Betting arbitrage (or sure bet) is a practice that takes advantage of the differences that various bookies usually present in their odds on a particular game (it happens in NHL, NBA, NFL, and so on). This data disparity provides a favorable environment for betting experts to take economic advantage in various ways.

The phrase “Win little but win always” has its reason because in betting arbitrage, you always win. Little, but you win. The key is to find the conditions to be able to do it. And to do that by oneself, nowadays, in such a huge market —with millions of odds in thousands of events—, although it is not humanly impossible, it is indeed difficult.

But is not all lost. Expert bettors understand the market’s magnitude, which is why they use specialized software to achieve their goals. These softwares are called “sure bets scanners”, and among the most popular is BetWasp.

More details about the interesting world of arbitrage betting and how to win with it will follow.

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How Does Arbitrage Betting Work?

Arbitrage betting occurs when two bookmakers offer their odds on a given match and these odds are different on each portal. These small numerical differences between the odds create winning percentages in favor of the bettors that can be exploited.

Let’s imagine we have bookies: A (Betway) and B (William Hill); and teams: Y (Bruins) and Z (Coyotes). These are the odds:

Bookies Bruins Coyotes
Betway 1.90 2.03
William Hill 1.55 2.30

Here the conditions are given to apply a good arbitrage betting. But, first, let’s apply the winning formulas to prove it.

Formulas to Win Arbitrage Betting

In order to be a master of this sure-fire earning strategy, we must be well versed in certain formulas. These are:

Calculate the “L” Factor

The first thing to do is to calculate what each bookmaker earns with these odds (“L” factor). Whatever is above 1.00 in “L factor” is the portal’s profit. To do so, let’s use this formula:

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L= 1/odd 1 + 1/odd 2

Betway: 1/1.90 + 1/2.03 = 0.52 + 0.49 = 1.01

Bookie’s profit = 0.01 or equivalent to 1%.

William Hill: 1/1.55 + 1/2.30 = 0.64 + 0.43 = 1.07

Bookie’s profit= 0.07 or equivalent to 7%.

The results show why it’s good to have more than two bookmakers to choose from when betting.

Crossover Formula: Cross Betting on the Largest Odds of Each Bookie

Now, how do we get a surebet in this case? Simple, we must first cross-reference the highest odds of each bookmaker to see if it is below 1.00.

L= 1/1.90 (Betway in favor of the Bruins) + 1/2.30 (William Hill in favor of the Coyotes) = 0.526 + 0.434= 0.96

“L” is less than 1.00. In other words, the conditions for an effective arbitrage betting with a profit of 0.04 (approximately 4%) have been presented. Of course, the higher the percentage obtained, the higher the profit.

Formula We Should Know: How Much to Bet?

Here comes the key question: how much to bet in each case? The answer is simple. To do so, let’s make the following formula:

1000/the percentage obtained * the respective quota = $ to be wagered

It would be like this:

Betway: 1000 / (0.96 * 1.90) = 1000 / 1.805 = $548

William Hill: 1000 / (0.96 * 2.30) = 1000 / 2.185 = $452

Now we only have to bet $548 on Betway for the Bruins at 1.90 to get $1041 and $452 for the Coyotes at William Hill at 2.30 to win $1039. Regardless of who comes out victorious, we will result in a profit of between $39 and $41, respectively.

Market Efficiency and Arbitrage Opportunities

Arbitrage opportunities happen due to market efficiency problems. How does this happen? Simple, bookmakers often don’t have direct access to the exact odds of their competitors. This lack of knowledge is one of the factors that create the gaps that arbitrage betting experts take advantage of to make money. It’s important to know that this strategy is not cheating, it’s just an opportunity given by the market.

Another factor to take into account is the competition between bookies to attract customers. In this fight, they tend to raise the odds a little, and that is where we must take advantage to make our calculations and apply a good arbitrage betting.

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It can also happen that there are very high bets around a match. This circumstance may cause the odds of one site to go down compared to another. If so, it’s time to bet using arbitrage betting.

Arbitrage and Betting Exchanges

Experts in arbitrage betting usually make use of the so-called “betting exchanges“. This is a market very similar to the bookies, but with some small but significant differences. Betting exchanges are less rigid than bookies and give more possibilities and better odds to more reserved bettors.

One of the most striking aspects of betting exchanges is that they give their customers the possibility to bet with each other, while the bookies require that the bets are against the house. And yes, this freedom gives bettors the right to even create their own odds, something that would never happen in a bookmarker. Of course, in these cases the betting exchange serves as a monitor.

Considering these aspects, it is not surprising that the application of arbitrage betting is so popular in these spaces.

Sports Betting Arbitration – NHL Example

The time has come to experience the NHL 2022-23 season. The Flyers will face the Devils on October 13 at 07:00ET. The match will be at the Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, with a capacity of 19,538. In their last 5 games, Philadelphia has won 3 with a goal average of 2.8 per game.

With these numbers and under the home condition, Betway gives odds of 2.20 in favor of Flyers and 1.82 for the Devils. For its part, 888Sports gives 2.30 and 1.60, respectively.

Bookies Flyers Devils
Betway 2.20 1.82
888Sports 2.30 1.60


L (Betway) = 1/2.20 (Fyers) + 1/1.82 (Devils) = 0.454 + 0.549 = 1.003 (0.3% profit for the house, approximately)

L (888Sports) = 1/2.30 (Fyers) + 1/1.60 (Devils) = 0.434 + 0.625 = 1.059 (5.9% profit for the house, approximately)

We Make Cross Bets at the Higher Odds

L = 1/2.30 (888Sports in the Flyers’ favor) + 1/1.82 (Betway in favor of Devils)

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L= 0.434 + 0.549 = 0.983, i.e. a 1.7% profit in our betting arbitrage.

We Calculate How Much We Will Bet

Formula: 1000/L * highest odds of each portal = $ to bet

1000/ 0.983 * 2.30 = $442 must be wagered on the Flyers at 888Sports to win $1,017

1000/ 0.983 * 1.82 = $558 must be wagered on the Devils at Betway to win $1,015.56

Regardless of who emerges victorious, we will be assured of $15 or $17. And yes: “Win little but win always”. Winning at NHL betting has never been about luck.

Deposits and Withdrawals:

and much more

Where to Place Your Bets

If you’re looking for sportsbooks to place your bets on, you have to check our sportsbook comparison.

You may also want to take a look at the following articles we published recently:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How Is Arbitrage Betting Possible?

Arbitrage betting is possible due to many factors. Among the most common are human errors in the bookies’ odds calculations. Also, competition between bookmarkers, or the presence of very large bets that affect the market.

Is It Advisable to Bet on Betting Exchanges?

If you are a bettor who wants to have new possibilities and higher winnings, betting  exchanges are recommended. The same way, it’s good to take the necessary precautions, read about the reputation of the site and if they have the proper SSL protocol.