Surebets happen when bookmakers disagree with each other on the odds. It happens regularly that you can find odds that are so misplaced that you can bet on both sides and guarantee a win. Surebets are also known as arbitrage.
But surebets aren’t without downsides. In this article, we will go through everything you need to know.
How surebets happen
Bookmakers frequently disagree on the odds. Most of the time, the difference between them is small, but occasionally a larger gap happens.
For instance, you might be able to find a tennis match where one player is priced at odds 1.95 with one bookie, while the other is priced at odds 2.10 with another bookie. It would give a total payback percentage of 101.11%.
When this happens, you can do arbitrage – betting on both sides and thereby guaranteeing a profit for yourself. Your edge would in this case be 1.11%. Of course, you would have to bet slightly more on the lower odds and bet slightly less on the higher odds.
Other opportunities for arbitrage can also arrive. For example, if you’ve found a great value bet early in the week, and the odds proceed to be adjusted. Perhaps you have bet a Real Madrid win at 1.90 on Wednesday, and on Saturday the price is 1.60. This would allow a bet on the other site, guaranteeing you a profit as well. This is much harder to pull off though, and if you want to focus on surebetting, you should simply strike when there is a discrepancy between the books on the market.
Placing a surebet
To find surebets, you need to use an odds comparison site to compare the odds on the market and alert you when there is a surebet. There are some different sites that provide this – one example is OddsPortal.
When you see two bookmakers disagreeing so much on the odds that you can arbitrage, it is time to find your calculator and place your bets accordingly.
You would need to have funded accounts ready with several bookmakers in order to take advantage of surebets.
Place the bet as fast as possible, since a bookie can be quick to adjust when it is not lined up with the rest of the market.
When the bet is placed, you simply need to wait for the game to be over, and you will cash in your earnings. Of course, you will only win on one side, but that will still equal an overall profit.
Profiting from surebets long term
One surebet is not going to make you rich. Most likely, the edge will just be a few percentages.
But if you frequently look for surebets, and if you find one opportunity every day, you can gradually earn more and more money. A 1% edge isn’t much over a single game, but if you bet 500 surebets with a 1% edge, and you increase your stakes along the way, you will actually profit a lot.
Risks and issues with surebets
It all sounds great so far – but there are also some risks when it comes to surebets.
The biggest issue is that many bookmakers will severely limit players who are surebetting. Bookmakers eventually notice when their odds are mispriced compared to the market, and if you are always the guy who is taking on these mispriced odds, the bookmaker will be able to spot it. The result is typically that the bookmaker will put a limit on your account so that you can only bet small amounts.
Some bookmakers, like Pinnacle, do accept arbitraging since it is a confident bookmaker that usually has the most correct odds on the market.
Another issue is that odds can constantly move, and you need to pull the trigger fast. Sometimes it happens that a bettor might spot a surebet, and by the time the bettor has placed the first stake, the second odds have already been changed. In this case, the plan no longer works, and the bettor risks losing money instead.
It requires you to be attentive and fast if you want to focus on surebetting. Meanwhile, you also need access to several different bookmakers, and you need your accounts to be funded.
Surebetting is one of the few sports betting strategies that is guaranteed to succeed on paper, and that makes it quite popular. But in actual practice, surebetting/arbitraging isn’t easy since you will typically get limited with most sportsbooks after a while. Still, if you are building up your bankroll, or if you want to cover your risk from a bet you have already placed, surebetting can definitely be a viable strategy to implement at times.