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Sports Arbitrage Part Two

 Welcome back to your course on making money from risk-free guaranteed arbs.  We are now on to our second lesson where we will firstly tell you how to calculate arb stakes and then begin telling you where and how to find them.  We will continue to list a number of tasks that you need to follow to gain the full benefit from arbitrage investing and also some helpful tips too.  Please ensure you continue to follow this advice.

The Calculator

For this lesson you are going to need to use your own copy of our Arb Calculator that you can download from the Tools section of the website. 
 Our calculator is very easy to navigate and use.  It will allow you to calculate arbs from any of the sources we will tell you about in due course. 
 Firstly we thought we should explain to you exactly what it is that the calculator does to ensure we always make a risk-free profit no matter what the sporting result may be.  For this we'll revert back to our imaginary example from lesson one, where we had two very evenly matched tennis players where we could find odds of 2.05 for each at different bookmakers.  Can you remember from the first lesson how much you would have returned from a £10 stake placed against odds of 2.05? 

That's right!  £20.50 including the stake. Very good to see someone has been paying attention!  What we can do from these figures is reverse them to work out how much would need to be staked to return £100 for example when the odds are at 2.05:

£100 divided by 2.05 =  £48.78 (rounded up) stake required to achieve a £100 return.  

Not too complicated so far is it?!  Now remember in our example there were two outcomes both priced at 2.05 (a very simple example) and if we had have placed bets of £48.78 on each we would have received a return from one of those of £100.  The total of the stakes placed is £97.56 meaning we would have made £2.44 profit (remember the under-round on this example was 97.56%) from this basic, simple, low investment value example.  Not only can surebets display higher percentage returns, are normally always played with higher stakes to make bigger returns, but they are rarely as simple as equal stakes.  Don't worry - our calculator takes it all in it's stride but we'll explain it to you as well.

Imagine now that one of the competitors was priced at 2.10 instead of 2.05, whilst the other competitor remained priced at 2.05.  Can you work out what the under-round is on this new example first?

(100 / 2.10 = 47.62% prob) + (100 / 2.05 = 48.78% prob)=   96.40% - an under-round indeed.

Top marks if you got that one right, in which case you will also recognise that this would be a profit making arb of 3.60%.  So how would the calculator work out the stakes when the odds are not equal?  In this instance we have to select a total amount we would like to spread across the different outcomes, in this example our total fund will be £100.  The calculation that is needed is for the total stake (£100) to be divided by the under-round probability and then to be multiplied by the probability (1/odds) of each of the odds as follows:

(100 / 96.40%) x 0.48 = £49.40 & (100 / 96.40%) x 0.49 = £50.60

The stakes above have been simplified, as the calculator does, to avoid very complex numbers and makes an insignificant difference.  The return from the first stake would be 49.40 x 2.10 = 103.73 and from the second stake would be 50.60 x 2.05 = 103.73.  The profit is derived because either outcome would return £103.73 when the total staked is £100.  Easy peasy!

  • Task - Now that the logic behind the calculator has been explained we think it would be a good idea for you to programme in some random odds to see if you can observe how the stakes, returns, and profit have been calculated bearing in mind as already stated that there is a slight simplification of the figures as the calculations are made.

Apologies if that took too much of a toll on your brain cells but we wanted to ensure that you understood the very fundamentals of investing in arbs.  At the end of the day if you didn't understand a word of it you can still use the calculator to work everything out even if you don't understand how it is doing it!!! 

Class dismissed on the theory now - but it really is only common sense actually.  Now on to finding some of those arbs.

How to find Arbs

Now with your knowledge of how arbs occur and how to calculate the stakes up to speed, and your appetite for getting that risk free cash whetted, we can now begin to tell you how to find surebets.  There are numerous ways to source surebets which we have grouped into 4 main methods:

  • Find your own arbs
  • 'Word of Mouth'
  • Odds comparison websites
  • Purchase of a subscription package from a professional arb supplier

For this lesson we are going to concentrate on the first two methods listed.

Finding your own Arbs

What can be better than finding your own arbs?  You make the risk-free money for nothing with the satisfaction of knowing it was your own cunning and skill that found the investment in the first place.  Great!  You'll probably need a bit of practice and help before you can start finding them yourself - which is what we'll do now.  We have already given you the task of joining Pinnacleas they really are one of the most common bookmakers involved in arb investments, but they aren't the only site we recommend.  

  • Task - Spend a worthwhile 10 minutes joining the next five bookmakers sites by clicking on each of the links.  Make sure you keep a reference of your usernames and remember what your passwords are.  We recommend you do not use the same username at each bookmaker for security reasons.  Report back here in 10 minutes!  Remember, if you want to gain the maximum benefit from any free bets offered then check out our matched betting tutorial.


Thanks for following that task and setting up your accounts.  You have just joined 3 traditional bookmakers and 2 betting exchanges.  The latter are a fairly recent addition to the gambling world and give the punter the opportunity to either bet for an outcome or to accept bets against an outcome (this is known as laying, which you should know all about if you've already done the matched betting).  So in effect each and every member of Betfair or Betdaq are playing the role of both the punter and the bookmaker.  The exchanges make their money from commission they take from members winnings.  How this effects any arbitrage trades will be explained in due course.

  • Task - Now that you're a member spend some time navigating the sites so that you know your way round.  It would be worthwhile to place some small bets (for as low as pennies in some cases) to see the whole process from deposit to withdrawal of winnings.  You can also look at any single event at a bookmakers and put the different outcomes into your Calculator to see how much over-round or profit the bookmaker should make from that event.

Of course we're not interested in over-round, we want the under-rounds!  So now is your opportunity, given that you have joined six betting sites to date and have explored those sites so that you can comfortably find your way round them, to try and find some arbs. 

  • Task - You are now a member of six betting sites.  Try comparing the decimal odds for the outcomes of an event of your choice to see if there is an arb to be found.  Look for a less than obvious event such as darts, snooker, tennis or any of the American sports, but if you look at a football match compare odds on half-time results, number of corners or any of the many other markets available.  Make sure the events you are comparing are exactly the same events.

Did you find an arb with your first attempt?  Well done if you did.  Not to worry if you didn't.  What you would certainly have found is variation in odds that would bring the combined over-round right down.  This in itself proves arbs are there even if you never found one first time off.

And basically that's it for finding arbs yourself.  To improve your chances as already stated try and look for the less obvious events and less obvious markets as this is where arbs most frequently occur.  Try to look for events whose odds have just been uploaded because it is at this point that the biggest differences can exist.  As pointed out previously it is often worthwhile to watch for the latest odds being uploaded onto Pinnacle.

We will introduce to you the final five recommended bookmakers in your tutorial.  If you don't want to wait until then you can re-visit home page where you will find these and many more bookmakers listed that maybe worthwhile joining.  Remember, there should normally never be any need to deposit or any obligation to keep your membership active so feel free to join as many bookmakers as you are comfortable with.  Always keep a record of your different login details.


Word of Mouth 

Why not do a search on Google for "arbitrage", "arbs" or "surebets" to find a forum, blog, or a discussion group that share actual arbs.


That's another lesson finished with.  Next will be details of how to use odds comparison websites to find arbs and we'll tell you about the method you should use to invest in the arbs you're beginning to find.



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