arbitrage calculation
19th May 2024

The Ultimate Guide to Arbitrage Calculation & Formula

Arbitrage betting, a term that resonates with intrigue in the world of sports betting, represents a fascinating blend of risk management and profit-making. Often referred to as arbs betting, surebets, miraclebets, or surewins, this technique is not just a gamble but a calculated approach to guarantee profit regardless of the outcome in a sporting event.

Imagine a tennis match where two players, each with their unique strengths, are about to face off. The excitement is palpable, but so is the uncertainty of the outcome. This is where arbitrage betting comes into play. Unlike traditional betting, where a bet is placed on a single outcome, arbitrage involves placing multiple bets across various bookmakers, covering all possible outcomes to ensure a profit.

But how does it work?

At its core, arbitrage betting exploits the differences in odds offered by various bookmakers. Each bookmaker sets odds based on their analysis, and sometimes, their opinions differ significantly. This variance is the golden ticket for arbitrage bettors. By carefully selecting and placing bets on these differing odds, a bettor can secure a guaranteed profit, regardless of the event’s outcome.

Let’s break it down with an example:

Consider a tennis match where Bookmaker A offers odds of 2.5 for Player X to win, while Bookmaker B offers odds of 2.5 for Player Y to win. By placing a bet on Player X with Bookmaker A and Player Y with Bookmaker B, no matter who wins, the return is higher than the total amount bet.

However, it’s not always this straightforward. The odds from a single bookmaker are designed to ensure profit for the house, thanks to the overround. This is where the bettor’s strategy plays a crucial role. The art of arbitrage betting lies in finding those unique opportunities where the combined odds from different bookmakers tilt the balance in the bettor’s favor.

Understanding the overround is key.

In simple terms, the overround is a bookmaker’s built-in profit margin. When you bet on all possible outcomes with one bookmaker, you’re bound to lose money. That’s the bookie’s safeguard. But when you spread your bets across different bookmakers who offer odds independently, the overround can be beaten.

This strategy requires diligence, attention to detail, and a deep understanding of how odds work. It’s not just about finding two different bookmakers; it’s about calculating the odds in such a way that they work in your favor. This is the crux of arbitrage betting – a strategic, methodical approach that stands in contrast to conventional betting’s often emotional and speculative nature.

In the upcoming sections, we’ll delve deeper into how to identify these opportunities, calculate your potential profits, and navigate the various challenges and risks associated with arbitrage betting. We’ll also explore advanced strategies and tools that can enhance your arbitrage betting journey, turning a fascinating concept into a profitable reality.

Table of Contents

How to Identify Arbitrage Opportunities

Identifying profitable arbitrage opportunities is the cornerstone of successful arbitrage betting. This involves keen observation and a methodical approach. Let’s delve into how you can spot these opportunities.

Selecting the Right Events

The first step is to choose sporting events that may present arbitrage opportunities. It’s often beneficial to start with events that have only two outcomes, such as tennis matches, as they simplify the calculations. However, opportunities can also arise in events with multiple outcomes, like in football or basketball.

Leveraging Odds Comparison Sites

You can manually check multiple bookmakers to find arbitrage opportunities but websites like Oddschecker or Oddsportal are instrumental in this process. They compile odds from various bookmakers, allowing you to quickly compare and identify discrepancies. These differences in odds are what can lead to a potential arbitrage situation.

That being said, checking odds comparison sites can also be stressful, this is where arbitrage platforms like Arb Amigo can save you significant time and energy, our software scours through millions of odds every second accross up to 200+ bookmakers and then shows you arbitrage opportunities found.

An Illustrative Example

Suppose we’re looking at a tennis match between Player A and Player B. After checking an odds comparison site, you find that Bookmaker 1 offers odds of 1.9 for Player A to win, and Bookmaker 2 offers odds of 2.2 for Player B to win. This scenario might present an arbitrage opportunity, which we can determine through calculation.

Calculating the Arbitrage Percentage

The arbitrage percentage formula is:

Arbitrage % = ((1 / decimal odds for outcome A) x 100) + ((1 / decimal odds for outcome B) x 100)

For our tennis match:

Player A win: (1 / 1.9) x 100 = 52.63%

Player B win: (1 / 2.2) x 100 = 45.45%

52.63% + 45.45% = 98.08%

Here, the total percentage is less than 100%, specifically 98.08%, indicating a profitable arbitrage opportunity.

Utilizing Arbitrage Calculators

If manual calculations seem daunting, you can use online arbitrage calculators. These tools will automatically compute the arbitrage percentage and suggest optimal betting amounts for each outcome, streamlining the process.

We recommend using Arb Amigo’s arbitrage calculator

Next Steps: Having identified an arbitrage opportunity, the subsequent sections will guide you through a detailed example of placing arbitrage bets, including how to calculate your stakes and potential profits. We will also explore advanced techniques and strategies, equipping you with the knowledge to maximize returns and minimize risks in arbitrage betting.

Real Live Demo Of Arbitrage Betting

Arbitrage Calculation: A Detailed Example of an Arbitrage Betting

arbitrage calculation

Having understood how to identify arbitrage opportunities, let’s explore a detailed example to illustrate the process of placing arbitrage bets and calculating profits.

Scenario: A Tennis Match.

Let’s return to our tennis match example between Player A and Player B. We discovered an arbitrage opportunity with Bookmaker 1 offering odds of 1.9 for Player A to win and Bookmaker 2 offering odds of 2.2 for Player B to win. Now, we need to calculate how much to bet on each player to ensure a profit, regardless of the match outcome.

Determining the Stakes

To determine how much to stake on each outcome, we use the formula:

Individual Bet = (Total Investment x Individual Odds Percentage) / Total Arbitrage Percentage

Suppose we decide to invest a total of £500. Here’s how we break it down:

  1. Calculating the Individual Odds Percentage

    Player A win: (1 / 1.9) x 100 = 52.63%

    Player B win: (1 / 2.2) x 100 = 45.45%

  2. Calculating the Stakes

    Total Arbitrage Percentage = 52.63% + 45.45% = 98.08%

    Stake on Player A = ($500 x 52.63%) / 98.08% ≈ £268.45

    Stake on Player B = ($500 x 45.45%) / 98.08% ≈ £231.55

Calculating the Arbitrage Profit

No matter who wins, your total return will be greater than your £500 investment. Here’s the profit calculation:

  • If Player A wins: Return = £268.45 x 1.9 = £509.65, Profit = £509.65 – £500 = £9.65
  • If Player B wins: Return = £231.55 x 2.2 = £509.41, Profit = £509.41 – £500 = £9.41


In both scenarios, you make a profit, albeit a small one relative to your investment. This exemplifies the nature of arbitrage betting – small, consistent profits with minimal risk.

Continuing from our detailed example with a tennis match, let’s examine another scenario in the context of a football game, focusing on the Over 4.5 goals and Under 4.5 goals market. This example will further illustrate how arbitrage betting can be applied in different sports and markets.

Scenario B: Football Match – Over/Under 4.5 Goals Market

Identifying the Arbitrage Opportunity

Imagine a high-profile football match where there’s speculation about a high-scoring game. After researching various bookmakers, you find an arbitrage opportunity in the Over 4.5 goals and Under 4.5 goals market. Bookmaker 1 offers odds of 3.5 for Over 4.5 goals, while Bookmaker 2 offers odds of 1.8 for Under 4.5 goals.

Calculating the Arbitrage Percentage

First, we need to calculate the arbitrage percentage to confirm if there’s a surebet:

  • Over 4.5 goals: (1 / 3.5) x 100 = 28.57%
  • Under 4.5 goals: (1 / 1.8) x 100 = 55.56%
  • Total Arbitrage Percentage = 28.57% + 55.56% = 84.13%


Since the total is less than 100%, it indicates a profitable arbitrage opportunity.

Determining the Stakes

Let’s assume you plan to invest £1000 in total. The stakes should be distributed as follows:

  1. Calculating the Individual Stakes

    Stake on Over 4.5 goals = (£1000 x 28.57%) / 84.13% ≈ £339.54

    Stake on Under 4.5 goals = (£1000 x 55.56%) / 84.13% ≈ £660.46

Calculating the Profit

Now, let’s calculate the profit for each outcome:

  • If the game ends with Over 4.5 goals: Return = £339.54 x 3.5 = £1,188.39, Profit = £1,188.39 – £1000 = £188.39
  • If the game ends with Under 4.5 goals: Return = £660.46 x 1.8 = £1,188.83, Profit = £1,188.83 – £1000 = £188.83


In both outcomes, you secure a profit. This scenario is a classic example of how arbitrage betting works in the football betting market, especially in over/under goals betting.

Key Takeaways

This example demonstrates that arbitrage betting can be applied to various sports and betting markets. The key is to find significant odds discrepancies and calculate the stakes correctly to ensure a guaranteed profit, regardless of the game’s result.

Next, we will explore advanced arbitrage betting techniques, address challenges like rapid changes in odds and bookmaker restrictions, and provide tips for effective risk management in arbitrage betting.

Advanced Techniques and Strategies in Arbitrage Betting

arbitrage betting formula

After mastering the basics of arbitrage betting, it’s time to explore advanced strategies that can maximize profits and minimize risks. These techniques, while more complex, offer seasoned bettors an opportunity to refine their betting approach and capitalize on more nuanced opportunities.

  • Exploiting Bonuses and Promotions

Bookmakers often lure customers with attractive bonuses and promotions, such as deposit bonuses, cashback offers, or free bets. These can be strategically used to boost your arbitrage profits. However, it’s crucial to thoroughly understand the terms and conditions of each offer to ensure they can be effectively used in arbitrage betting scenarios.

  • Incorporating Betting Exchanges

Betting exchanges like Betfair and Smarkets present a different dynamic compared to traditional bookmakers. Here, you can bet against other users, which often results in better odds and more arbitrage opportunities. Including betting exchanges in your strategy can not only increase potential profits but also diversify your betting portfolio.

  • Specializing in a Niche

Developing expertise in a specific sport or league can give you a significant edge. Specialization allows for quicker and more accurate identification of value bets and arbitrage opportunities. Choose a sport or league that you are passionate about and invest time in understanding its betting nuances.

  • Utilizing Various Arbitrage Strategies

Beyond the basic back and lay method, several arbitrage techniques like dutching, middles, and polish middles can be employed. These strategies leverage different types of market inefficiencies, allowing for a more comprehensive approach to arbitrage betting.

  • Effective Risk Management

Advanced arbitrage bettors understand the importance of risk management. This encompasses maintaining a well-organized bankroll, tracking betting activity, and being aware of potential pitfalls like bookmaker limitations or account closures. Develop a personalized risk management plan and adhere to it.

  • Keeping Up with Tools and Resources

The arbitrage betting landscape is continually evolving. Stay informed about the latest tools and resources, including advanced software, odds comparison websites, and expert forums. Leveraging technology and staying updated on industry trends can significantly enhance your efficiency in spotting and exploiting arbitrage opportunities.

Conclusion of Advanced Techniques

These advanced techniques and strategies require dedication and a deep understanding of the betting landscape. By integrating these methods into your arbitrage betting routine, you can refine your approach, manage risks more effectively, and ultimately, increase your profitability.

In the following sections, we will discuss the challenges and risks associated with arbitrage betting, along with practical tips on navigating these hurdles successfully.

Risks and Challenges in Arbitrage Betting

While arbitrage betting offers a method of generating profit with minimal risk, it’s not without its challenges. Understanding these risks and learning how to mitigate them is crucial for any successful arbitrage bettor.

1. Disappearance of Arbitrage Opportunities

Arbitrage opportunities are often fleeting, existing for just a few minutes before the market adjusts and they vanish. This is compounded by the increasing number of arbitrage bettors competing for the same opportunities. Speed and accuracy in placing bets are paramount to capitalize on these short-lived chances.


  • Specialize in cross-market arbitrage, which is less visible to bookmakers and other bettors, thereby prolonging the opportunity’s lifespan.
  • Utilize a combination of online betting and physical betting shops, particularly those with a delayed response to market changes, to find more stable arbitrage opportunities.


2. Bookmaker Limitations and Account Closures

Frequent arbitrage betting can lead to bookmakers limiting your betting account or even closing it. This is a significant risk as it can limit your ability to place bets and reduce your arbitrage opportunities.


  • Stay discreet by placing bets with rounded amounts and avoiding patterns that may signal arbitrage betting.
  • Diversify your betting across multiple bookmakers to reduce the likelihood of being flagged.
  • Focus on popular events with high betting volumes, as arbitrage bets are less noticeable among the crowd.


3. Financial and Time Investment

Arbitrage betting requires a substantial investment of both time and money. The profit margins are often slim, meaning large stakes are needed to see significant returns. Additionally, the time spent identifying and calculating arbitrage opportunities can be considerable.


  • Use advanced software and tools to reduce the time needed for identifying opportunities.
  • Manage your bankroll effectively to ensure you have sufficient funds distributed across various bookmakers.


4. Legal and Ethical Considerations

While arbitrage betting isn’t illegal, it is often frowned upon by bookmakers. It’s important to understand the legal landscape in your region and be aware of the terms and conditions of each bookmaker you use.


  • Stay informed about the legalities of online betting in your area.
  • Read and understand the terms and conditions of each bookmaker to avoid unintentional violations.

Arbitrage betting, while lucrative, requires a keen understanding of the market dynamics and the ability to quickly adapt to changing scenarios. By being aware of these risks and challenges and implementing effective strategies to mitigate them, you can continue to profit from arbitrage betting while minimizing potential downsides.

In our next section, we will explore practical tips for effectively managing these risks and maximizing your success in the world of arbitrage betting.

Effective Risk Management in Arbitrage Betting

Successful arbitrage betting isn’t just about identifying opportunities; it’s equally about managing the risks effectively. Here are some key strategies to help you maintain a profitable arbitrage betting practice over the long term.

1. Diversifying Your Portfolio

Just like in any investment strategy, diversification is key in arbitrage betting. This means not putting all your funds into one type of bet or relying solely on a single bookmaker. Spread your bets across different sports, markets, and bookmakers to reduce the risk of significant losses and bookmaker limitations.

2. Staying Organized with Record-Keeping

Maintaining detailed records of your bets is crucial. This includes the amounts, odds, outcomes, and profits or losses for each bet. Such records not only help you track your performance but also enable you to analyze your betting strategies over time, making more informed decisions in the future.

3. Managing Your Bankroll

Bankroll management is critical in arbitrage betting. Allocate a specific amount of money that you can afford to lose, and stick to this budget. This disciplined approach helps in avoiding the emotional pitfalls of chasing losses or betting more than you can afford.

4. Being Prepared for Account Limitations

As mentioned earlier, bookmakers may limit or close accounts of successful arbitrage bettors. To mitigate this risk, spread your activity across multiple bookmakers and be ready to adapt your strategy if an account gets restricted.

5. Utilizing Advanced Tools and Software

Leverage technology to enhance your arbitrage betting. Advanced software can automate the search for arbitrage opportunities, calculate optimal bet sizes, and even place bets on your behalf. While these tools come at a cost, they can significantly increase efficiency and profitability.

For example, our software Arb Amigo finds 100s of arbitrage betting opportunties daily. Create free account here

6. Continuing Education and Adaptation

The betting landscape is constantly evolving, so staying educated and adapting your strategies is vital. Keep learning about new trends, strategies, and tools in arbitrage betting. Participate in forums, follow expert blogs, and never stop refining your approach.

Effective risk management is the backbone of successful arbitrage betting. By implementing these strategies, you can maximize your earnings while minimizing potential losses, ensuring a more stable and profitable betting experience.

In the final section of our article, we’ll wrap up the discussion by summarizing the key points and offering some concluding thoughts on the exciting world of arbitrage betting.

Conclusion: The Importance of Arbitrage Calculation in Sports Betting

The Importance of Arbitrage Calculation in Sports Betting

Arbitrage betting, a blend of analytical rigor and strategic betting, offers a unique avenue for earning profits in the sports betting world. As we have explored, it’s not just about placing bets but about making calculated decisions that guarantee returns regardless of the event’s outcome.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Understanding the Basics: Grasping the fundamental principles of arbitrage betting, such as identifying discrepancies in bookmakers’ odds and calculating the arbitrage percentage, is essential.

  2. Advanced Strategies: Utilizing advanced techniques like exploiting bonuses, incorporating betting exchanges, and specializing in a niche market can significantly enhance your arbitrage betting success.

  3. Risk Management: Acknowledging and managing the risks, from the fleeting nature of arbitrage opportunities to bookmaker limitations, is crucial for sustained profitability.

  4. Leveraging Technology: Employing advanced tools and software can streamline the process, making it more efficient and profitable.

  5. Continuous Learning: The betting landscape is ever-changing, and staying informed about new trends and adapting your strategies is key to staying ahead.

Final Thoughts:

Arbitrage betting is not a shortcut to instant wealth but a disciplined approach to sports betting that requires diligence, patience, and a continuous willingness to learn. It’s an intellectual challenge as much as it is a financial one, appealing to those who enjoy combining their passion for sports with analytical thinking.

As you embark on or continue your arbitrage betting journey, remember that success lies in the balance of strategic planning, smart execution, and an adaptable mindset. Whether you’re a seasoned bettor or a novice to the scene, the world of arbitrage betting presents an exciting opportunity to engage with sports betting in a methodical and potentially profitable way.

FAQs on Arbitrage Betting

Arbitrage betting, also known as arbing, is a strategy where a bettor places wagers on all possible outcomes of an event across different bookmakers to guarantee a profit, regardless of the result

The formula for arbitrage betting is used to calculate whether a set of odds offers an arbitrage opportunity and how much to bet on each outcome. The key formula involves calculating the arbitrage percentage:

Arbitrage % = ((1 / decimal odds for outcome A) x 100) + ((1 / decimal odds for outcome B) x 100) + … (for additional outcomes)

If the total percentage is less than 100%, it indicates an arbitrage opportunity. To determine the individual bet amounts, use:

Individual Bet = (Total Investment x Individual Odds Percentage) / Total Arbitrage Percentage

This helps in distributing your total investment across various outcomes to ensure a profit regardless of the event result. Remember, successful arbitrage betting requires quick and accurate calculations, often facilitated by arbitrage calculators or specialized software.

Arbitrage is possible because different sportsbooks set their odds independently, sometimes resulting in discrepancies. These slight errors, often in the range of 2-3%, can provide a significant advantage for the bettor, allowing for risk-free profit opportunities

Finding arbitrage opportunities can be done manually by comparing odds across bookmakers, but this process is time-consuming. Many bettors use tools like Arb Amigo, which automatically identify arbitrage opportunities, making it easier to capitalize on these bets​

Yes, arbitrage betting is legal. It’s a method of capitalizing on differing odds offered by bookmakers. However, some bookmakers may not favor arbitrage bettors and might limit or close their accounts, so it’s important to be aware of each bookmaker’s policies and terms of service

The profit margins in arbitrage betting are typically slim, ranging between 1% to 10%. However, with consistent betting, these small margins can accumulate into substantial profits over time

While arbitrage betting aims for risk-free profit, there are some risks involved. These include rapidly changing odds, which can affect returns; bookmakers limiting or closing accounts of consistent arbitrage bettors; and the possibility of human error, such as placing the wrong bet amount, leading to losses


Best Software for Arbitrage Betting.

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Arbitrage betting, also known as sure betting, is a strategy that allows you to place bets on all possible outcomes of a sports event, ensuring a guaranteed profit regardless of the outcome. By taking advantage of variations in odds offered by different bookmakers, Arb Amigo helps you identify these lucrative opportunities and make calculated wagers.

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Arbitrage betting involves placing bets on different outcomes of a sports event to guarantee a profit regardless of the result. With Arb Amigo’s Telegram and Email Alerts, you’ll receive instant notifications about promising arbitrage opportunities right at your fingertips.

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Inplay arbitrage betting is a strategy that enables you to place simultaneous bets on different outcomes of a live sporting event, leveraging discrepancies in odds offered by various bookmakers. With Arb Amigo as your trusted companion, you can tap into the fast-paced nature of inplay betting and capitalize on real-time opportunities.

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