What is arbitrage betting?

Here we are again, tackling another confusing betting term to help you get past the jargon. It can be difficult understanding so many terms, particularly if you have not done any betting before; we aim to remove any complexity so you can get down to the betting without having to worry about what it all means.

Arbitrage betting is more unusual than the most of the types of bet covered on Honest Betting Reviews, as it is not the kind of betting bookmakers will look to offer you like they would an accumulator or lucky 31, for example. Why? Because it is almost a risk-free way of betting.

How do you place an arbitrage bet?

Arbitrage betting – also known as arbing, matched betting, miraclebets and sure wins – is the opposite of how attractive a proposition the bookmakers would like it to seem to the punter. It is about capitalising on errors and gaps in the betting market to make a guaranteed profit.

It is particularly prevalent on betting exchange websites like Betfair, where a discrepancy may exist between the backing price – the odds an outcome will occur – and the laying price – odds an outcome will not occur. This difference in pricing means that if you bet on both outcomes, you will lock in a profit no matter what the actual outcome of the event is.

Unsurprisingly, arbitrage betting is not particularly popular with bookmakers, who try to stop these kinds of discrepancies occurring so they cannot be seized upon by opportunistic punters that keep an eye out for them.

One of the issues with arbitrage betting is that it can require a large stake for a relatively small return, so you need financial liquidity in order to pursue it successfully, especially if you want to place more than one arbitrage bet at a time.

Can you lose money arbitrage betting?

There is no such thing as betting that is 100 per cent risk-free. Bookmakers that do not welcome arbitrage betting can confiscate your stake and you can lose money if you do not pay close attention when placing arbitrage bets.

It is generally advised that you only try arbitrage betting if you are an experienced punter, and that you begin by betting small to minimise losses as you learn the ropes.

Is arbitrage betting legal?

Arbitrage betting is entirely legal – it is just taking advantage of differences that occur in the market. However, some bookmakers see arbitrage betting as a threat to their profits and they are entitled to suspend punters who do it.

Who should you place arbitrage bets with?

Arbitrage betting is not generally as frowned upon by betting exchanges as it is by regular bookmakers. Exchange betting is a free market-type arrangement where the punters themselves set the prices and bet against each other, so it is more likely that discrepancies will occur as the backing and laying prices often do not match up entirely, or at least not before people notice and correct the trend.

Arbitrage betting requires a great deal of care and attention with regard to exactly what you are betting on, but done correctly it guarantees a return.

For more explanations of complex betting terms, check out the other Honest Betting Reviews guides.

If you are looking for some top arbitrage software, you should check out 100% winners here.

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