Is sports arbitrage risk free?
Have you seen articles or got emails recently about a sure thing and easy money? I am, and most of them are claiming to earn me 100% winnings and easy money. All of them are about sports arbitrage.
I have tried some of them out, as they all give you also a free trial to some extent. I quickly noticed that none of the websites which offer sports arbitrage service didn't mention any cons about it and this was the first red flag for me. This couldn't be true for me, that something can be so easy and risk-free and bookmakers don't really care?
I found out quickly that sports arbitrage isn't for me and there were several reasons. Be aware also of fake services.
Bonus hunting and value betting
While bonus hunting has been on the market for years by now, value betting tools are new-age so-called 'no risk' services. For me, both of them are in the same category as arbing. It's because the general principles are the same. No risk, earn money daily marketing moves while in reality, there's vast risks and limits at the same time.
Bookmakers are offering a variety of sign up bonuses and also some free bets here and there. The problem with them is the conditions to get these bonuses actually into withdrawable balance. These rules are getting more and more strict. For example, you need to play the bonus through 10 to 15 times, can use only combo bets where every single bet odds exceed 1.8. Sometimes they even ask the triple bet tickets and higher odds.
Another significant issue is the accounts. To make something out from bonus hunting, a sum that could be worth the time and hassle, you need a ton of accounts at different bookmakers. There are not many countries in Europan jurisdiction where you can have bookies offering good and constant free bets anymore. For example, I live in a country where I can use only local bookmakers.
A new emerging trend in the industry. Value bet tools, which are programmes comparing the odds of different bookmakers and giving the alerts when the odds on something are dropping, and other bookmakers haven't caught the drop yet. For example, the odds in one Honduras basketball league game for home team dropped from 2.2 to 1.5 in short space in Asian bookmakers. One small bookmaker has the odds still on 2.2, so it's now a value bet. It's the same logic as for arbitrage. The small difference is that the arbs are often just bookmaker mistakes, while Value Betting plays on slow bookmakers. The big difference is that you will cover all the possible outcomes with arbitrage. With Value Betting, you hope that the drop in odds goes to your favour. The cons? Same as with real arbitrages and bonus huntings. You need a lot of accounts in different bookmakers, and you will get limited much faster with this.
Biggest obstacles being successful with sports arbitrage.
Biggest reason...dam dam...bookie accounts! For sports arbitrage, you need a lot of different bookmaker accounts. The more different accounts you have, the more arbitrage opportunities you have.
But, in a lot of countries you cant have most of the bookies accounts due to restrictions. For example, I cant make accounts in any of British bookies like Coral, Skybet, William Hill, Ladbrokes etc.
This limits me a lot already and also you if you cant make accounts on any bookie.
Regarding bookie accounts not mentioned by arbing services is that bookies are getting smarter and smarter. While arbing you are in danger getting limited pretty quickly as I have written in my previous articles.
Another thing to keep in mind while doing sports arbitrage is bookies rules. Bookmakers have different rules in different sports about how they pay out and when.
For example, is extra time also taken into account or not in basketball and ice-hockey for. When one tennis player retires, if and when the bet stays and will be paid out?
Some bookies will refund the bet, some will take into account if the first set is completed. In baseball, there's always a chance that there's pitcher change and again bookies have different rules about paying these bets out.
So there are already 2 very strong points to think before starting yourself in sports arbitrage. I'll give you another which is related to accounts, its called stake limits. While doing sports arbitrage you can expect around 2% to 7% profit average per arb. Also, most of the arbs are in lower league games or on weak markets. It's very rare that you can see arbs on big league games or big markets. Odds are being adjusted quickly on these and they are spot on with other bookies, mainly asian bookmakers. I opened one arbing tool free trial at the moment and looking quickly on arbs available at the moment:
Russia VHL ice-hockey league - bookies Coolbet and Oddsring
France basketball cup - bookies Mybet and Maxitip
South-Korea women's basketball league - bookies Betcruise and Betcity
Tennis ITF tournament - bookies Babibet and 888
All these sports arbitrage opportunities are in low league competitions on small markets. Not to mention that also most of these bookies are with low limits. I remember opening an account in Mybet and my stakes were limited to a maximum of 25 euros in every league after 2 bets. Even on Champions League games, so good luck profiting on these bookies with 25 euros stakes maximum, getting 4% of profit. Okay, all of these bookies don't limit you after 1 or 2 bets and you can have more than 25 on. These markets and bookies don't give you still enough space to earn the money as quickly and easily as they advertise it.
Besides the bookie's problem, there's also human error options while doing sports arbitrage. It's not mainly a human error, but if you are too slow, you can get your stake on one side, and then odds change quickly on another bet. This means that there's no arb anymore. Unfortunately, you have one of your stakes on already. This leaves you with only one bet, and you can take the opposite bet with lower odds. This means that you probably will lose a smaller amount or break-even without profit. As you have to make your stakes quickly before odds change and usually on 2 or more bookies, you can make mistakes and put some wrong bets on wrong markets also. This again means that you can escape with a small loss if you discover it quickly enough. If you don't realise your mistake before the event ends you can be on 2 losing bets and considering that average arb earns you around 5% profit it takes a lot of time to get back one of your mistakes.
You have to be aware of palps and obvious errors, as bookies can quickly refund your bet if they decide that they had wrong odds. This means that you have only one bet on and have to take a small loss or hope that this bet wins. When you are limited, there's a chance that you don't notice it before you have your first bet in another bookie already placed. When placing the 2nd bet, you can't have as much on as you need according to your first bet. Again, you have to take small loss probably or hope that this bet wins.
Above are the most significant issues I discovered very quickly and found that sports arbitrage is not an option. Even if you can tackle these issues, you need to have quite a big budget. You need to fund many different accounts to earn enough to cover the high fees of arbing services. For example, moving money between accounts through Skrill, Paypal, etc will also eat your money with fees.
I hope this article saves time, money and hassle for some of you and you consider very very calmly before running to buy sports arbitrage service.
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