What is arbitrage betting?

What is arbitrage betting?

Sports arbitrage betting – sometimes called “arbing” – is a special occurrence in sports betting where a bettor is guaranteed to win.

Sometimes, discrepancies in odds between competing sportsbooks open up the chance to back both sides of a bet, with a guaranteed win, regardless of the result. When that occurs, that’s called an “arb.”

How does arbitrage betting work?

Arbs occur when odds are available that allow a bettor to back both sides of a market in such a way that they can secure a guaranteed profit, irrespective of the outcome itself.

Let’s imagine that Sportsbook A has offered the following moneyline odds for an NHL game between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs, with the sportsbook favoring the Leafs, but Sportsbook B has priced up the same moneyline market favoring the Red Wings.


Sportsbook A moneyline odds

Sportsbook B moneyline odds

Detroit Red Wings



Toronto Maple Leafs



In this scenario, you could then place the following bets in order to guarantee yourself a profit:





Detroit Red Wings (Sportsbook A)




Toronto Maple Leafs (Sportsbook B)




Guaranteed profit

$126.92 - $57.69 - $42.31 = $26.92

Whichever team wins, you would receive a payout of $126.92 from $100 of bets, meaning you have a guaranteed profit of $26.92 regardless of the outcome.

What is the difference between arbitrage betting and hedge betting?

If you have already backed a team at underdog odds and the market swings and puts your chosen team as a favorite, you then have the opportunity to back the opposing side at underdog odds and guarantee a return, regardless of the result.

This is known as hedging and to find out more about this, you can read our hedge betting guide.

Is arbitrage betting still common?

Not any more. Sports arbitrage was big business for smart bettors when online sports betting was in its infancy.

However, these days all of the major sportsbooks closely monitor not only their own odds but also those of their competitors, meaning the opportunities for genuine arbitrage are pretty rare. When they do occur, the margin of guaranteed profit can also be very small.

How much should you bet on an arb?

Once you have found a potential arbitrage betting opportunity, the best approach is to use an online arbitrage calculator to work out the optimal stakes to set for each side of your arb bet.

Simply input the odds for the two underdog selections, then input your total stake amount for the two bets combined. The calculator will then work out the optimal stake for each selection to guarantee a set profit.

Arbitrage betting FAQs

Is arbitrage betting legal?
Can you make money from arbitrage betting?
How easy is arbitrage betting?

All betting guides on BET.CA are written by in-our house team, who have over 40 years’ experience in the sports betting and gaming industries, and have worked and written for several of the world’s leading sportsbooks. They possess in-depth knowledge of betting markets and strategies, as well as an understanding of what is important to bettors, meaning you can read on with the confidence that they will help improve your betting.

BET.CA staff
BET.CA staff