Any time you bet on sports, you’re comparing rish with reward. It’s the essence of gambling and the reason it’s so thrilling. But what if we told you there’s finance strategy used by professional sports bettors that guarantee profits, one that involves taking both sides of a two-way bet simultaneously?
It’s called arbitrage betting, and people have been doing it since the dawn of bookmaking. Betting the middle is another really similar sports betting strategy that uses point spread bets instead of moneylines. We’ll explain betting the middle in detail too.
Called an “arb” for short, arbitrage betting isn’t as simple as going to a sportsbook and taking both sides of the same bet at once. If you did that, you’d be guaranteed one win and one loss, and because of the sportsbook’s commission you’ll always lose more money than you gain.
But by mixing various sportsbooks or finding lines that have moved, you can hedge your bets just like a professional sports bettor. Although this form of betting is typically practiced by pros, you don’t need to be one to pull it off; all that’s required is patience, research and discipline.
How Arbitrage and Betting the Middle Works?
Betting the middle involves taking both sides of a two-way bet. For instance, if you were betting on a football game between the Indianapolis Colts and Cincinnati Bengals, you’d bet on both teams to win, each at different sportsbooks that are offering different betting odds.
Both the spread and the moneyline work, but only the moneyline guarantees profit and is truly considered arbitrage betting.
When you practice arbitrage betting on the moneyline, you’re guaranteed to make a profit because you’re selecting odds that produce more profit on your winning bet than the amount lost on your losing bet. This involves finding the best odds in the market and then calculating exactly how much should be staked for each wager in order to ensure you’re making a profit.
The profit margin won’t be big;it’s typically under 5%, so sports bettors must lay a lot of money n order to get a secent return.
Arbitrage Betting Summary:
- Placing and arb involves taking both sides of a bet.
- To take both sides of a bet, you must track down the best odds for each team at seperate sportsbooks. This can be done easily with odds comparison sites such as Odds Checker.
- If you suspect an opportunity for arbitrage, you must calculate the total omplied probability to ensure profits.
- If the total implied probability confirms an arbitrage opportunity, you then determine how much to stake on each wager using an arbitrage calculator.
Betting the middle with spreads also involves taking both sides of a bet, but instead of being guaranteed profit, you get the the chance to win both your bets. To do this, you’ll need to find two game lines with different point spreads. The “middle” is the gap between both spreads. To win both bets, the win margin must end up in the middle of both teams’ spreads. If you do win twice, you gain more profit than you would from hedged moneyline bets.
A second winning scenario exists with middling betting that involves winning one bet and pushing the other. This comes from the total win margin falling on either side of the middle. We’ll explain further with a detailed example in the next section.
Betting the Middle Summary:
- To bet the middle, find two different gamelines with unique spreads for the same ame. Ex. -3 and -5.
- Take both sides of the bet to capitalize on the gap in the point spread. Ex. Take the favourite at -3 and the underdog at +5.
- You win twice if the favourite beats the underdog by the number of points isolated between both spreads. 4 points is the magic number in this example. If the favourite wins by 4 points, noth bets cover the spread.
- You win one bet and push the other if the favourite beats the underdog by the number of points surrounding the middle. Ex. If the favourite beats the underdog by 5 points, the favourite covers and the underdog bet pushes.
Arbitrage betting may sound complicated at first, but it’s a crucial component of sports betting strategy.
Some bettors consider it one of many tools needed to gain an edge on sportsbooks, while others bet exclusively through arbitrage. However you use it, it will give you an edge in the long-term. We’ll go through an example of each type of bet to simplify the concept.