Every single day, several thousand markets are opening and closing on a ton of different bookmakers and there are differences in the odds on every website. This happens for various reasons, including competitiveness, algorithmic differences in underlying software and markets that are difficult to predict.
An opportunity to do an arbitrage bet is only possible if more than a single bookmaker is used, so one would need two separate accounts, both with funds on them to play. Let’s do an example to keep things simple:
Team Solo Mid (TSM) vs (DIG) Dignitas
If Bookie#1 has odds 1.50 for TSM to win and 2.50 for DIG to win, and then on Bookie#2 the odds are 2.25 for TSM to win and 1.85 for DIG to win then you are actually able to place a bet on Bookie#1 that Dignitas is gonna win the game at odds 2.50 and then on Bookie#2 you place a bet for Team Solo Mid to win the game at 2.25 and be 100% sure that you are gonna make money on the match.
How much money you get depends on how much you ‘invest’ in this particular possibility that you may have come across, and also on the difference in the bookmakers odds. The example is an obvious arbitrage possibility since odds of 2 or more is available on all possible outcomes, sometimes, though, it is a bit more cryptic.
For instance, if the odds are 1.20 / 12.32 then you probably are not certain if it’s profitable to make a profit here, luckily with simple mathematic formulas it is easy to expose a profitable ‘arb-trade’ as often referred to, from a certain loss. These will be explained later on, but first, I would like to cover some of the potential limitations to this (Yes, there are several limitations of sorts, this is NOT an easy millionaire strategy) and the things to be exceptionally watchful about.
The most important thing to prevent you from losing money is to keep a steady focus at all times, the trick in esports arbitrage betting is to eliminate the chance of you losing your money, but human errors is your worst enemy still. Not being aware that on one bookie you’re looking at odds for the first map of a LCS match and on the other bookie you actually have the final results of all three maps played (or more, depending on the tournament structure) and thus you might actually fool yourself into losing money on what is a ‘sure bet’ in your eyes.
Focus, patience and a tiny bit of mathematical know-how is all that is needed to do arbitrage betting so I encourage you to give it a try. And why not on E-sports? You can try it too as long as there are enough bookies with similar markets and events, which there definitely is for any kind of E-sports.
Lastly, before diving into the mathematics, I’d like to point out that ALL sportsbooks have a minimum and a maximum wagering size, this can prevent you from filling out the second half of your sure bet, leaving you with a regular bet and a chance to lose out so be sure to have these dearly noted on the bookies you use. I also recommend using at least 3-5 websites if possible, then you can be certain there is a profit opportunity somewhere.
How you find it, and calculate how good an investment it is and also how much to wager on each bookie in order to return a guaranteed profit is incredibly easy to master. Even though it might seem hard to understand at first, it’s easily adjusted to, and you can learn to spot these possibilities for free money on the fly, just by looking through the bookmakers listings.
So, lets get right into it, shall we? Firstly, when you are looking through the different odds, you wanna find the highest ones available for all the outcomes of your event. Obviously, if it’s a binary market you bet it makes it simpler, but arbitrage is also possible on i.e soccer matches despite there being three outcomes 1X2 (team one win|DRAW|team two win).
To find out if you have a sure bet option on your odds simply divide 1 by odds, and then multiply that number by 100. Example calculations with odds 1.20: (1 /1.20) x 100 = 83.33 %. You do these calculations with the probabilities of all the outcomes you have to cover to be sure to win and then add these numbers together if it’s less than 100 you have an arbitrage bet in front of you!
Now what you need to do is find out how much you need to place of your total stake on each outcome, this is luckily also solved by an easy mathematical equation. It goes as follows, assuming you are investing 1000 $:
– First, you need the numbers that you got calculating your odds before, we have one which is 83.33
– Our second odds are 16.2 so doing the same calculations as before we get the number 6.17
– Adding this to our first number from the other outcome we have to cover we get 89.50, which is under 100 so a possible risk-free option.
Then just take your stake (or investment), in our case 1000$, and multiply it by the individual odds then divide that number with the aggregate result. Example calculations with the above numbers:
1000 / 1.20 = 833.33 $ is to be placed on odds 1.20
1000 / 16.2 = 61.72 $ to place on other outcome.
This ensures you profit no matter the result, and makes sure you are perfectly balancing your money between the outcomes.
You won’t actually be wagering 1000 USD, but as much as you need to bet to win this amount no matter the outcome and you are betting less than 1000 dollars as you can see in the above calculations. Our example bet is a little south of 900 $ to win 1000 $ which is a great deal unless the match is played in the year 2020, then it might not be as attractive of course.
Generally, you wanna look at the upcoming events for surebets, and preferably within a sport you know and love, perhaps even play yourself. With the wide-spread adoption of the internet and the increasing interest for E-sports makes it a growing opportunity to find many opportunities to make money. I personally can recommend League of Legends as a great place to look if you know your bookies. Some others worth mentioning are CS:GO and Hearthstone/Dota2.
The beauty of online gaming is the ease on which a bookmaker can keep track of matches, results etc since everything happens online. This ensures that even the most ‘underground’ categories (Like LCS challenger series) is covered and can be bet on more often than not. There is always E-sport to place money on, and thus always chances of free cash with arbitrage strategy.
A few general tips in League of legends specific is to make sure you are on the correct market on both bookies and also be sure to check some smaller markets like who gets first blood etc, instead of just checking the match winner. For CS:GO, the same tips count, I often find possibilities in the market ‘Winner of 1st round’ but always make sure it’s for the same map.
In case you are betting with bitcoins, or any other currency, the calculations are exactly the same. If you are used to American odds, those would need to be converted to decimal for these calculations to work. There are multiple bot services and arbitrage calculators which will take your parameters and tell you if your numbers are high enough on both outcomes and if you can make a profit.
I recommend making the calculations yourself, but these softwares are often free to download and use, so feel free to try it out at your own risk. Now, you possess the tools to make money with a 100% guarantee from your computer, at home, betting on esport you love and enjoy. I recommend you give it a shot, you can start doing arbitrage trades with as low funds as your bookies allow you to deposit, and then you are good to go.
Just skim through the odds on the same markets and do the calculations if it seems like the numbers are ‘off’, if probabilities are both above 2.0 then it is a profitable option for sure. That scales out to other odds combinations like 1.20 and 16.55 etc. An easy way to proceed after finding an opportunity on a market is to combine your total balance on all bookies (only websites involved in the bet) and divide that by 2, or more, depending on how much you wanna invest.
Then use this number as your stake or investment amount, and calculate how much to wager on each result using above formula. This way you can ensure you have balance for other, perhaps better, opportunities that might arise while you are twisting your brain with maths.
Best of luck on your betting! You won’t even need it.