a good idea.
  • Another piece of advice is to double check the odds before placing both sides of the bet.
  • It is very common for odds to fluctuate, particularly in a popular event or if an event is about to start.
  • The margins can be very tight when arbing and potential profit can soon be wiped out by failing to spot a shift in price.