Can You Arbitrage Live Betting?
One of the most attractive aspects of arbing live betting is that there are frequent odds changes with tons of new opportunities every minute. In pre-game, most of the sportsbooks in the market tend to get in line with each other, so opportunities are few and far between. The challenge is that with the live lines moving so quickly, you have to be quick on the trigger to make some money. And done wrong, arbing live betting can go really wrong.
So, what’s the play when it comes to arbs and live betting? What’s the best way to do it and is the risk worth the reward? Let’s take a closer look at how to arbitrage live betting:
- Have To Have The Best Tech
- Wait Until A Break In The Game
- Get A Feel For The Books
- Know Bet Limits, Speed Of Confirmation
- Use The Boosts
- Rely On Hedging Calculators
Have To Have The Best Tech To Arbitrage Live Betting
Before you get started with trying to catch a mismatch of lines with live betting, you have to prepare yourself with the best tech. When it comes to trying to profit off of this strategy, there is an urgent need for speed. The game moves quickly and so do the odds. Anything that slows you down can directly cost you money, so you have to do your best to remove that variable out of the equation.
When you’re talking about an internet connection, you need to get something that at a minimum of 50 MB per second but you’re likely going to want 100+. While the cost on these connections used to be prohibitive, that’s no longer the case. 150 MB per second can be had for under $100 a month in most parts of the United States and Canada.
Rate my setup. pic.twitter.com/RqxwtQy0i9
— Miles Ross Jnr (@MilesTheRoss) February 9, 2019
The next step is your device. If you’re betting on an older smartphone, you’ll want to move off of that and get something more modern. Never mind live betting, simply opening a sportsbook app on a phone that’s a few years old compared to a more modern device could be a difference in 15-30 seconds. The difference in live betting speeds will also be notable.
Consider being prepared with a desktop that has stellar processing power and is stocked with 16 to 20 gigabytes of RAM. That’s going to allow you to jump from page to page, see the lines load and lock in your bets much faster.
Lastly, you might want to consider having two devices. At the very least, you’ll need one device with two windows but even that extra second of clicking over from one to the other can slow you down. Having a phone and a laptop, or a laptop and a desktop, or a desktop with two monitors is ideal, so that you can make sure that you’re locking in your bets as close to the same time as possible.
Wait Until A Break In The Game
The one time where speed won’t be as much of a factor is during the breaks, which is the exact time that we recommend making your bets. If you’re going to try to lock in an arb as teams are running up and down the court in an NBA game, the lines are going to fluctuate quite a bit. Yes, it’s possible that you catch an arb but it’s also possible that the team in possession misses a basket, the other team gets the ball and the lines change. Waiting for a break in the action is going to protect you from downside risks.
If you’re live betting something like baseball, just wait until the inning changeover. In tennis, wait until the end of a set. And in sports like basketball, hockey or football, you’ll have plenty of time at the end of quarters, periods or halves to scour the market and make your decision.
Get A Feel For The Books
Arguably the biggest key to arbitrage live betting during the games is understanding which sportsbooks will present the opportunities. For example, some sportsbooks like PointsBet tend to have tighter spreads on the moneylines in-game versus a sportsbook like MGM or FanDuel. That means PointsBet will be one place where you want to have an account to take advantage. These are the kinds of insights you’ll want to unearth as the different sportsbooks in the markets have different tendencies. You might find that maybe sportsbooks like FanDuel and DraftKings are fairly lined up for in-game lines on baseball and basketball, but might find more mismatches in tennis. Or when it comes to something like UFC, you might see that the books have numbers all over the place, which could make it ripe for the picking. You can even find some strong middle betting opportunities.
Whatever the case, you’re going to have to do some homework in your market and track where the opportunities might be. Sportsbooks will also tweak the juice as Caesars used to be a good place to arbitrage live betting for UFC but then they changed the spreads and now there isn’t as much value.
You’ll also want to get a feel for how big the spreads are at the sportsbooks across the board. For example, DraftKings has tighter spreads (less juice) on something like the NFL but has much bigger margins on something like tennis. That means there’s more opportunity for you to find a match in the NFL that there would be in tennis.
Bet Limits, Speed Of Confirmation
The next step in this process is to double-check what the sportsbook limits are and how quickly the bets confirm.
With the first point, if you’re looking at doing some small-time arbing – let’s say up to $500 or so per bet – then you probably don’t have to worry about limits so much. If you’re trying to do something like get $5,000 on each side, then you’re going to have to double-check the limits. The last thing you want to do is get $5,000 on one side of a line only to find out you can only lock-in $1,000 on the other side, leaving you exposed for $4,000.
With limits, you can double-check the rules at the sportsbook but those can be customized for each bettor. If the sportsbook likes you, maybe you can bet more. If they aren’t as friendly, they might cut you down to lower limits. Whatever the case, you have to know these numbers if you’re going to be placing big bets.
In terms of confirming the bet, you have to double-check how quickly bets confirm with live betting. Sportsbooks are still a little behind with in-game betting technology when it comes to locking in your wager. With pre-game or anything that’s not moving, places like DraftKings or FanDuel will let you confirm a bet in a split second. When it comes to live betting, though, sometimes a sportsbook will think and think and think after you’ve confirmed your bet, and it might come back and tell you something like “Sorry, the odds have changed”. When you’re trying to place an arb, it’s critical that you get money down on both sides. If one works and one doesn’t, you’re going to be exposed to a lot of risk. Make sure you’re familiar with which books will confirm quickly and painlessly, and which will take more time.
If you know that the process might take more time and might get rejected, then don’t use that book during the action. Wait for a break because then the lines are less likely to move and the delay is less likely to impact you.
Use The Boosts
Catching these odds mismatches is no easy feat. That’s why when the sportsbooks hand you an opportunity to make the game easier, you have to take it.
DraftKings Odds Surge
28% EV to Circa and an arb to Kambi. Easy choice since I went Bryce on BR. pic.twitter.com/dLb9Edkjcb
— Promo Hawk (@PromoHawkBets) October 18, 2022
DraftKings tend to be the market leader when it comes to offering odds boosts and many of them are for live betting. If they – or any other sportsbook – offers you up some live betting boosts, make sure you put them to work as these are essentially arbs in a much more friendly fashion.
The best way to use these boosts is to wait for a break in the game like a halftime and then boost one side, arb with the best price at another sportsbook and collect your profit. As long as you have the math right, you can’t go wrong turning these freebies into profits.
Pro Tip: When Sportsbooks Hand You An Opportunity With Boosts, You Have To Take It.
Rely On Hedging Calculators
The last piece of this hedging puzzle is to use a hedge calculator. To the naked eye, few of us would be able to figure out what the perfect hedge is on the other side of a line. If you put in $50 at -145 at one sportsbook and the second book has the opposite team at +150, how much do you wager to make your perfect profit? It’s hard to say. That’s why it’s important to make sure that you have a hedge calculator at the ready to make all of this work. Almost any of these apps or tools will allow you to punch in the numbers and it’ll spit out the exact number that you have to bet on the other side to find the perfect profit either way.
The most common way that bettors blow these types of arb opportunities are by butchering the math. Simply take that out of the equation by having a hedge calculator at your disposal and you’ll minimize those risks.