The only way to guarantee yourself profit in a small sample size of sports betting is through a concept called arbitrage betting. Over a large sample size of positive expected value betting you will profit, but arbitrage is a way to profit on every single opportunity. It’s risk-free if executed correctly.
Sportsbooks all have different odds, and sometimes one or two can slip up so dramatically that it creates an arbitrage opportunity.
As you can see above in the arbitrage tool, books can get very out of sync — that’s what makes these opportunities possible. In this instance, Cavaliers -2.5 is -115 on WynnBET, while Knicks +2.5 is +120 on BetAnySports.
These are clearly equal and opposite outcomes. One bet will always win, and one will always lose. If the Cavaliers win by three or more points, Cavs -2.5 on WynnBET cashes while Knicks +2.5 on BetAnySports loses.
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If the Knicks win or the Cavaliers win by one or two points, Knicks +2.5 cashes on BetAnySports while Cavaliers -2.5 loses on WynnBET.
Using the Arbitrage Calculator on OddsJam, simply plug in the amount you want to bet at one book. Here let’s say we want to risk $500 on BetAnySports:
The calculator says that if we risk $588.37 on WynnBET to match that $500 on BetAnySports, we are guaranteed $11.63 in profit.
If the Knicks cover, we will be paid out $1,100 on BetAnySports with a total stake of $1,088.37 combined across both books.
If the Cavaliers cover, we will be paid out $1,100 on WynnBET with a total stake of $1,088.37 combined across both books.
Regardless of what happens in the game, we will make $11.63. It may not be life-changing money but it’s guaranteed profit for a minute or two of work.
When there’s an arbitrage opportunity like this, it’s because one or both books are significantly off from the market. One or both will likely move once the books realize, so you need to be fast to be an arbitrage bettor.
The biggest risk involved is getting one bet down but the other moving (taking away the arbitrage opportunity) before you place it. I recommend getting both bets ready to go in your bet slip in separate windows on your computer (or one on a computer, one on a phone, etc.) and then pressing “place bet” as simultaneously as possible.
If this method of betting isn’t as exciting or sounds like too much work, an arbitrage opportunity means that at least one side is guaranteed to be a good bet on its own.
This is very similar to positive expected value betting. Of course, if you take only the outlier side instead of both, it may lose. But if you’re getting outlier lines in your favor over time, then you will be a profitable sports bettor.
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