Arbitrage Betting on the NFL

Arbitrage betting is a style of wagering that sees the bettor always walk away a winner. While conventional wisdom has told you time and time again that it is impossible to guarantee yourself a win when betting on sports, arbitrage betting makes it possible.

Before getting into the nitty gritty details of what is involved in arbitrage betting, it must be said that most online bookmakers frown upon this practice and do everything in their power to prevent it from taking place. In the past, people have lost a lot of money being caught participating in arbitrage betting at online sportsbooks. Nowadays, however, online sportsbooks do their best to eliminate the existence of an arbitrage opportunity as opposed to punishing the arbitrage bettor.

Arbitrage Betting Explained

Arbitrage betting works by placing a wager on all possible outcomes of a given game. Because the NFL really only has two outcomes (Team A win or Team B win), arbitrage betting is a bit easier than it would be if you wanted to bet on soccer or any other sport that can end in a tie.

In order to be a truly successful arbitrage bettor, you have to put the time and effort in. This is so because this style of wagering on NFL games requires you to have an account at more than one, most times even more than two, online sportsbooks. By comparing the odds offered for a given NFL game across different bookmakers, you may be able to find the perfect arbitrage situation.

For example, let’s say that you wish to place an arbitrage-style bet on a game featuring the New England Patriots facing off against the Oakland Raiders. In this match up, the Patriots are favored such that an $800 bet will yield winnings of $1,000. Conversely, the Raiders are underdogs such that a $100 wager will also yield you winnings of $1,000. In this hypothetical example, by wagering $900 between both teams, you are guaranteed a profit of $100. While most arbitrage betting scenarios do not work this cleanly, this is merely a simple example. Another important note to mention is that in arbitrage betting, you are often required to wager an astronomical amount of money in order to win only a portion of the monies wagered. Then again, I suppose it is always going to be worth it if you are always going to walk away a winner.

What Makes Arbitrage Possible?

While this style of betting is not able to be done on every NFL game all season long, there will be a number of opportunities presented that allow you to guarantee yourself winnings. Arbitrage bets are made possible due to the simple fact that most major bookmakers do not see eye to eye with regard to the odds for certain teams in certain games. Because of these small discrepancies, a bettor can realize the opportunity for an arbitrage bet simply based on small differences between the lines offered by major bookmakers.

Something else that makes arbitrage betting possible is the fact that bookies are constantly trying to keep their books balanced. After all, a bookmaker needs to keep their books balanced in order to guarantee themselves a profit from bets placed. Through the lowering of odds in order to achieve a balanced book, some bookmakers unknowingly present bettors with arbitrage opportunities. Of course, in most scenarios, arbitrage opportunities only exist for a very short period of time and need to be acted upon quickly lest they disappear with the changing lines.

Because lines for NFL games are often released 5 days or more before kickoff, the chances of you uncovering the chance for an arbitrage bet are better than they are for something like baseball, where lines may only be made live 12 hours before the first pitch is thrown.

Are Bookmakers Aware of Arbitrage?

Because they are in the industry, it comes as no surprise that online bookmakers know all about the arbitrage style of betting. Through their own balancing of the books, online bookmakers knowingly present arbitrage opportunities all the time.

So long as you are not trying to win bets by using multiple accounts on the same sports betting site, you should have no problems when it comes to arbitrage betting online. With that said, it would be best to try some smaller arbitrage bets before you begin to do it seriously. By practicing with smaller sums of money, you are doing your best to protect yourself against a rookie mistake being made on your first big wager. As is the case with just about anything else in life, practice makes perfect.