What Is Arbing Or Arbitrage Betting In Gambling?

Arbitrage betting (sometimes known as arbing or sure betting) is a betting technique that allows you to lock in a profit from two or more bets without any risk.

Unlike traditional Matched Betting, arbitrage betting doesn’t require free bets or offers but comes with risks and limitations that you must be aware of before getting started.

In this article, you’ll learn how arbitrage betting works, where you can find profitable bets and discover the important risks you’ll need to understand before you jump in.

We’ll also throw in some top tips you can use to make sure your arbing journey is a successful and profitable one.

When Do Arbitrage Betting Opportunities Occur?

Profitable arbitrage bets (arbs) can arise in three different ways:

Bookmaker to Exchange Arbs

Bookmaker to exchange arb bets exist when a bookmaker offers back odds higher than the available lay odds at a betting exchange.

This type of arb is the most common and is the easiest to place requiring one back bet at the bookmaker and one lay bet at a betting exchange.

Providing the back odds are higher than the lay odds, you’ll be able to lock in an instant profit.

Bookmaker to Bookmaker Arbs

Bookmaker to bookmaker arbs bets are available when there’s a discrepancy in the odds offered by different bookmakers for the same event.

This can be down to a few reasons such as bookmakers having different opinions, being slow to update their odds or errors in setting their odds.

If the odds allow, you can place bets on all possible outcomes across different bookmakers in such a way that you’ll be guaranteed a profit regardless of the event outcome.

An example of this might be in a tennis match:

Andy Murray is available at odds of 4.0 at bookmaker A.

Rafael Nadal is available at odds of 1.36 bookmaker B.

Using a Dutching calculator to work out the optimal stakes, you could place a back bet of £50 on Andy Murray at odds of 4.0 and another back bet of £147.06 on Rafael Nadal at odds of 1.36 to lock in a profit of £2.94 regardless of which player wins the match.

Bookmaker to bookmaker arb bets can also exist for bets that have three possible outcomes, for example, a football match:

Arsenal are available at odds of 2.25 at bookmaker A.

The draw is available at odds of 4.0 at bookmaker B.

Liverpool are available at odds of 3.4 at bookmaker C.

Using a Dutching calculator again to work out the optimal stakes, you could place a back bet of £100 on Arsenal at odds of 2.25, another back bet of £56.25 on the draw at odds of 4.0 and a final back bet of £66.18 on Liverpool to lock in a profit of £2.57 regardless if the match ends in a home win, draw or away win.

Exchange to Exchange Arbs

Exchange to exchange arb bets work in the same way as bookmaker to exchange arb bets but between two different exchanges where one offers back odds higher than the other’s available lay odds.

In most cases, betting exchanges have identical odds but there may be occasions where one has slightly different odds allowing for an arbitrage betting opportunity.

Caution! It’s never recommended to try these exchange to exchange arb bets. Betting exchanges will not only remove any 0% commission deal you have in place, but they’ll also potentially close your account if they suspect you’re trying to do arbitrage betting against different betting exchanges.

How To Find Arb Bets?

There are two main ways that you can find profitable arb bets.

Search Manually

You can use a free odds comparison site such as Oddschecker to compare odds between different bookmakers and betting exchanges.

If you spot any odds that the bookmaker has priced too generously at odds higher than the exchanges, for example, you’ll have an arbing opportunity.

The downside to this method is that odds comparison sites are often slow to update live odds and you’ll find by the time you get to the bookmaker site or betting exchange, the odds will have changed and the opportunity will have gone.

Use Odds Matching Software

A far more efficient and accurate way to find profitable arbitrage bets is using odds-matching software.

Odds matching software will automatically compare the odds between bookmakers and the betting exchanges and instantly identify all profitable arb bets for you.

The Outplayed Oddsmatching software that’s available with all membership levels highlights any bet in red in the “Rating” column for any bets that have a rating above 100%.

Any rating over 100% is an arb bet you can use to profit from. The software also displays the money on the lay odds available at the betting exchange in the “Avail.” column. This is known as liquidity and is important to check there’s enough money available to lay your bet after placing your bookmaker back bet.

Is Arbing Legal?

In the UK, arbitrage betting is completely legal, as all you’re doing is placing bets with bookmakers and/or exchanges to take advantage of their odds. Placing bets online is perfectly legal provided you’re using your details and identity to do so.

Do Bookmakers Allow Arbitrage Betting?

Bookmakers don't welcome regular arbers. The main reason is fairly obvious – arbitrage betting costs them money.

If a bookmaker detects that you’re placing a lot of arb bets, your account will be quickly gubbed, stake restricted and possibly closed, sometimes without warning.

Some bookmakers’ terms and conditions may state that the act of locking in a profit or arbitrage betting is not allowed, it’s not a term they can enforce legally or something they’d ever be able to prove you’re doing with any certainly.

Do Betting Exchanges Allow Arbitrage Betting?

Betting exchanges such as Matchbook welcome and encourage arbitrage bettors, as this ultimately leads to more money in their betting markets which means more profit for them.

The exception is if you’re attempting to place arbs exchange vs exchange but normal bookmaker vs exchange arbs are very welcome.

Betting exchanges make money by charging a small commission, typically 2-5% on any of your winning bets so the more money traded in their markets, the more money they make. This means they encourage arbitrage betting, Matched Betting and regular punters alike.

How Much Can You Make From Arbitrage Betting?

The amount of money you can make from arbitrage betting will largely depend on your bankroll, how many bets you place and the size of the arbs you take.

Profits locked in from arbitrage betting are generally quite small. For a quick idea of the potential you can make per arb, the rating percentage of the arb indicates how much you can lock in.

For example, this arb bet taken from the Outplayed Oddsmatching software is a 104.15% rating meaning if you use a £100 back stake you’ll lock in the percentage amount above 100%. So in this case £4.15 (4.15%) profit.

Be aware that you’ll need a large bankroll to cover the liability of the lay bets when using larger back stakes so you’ll need to have well funded betting exchange accounts.

Arbitrage betting shouldn’t be considered a strategy to get rich quickly but rather a way of accumulating lots of small profits. Most arbitrage opportunities are around the 105% range meaning you’ll typically lock in around £1-£5 profit per £100 back stake used.

To maximise profits you’ll need to make sure you have betting accounts open with as many bookmakers as possible as the bookmakers you use will vary on any given day depending on which sites have the best odds available.

What Are The Risks Of Arbing?

Arbitrage betting might seem like a straightforward, simple way of locking in small profits to build your betting bankroll. However, there are some risks to consider before diving in.

Palpable errors

Palpable errors (palps) in betting are when a mistake is made by a bookmaker when setting their odds or accepting bets.

If a clear mistake has been made and is considered an obvious error, the bookmakers reserve the right to void the bets linked to the error and refund the initial stake or payout at the correct lower odds.

Palps may occur for a few reasons:

Incorrect odds

Bookmakers may accidentally offer odds that are significantly different from the true probability of an outcome, creating an opportunity for arbitrage betting.

Market errors

Bookies might incorrectly list the wrong team as the favourite or underdog meaning you can get far too generous odds for the favourite to win.

Misplaced decimal points

Simple human or automated errors in setting odds due to misplaced decimal points can lead to unrealistically high or low odds which can again create arbitrage opportunities.

Technical glitches

Sometimes, technical issues or glitches in the betting platform’s software can result in incorrect odds being displayed or accepted.

Bookmakers often outline what they consider a palpable error in their terms and conditions and you must be aware of this when attempting arbitrage betting. To avoid having your bets void or paid at reduced odds, stick to the simple rule of - if it looks too good to be true, it probably is - you can avoid this by never taking arbs with ratings of 110% or higher for example as they could well be a palp.

Stake rejections or limitations

There’ll be times when you find a suitable arb bet but find that when you try to place your back bet the bookmaker will limit or reject your stake amount.

This will either mean you can’t take the arb or the stake you can use might be so small that it’s not worth the effort. With this in mind, it’s important to always place your back bet before placing your lay bet.

When placing bookmaker to bookmaker arb bets, this is a higher risk as you might place one back bet successfully and then realise you’re stake limited at another bookmaker meaning you could be open to losing money.


If there’s low liquidity (or money in the market) at the betting exchanges for the market you’ve bet on, you run the risk of your bet not being fully matched. If there isn’t enough liquidity, you’ll not be able to complete your arb, and could potentially lose money with your exposed back bet.

Low liquidity will be more common if you’re using less popular events to bet on. You can avoid low liquidity by sticking to popular events and checking the available amount at the betting exchanges or by using odds matching software.


To maximise profits and make arbitrage betting worthwhile, you’ll need a large bankroll in both bookmaker accounts and betting exchanges. You’ll need money spread around many different bookies so you can act fast when arbs arise and plenty of money available in your exchanges to cover the liability of your lay bets.


Bookmakers constantly monitor their own and competitor's odds to ensure they’re not out of line. This means if they do have an arb bet available, it won't be around for long before the odds are slashed and the opportunity is gone.

To take advantage of profitable arbs, you must be capable and confident enough to act quickly before the odds change. You’ll also need to manage your bankroll efficiently to make sure you’re not having to make last-minute deposits to place your bets, all your accounts should be well funded so you can react quickly to the best opportunities.

Small returns

The simplicity of arbitrage betting is great but the profits are generally small. You might be able to make the occasional larger profit but you can expect each arb you place will return around 1-5% of your original back stake.

With this in mind, you’ll need to determine if you can make arbing worth it with the size of your bankroll and how much time you can spend doing it.

Top Tips For Successful Arbing

As you’re well aware by now, bookmakers aren’t fans of people that arb. Placing arbs will potentially put your accounts under scrutiny and could result in being closed if you’re detected.

It’s important to do your best to stay under the radar as much as you can to help keep your accounts unrestricted for longer which will mean more profits in the long run. Here are our top tips to ensure your arbitrage betting is as successful and profitable as possible.

Act like a regular punter

Each bookmaker has an automated customer profile using different criteria to assess them such as betting patterns and overall profit or loss. Basically - they want to know if you’ll make them money or cost them money!

In the long run, you’ll inevitably make money from each bookmaker when arbing but in the process, you can try to use bets that regular punters would use. This will help you blend in and not stand out as an obvious arber.

An example of this would be sticking to arb bets that are available for popular football matches or horse races as opposed to back a team to win from the Swedish third division that you’ve never heard of before. Such bets will make you stand out as an arbitrage bettor who’s using odds matching software to detect such an opportunity.

You could also consider using Matched Betting to place some "mug bets" if you’ve placed a few arbs at one particular bookmaker and you want to disguise your profitable bets. If you spot the bookie with a much worse price than others for a specific bet, you could do a mug bet on it (a pointless Matched Bet that doesn't unlock an offer and incurs a small loss as a Qualifying Bet does).

This will hopefully mark you down as both a loyal and also a mug punter to that bookie. Punters are always taking prices that you wouldn’t as an arbitrage bettor, for example, Liverpool at 1.90 with a certain bookmaker when you can get 2.0 elsewhere. You can use a site such as Oddschecker to compare different bookmaker odds.

It’s probably not worth spending too much time and effort on mug bets as they’ll ultimately lose you a small amount of money and take up your time but worth placing the occasional one if you’re hitting a lot of arbs at a particular bookie.

Manage your bet size

You may be tempted to place a huge bet on a great-looking arb to lock in a relatively large profit, however, try to avoid the temptation if the stake is much higher than your normal amount.

Using a much larger stake than normal will again make you stand out and cause your account to be restricted much quicker than it would have otherwise been.

Whether you’re arbitrage betting or mug betting try to keep your stakes a similar size. If you usually place bets around £50 - £100 and then suddenly start placing £500+ bets this could flag your account as unusual activity. You can gradually increase your stakes over time if you want to place larger bets.

Try to also consider the size of your bets in relation to the event you’re betting on, too. For example, placing an arb bet on a popular Premier League match and using a larger stake is much more acceptable than putting a large bet on a lesser-known league. The bookies won’t take much money on smaller events and your huge bet will stand out like a sore thumb!

Try Sharbing

An alternative way to do arbitrage betting is shop arbing otherwise known as “sharbing”. This works in the same way as discussed but involves placing your back bets at a physical bookie shop. When sharbing, you can place a back bet over the counter at the bookmakers and then get your lay bet placed via your mobile once you’ve walked out of the shop.

The big advantage of this is that you can place bets without having to give your personal details as is required to open an online betting account. This makes it much easier to remain under the radar as an arber for longer.

Sharbing does take considerably more effort with the most obvious factor being - you have to go to the shops in person. Some bookies may also have different prices in store compared to their online odds so finding profitable arb opportunities can take longer to identify.

It’s also important to remember that you may still be stake limited as shops may only accept a maximum stake per customer

Avoid Arbs on healthy accounts

You might want to consider avoiding arbitrage betting completely - especially if you’re using a betting account that is not gubbed or restricted in any way.

This is because you’ll make way more money using Matched Betting as your main betting strategy compared to arbing. You’ll also gain the benefit of your account lasting much longer.

With that said, if you do get gubbed by a certain bookmaker, there’s then no harm in using that account to place arbitrage bets to squeeze as much profit as possible from the account before you get restricted enough to make the account no longer profitable.

Matched Betting Arbitrage Opportunites

You can use Matched Betting to create arbitrage bets that are far more disguised compared to normal arbs which can help keep your accounts open longer and be more profitable.

This can be done by using horse racing each way bets. Horse each way bets are essentially two bets in one with half the total stake being placed on the horse to win the race and the other half being placed on the horse to finish in the place positions (usually in the top three or four).

The place part of an each way bet is usually a quarter or fifth of the win odds and you can often find many bets each day where the each way place odds provide an arbing opportunity.

Outplayed Pro gives users access to the powerful Extra Place Master tool which instantly finds the best value horse racing bets typically used with the extra places strategy.

Using the same strategy, you can find some bets that provide an arbitrage betting scenario. By placing an each way back bet and then laying both the win part and place part of the each way bet you can lock in a profit.

In this example, you can lock in 54p regardless of the outcome but if your horse finishes in the specific extra place(s) you’ll make £38.54.

Typically, you’ll make a small loss from your extra places qualifying bets which is fine provided the loss is small enough to ensure the bet is still good value. The Extra Place Master displays the best available extra place bets but it’s important to learn how extra places work before starting them as they’re an advanced Matched Betting strategy.


You’ll now see that arbitrage betting is a profitable betting strategy but comes with its risks and limitations that you need to be able to aware of.

Starting arbing too soon can negatively affect how much you can make from Matched Betting so should be seen as a lower-priority strategy compared to far more profitable strategies such as Matched Betting but is an ideal way to make a little bit of extra profit from gubbed or restricted bookmaker accounts.