Is it ever safe to arb? Ask any seasoned matched bettor and you’ll usually get a resounding “no”. Why? Because it’s notorious for drawing attention to your account and leading to it being ‘gubbed’ or restricted by the bookmaker.
Is it ever safe to arb as part of your matched betting strategy?
Before we jump too far ahead, let’s take a quick look at what arbs are…And why the bookies aren’t too keen on them. And don’t forget to take a look at our beginner’s matched betting guide if you haven’t already.
What are ‘arbs’?
Also known arbitrage bets, miraclebets, surebets or sports arbitraging, arbing involves finding an event on which the back odds are significantly higher than the odds available at the exchange.
It’s matched betting at its most extreme.
As you know, matched betting means taking advantage of promotions offered by bookmakers. In order to extract the maximum possible value from this offer, bettors attempt to incur the lowest possible loss on their qualifying bet.
Arbs look tempting because instead of incurring a small qualifying loss, they will actually make the bettor money.
Bookmakers generally have a team of experts upon whose opinions, prices are based. Setting odds in advance of an event can be a risky business for these teams. Their opinion may differ to that of the betting public which could result in some heavy action of the options the market determines to be mispriced.
This discrepancy can lead to arbs between the bookmaker and betting exchange.
Arbs and bookmakers
Bookmakers don’t like ‘arbers’. Essentially, bookmakers only want customers who will make them money; they are businesses, of course!
Constantly taking a bet which is considered an arb will lead to the better being considered an ‘unprofitable customer’. This label can lead to account restrictions, such as no longer being eligible for bonuses, a limit on the amount that can be bet or refused custom. These restrictions are often referred to as ‘gubbing’.
Like matched betting, arbing is done by taking advantage of the variation in odds offered by bookmakers, in order to make a profit regardless of the outcome of an event. However, as mentioned earlier, arbing pushes the exploitation of variations in odds to the limit, whereas successful matched bettors look for closer matches and play the long game in order to avoid drawing attention to their betting activities.
So, if we look at matched betting and arbing as being two ends of a spectrum, there must be some middle ground, right?
What is each way betting?
For use in the horse racing market, this strategy is also sometimes also known as each way arbing. Each way betting is where a back bet is made on the win and the place.
Let’s take a look at a quick example: a £1 each way bet = £1 on the win and £1 on the place, making it a £2 stake.
For the win part of the bet to deliver a return, the selection must win the race.
For the place part of the bet to deliver a return, the selection must either win or finish in one of the predetermined positions (eg: first place, second place, third place – or higher, depending on the number of runners in a race). The odds paid on the place part of the bet are usually a fraction of the win odds (¼ or a ⅕ of the odds, for example). If the horse won, the bettor would get a payout from both the win AND the place parts of the bet. If the horse finished in a place position – but didn’t win – the win stake would be lost (and the place part won at the pre-determined fractional odds).
Straightforward, win-only arbitrage betting needs the back price to be higher than the lay price to guarantee a profit, whereas in each way betting, the win doesn’t need to be higher than the win at the exchange.
In each way betting, the arb occurs on the place part of the bet. The reason for this is that bookmakers’ each way terms are a fraction of the starting price and are not linked to any type of probability. However, the exchange is a marketplace and odds are determined based on probability and market sentiment. The probability of the horse actually finishing in the place position is calculated and then is translated into odds.
Each way and matched betting
Each way matching is a matched betting strategy where the win and place are both backed and then layed.
To place an each way bet, enter the stake and click a button to say each way. (This process depends on the bookie). This will double the stake we first put in. So in the example below, I’ve bet £10 on the horse to win and £10 on the horse to be placed. This gives me a total stake of £20.
In the exchange, there are two separate markets for the ‘win’ and the ‘place’. By default, we’ll be taken to the win market, but click the race to see the other markets.
The market which relates to the each way part of the bet is named the ‘place’ market. If we click this, we bring up the prices for the place part of the bet.
The Each Way Matcher
This tool doesn’t rely on using offers. Instead, it can:
– guarantee a profit, no matter what.
– and be used on gubbed accounts.
It can also be used to combine bookmakers’ offers to extract even more value
Find out more about the benefits of the EachWay Matcher and how each way betting differs to arbing in our interview with Peter. This tool is available as part of OddsMonkey’s core Premium membership package. See what else is available when you join here.
So, is it ever safe to arb?
Arbing (whether too often or at too high odds) can be a dangerous game to play. It can also often see you restricted before you’ve even started.
Instead of jumping in at the deep end, why not take a look at each way matching. It’s a great way to your matched betting income. Find out more about this tool, built by the team here at OddsMonkey.