What is Arbitrage Betting And How It Works?

As the ever-growing popularity of sports betting continues, the number of betting strategies that claim to be able to beat the system are becoming more and more numerous. One of the most tried and true of these is arbitrage betting.

If you’re unsure what that means, you’re not alone. Here, we’ll break down everything you need to know about how arbitrage betting works, how to do it, and whether it’s right for you!

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What Is Arbitrage Betting?

Whether you’re a veteran punter or a newcomer who’s still learning how to bet on sports, it’s quite possible that when it comes to sports betting terminology, arbitrage betting is not a term you’re familiar with, and that’s fine. We’re going to break down everything you need to know about it right here at MyBetting Canada!

Arbitrage betting is one of many betting strategies that has been used by sharp bettors for years. Essentially what it entails is a bettor inspecting the odds for a certain game or match on various sports betting sites and finding discrepancies in those odds that will allow them to make a profit by betting on both outcomes.

Below, we’ll break down more about arbitrage betting, how it works, whether it’s legal or simply frowned upon, and a few tips that we’ve used in the past when we employ arbitrage sports betting as a strategy!

How Does Arbitrage Betting Work?

Arbitrage betting, sometimes shortened to “arb betting” or referred to as a “surebet,” may seem a bit daunting at first, but really it’s quite a simple method of going about your sports betting. If you’re aware of what line shopping means, you’ve already got a leg up on understanding arbitrage betting.

Line shopping refers to the strategy of creating an account with several different sportsbooks so as to take advantage of any discrepancies in their individual odds. All sportsbooks are not created equal, and the same goes for their odds.

For example, while sportsbook A might have a certain betting market at -125 odds, sportsbook B might have the same market at +100 odds, which would mean that you get a lot more value by betting on that specific market with sportsbook B.

Arbitrage betting is similar in that it requires bettors to have accounts with several different sportsbooks and to stay abreast of the differing odds on those different sportsbooks. Basically, every sportsbook creates their own odds for each event, and the point of arbitrage betting is to identify the differences between the odds at different sportsbooks and take advantage of that.

It’s worth noting that opportunities for arbitrage betting are exceedingly rare, but they are by far the most common for head-to-head markets because there are only two outcomes, which makes the process much more simple. The two players or teams going head to head will likely have to be pretty evenly matched as well.

For example, let’s say the Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics are playing each other in the NBA. There are no ties in the NBA, so this is a simple betting market with only two outcomes, which is ideal for arbitrage betting.

Sportsbook A might have the Raptors moneyline at +105 and the Celtics at -120, but because the teams are so evenly matched, Sportsbook B might have the Raptors moneyline at -120 and the Celtics at +105. Arbitrage betting would mean you bet on the Raptors with Sportsbook A and bet on the Celtics with Sportsbook B, thereby guaranteeing that you come away a winner.

How to Find Arbitrage Bets?

So the question is, how do smart bettors go about finding the best arbitrage bets? As we said, the opportunities do not come around exceedingly often because odds at most leading sportsbooks are pretty similar, so when you do spot a chance for some arbitrage bets, it’s important to pounce.

There will be dozens of sportsbooks offering odds for the same markets at any particular time. So the job of an arbitrage bettor is to sift through dozens of different sportsbooks, dozens of different sports, and dozens of different betting markets to find their arbitrage betting opportunities.

The upside is, while it may take a long time to find a chance for some arb betting, once you find it, all you have to do is place the bet. After that, you don’t have to agonize about the outcome because no matter what it is, with arbitrage betting, you’re a winner!

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How to Make an Arbitrage Bet?

There’s nothing special about placing arb bets, and by employing an arbitrage betting strategy, you’re not doing anything illegal either. You’re simply putting money down on the market you want just like any other bet made by any other bettor, the only difference is, you’re placing another bet on the other outcome with a different sportsbook.

We’ve put together a step-by-step guide to help walk you through how to make an arbitrage bet. The process is no different than betting with any other strategy, other than a few tweaks here and there.

  • Research sportsbooks - The first thing you need to do is find yourself multiple sportsbooks, because you need several to do arbitrage betting. And even if you’re not arbitrage betting, we would recommend joining up with several sportsbooks so you can take advantage of their differing odds and bonuses.

    It’s all about finding the best odds for the type of markets and sports you like to bet on. Like someone going around the mall trying to find the best deal for a particular pair of shoes, it’s all about bargain hunting with sports betting as well.

    Another aspect to look at are the bonuses being offered by the various sportsbooks. Taking advantage of as many bonuses as you can when you sign up is a great way to start yourself up with a good financial base for your betting.
  • Sign up - Once you’ve decided which sportsbooks you want to sign up with, you simply have to register and create an account with those sites. It’s usually pretty simple stuff like name, phone number, email, date of birth, etc.
  • Fund your account - One of the things you should have been considering while researching sportsbooks is which ones are compatible with your preferred banking method. You need to be able to connect your financial institution with the sportsbook to deposit and withdraw money from your betting account, so this part’s pretty important. You also want to ensure the banking method you chose doesn’t come with unnecessary fees.
  • Check the odds and make your bets - Once your account is all set up, you’re ready to start checking the odds across your bevy of sportsbook accounts to find yourself some arb betting opportunities. Variations in odds are at the crux of everything you’re doing with arbitrage betting, so the more sportsbooks you sign up with, the better chances you have of finding an opportunity for arbitrage bets.

Regular Betting vs. Arbitrage Betting

If you’re wondering whether arbitrage betting is riskier than regular betting, you can stop right now. Arb betting is not any riskier than regular betting because you’re using the same sportsbooks and markets. In fact, arbitrage betting is probably the safest kind of betting you can do because you’re guaranteeing yourself a profit every time.

When you employ the arbitrage strategy properly, you’re incurring exactly zero financial risk. Of course, this also means that you’re greatly reducing your ROI. This means that if you want to make any significant profit, you’re going to need to invest a pretty large sum of money.

Arb Betting With Parlays

There is a way to employ arb betting into a parlay, but only with a few caveats. Firstly, you need two games or matches that are not being played simultaneously. For example, let’s say we bet $100 on the Raptors to beat the Celtics and the Nuggets to beat the Grizzlies in a two-leg parlay with +240 parlay odds. Your potential payout would be $340 with a $240 profit.

This strategy only works if the first leg of the parlay is successful, so let’s say the Raptors win their game before the Nuggets-Grizzlies game starts. Now, we basically have a bet on the Nuggets to win at +240 odds. So, to ensure profits, we’re going to bet on the Grizzlies to win as well. Let’s say the Grizzlies are offering +150 odds to win the game in this scenario.

So, if we put a $100 bet down on the Grizzlies, we’re basically guaranteeing ourselves profit no matter who wins out of the Grizzlies and Nuggets:

Nuggets win → $240 parlay profit minus $100 Grizzlies bet = $140 profit

Grizzlies win → $150 bet profit minus $100 parlay bet = $50 profit

Arbitrage Betting Canada FAQs

Now that we’ve covered everything you need to know about arbitrage betting from what it is, to how it works, to the legality of it all, we’re going to make sure we’ve covered all of our bases. To that end, here is a short list of some of the most common and helpful questions we’ve come across concerning arbitrage sports betting.

Is arbitrage betting worth it?

Arbitrage betting is a very safe way to do your betting, but it requires a large bank roll to actually see some significant profits because of the constant hedging. If you’ve got enough of a bank roll, it’s definitely worth it, but if not, you’ll only see incremental gains.

Is arbitrage betting the same as match betting?

They are similar, but while arbitrage bettors use their own money, match bettors use the free bets from sportsbooks to achieve their ends, which is essentially like defrauding the bookie.

Will an arbitrage opportunity always be profitable?

Yes, if you use arbitrage betting properly, the bettor is guaranteed a profit of some sort. However, that profit can sometimes be a negligible amount depending on the stake the bettor laid out.

Is arbitrage betting for everyone?

Arbitrage betting is not for everyone because it takes a lot of time. It can be tedious looking through so many markets and odds to find an opportunity, which would seem too boring to some. You’ll also need enough of a bank roll to turn something resembling a significant profit.

Can you get in trouble for arbitrage betting?

Arbitrage betting is not illegal, but it is not appreciated by sportsbooks one bit. They still have a tough time deciphering how to identify an arb bettor, but if they do, they can definitely ban or restrict the account you have with them.

How do sportsbooks detect arbitrage betting?

Sportsbooks have worked together in the past to share information on suspected arbitrage bettors, but they still haven’t broken it down into an exact science. They can look at things like withdrawal and deposit frequencies, what type of market you bet on, and how much you bet on each market to try and find an arbitrage bettor.

Does arbitrage betting work with parlays?

As we outlined above, you can incorporate arb betting into your parlays, but only in very specific circumstances.

Is arbitrage betting legal in Canada?

Arbitrage betting is legal wherever sports betting is legal, but that doesn’t mean bookmakers have to like it. If they can pinpoint someone who’s engaging in arbitrage betting, they’re not likely to allow them to continue doing it, so that bettor’s account is probably going to be banned or restricted.


Now that we’ve covered everything you need to know to have success employing an arbitrage sports betting strategy, you should feel confident going out there and using arbitrage to build your betting account too! From what arbitrage betting is, to how it works, to arbitrage betting Canada’s legality, and even a few tips and tricks on the best ways to go about arbitrage betting, we’ve broken all of it down for you!

Arbitrage betting is a clever way to reduce risk while slowly increasing your winnings, but it is time consuming. It requires a bettor who is going to be dedicated to a large investment, or else your profits will be negligible. All in all, it’s a tried and true strategy for a reason, so if you’re going to jump in with both feet, it’s a great way to go about your sports betting.