Information about sports arbitrage can be patchy at best and likely many people will be deterred from giving sports arbitrage trading time.  It’s not easy but what in life ever is?  Answers on a postcard please.   In essence making sports arbitrage pay is a process of doing a relatively simple set of actions and repeating.  Small profits soon build up.  What starts slowly soon increases in a snow ball effect.  Failure is a result of not following the rules.  After reviewing sports arbitrage software  our reviewer came up with some questions he wished he could have asked a sports arbitrage trader years ago.  The answers he says would have helped fast track his learning and enable him to channel some of the ocean of sports betting money his way. 

Let’s start with the subject of bookmakers.

Do bookmakers limit arbitrage trader accounts?

Yes, most do. Often wrongly seen as the biggest hurdle to jump for sports arbitrage betting.  The key is to make your account activity look normal.  Like any casino out there, bookmaker don’t like people winning too much.  It is advisable to lose a random number of bets every so often.  If you have a winning streak of two or three it’s time to lose.  Just hedge the bet with a betting exchange to eliminate any loses or to ensure that they are small.  

Other ways to act like a normal punter’s is to avoid betting with maximum stakes and check if the bookmaker is owned by the same company.  Some bookies can have more than one website with different trading names. 

Here are more ways to make betting activity look normal.

1) Round the stake up or down to even 5’s. Instead of 233 make it 235.  

2) Do not bet on obvious palps.  This is a sure way of getting limited. Arbitrage bets with a return of more than 5% are waving a red flag that says “avoid this bet it’s a palp”.

3) Keep withdrawals to a minimum, say once a quarter. 

4) Betting on obscure low tier leagues from a foreign country will raise an eyebrow. 

Can bookmakers cancel bets?

Written into the bookmaker’s terms and conditions will be situations where bets can be made void.  Due to a palpable error, for instance, where they have reversed the odds.  This is known as a ‘palp’.  If the percentage return of an arbitrage bet looks too good to be true then it probably is.  Way’s to spot a bet that could be a ‘palp’ is to 

1) look out for odds that have obviously been reversed.

2) Watch if the odds seem just too high.  If it is too good to be true it probably is. 

3) Confirm the bet and odds with the bookmaker which is least likely to accept your bet.  For example, where the odds are most out of touch with the rest of the market.  Some bookies will only reveal the maximum stake when the bet is confirmed.  Stake size with the second bookie can be adjusted accordingly. 

If a bet is still made void by a bookmaker never leave the uncovered bet open.  Use a betting exchange to hedge the risk.  A small percentage loss will result but it’s a small price to pay to protect the uncovered bet. 

A bookmaker can still void a bet after the event.  This is uncommon but it does happen.  Best advice here is to stay in touch with other arbitrage traders and get up to date information about bookmakers known to do this.  Avoid these bookmakers.  

What else can go wrong?

User error.  No doubt, mistakes happen, if any bets get placed on the wrong event just hedge using a bookmaker.  Always double check the participants, odds, time of the event and the stake. Make sure there is enough time before the event starts to get the bets on. 

Moving odds can also be a problem.  A bookmaker may move the odds before the second bet can be placed.  One way to avoid this is to confirm the bet which has the odds that are most likely to move first.  For example, the bet where the odds are most out of line with the market as a whole.  Worse case would be that arbitrage odds move from + 4% to – 2%, so the overall risk is trading balance is quite small. 

Which bookmaker is most commonly used for arbitrage betting?

Pinnacle Sports actually welcome arbitrage traders and never limit accounts.  They go as far as giving accounts holders arbitrage betting guides to aid trading.  What’s more stake size at Pinnacle sports is quite accommodating.  

Betfair the betting exchange will also be invaluable.  Very useful for hedging open bets where a bookmaker voids a bet. 


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