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Sports Arbitrage Part Three

We're now on to Lesson 3 of your course on making money from guaranteed risk-free arbs.  We will now show you how to use odds comparison websites to find arbs and show you what method to use to place arbs no matter what their source is.  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. Recommended Bookies

Remember from your previous lessons how we introduced you to the first six recommended bookmakers .  You will also remember how vitally important it is to have your accounts set-up as, in tandem with your Calculator, these account really are the tools of your trade.  We therefore now list the final five bookmakers sites that we think you should now join.

  • Task - Spend 10 minutes now joining the following four bookmaker sites that will be crucial to your success as a arbitrage investor.  Remember there is no need to deposit funds other than to qualify for any free bets you may fancy.  Simply click on each of the links in turn.   Remember, if you want to gain the maximum benefit from any free bets offered then check out our matched betting tutorial.

Odds Comparison Websites 


Thanks for taking a short while to join up to the requested bookmakers, and congratulations on now being a member of all our 'Top Ten' pick of bookies.  All of them appear in some or all of the odds comparison websites we are about to tell you about.

Odds comparison websites are a great tool for the arbitrage investor and the punter in general as they allow us to find the best odds for any given event of our choice.  In a way, because so many people use them for betting in general, they generate competitive odds between the bookmakers that can cause arbs to occur.  They also list events in easy to navigate user-friendly tables which often makes it easier to decide on which events to start searching for arbs on.  They all work in the same way in that they have spiders (similar to search engine 'robots') that trawl a selection of bookmakers on an ongoing basis to find what odds are offered for a variety of events.  They certainly take the hard work out of searching for the best odds on your own!  Some odds comparison sites even have a separate section where they display a small number of arbs their search engines have discovered.  Others display a combined best percentage book for all events - in otherwords a percentage that will either be an over-round or an under-round.  Both of those features are of great benefit to those of us wishing to make money from arbs.

You're right to ask the question as to which odds comparison websites are the best to use.  This is a good question in that many of those websites use the same engines to power them therefore display the same results but can vary in how easy they are to navigate - you only need to use one of those, the one that is easiest to use.  So the answer to the question is that we have listed below the three odds comparison sites we personally like the best.  We list them below with a brief analysis of their best features:
Valuechecker & Checkyourodds
Valuechecker and Checkyourodds are our official odds comparison partners, who we've teamed up to get the best odds comparison.


Bestbetting is probably our second favourite odds comparison site as it's very easy to navigate (everything is in logical dropdown menus and lists) and pages load up in no time.  We always find the odds to be bang up to date (some inferior odds comparison sites have odds that are well out of date) and you can link directly to the actual bet placement page of each bookmaker by clicking on the odds displayed.  Very handy as sometimes particular events can be difficult to find following the different menus of different bookmaker sites.  Under-rounds are displayed (the best percentage book is under 100%) with or without betting exchanges included.  Only has odds from around 18 bookmaker sites but remains highly recommended.


OddsExplorer has odds from over 100 bookmakers displayed covering a wide range of sporting events.  Some of the events and the bookmakers used may be of more benefit to European users.  However, as they have live "surebets" displayed separately and display odds from most top arb bookmakers this has to be considered a very good site.


Tip-Ex is completely different to other odds comparison websites in both layout and wealth of content.  Perhaps this is it's biggest problem as it can be hard to navigate and the number of odds displayed can seem overwhelming.  However, odds always seem to be bang up to date and arbs are listed on the front page so if you can get used to finding your way around this website it could be an invaluable tool.  Ever expanding list of international bookmakers being used to obtain odds from.

  • Task - Follow the links above and have a look around the odds comparison sites in turn seeing if you can find arbs (or "surebets") by under-round on the likes of BestBetting, or seeing what "surebets" are displayed in the special sections of OddsExplorer and Tip Ex.

Did you find any arbs?  Congratulations there, you're obviously proving to be a natural at this!!  I think you're right that it's about time we actually showed you the method you should use to place arbs.

How to successfully place arbitrage investments
  • You should by now have joined a number of bookmakers we have recommended.  There is some important information about each bookmaker you will need to know so we suggest that you set up a file in a format best for you to follow.  In this keep a record of all your login details (not passwords!!) and a summary of any important terms and conditions.  You should therefore know any surcharges or requirements for any particular payment or payout methods you may wish to use or any commission charges that could be levied.  Also note any particular rules or restrictions for the different sports that may differ to those of other bookmakers.
  • For each bookmakers site you should spend a little time exploring the methods they use to list odds and how to place the bets. Set up your account preferences so that the currency format is GBP (assuming you're in the UK!) and the odds format is decimal as that is the format in which we have explained how arbs are calculated.  As previously suggested we think it may be a good idea that for each bookmaker site you make a small bet of your own choice - you can often bet as little as pennies of your own funds or use any free bets you may have.  This will ensure you know the process from deposit to withdrawal for each bookmaker and ensure your payment method is set-up, is accepted, and is ready to use when you place your first arb. 
  • Now that you have a good idea how to navigate around the different bookmakers sites you may want to have a dummy run on an arbitrage investment that you have located.  You may have found this on your own, through a forum, or on an odds comparison or arbitrage subscription website.  It does not matter as the process is the same for all methods.  Firstly you must log in to each of the bookmakers accounts – you need to do this to check the odds are correct and to check the maximum stake they will allow you to place (best to open each bookmaker site in a different window).  Now find the correct event, check that “single” bets are allowed on that event, and check that the odds are still the same – don’t panic if they have changed, as a profit may still be possible.  Place the current odds into the relevant boxes of your Calculator (a screenshot is shown below), converting odds from fractional into decimal format if necessary, which will tell you if you have an arb on your hands.   If you are using any betting exchanges you will need to add in your personal commission rate into the relevant box to see how this affects profit. 
  • If an arb exists you now need to decide how much overall you would wish to place risk-free and the calculator will tell you how much profit you would get.  Firstly, check what the stake limits are for each bookmaker you have logged into – this may be displayed against the event or you may have to put in a nominal high amount (e.g. £1m) to trigger an announcement telling you what the maximum stake is.  For betting exchanges such as Betfair the total stake available to back (we'll tell you how to use lay stakes to form arbs in the next lesson) is contained in the box displaying the odds.  Enter an overall investment amount into the box on the calculator ensuring none of the advised stakes for each bookmaker exceeds the maximum stakes you have identified.  You now have the stake amounts which you would’ve needed to deposit into each bookmaker (on rare occasions you may have to deposit in Euros at some bookmakers so convert the amount first) – refer to your file you set-up to see which methods you can use making sure any fees for those methods or any commissions would not have eaten too far into your profit.  Without the need to actually make your deposits, that’s your dummy run done.  Try this out a number of times to gain proficiency and keep a record of profits from this "paper trading".
  • When placing arbs for real follow the above instructions and then actually make the deposit amounts as instructed (for the first few times if you’re not too confident you should be using small stakes – i.e. no more than £100 in total).  Once you have the deposits made, place your bets one at a time taking them only to the confirmation screen.  Once at the confirmation screen for each outcome you need to check once more that odds are still the same and then confirm each one as quickly as possible starting with the highest stake first.
  • You can adjust your stakes for each outcome and the resultant profits/losses by outcome will be displayed by the calculator.  This is a good way of weighting the stakes more in favour of the favourite to increase the profit potential without any risk of a loss should the favourite not win the event.   You can see from the below example example we've used previously that we could have weighted the stakes towards the favourites.

23-05-2012 15-33-54

  •  Once you have confirmed all of the bets take a record of what has been invested where (including ref numbers) and when the event will be paid out.  You can record this information at the bottom of the calculator and then take a print-out of the whole sheet for your records.  It is really important that you keep a track of where your funds are at all times and when payouts will be made.  After all, you want the winnings to be sitting in your bank account not the bookies’!
  • Please realise that making money from arbs should be easy if you are organised - that is the key.  All the instruction may seem a bit daunting but this was really written as an idiots guide.
  • And the most important part of the method is Have Fun - you should be smiling when making money for nothing!  And if you think you're going to miss an investment do not worry and don't be rash - just wait for the next one to come along.  The only way this investment method can fail is through human error - so take your time, check your facts, and keep calm!

And that is the method in a nutshell.  Use this to the letter and you should be successfully making risk-free profit for a long time.  There are however a few common mistakes to avoid which we will detail below.

  • Task - You now have the method to follow so start trying this out with some paper trades and then using some real small stakes.  Practice is the key to success.


How to Avoid the Common Mistakes

There is no need to worry about the above heading!!  People have made mistakes when placing arbs but we can learn from those to ensure that nothing interferes with our risk-free cash.  Most mistakes are made by not following the method correctly but there are a few other rare occurances that you need to be aware of and know how to avoid.

  • Human Error - The easiest way for an error to occur is through human error in either locating and placing the arb incorrecly or not following the method correctly.  We cannot emphasise enough the importance to be placed in being organised and not being rash.  Likewise we would never recommend trying to place arbs when you are drunk or fatigued or when there is a lot of disturbance in the background.  You need to be able to concentrate on what you're doing.
  • Wrong Events - It may sound unlikely but people have placed what they thought to be arbs when unfortunately the different legs were actually from completely different events.  This is not as silly as it sounds as in football, for example, two teams can sometimes play in consecutive matches within days, one in the league and one in the cup.  For example, in April 2008 Arsenal played Liverpool three times in 7 days - twice in the Champions League, and once in the Premier League!  Always ensure that the bets you are placing are for exactly the same events. 
  • Palpable Error - Whilst what we have so far talked about are differences in opinion and monetary pressure bringing about out of place odds, palpable error covers bookmakers "arses" against making almighty howlers.  This is rare but would cover the bookmaker making typing errors and placing an event at 12.00 instead of 1.20 for example or uploading the odds for the outcomes of the event in reverse order.  In these circumstances the odds are going to be miles different to other bookmakers and can create massive percentage arbs.  Our advice - avoid placing arbs on these because a bookmaker who has made a palpable error such as this can void the bet.  A couple of double checks you can make are to input into the Calculator all the odds from the bookmaker concerned to check they make an over-round (if they're not making a profit then they've definitely made a mistake!), and to compare against the market average to see if odds look to be the wrong way round.  This may be rare but you need to make these checks on the big percentage arbs before you proceed with your investment.  Well out of place odds at the betting exchanges are no concern as long as there is enough money available to be matched. 
  • Different Rules - On some sports, most notably tennis, different bookmakers can have conflicting rules on payouts if an unusual event occurs.  In the tennis example if a player retires through injury some bookmakers refund all bets whilst others payout against the player winning at the point of the match ending early.  So you could potentially have a refund at one bookmaker and a losing bet at the other, or alternatively it is possible to have both a refund and a winning bet.  But that's not the point as we're only interested in risk-free betting!!  To protect yourself against this you should check the details at all bookmakers to ensure event rules are like for like before investing in a sport where an unusual event is possible, especially tennis.
  • Dodgy Bookies - We're not going to lie to you, there are some dodgy offshore bookies about which you could inadvertantly deposit funds at.  Whilst you shouldn't need to worry about any bookies we link to, you may need to do some research of bookies listed on some odds comparison sites for example.  The best place we have found to do this is to navigate your internet browser to Sportsbook Review who, as the name suggests, have reviews and scores for nearly every bookmaker on the internet.

If you follow the rules above you should have trouble free success when placing arbs and plenty of profit coming in.  We can understand some concerns you may have though.  That is why in the next lesson we will tell you all about professional arb subscription services who supply quality verified arbs so that you are more protected against the last two errors.  And they are obviously a guaranteed way to ensure that you are getting access to a sufficient number of arbs without the need to worry about finding them yourself.  We have tried and tested a number of services and will tell you about those we've found to offer the best value for money.

  • Task - Ensure you set-up a file that contains all the important information about the bookmakers that you have joined.  You should also list rules for tennis retirements and also whether overtime is included or not in the American sports.


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