Surebetting and arbitrage

When it comes to online betting, one of the things that everyone wants to be able to do is make money. Now, betting is very much based on luck, so you’re not always going to be able to walk away with a win. However, by doing sure betting, you definitely increase the chances you have of walking away with a profit. But, what exactly is sure betting?

Sure betting, also called arbitrage betting, is betting in a way that gives you a guaranteed profit. This is because you use the difference between the pricing and odds provided by bookies in order to do this. Of course, while we say guaranteed profits, there is always a risk when making any bets online.

Similar to other types of betting such as matched betting, arbitrage or sure betting has increased in popularity in recent years. As with matched betting, if you’re good at this, then you will know the outcome of the bet beforehand, which makes watching an event a little less stressful.

However, while this all sounds rather straightforward, it isn’t actually as simple as that. So, keep reading to find out all you need to know about sure betting.

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How does sure betting work

So, how exactly does it all work? Essentially, this is a technique that makes use of the fact that bookies will offer different odds from each other. They do this in order to remain competitive and entice new players to use their site over some other site. However, this difference in prices on the same betting market is what encourages sure betting practices.

It’s actually a similar technique to the one used by traders in the stock market. Essentially, a trader will get a profit because they will buy stocks from one exchange at one price. They will then sell the stock at a higher price at the same time on another exchange.

Basically, you do the same thing for sports betting. With sure betting, all you need to do is look for the difference in odds between bookies for a specific event. It’s relatively risk-free too.

In the past, this type of betting had to be done in secret. Players would have to visit a number of bookies physically to place all these bets. Nowadays though, the whole process is very easy and out in the open. You can compare odds between sites quickly, sign up to numerous bookies and start placing your bets.

What to be aware of when sure betting

While this is all well and good, there are still some things you need to consider when placing this type of bet. First, you need to actually be signed up and playing at a reputable bookie. This means that you should be looking to play only at bookies that are licensed and regulated within the country. It’s important to note here that we only recommend bookies that have great reputations.

Another point to consider is the size of your bets when playing them. Make sure that you do not exceed the maximum bet amount that is set by either of the two bookies you are placing your bets with.

Following on from this, it is very important that you check out all the sports betting rules at your chosen bookies. You will need to make sure that the rules for the specific sport are the same across both bookies in order to make sure your bets are sound. For instance, choosing a bet where the final goal total is inclusive of goals scored in overtime at one bookie but is not at the other, could result in a loss on your bets no matter the outcome.

Finally, it’s also important to pay attention to when you are placing your bets especially if you are live betting. In live betting, you will need to place any of your sure bets during a time-out, injury break, half-time or any other time period when the score can’t change. This will help you place the bet successfully.

Top tips to successful sure betting

While nothing in life is guaranteed, following some of these practical tips will give you a better chance of success when engaging in arbitrage or sure betting.

Multiple bookie accounts

First, you will need to have multiple bookie accounts. In this way, you can then compare the odds between sites. If you stick to just a few top-quality bookies, it will also give you the chance to learn the rules properly too, so that you don’t get caught out with the way the bets work.

Best sports for sure betting

While sure betting is a great option, not all sports are good for it. Sure betting is very versatile, but there are still some sports that are better, or easier, to bet on than others. For instance, tennis, horse racing and football are very popular sports betting options. Of course, you can choose to bet on other sports, particularly if your area of sports expertise lies elsewhere. Having a good understanding of the sport is key too.

Market efficiency

So, why is there a difference? Well, even though bookies will be looking at the same events and have the same information, everyone differs slightly in their opinion. This is because bookies will have different views on how likely one team or player is to win over another. Of course, the difference in odds can be down to human error too, or other discrepancies.

But it’s these discrepancies that sure betting seeks to exploit. Market efficiency is key to getting ahead. When it comes to betting, all markets rely on similar information. If everyone had the same accurate information, the market would be completely efficient and vice versa. However, no market is efficient 100%, which is what allows arbitrage opportunities to arise.

Quick reactions

As we’ve mentioned, odds differ across bookies. But, not only that, they change very rapidly too. In order to make the most of any bets you’re placing, you will need to react quickly. This is because the odds can change and that profit window might close.

Betting calculator

There are many odds checker sites available these days. Rather than spending ages scrolling through all the sites that you’re a member of, you can simply head to an odds checker site that will compare all the latest odds for you. Additionally, you can use a betting calculator, input all the proposed odds and bet values to see what your profit will actually be and whether the bet is worth it or not.

Making an arbitrage bet

There are two types of sure bet that you can make at a bookie.

Odds arbitrage

In simple form, this just means exploiting any price discrepancies you find across bookie sites. Basically, when a site offers odds that are lower than the back odds placed by another bookmaker. Essentially you just need to back high and then lay a low bet. In this way, you cover all eventualities resulting in a profit for you.

Bonus arbitrage

This is also called matched betting. For this, you take advantage of any bonuses offered at the betting site such as free bets or other incentives. By doing bonus arbitrage or matched betting, you simply place a bet with the bookie with the offer and then do the same bet on another site with different odds.

Do bookies like sure betting?

As you can imagine, generally bookies do not like sure betting as it’s not in their best interests. By offering different odds to other sites, they do run the risk of losing customers to a site with better odds, or being used for sure bets. Because of this, odds do change and fluctuate very rapidly as bookies attempt to keep ahead of all this. They want to keep up with any competitors and prevent profitable arbitrage players from using their site.

Because of this, it’s often easier to use a betting exchange when making sure bets.

Betting exchanges

The way betting exchanges work is very different from a standard sportsbook. Instead of setting the odds as a bookie does, betting exchanges are simply platforms for exchanging. This means that the users themselves will set the odds on specific events. This means that the odds can really vary wildly for the same event, making sure betting a better option in this environment.

These sites actually welcome arbitrage bettors because it works very much like a stock exchange. When placing bets here, it’s possible to hedge your backed bets by simply placing a different bet on the same outcome. By doing this you can guarantee a profit no matter what the outcome of the event is going to be. You will also reduce any risk or potential losses that are likely to come your way.

Risks with sure betting

Although technically sure bets are guaranteed bets, there is of course nothing guaranteed ever when it comes to betting. With this in mind, here are a number of factors you should be considering when looking at the risks associated with sure betting.


As you can imagine, this type of betting can require a large bankroll. This is because you will have to spread your bankroll between the different bookies or betting exchanges that you are using. This means that you will always have to have a bankroll large enough to cover any of the bets made at the site. You will need to factor this in when setting up a betting budget.


This refers to how much money there is in a particular market and will influence the amount that you can actually place as a bet. This can be a problem for arbitrage bettors particularly if you are wanting to place bets on an event that’s not actually very popular. If there isn’t good liquidity, then you won’t be able to actually complete the sure bet, and you might end up with a loss.


This refers to the speed with which bookies are changing their odds. As bookies are always changing their odds in order to keep in line with their competitors, a good sure bet may not be available for very long. This means that you will need to take advantage of any price disparities between bookies quickly. It doesn’t give you much chance to think over a bet. Rather, you need to dive right in and place the bets fast in order to achieve a profit. Because of this, you might not always be able to do this quickly enough.

Small returns

The math behind sure betting is undeniable, but the profits are usually quite small. If you’re lucky, you can achieve some big profits.


Finally, it is important to remember that most bookies do not want sure bettors on their site. Because of this, they will have limits on bets. If they identify you as a sure bettor, they will usually impose even more restrictions including closing or further limiting the stakes you can place. In some cases, you can get banned from the site entirely. With improved technology, these sites can usually pick this up quite quickly through their betting trackers.

However, to get around this, you should head to one of the popular betting exchange sites that allow and encourages this practice.

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Can you make money sure betting

As we have mentioned throughout, yes, you can make money with sure betting. However, the amounts you make are usually relatively small, often somewhere between 2 to 5%. Despite the profit margin being relatively small, if you are placing many bets at one time, this can accumulate over time. You may of course get lucky and score big on occasion too.


As we have discussed, sure betting is a great way to guarantee a profit when betting on sports. Of course, there are risks as well as rewards, but, as with all betting, being sensible and knowledgeable is key. If done correctly, it can result in risk-free profits, which is why traders employ this method.

Now that you have understood sure betting, you can test it out for yourself.