The Concept of Arbitrage

Arbitrage is a term that is frequently used in the business world, but also has sports betting implications. Its definition is "the simultaneous buying and selling of securities, currency, or commodities in different markets or in derivative forms in order to take advantage of differing prices for the same asset."

You may be wondering how that can possibly relate to sports betting, but if you think of each sportsbook as a market it becomes easier to understand and pretty much self-descriptive. In short, arbitrage when used in sports betting is placing wagers on both sides of a game so that you are ensured a profit regardless of the final score."

This most often occurs in baseball where the 10-cent line is used, but can occur anywhere the moneyline is being used. The most basic example would be a game between the Angels and the Mariners. For this example, say Bookmaker has the Angels -130 and the Mariners +120, while Carbon Sports has the Angels -115 and Seattle +105. You could wager $200 to win $240 on Seattle at Bookmaker and $235.75 to win $205 at Carbon Sports. If Seattle wins, you win $4.25, while if the Angels win you make $5. Remember, this is just as example using an extremely small profit margin. You can find greater margins between the two prices, which will ensure a larger profit for you.

You'll also occasionally find those games where there is plus money on both sides, including totals, for sports such as baseball or hockey.

Finding arbitrage situations does take a little bit of time, but you can occasionally them in the morning when sportsbooks are moving away from their overnight lines to their regular game-day lines, particularly if one sportsbook is known to lag a little behind in making the switch. Many sportsbooks also follow the leads of the bigger sportsbooks and when a larger sportsbook moves its line, the others will generally follow, although sometimes they are behind a bit or may not move their line at all.

You can also find them on some of the lesser-bet sports, such as in individual match-ups for golf or auto racing, especially if one sportsbook gets a couple of large wagers on one side and adjusts its odds and the others leave their lines as they are.

The majority of the time the profit margin isn't particularly high, but you are talking about guaranteed profit, so it's kind of hard to knock what is essentially free money just for paying attention to the odds.

The only thing that is needed is a little bit of time and several different sportsbook accounts, as lines are different at each book. The more betting outlets you have, the greater the potential for uncovering these guaranteed profits.

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