What is Middle Betting?

Middling is similar to arbitrage betting, where the aim is to exploit the different prices between bookmakers. Middles occur in Asian Handicap and Over/Under markets and can provide some juicy returns, but also some big losses. There are three types of middles; Positive Middles, Negative Middles and Polish (Inverted) Middles.

Positive Middling

This type of middling is the most valuable as there is no chance of loss, but they can be quite difficult to find. To illustrate positive middling, we’ll use an Asian Handicap betting situation. For positive middling to work, you need to find a market where two bookies intersect and the staking has been calculated to ensure a profitable return. Below is a hypothetical example of a game between Liverpool and Norwich and the four possible outcomes.

Liverpool (-2 goals) 1.90 @ Bookie X (Stake $51.5 for a $46.35 profit)

Norwich (+3 goals) 2.25 @ Bookie Y (Stake $43.5 for a $54.37 profit)

You can not lose when placing a Positive Middle bet.

You can not lose when placing a Positive Middle bet.

Possible Outcome 1

Liverpool win by less than 2 goals, game is drawn or Liverpool lose.

  • You lose the (-2) bet at Bookie X

  • You win the (+3) bet at Bookie Y

Profit = $54.37 - $51.5 = $2.87

Possible Outcome 2

Liverpool win by more than 3 goals

  • You win the (-2) bet at Bookie X

  • You lose the (+3) bet at Bookie Y

Profit = $46.35 - $43.5 = $2.85

Possible Outcome 3

Liverpool win by exactly 2 goals

  • Your (-2) bet for Liverpool is refunded at Bookie X

  • You win the (+3) bet for Norwich at Bookie Y

Profit = $0 + $54.37 = $54.37

Possible Outcome 4

Liverpool win by exactly 3 goals

  • You win the (-2) bet for Liverpool at Bookie X

  • Your (+3) bet for Norwich is refunded at Bookie Y

Profit = $46.35 + $0 = $46.35

Negative Middling

This type of middling is more risky as most of the time you will lose a small percentage of your outlay, but there is a small chance of both bets winning, meaning huge profits. See our example below using an Over/Under market (assuming we put $100 on each bet).

Bookie X - Real Madrid vs Barcelona Total Goals  = Under 3.5 goals @ 1.90

Bookie Y - Real Madrid vs Barcelona Total Goals  = Over 2.5 goals @ 1.90

Possible Outcome 1

Total goals scored in the game is 4 or more

  • Your bet with Bookie Y (Over 2.5 goals) wins - $100 x 1.90 = $90 profit

  • Your bet with Bookie X (Under 3.5 goals) loses = $100 loss

Profit = A loss of $10

Possible Outcome 2

Total goals scored in the game is 2 or less

  • Your bet with Bookie Y (Over 2.5 goals) loses = $100 loss

  • Your bet with Bookie X (Under 3.5 goals) wins - $100 x 1.90 = $90 profit

Profit = A loss of $10

Possible Outcome 3

Total goals scored in the game is 3

  • Your bet with Bookie Y (Over 2.5 goals) wins - $100 x 1.90 = $90 profit

  • Your bet with Bookie X (Under 3.5 goals) wins - $100 x 1.90 = $90 profit

Profit = $90 + $90 = $180

Is Negative Middling useful?

Let’s take a look at how useful this method of betting is, in other words, how often do you need the middle to land in order to break-even. If you won your first ever middle bet you pocket $180, which means if you lose the next 18 bets you can sustain the $180 (assuming the odds and staking are the exact same every 18 bets). So, if this middle bet lands more than once every nineteen games, your strategy has a positive expected value.

Polish (Inverted) Middles

This type of middling is the opposite to negative middling, to obtain a profit you want the Asian Handicap or the Over/Under to fall outside of the middle. Polish Middling is perhaps the most dangerous type of middling as there is a chance you can lose both of your bets, but there is a greater chance you will earn a small profit. See our example below (assuming we put $100 on each bet).

Liverpool (-3.5 goals) 2.25 @ Bookie X 

Norwich (+2.5 goals) 2.25 @ Bookie Y 

Polish Middling is like backing a 1.125 favourite.

Polish Middling is like backing a 1.125 favourite.

Possible Outcome 1

Liverpool win by 4 or more goals

  • You win the (-3.5) bet at Bookie X

  • You lose the (+2.5) bet at Bookie Y

Profit - $125 - $100 = $25

Possible Outcome 2

Liverpool win by 2 or less goals, draw, or lose

  • You lose the (-3.5) bet at Bookie X

  • You win the (+2.5) bet at Bookie Y

Profit - $125 - $100 = $25

Possible Outcome 3

Liverpool win by exactly 3 goals

  • You lose the (-3.5) bet at Bookie X

  • You lose the (+2.5) bet at Bookie Y

Profit = A loss totalling $200

Is Polish Middling useful?

Just like we did with Negative Middles, let’s take a look at how useful this method of betting is. If you lost your first ever middle bet you lose $200, which means you would have to win your next eight bets to retrieve your $200 (assuming the odds and staking are the exact same every eight bets). So, if your bet hits the middle more than once out of every nine games, your strategy has a negative expected value.

So, is middling worth it?

It’s definitely worth it if there is considerable disagreement in the market between bookies. But bettors need to remember that betting a Negative Middle is the equivalent of backing a long shot, and betting a Polish Middle is the same as putting your money on a 1.125 favourite. 

Value Betting is the best way to beat the Bookies

In general we consider value betting to be a superior method to any form of arbitrage betting. This is why we chose to build our service around value betting. You can read more about why value betting is more profitable than arbing here.

Check out some of our other articles similar to this one:

What Is "A Push" In Sports Betting?

Want to learn what “A Push” is in Sports Betting? Read the article to find out!

A push occurs when the result of a sporting event ends as a tie between the sports bettor and the sportsbook. 

Neither party wins or loses. Instead, the original wager is refunded to the sports bettor.

Pushes in sports betting is not the worst thing in the world. What’s annoying is that you can spend your time watching the entire game, only to break even. Nevertheless, sports bettors are not punished by sportsbooks for push bets. The full wager is always refunded.

Pushes are the most common in sports that use the point spread like basketball and football but they can also be used in sports like ice hockey and baseball in terms of over/under betting.

Example

Imagine there was an upcoming NHL game between the Boston Bruins and the Calgary Flames.  Now, as part of an NHL picks card, imagine a sports bettor was to bet that both teams would combine to score more than 5 goals.

The push comes into play if, at the end of the game, exactly 5 goals were scored.

If the bet was made and exactly 5 goals were indeed scored, the bet pushes and the bettor would receive 100% of their wager back.

Parlay Push 

If a bettor is making a parlay, every event in the parlay must win in order for the bet to win. But what if one of these events is a push? Does the parlay become void?

In most sportsbooks, the answer is no. If a push occurs on one of the events in the parlay, that event is dropped from the parlay entirely.

In essence, it’s as if that event was never selected in the parlay at all. After the event is removed from the parlay, the payout multiplier is adjusted, meaning that the new payout potential is also adjusted.

However, this is not always the case.

Some sportsbooks will count a push as a loss so it’s important to be aware of that sportsbook’s rules and T&Cs before making the play.

Half Points

Most betting lines on offer do not use whole numbers. Instead, they use half numbers. These betting lines do not have push as an option as half points cannot be scored in any sport.

Going back to the previous example, imagine the total goals scored was over/under 5.5 instead of 5 and let’s say the bettor wagered on the over.

If 6 or more goals are scored, the bet wins. If 5 or fewer goals are scored, the bet loses. Half points are a way for sportsbooks to avoid pushes.

At the end of the day, they are in the business of making money and pushes prevent them from doing so.

Avoiding A Push

While sportsbooks look to avoid pushes, bettors benefit from not using them too. After all, while pushes avoid losses, they also prevent wins.

For example, in football, the most common margin of victories are 3 points, 4 points and 7 points. This means that getting a half point on either side of the line can turn a push into a win.

Inside Trademate Push = Void

Inside the Trademate Sports products, we classify bets which end as a push as voided. The reason for this is that the outcome of both these instances are the same. That the original wager is refunded to the sports bettor. So instead of having to different classifications it’s simpler to just count them both as void.

This Article was written by Ghostbettingtips!

Do you know the different odds types? 

We have written articles explaining them: 

What is a bet? The right way to look at a bet in sports betting

When trying to understand what a bet is most of us need to change our perspective on what it really means to place a bet. Read this article to get a thorough explanation of what a bet is.

The most intuitively easy bet to understand is where two people put in the same amount of money on an event, where you either double your money or lose it. This is typically for events with around 50% chance of happening, like a coin toss.  

Let’s say we have two people: Andrew and Bobby. They want to bet on a coin toss, and they are friends, so they want it to be fair. Both of them are putting in 100 dollars, Andrew on heads and Bobby on tails. If heads, Andrew will double his money winning 100 dollars from Bobby. If tails, Bobby will double his money winning 100 dollars from Andrew. This implies an odd of 2 for both of them which correlates well with the true probability of a coin toss, which is 50% for both heads and tails.

In practice people rarely bet on coin tosses or games where the odds are 2 on both sides of the bet. So let’s use a different example next before we explain how it relates to sports betting. 

Andrew who are really good at hitting the crossbar, wants to take it up a notch and wants to bet with Bobby if he hits the crossbar or not. But Andrew can hit the crossbar often, 4 out of 5 times, or 80% of the time. This means that he misses 1 out of 5 shots, or 20% of the shots he takes. Since Andrew hits more often than 50%, it would be unfair to Bobby if they both went in with 100 dollars where the winner takes all. 

For this to be fair, they need to adjust their stake sizes. For them to find the correct stake sizes they need to find the correct odds, which reflects the probability. To get the odds from the probability, we use the inverse (1/probability) and the odds of Rob hitting the crossbar would be:

 1/(4/5) = 1.25. 

 

While the odds of him missing would be:

1/(1/5) = 5. 

 

If you are wondering why the odds equals the inverse of the probability of the event, be sure to check this article out.

 

Andrew would also this time ask Bobby what odds he would give him if he were to bet 100 dollars. Bobby knows his stuff so he gives Andrew the odds of 1.25. This would mean that Andrew would bet 100 dollars and has a potential profit of 25, while Bobby would bet 25 dollars with the potential profit of 100 dollars. The reason to adjusting the stake sizes is so it would reflect the odds which is similar to the underlying probability as we explained in the article about odds. To clarify, odds is just a way of adjusting stake sizes in a bet between two parties to reflect the underlying probability.

 

In sports betting, it is important to understand that it is always two sides of a bet. And because people rarely bet on coin tosses, or events with the exact same probability, the odds are usually not the same for both sides of the bet. The two sides of the bet are called backing and laying. Andrew is backing himself hitting the crossbar, while Bobby is laying the bet that Andrew is hitting the crossbar. 

 

If you have ever bet on a bookmaker site, you would be backing different outcomes like home win, draw or away win. In these cases, the bookmaker would always be laying bets against the bet you are backing. For clarity, laying bets means to bet on any event not to happen

 

Laying bets with two outcomes is easy to understand, as laying one side of the bet means backing the other outcome. The difficulty often arises when we have 3 or more outcomes. If we use football as an example, the usual thing to bet on is full time match winner. This consists of three outcomes: home win, draw and away win. 

 

In this case; 

1.    Laying a home win would mean backing draw and away win. 

2.    Laying a draw would mean backing home win and away win. 

3.    Laying an away win would mean backing home win and draw. 

SIDE NOTE: More advanced readers would also notice that instead of backing a home and draw by having two separate bets on home and draw one could place an asian handicap (AHC) +0.5 on the home team. If you are unfamiliar with AHC bets, this article explains what an Asian Handicap Bet is and how it works to bet on them. 

 

Take some time and think of how this applies to a bookmaker and what really happens when you bet 100 dollars on Liverpool to win at home with 1.2 odds? 

This would mean that the bookmaker thinks that it is 1/1.2 = 0.8333 = 83.33% chance that Liverpool would win or a chance of 1-0.8333 = 0.166666 = 16.66% that Liverpool were to not win. This would mean that the bookmaker bets 20 dollars on draw andaway win with the odds of (1/0,16666 = 6) against your 100 dollars on the home win! If this is hard to understand think back to Andrew and Bobby’s crossbar challenge.

If you would think this through the probability for not home win should be the same as the probability for away win and draw. The same goes for the odds. Let us start by showing you an example with the total probability equalling 1.

Let us see how this works with a random football match with three outcomes. We have the corresponding odds and probability like this:

What is a bet? The right way to look at a bet in sports betting  Photos  1 Random Match odds

The probability for not H is 1 - (1/2.5) = 1 – 0.4 = 0.6

The probability for U and B is 1/4 + 1/2.86 = 0.25 + 0.35 = 0.6

 

We now know that there are two sides of every bet and what this really means. Now we need to separate practice from theory and look at how it works when you bet against a bookmaker. 

 

What is a bet? The right way to look at a bet in sports betting  Photos  2 Coin toss balanced odds

Let us start with the coin toss. As we can see the odds are balanced with the probability since the probability for both heads and tails are 1/2 and the odds are 1/(1/2) = 2. The balance is showed with the colour blue. 

What is a bet? The right way to look at a bet in sports betting  Photos  3 From coin toss to crossbar challenge odds adjustment

If we go from a coin toss to a crossbar challenge where Andrew is hitting the ball, the underlying probability changes. If the odds do not change, we would have a positive value bet on one side of the bet. We would have positive value on the backing side, while there would be negative value on the laying side. We can see this in the picture, green corresponding with positive value while red means negative value. The true odds for the event would be 1.25 for a hit and 5 for a miss, while we would get the odds of 2 for either outcomes. There would be positive value betting on Andrew hitting with 2 in odds because the odds are higher than what the underlying probability suggests. 

What the different symbols mean.

What the different symbols mean.

What is a bet? The right way to look at a bet in sports betting  Photos  5 Balanced bet without edge

Here we have the balanced-out odds of the crossbar challenge between Andrew and Bobby. As we can see the odds given is the same as the true odds from the underlying probability. This would be fair odds and would essentially mean that Andrew and Bobby would break even in the long term. These examples are as applicable to real sports events as they are to a crossbar challenge, so let us switch from a crossbar challenge (hit/miss) to a random football game (home win/not home win) using the same odds.  

What is a bet? The right way to look at a bet in sports betting  Photos  6 Adjusted bet with edge1

In reality, putting up odds equalling the underlying probability for every bet can be challenging. So, let us see what happens if the odds are slightly wrong compared to the probability. Here the odds are adjusted to 1,33 and 4, while the probability still suggests odds of 1,25 and 5. This will give you positive value if you were to bet on home win, while laying home win would give you negative value. 

What is a bet? The right way to look at a bet in sports betting  Photos  7 Adjusted bet with edge2

For this example, we see that the positive value and negative value just switch places, making laying the bet the preferred choice. As we can see from these two examples, if a bookmaker would operate with odds that reflects a total probability of 1, they would need to hit the exact probability every time. Or else they would risk giving away an edge, it just depends on which side of the bet the edge is on. So, what do bookmakers do to mitigate for this risk factor? Well, the answer is simple; they make the stick bigger.

What is a bet? The right way to look at a bet in sports betting  Photos  8 Bookmaker margin

This picture shows the difference between the true probability and the corresponding odds as well as how a bookmaker operates. They basically calculate their odds from a total probability of more than what is theoretically possible. This will give them more wiggle room for the odds which will make it easier to put up odds with a positive edge for them. In other words, they use the margin to protect themselves from the uncertainty that exists when trying to predict the true odds. 

 

Essentially, this will overvalue the probability, while undervaluing the odds consistently over time.

 

But, how can we find value now, when they are always providing less odds than what is probable? Well, we find it when the blue double arrow goes outside the yellow area on the picture. Then the odds would be either higher than 5 for laying home win or higher than 1.25 for backing home win. 

What is a bet? The right way to look at a bet in sports betting  Photos  9 Bookmaker wrong odds

In this picture we clearly see that in order to get an overvalued bet, in this case a home win, the bookmaker would need to overestimate the probability of the contrary by a lot. They still do this, and when we find these kinds of bets we would have an edge over the bookie. This is what Trademate do for you, finding edges on thousands of events. To understand how this works, check out this article.  

What is a bet? The right way to look at a bet in sports betting  Photos  10 Tug of war

Key Takeaway

It is really important to understand that there are two sides to every bet and every bet should be looked at as a tug of war. The one who get the better value than the true probability wins in the long term, so be sure to be on the right side of the bet. Trademate provide you with all the right tools to do this.   

Do you know the different odds types? 

We have written articles explaining them: 

What are odds? The right way to look at odds for sports betting

If you still wonder what odds really are and how to really understand it, look no further. We will give you a walk through of what odds are and how this applies to betting in general.

Andrew and Bobby.

Andrew and Bobby.

In most places related to sports and betting you will see the odds of a team winning rather than the probability. The reason you will see odds instead of probability, is because the odds tells you how much you would be winning if you placed a bet on a given odds. E.g. if you bet 100 on 2.00 in odds, you would be returned 200 if you won. One could have used probability instead to describe how likely it was that you would win the bet. But then it would not be as clear how much you’d win if you bet $100. The relationship between odds and probability is that odds = the inverse of the probability (odds = 1 / probability). If one is betting on the true margin free odds of a bet with 2 outcomes, e.g. a coin flip, you would expect to break even in the long run independent of which side of the bet you chose. Let’s use an example to show that this is true. 

We use the example with Andrew and Bobby. Andrew (A) wants to bet with Bobby (B) if he hits the crossbar or not. Historically he hits 4 out of 5 times and misses 1 out of 5 times. This would give the corresponding odds of 1/(4/5) = 1.25 for a hit and 1/(1/5) = 5 for a miss. Andrew wants to bet 100 dollars on himself hitting the bar, so he then asks Bobby what odds he can give him. Bobby knows the math so he says he can give him an odd of 1.25. 

Andrew have now bet 100 dollars on the odds of 1.25 giving him potential return of: 125 dollars or a profit of 25 dollars. 

Bobby have now bet 25 dollars on the odds of 5 giving him potential return of: 125 dollars or a profit of 100 dollars.  

Andrew and Bobby with the crossbar.

Andrew and Bobby with the crossbar.

If they were to do this over a period of time, let’s say 5 times, based on the probability it should go like this.

If they were to do this over a period of time, let’s say 5 times, based on the probability it should go like this.

In a sample size like this of only 5 kicks to hit the crossbar, this would generally not happen because the variance (or standard deviation) is too high. But when you do this over a large sample size, say he is kicking the ball 100 000 times, the variance becomes smaller and the probability that is reflected in the odds correlates much better with the probability for the real events. If this is confusing you should read more about the law of large numbers.

It is important to notice that they would break even only for events where the odds and probability relates to each other 1 to 1.

 

Bobby gets a downgrade in IQ.

Bobby gets a downgrade in IQ.

Bobby now gets a downgrade in IQ, so he does not understand the math. Andrew then asks again what odds Bobby can provide if he wants to bet 100 dollars. Bobby says he would give him 1.5 for hitting the crossbar, essentially giving himself the odds of 3. These odds relate to each other 1 to 1, because the probability in total equals 1:

 

1/1.5 = 0.667 while 1/3 = 0.333

0.667 + 0.333 = 1

 

But, The odds do not relate 1 to 1 with the underlying probability. If the odds were to relate to the probability, we would give the odds of 1.25 and 5 as in the last example. Let’s see what happens with 1.5 and 3 in odds:

 

Andrew is still betting 100 dollars with a potential return of: 150 dollars or a profit of 50 dollars. 

Bobby is betting 50 dollars with a potential return of: 150 or a profit of 100 dollars.  

Screen Shot 2019-08-12 at 9.24.38 am.png

As we can see A wins, while B loses in the long term. This is because the odds of him hitting the bar is overvalued (or the underlying probability is undervalued) while the odds of him missing is undervalued (or the underlying probability is overvalued). When the probability is undervalued it means that the event happens more often than the probability suggests as reflected in the odds

How overvalued and undervalued odds and probability works together.

How overvalued and undervalued odds and probability works together.

 

But then you might want to ask: But no sports match is the same, so how is this applicable to the real world? Well, over a vast amount of games there is large evidence for the probability to be reflected in the odds. If you want to read more about it, check this article out

 

Key takeaway

Odds and probability are in theory really just two sides of the same coin, but in practice the case is different. This is because (soft) bookmakers usually offer unfair odds, which do not reflect the underlying probability. This is the way the bookmakers make money, so it is important to understand that the odds at the bookmakers almost never reflect the underlying probability.   

Do you know the different odds types? 

We have written articles explaining them: 

How To Make Money From Arbitrage Betting On Sports

Do you want to learn how to make a guaranteed profit from your Sports bets? THIS ARTICLE WILL TEACH YOU WHAT ARBITRAGE BETTING IS AND HOW YOU CAN MAKE MONEY FROM IT.

To be able to utilize Arbitrage (also called arbing) in Betting, any bettor must understand what lies behind the concept of “free money” and be able to spot situations where opportunities present themselves. In addition, it is important to realize that there are certain risks connected with arbitrage betting. People who do arbitrage betting are commonly referred to as arbitrage bettors or arbers.

The strategy surrounding arbitrage betting is built on the foundation of earning money without risking anything and making a guaranteed profit from the trade.

In short, arbitrage betting is about finding odds at different bookmakers, which when combined will lead to a margin that works in the favor of the bettor rather than the bookmaker. When the margin sides with the bettor, a profit is guaranteed. This is if the bettor is able to stake the different bets correctly.

This ultimately means that you need to calculate the margin and stake your bet properly to have the possibility of creating a bet that will give you a profit, independent of the game outcome.

How to calculate Arbitrage winnings in a two-way market, such as in football, where a draw is not a possibility.

How to calculate Arbitrage winnings in a two-way market, such as in football, where a draw is not a possibility.

How do we calculate the margin in a two-way market?

The calculation of the margin and the exploitation of this, is essential to put yourself in a position where it is possible to make money, no matter which way the game and the bet goes. Therefore, it is critical to know what numbers to look for, and how to put them together.

In the examples below, the bet will be on the home-team to win at bookmaker A and the away-team to win at bookmaker B.

The formula for calculating the margin of a two-way-bet (only two different outcomes are possible) is as follows;

(1 / Decimal odds of home-team on bookmaker A) * 100  

+

(1 / Decimal odds of away-team on bookmaker B) * 100

Subtract this number from 100, and the margin will appear. If the number that appears is positive the bettor has the advantage, and if it is negative the bookmaker has the advantage.

How to stake your bet properly in a two-way market?

Finding the margin of the Arbitrage Bet is only half of the job done, as we also need to stake the Bet correctly in order to ensure that the profit will be the same. This will be the case if the home- or away-team wins.

The formula for calculating the correct stake at each bookmaker of a two-way-bet is as follows;

Home-team to win at bookmaker A = (Combined stake between the two bets * Probability of winning according to bookmaker) / Market margin

Away-team to win at bookmaker B = (Combined stake between the two bets * Probability of winning according to the bookmaker) / Market margin 

The approach described with regards to margin and stake for the two-way market applies to sports where there are two possible outcomes. Examples of sports where a draw is not a possibility is tennis, basketball and ice-hockey.

However, there are a number of sports where there are three possible outcomes of a game, with the most popular being football. Therefore, it is a valuable trait to possess the knowledge of how to find the margin and stake bets properly in three-way markets as well.

How do we calculate the margin in a three-way market?

The possible outcomes of a game in a three-way market is a Home-win, a Draw and an Away-win. This means that the bettors must, especially, distribute the stake of the bet to yet another bookmaker. This complicates the calculations a tiny bit, but the premise of the formula still remains the same.

In the examples below, the bet will be on the home-team to win at bookmaker A, a draw at bookmaker B, and on the away-team to win at bookmaker C.

The formula for calculating the margin of a three-way bet is as follows;

(1 / Decimal odds of home-team on bookmaker A) * 100

(1 / Decimal odds of a draw on bookmaker B) * 100

(1 / Decimal odds of an away-team win on bookmaker C) * 100 

Once again, subtract this number from 100, and the margin will appear. If the number that appears is positive the bettor has the advantage, and if it is negative the bookmaker has the advantage.

How to stake your bet properly in a three-way market?

Now that you have found the margin of the bet, it is equally important to stake the bet in a three-way market, as it was in the two-way market.

The formula for calculating the correct stake at each bookmaker of a three-way-bet is as follows;

Home-team to win at bookmaker A = (Combined stake between the three bets * Probability of winning according to the bookmaker) / Market margin

A draw at bookmaker B = (Combined stake between the three bets * Probability of winning according to the bookmaker) / Market margin

Away-team at bookmaker C = Combined stake between the three bets * Probability of winning according to the bookmaker) / Market margin

The three different stakes on the three different bets will ensure the bettor a profit in total, and will reward the bettor with the definition of what Arbitrage Betting is.  

If this was a little confusing, do not worry! Below are more specific examples of how to calculate both margins and stakes in two- and three-way markets.

Example of an Arbitrage Bet in a two-way market

Imagine a tennis match between two of the worlds greatest players, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. To be able to use Arbitrage Betting on the match, we need two separate bookmakers, bookmaker A and bookmaker B.

How to calculate Arbitrage Winnings in a tennis-match.

How to calculate Arbitrage Winnings in a tennis-match.

The odds for Djokovic to win at bookmaker A is 1,58.

The odds for Federer to win at bookmaker B is 3,54.

The bettor decides to stake $200 combined.

To begin the analysis of the Arbitrage Bet, it is once again, important to look at the margin of the bet;

Djokovic at bookmaker A = (1 / 1,58) * 100 = 63,29

+

Federer at bookmaker B = (1 / 3,54) * 100 = 28,25

When this is combined, it totals at (63,29 + 28,25) = 91,54.

To find the Margin, we subtract the total from one hundred (100-91,54) = 8,46 %

Now that we have the Margin at hand, it is necessary to calculate what the stakes of the bet should be, and where they should be placed;

Djokovic at bookmaker A = (200 * 63,29) / 91,54 = $138,28

Federer at bookmaker B = (200 * 28,25) / 91,54 = $61,72

Finally, we can see how much the profit will increase and decrease with the different results and scenarios (table below), and understand how the profit in this case is guaranteed.

Arbitrage Betting Article Picture Outcome 2-way.png

From the table above, it is clear that when Djokovic wins, the bettor gains a profit. This is because the stakes and the winning odds outweigh the stakes placed on the opponent.

The same thing happens when Federer wins, even though the stakes lost are higher. This means that the winning odds also must be higher.

It is also clear that the stakes are correct, as the profits match each other almost completely, only missing each other by one cent.

This is fairly easy to understand, but is a little more complex when we add another outcome and another bookmaker to the equation. But once again, do not worry! Just keep reading, and it will all be explained below.

Example of an arbitrage bet in a three-way market

Now that the tennis-match has played out, the attention turns to a soccer-game in the Premier League between Chelsea and Manchester City, where there has been added an outcome. In this match, there is a possibility of drawing the game, meaning that the game can end with a Chelsea-win, a draw and a Manchester City-win.

How to calculate the Arbitrage winnings in a soccer match.

How to calculate the Arbitrage winnings in a soccer match.

We have three bookmakers; bookmaker A, bookmaker B, and bookmaker C.

The odds for Chelsea to win at bookmaker A is 4,80.

The odds for a draw at bookmaker B is 3,40.

The odds for Manchester City at bookmaker C is 2,90.

The bettor decides to stake $300 combined.

To begin, we will try to find the margin of the bet;

Chelsea to win at bookmaker A = (1 / 4,80) * 100 = 20,83

+

A draw at bookmaker B = (1 / 3,40) * 100 = 29,41

+

Manchester City to win at bookmaker C = (1 / 2,90) * 100 = 34,48

When this is combined, it totals at (20,83 + 29,41 + 34,48) = 84,73.

To find the Margin, we subtract the total from one hundred (100-84,73) = 15,27%

Now that the Margin is calculated, we will seek to find the right stake sizes at each individual part of the bet;

Chelsea to win at bookmaker A = (300 * 20,83) / 84,73 = $73,75

A draw at bookmaker B = (300 * 29,41) / 84,73 = $104,13

Manchester City to win at bookmaker C = (300 * 34,48) / 84,73 = $122,08

A table is located below, calculating the different profits and losses from each different outcome of the match. This will showcase how the profit is a guarantee.

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The table shows that the bettor gains the largest win when Chelsea wins, but as this is where the bettor places the most money on the other two options, the profit is no higher than the other profits.

When a draw occurs, the total profit is at a maximum, one cent higher than the second-highest profit.

When Manchester City wins, the table shows the lowest winning numbers, but combined with the lowest stakes on the other options, the profit stays roughly the same as with the other two outcomes.

The regularity in the profits gives a clear indication that the bet is staked correctly, even though the alternative of outcomes- and number of bookmakers grow.  

Hopefully these explanations and examples have helped you understand the calculations behind Arbitrage Betting.

Now it is time to gain a better insight into why these opportunities arise, some risks involved in this type of betting, and lastly some hints and tips to look for in Arbitrage Betting.

Why do these opportunities present themselves?

It is important to understand that these chances do not occur all the time, and might be difficult for the un-trained eye to spot, but comes along once in a while, especially if you know what to look for. If the bettor is guaranteed a profit, that means that the bookmakers are guaranteed to lose money. So why do these professional bookmakers let this happen?

Well, there are a few explanations for it;

- The bookmaker is currently doing a special promotion of a team or a result, leading to opportunities for the observant bettor.

- The bookmakers simply differ in opinion. This is fairly common, as different bookmakers have different systems for picking winners and odds. This might be the most common reason as to why Arbitrage becomes a possibility.

- The Bookmaker makes a mistake, or has a system that does not allow for quick transition of odds. Our odds arrive by the second, and therefore it will be possible to explore these opportunities (?). If a bookmaker swaps the home and away odds, this can be deemed as a palpable error and the bet voided. Which is one of the factors that does not make arbitrage betting 100% risk free. More on this in cancelled bets below.

The guarantee of a profit sound like an enticing opportunity. However, there are certain situations of risk that should be identified and noted, as they could lead to a decrease in profits or creating a situation where the surplus is non-existent.

Different risks and mistakes to look out for in Arbitrage Betting

There are a number of things to look out for when betting in general, but some of the pitfalls out there are a little more specific to Arbitrage Betting than other areas. The most common ones are;

Complicated to understand

- This might be obvious when considering everything stated above in the article, but is nevertheless an important point of emphasis. Make sure to understand the concept of Arbitrage before deciding to explore any of the opportunities that present themselves. It is not enough to spot the opportunities where Arbitrage can be put to practice, the bettor must also have the capability to stake the bets correctly.

- In addition to understanding the calculations of it, the bettor must also have a large number of bookmakers at hand, to be able to find odds that are high enough to cover each other.

- To benefit from Arbitrage Betting, the bettor must invest a lot of time to find the opportunities out there.

Cancelled bets

- Bookmakers have the opportunity to cancel bets where they have made a mistake. If one of the bookmakers in a bet cancels, the bettor has still invested in the other outcomes, and is left exposed in one of the outcomes. This might leave you with a large loss of profits, and set you back of a large sum.

- To prevent this from happening, read the rules of your bookmakers and avoid obvious mistakes. E.g. the bookmaker swapping the home and away odds of Manchester City vs Brighton in the Premier League.

Limitations and Closure of Accounts

- Stake limitations at some bookmakers might prohibit the bettor from staking the bets correctly, which is a big problem, and exposes the premise of Arbitrage Betting.

- Some bookmakers also prohibit Arbitrage Bettors to bet at their sites, as they do not fit their profile, and mostly cost them a lot of money. Remember – if done correctly and without problems, the bettor will always gain a profit.

Time Constraints

- All bookmakers are concerned with updating their odds as frequently as they can manage, and although some are quicker than others, the opportunities present themselves in a tight window, with regards to time. Some opportunities may only last for seconds, as bookmakers often base their odds on other bookmakers.

- As time is a critical factor in Arbitrage Betting, errors will occur as well. This means that Arbitrage Betting might not be as simple in practice as it is in principle.

Bankroll Management

- Generally, a large bankroll is required to have the possibility of Arbitrage Betting, as it is required to have a large number of bookmakers and to have available funds in those accounts at all times, to be able to bet in a market that changes by the second.

Smaller Returns Than Usual

- As Arbitrage Betting guarantees a profit if done correctly, one might expect a very large return for all the hard work. However, it is normal that the avg. return on investment per bet is close to 1% over time. It is necessary for the bettor to understand this. To increase the potential profits, the bettor might increase the total stakes of the bet, although this will increase the risk and losses if something goes wrong (for example one of the above).

Value betting, the superior alternative to arbitrage betting

Before beginning with arbitrage betting you should seriously consider doing value betting instead. There are 3 main reasons for why we prefer value betting over arbitrage betting, and why we built a value betting software instead of an arbitrage betting software.

  1. Value bets yield a higher avg. ROI per bet, the avg. ROI per bet of an arb is 1-2%. The avg. ROI per bet of a Trademate customer doing value betting on the European bookmakers is 2.6%.

  2. Arbitrage bets are not risk free in practice, due to the problems listed above. And in practice you sacrifice ROI to reduce your risk compared to value betting.

  3. Value bets occur more frequently than arbitrage bets —> Higher potential profits

  4. Value bets are harder for the bookmakers to spot —> Increased lifetime at the bookie before you get limitations.

Further resources on Arbitrage Betting, Value Betting and also Matched Betting (a form of arbitrage betting using promotions).

  1. This article explains what a value bet is and how they occur.

  2. This video shows how you can use Trademate Sports to find value bets.

  3. This article explains the difference between a value bet and an arbitrage bet

  4. This article discusses the pros and cons of arbitrage betting vs value betting and matched betting.

  5. This article is written by the experienced Danish arbitrage bettor Vida and why he switched from arbitrage betting to value betting.

6 Tips on Arbitrage Betting

If you do decide that arbitrage betting is the thing for you, we have 6 final tips to read;

  1. Be extremely thorough in your gathering of information, as changes in odds occur every second and will impact your bet, one way- or another. As the profit margins are very tight, this point cannot be stressed enough.

  2. To make sure that the odds are what you remembered them to be it might be wise to double-check all sides of the odds before placing any kind of bets.

  3. As there are a high level of bookmakers and a large amount of money spread throughout different accounts, it is important to have a system that can track your progress. Creating a spreadsheet with all information and numbers is never a bad idea.

  4. Make sure you have understood the concept and calculations of Arbitrage Betting before you begin.

  5. Understand that the returns might not be very high, that it is time-consuming and that it is a complex system.

  6. Read the rules of your bookmakers and do whatever you can to avoid getting limited and having your account closed.

What is the Point Spread in Sports Betting and How You Can Bet on the Spread

Do you want to bet on the superior team in any matchup? Do you want to bet on teams such as the Golden State Warriors, The New England Patriots or the Clemson Tigers? For that to happen you must understand the Point Spread in Sports Betting.

In this article, you will learn and understand a different angle to sports betting you might not have thought about before.

The Point Spread and the Moneyline:

Imagine a game of any sport. It could be football, basketball, baseball; you name it. Looking at the matchup, one of the two teams immediately jumps out as being the favorite to win the game. Let’s name this “Team A”. The opposing side to Team A would be the underdog, named “Team B”.

The Moneyline (betting strictly on which team wins the game) would normally favor Team A to win the game, as they are seen as the superior team (To get a better understanding of the moneyline, you can watch this video). Betting on Team A would result in a lesser return, due to a lower odds when the probability for a win is high.

At the other hand, the moneyline would indicate that the probability for Team B to win is lower than Team A. The odds would therefore be higher, and would result in a greater return on your bet.

The Point Spread evens out the moneyline:

To even out the odds in bets, the bookmakers give a disadvantage to the favorite to win, Team A, and give an advantage to the underdog in the matchup, Team B. This situation is an addition to the already given moneyline, and aims to balance the odds of the particular game.

This is commonly known as being the Point Spread. Just to clarify, the Moneyline, is the Point Spread which is the closest to 50/50 win probability or giving 2.0/2.0 in odds on each of the two teams.

The Point Spread in an example:

Let’s look at a hypothetical example from a game between the mentioned Team A and Team B in basketball;

Learn how to understand the Point Spread in Sports Betting.

Learn how to understand the Point Spread in Sports Betting.

Team A is predicted as the favorite to win the matchup, due to a number of factors, such as form, home-field advantage and injuries to the opponent’s top player. We imagine the odds for a win for Team A to be 1,50. This means that if you win, you get back what you initially put on the game, in addition to 50% of what you originally betted.

The odds for Team B would be much higher, at a level of 2,50. Here, if you win, you would get back what you initially put on the game, in addition to 150% of what you originally betted.

However, when the bookmakers seek to even out the odds, they set up a Spread on the game.

This means that they create a chance for people to bet on the game with a handicap, meaning that Team A has to beat Team B by a certain amount of points, scores or goals, in this case points.

If we say that Team A has a Point Spread of -7,5 it means that they are favored to win by this amount of points. For you to win betting on this Point Spread, Team A must win by 7,5 points or more, practically meaning that they must win by 8 points.

By betting on a Point Spread of -7,5 the odds have risen to a 2,00, because they have to do more than simply just win.

The Point Spread for Team B would be at +7,5. This means that they have been given a head start of 7,5 points, and that they “win” as long as they don’t lose by 8 points or more.

When a team is given an advantage like this, the odds will drop accordingly, and in this case it drops to a level of 2,00.

As it is impossible to score half points, this bet would either be won or lost from a bettor’s perspective.

The Point Spread with even numbers:

If the Point Spread is at an even number, for example -3 for Team A and +3 for Team B, one more outcome would be possible. If Team A defeats Team B by exactly 3 points, and evens out the Point Spread, the game would be a no-contest, and your initial investment in the game would return to your account.

When to use the Point Spread?

Consider using the Point Spread when a team has a monumental advantage over the opposition, and that this advantage outweighs the disadvantage given by the bookmaker. It is also effective in the opposite situation, where the advantage given by the bookmakers for the underdog outweighs the difference in quality between the two teams.

The Point Spread is therefore an opportunity that should be taken advantage of by bettors, and should be considered an alternative to betting strictly on the moneyline of a game.

Click here to watch our videos on the Point Spread.

Do you know the different odds types? 

We have written articles explaining them: 

How to set up accounts for value betting, arbitrage betting and matched betting

There are some pitfalls when it comes to value betting, arbitrage betting and matched betting. Here is a list of 8 tips to get you started with your own betting account, without making the most typical rookie mistakes.

But, before we go through the specific things to think of when setting up a new account at a bookmaker, we need to establish the single most important rule: 

We play by the bookie’s rules.

This implies that we need to be careful when we set up our account and do not give them any reason to withhold our hard earned profits, because they will if they can. The bookies know that people do use them for value betting, arbitrage betting and matched betting they usually have different terms and conditions between them which are crucial to read. This is especially important if you are thinking of using one of the bonuses the bookie is offering. 

The 3 proven ways of making money on betting are;

  1. Value betting

  2. Arbitrage betting

  3. Matched betting

So the bookmakers obviously don’t like it. For the rest of the article please note that we are not affiliated with any bookmakers in any form or way. In fact, the bookies don’t like us as at all, as we help people beat them. For the article we simply had to chose one bookmaker to use as an example and selected on the major European ones (which also has a lot of edges on Trademate).

Further Resources on Matched Betting, Arbitrage Betting and Value Betting

  1. This article explains the difference between an arbitrage bet and value betting

  2. This article discusses the pros and cons of matched, arbitrage and value betting.

  3. This article covers the experiences and thoughts on pros and cons of arbing vs value betting by the experienced Danish arber called Vida.

Continuing on with tips on getting bonuses

As we can see in the bonus terms and conditions at one of the major bookmakers:

Extraction of the  bonus terms and conditions  at one of the major bookmakers

Extraction of the bonus terms and conditions at one of the major bookmakers

As we see marked in red, the bookie usually reserves the right to do whatever they want with the bonus. If you are to read the general terms and conditions as well, you will see that it is a long list of disclaimers which underlines the importance of always being careful when setting up the account. 

8 STEPS to signing up with a bookmaker

Next we will show the signup process at a bookmaker and we start by clicking on the register tab:

This is a typical bookie menu bar.

This is a typical bookie menu bar.

1. Personal details

After you click ‘register’ you will typically get here.

After you click ‘register’ you will typically get here.

When providing your personal details, be sure to double check that it is the same as in your passport and credit card. Remember, we play by the bookie’s rules, and there should not be any discrepancies that the bookie can catch you on. The email address needs to be one you use, because you sometimes need to verify the account through email. This also holds for your phone number

 

2. Address and phone number 

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The address you use needs to be a place you live, or where you get your bills. You need a piece of paper with both your name and address on for verification purposes when you are withdrawing your money later on. This is to prove that you live where you live, and to make it more difficult for you to have several accounts. 

The mobile number needs to be in use as the bookie also can use this for verification purposes. 

3. Password and security question 

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Either you are doing matched betting, arbitrage or value betting you will usually have several betting accounts at once. When it comes to your password there is two main approaches: 

1.    One password for every site. This is easy to track, but leaves you exposed if someone is to find out your password, so choose a nonpersonal difficult one.  

2.    Different passwords for every site. This can be hard to track, so it can be smart to  use a password manager like Lastpass to keep track on all the different passwords. Lastpass is free to use. This will also help you log in to the bookmakers fast, saving essential time when placing value bets.

 

Security questions are rarely something you need to use but be sure to track them if necessary. Bookmakers use this to verify that it is actually you who are doing the betting.

4.    Terms and conditions 

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This is maybe the most important part to remember, because if you do not have control on this you could potentially lose money. If you are using a bonus provided by the bookmaker, you should read the bonus terms and conditions carefully. This will give you all the parameters you need to consider for you to unlock the bonus. It is usually much shorter than the general terms and conditions and easier to deal with. Some bookmakers also acquire you to tick off boxes before you make the account for you to be able to get the bonus, so be sure to tick off the appropriate boxes. If you forget this, it is usually not a problem as the bookmakers want you to have the bonus. Customer service can be used if you have any problems and by experience using the chat is the most efficient choice.

 

5.    Deposits  

Now, that you have made your betting account you need to deposit money. The deposit button is usually the biggest one and should never be hard to find. When you click on it, you will usually get options for how to deposit money (Innskudd = Deposit in Norwegian).

Different types of payment options when depositing on Unibet.

Different types of payment options when depositing on Unibet.

When depositing money there are a couple of things to keep in mind: 

1.    You do need to withdraw money with the same method as you deposited with in the first place, so keep this in mind. This is usually for money laundering purposes, so it should not be a problem for you unless you are a criminal. 

2.    Skrill and Neteller deposits will usually mean that you can’t get the bonus. For the bookie this can be a sign that you are a serious player, and you should try to avoid using these methods. If you are to use eWallets, it is important to use the same currency between bookmaker and eWallet as well as your bank account. This is to avoid getting exchange rate fees.  This article covers how eWallets work and how you can save money when using them.

3. If you have ticked off the boxes for the bonus, deposited money and then did not receive your bonus, don’t worry! A quick and kind chat with customer service will usually fix the problem.

Therefore, you should try to keep it simple and use credit cards to deposit money, this is the preferable way for most people. This will keep you under the radar and keep you away from getting flagged by the bookies. In this article you can read some additional tips on how to reduce your chance of getting limited by the bookies.

 

6.    Verification 

It can also be beneficial to have on hand what you need to get verified by the bookie when you are setting up the betting account. There are usually three things you need to get verified: 

1.    Picture of your passport. Be sure that the picture is of good quality and no edges are hidden. 

2.    Picture of your credit card which is used for deposits. Good quality and no hidden edges also apply here. 

3.    Picture of certificate of residence (with the address you used when signing up) or a bill with the same address and your name.  

 

These things are needed so you can be verified when you are later doing withdrawals from the bookie. The bookmakers are doing this to minimise the chance of people having several betting accounts. It can be smart to get verified as early as possible because they usually try to hold onto your money as long as they can. This can make withdrawals time consuming exercises and getting verified early can mean saved time and then more profits later on. 

Verification can usually be done manually by uploading your documents to the verification tab in the menu. If this is not the case, it is easily done by chatting with customer support. But be careful, this can be a sign of you being a serious professional so it can be an idea to not go out of your way to verify your account at once, unless it’s intuitive. 

7.    Withdrawals 

Some bookies operate with clauses in the terms and conditions that says that if you try to withdraw before your bonus is turned over, they can cancel the bonus and take the money on your account. Be careful and read the at least the bonus terms and conditions

The bookies usually ask for verification when you start a withdrawal process, and some bookies can use weeks verifying you. Therefore, it can be an idea to get verified immediately after signing up. I usually send in my documents as soon as I’ve completed the registration process. After you are verified the bookies might also use some time confirming your withdrawal. I have experience with the withdrawal process taking more than a month, so verifying early can help a lot. There are differences from country to country and some places they ask for verification the moment you set up an account, which should speed up the process.

If you either need the money to do matched betting, acquiring bonuses elsewhere or you are limited by the bookie for value betting or arbitrage it is important to withdraw the money as fast as possible. The things you can do to speed up the process is:

1.    Get verified early on. 

2.    Keep on top of the process by talking to customer support every other day. Keep in mind that they have your money so be nice to them. It is usually beneficial to give them an impression that you are stupid, so keep the language simple and slip in a stupid question or two. 

 

8.    Speed in betting 

The faster thing goes, the more volume of bets can be made which will generate higher profits either you are doing value betting, arbitrage betting or matched betting. Some tips to make things go faster:

1.    Use password managers like lastpass. These will make it easy for you to have safe passwords and keep track of them. It will also provide you with a 1 click login to the different bookmakers you are using. 

2.    Use apps like Spectacle for Mac to shift and resize browser windows quickly between bookmakers and Trademate Sports

3.    Verify your account early. 

4.    Be on top of the withdrawal process and email the bookie frequently. 

5.    Generally remember that we are at the mercy of the bookies, trying to avoid any problems with them at almost all cost. 

Key Takeaway

To conclude, there is one important things to remember: 

We are always at the mercy of the bookies, but as long as you follow these simple steps you should be all right! There are rarely any big problems with depositing or withdrawing money other than it can take some time. All these tips can seem overwhelming, but they will come naturally to you after a while!

 



















How Does it Work to Bet on the Point Spread in Sports Betting?

THE POINT SPREAD PART 1

How does the Spread Bet or Point Spread work in Sports Betting? Marius from Trademate Sports explains Spread Betting using the NBA final between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers. 

 

THE POINT SPREAD PART 2

We explain the difference between the point spread in American Odds vs Decimal Odds (European Odds).