Many punters use the Betfair Exchange for reasons such as the ability to lay, the generally higher odds and locking in profit by trading (we’ll get to that later in this series), but there is also a specific set of punters who take a different approach with the Exchange: Arbers and Matched Bettors.
These bettors attempt to take advantage of the traditional bookmakers and assure themselves of a profit without ever having to resort to chance. How? Read this article and you’ll find out more.
What is Arbing?
Arbing is simply taking advantage of the difference in odds between two (or more) bookmakers. It doesn’t necessarily have to involve the Betfair Exchange, but it’s a lot easier when you can simply back an outcome at the bookies and lay the same outcome on the Exchange.
The Arbing process is easy, but is best explained with an example. Let’s say you find a bookmaker offering odds of 3.0 for Enable to win the Arc next year, but on the Betfair Exchange the lay odds on offer are down at 2.6. This represents an opportunity – you can back Enable to win at the bookies and lay the same outcome on the Exchange, locking in a profit no matter what the outcome.
Let’s say you place a £10 back bet on Enable at 3.0. How much should you lay? Here are some outcome variations depending on your lay figure:
Lay £10 – +£4 if back wins, -£0.50 is lay wins (5% commission results in this loss)
Lay £10.53 – +£3.15 if back wins, break even if lay wins (extra £0.53 covers the commission)
Lay £11.76 – +£1.18 if back wins, +£1.17 if lay wins (this is the perfect amount if you want to guarantee an equal profit)
Lay £12.50 – Break even if back wins, +£1.88 if lay wins (referred to as overlaying)
Is the process Arbing legal?
With it seeming like such an easy way to make a profit, many people think that there must be some sort of illegalities around arbing. That is not the case, with arbing entirely, 100% legal.
Some bookmakers, however, do not like the practice and may limit or suspend accounts they suspect of arbing.
How can a bettor make money from arbing?
Obviously guaranteeing a £1.18 profit, as shown in the examples above, is not going to set hearts racing but the key to arbing is patience to find the right selections to arb, discipline to avoid common gambling pitfalls, and a bankroll so you can take advantage of the opportunities that do pop up.
The bigger your stake, the bigger the end profits with an arb. However, we recommend starting off small until you get used to it. A simple miscalculation or misclick can cost you hundreds of pounds. Also note, as always never bet with money you can’t afford to lose.
What is Matched Betting?
Matched betting follows a similar theory to arbing, but this time you’ll be taking advantage of the dozens of bookmaker welcome offers in order to assure yourself of a guaranteed profit.
To put it simply, you sign up to a bookmaker, place a qualifying bet and lay it off at the Exchange to receive your free bets, then do the same again with the free bets. For example, let’s say you want to sign up to Ladbrokes below and do some matched betting to take advantage of their Bet £10, Get £30 offer:
- Sign up for a Ladbrokes account and make a first deposit of at least £10.
- Place a £10 back bet at odds of at least 1/2 on Ladbrokes, then lay the same result on the Betfair Exchange.
- Try to find odds that are as close together as possible. Unless you find an arb, you will make a small qualifying loss on this initial bet.
Once your bet settles, you’ll be rewarded with 3 x £10 free bets.
- Repeat step 2 with each of the free bets, laying an amount that guarantees you a profit no matter what the outcome.
If you find odds that are close together and pay careful attention to your lay stake, you should walk away with at least £15 of profit from these free bets. Not bad for half an hour of work, is it?
More in this series:
What is the Betfair Exchange?
Back and Lay Betting Explained
Advantages of Using the Exchange
Placing a Back Bet on the Exchange
Placing a Lay Bet on the Exchange
How to Set Your Own Odds on the Exchange