Arbitrage betting is very often called a risk free activity where you can win a lot of money. Of course, experienced arbers know that’s not real and newbies often discover risks the hard way. The truth is that arbitrage is an activity with some risks that must be carefully handled. Although there is a lot written about this subject, this article provides a unique place to summarize most common risks and it’s a must read for people starting arbing.
Some risks arise before placing bets, other can occur during the betting process and other will happen after bets were placed, but it’s important to know that most risks can be prevented if using a systematic approach.
Common risks and mistakes
In the following tables we will show an extensive list of risk situations and provide an example for each one. We have classified risks by their possible cause as follows:
User error: This risk happens because the user makes a mistake when placing bets. You should be able to avoid these problems in all cases.
Arbitrage inherent risk: This risk happens because of the arbing process. You should be able to avoid most of these problems and only be hit on very exceptional situations. In case you suffer this risk, you should learn to take actions to limit damage.
|Betting on different events||
There are two different matches between the same teams:
|Betting on an incorrect outcome||
You detected an arbitrage in the totals goals market (OU 2.5) but you place both bets on the over outcome.
|Betting incorrect markets||
You detected an arbitrage in the totals goals market (OU 2.5) but you place one of the bets on the over 1.5 market.
|Betting incorrect stakes||
You do the maths to place the bets and get the following stakes: 1077 and 923 (total: 2000). As you should bet 1077 on a soft book you decide to place a round bet (1000), but you forget to recalculate and place 923 on the other bet.
|Betting only one leg of the arbitrage||
This problem can happen in many situations because of a user error:
|Not enough balance||
After placing the first leg of the bet, you realise you do not have enough money on the other bookmaker.
You calculate how much to stake without considering you have different currencies on the bookmakers involved.
|Fees and commissions||
When you calculated how much to stake you did not take into account the commission on the exchange.
Arbitrage inherent errors
|Betting incorrect odds||
When you are placing the second bet of the arbitrage, the odds go down but you don’t notice.
|Palpable errors (palp)||
Sometimes bookmakers place wrong odds. You can then place your bet but it is very possible that this bet is later voided or adjusted to lower odds:
Different rules can make you lose both bets. This can happen en many situations:
|Betting only one leg of the arbitrage||
This problem can happen in many situations because of a bookmaker issue:
Bookmakers limit players to bet low stakes. Sometimes it is not possible to know the limit before placing the bet. When betting on an Exchange, your bet is not fully matched because there is not enough liquidity.
When you get a bonus you need to fulfil rollover requirements. Sometimes this is very hard or even not possible, because you are limited after starting the rollover.
In order to prevent this problems, there are a few basic steps that you should consider. If you are starting arbing you will find it difficult and each surebet could take you too much time to place. After you get practice you will do all these checks within seconds. Experienced arbers do not even need to think about this and prevent these risks automatically.
Be sure you have set the same time zone on all your bookmakers, so that all events are shown at the correct time.
Be sure you use the same currency on all bookmakers (except a few exceptions where this is not possible).
Try to remember bookmaker rules for some specific sports (tennis, ice hockey and baseball) at least for bookmakers you use most.
Check you are betting on the same match on all legs. The sport, competition, team names, date and time must be the same.
Check you are betting on the same market (unless it is a cross market bet).
Check bookmakers rules are the same. Sometimes different rules are not a problem, and sometimes can work in your favour (check this article).
Check your stake calculation and confirm you have balance on all bookies.
Consider the order to place bets, taking into account limits, confirmations, odds, etc. In general, you should place the bet in the soft bookmaker first.
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