Sure Bets – How to Find the Latest Opportunities

Written by: Alex Windsor
Fact checked by Brian Webb  
Updated: June 17, 2024

We all have that one annoying mate in our group chat who claims to have a “banker” every Saturday right before kick-off. Although the term “Sure Bets” might be synonymous with people of that sort, it actually has absolutely nothing to do with your mate and his “sure” 11/2 bet on his favourite side from the Vanarama North.

Sure Betting, also known as Arbitrage betting or Arbing, is a sports betting strategy based on exploiting potential inconsistencies in the prices for a particular match at different bookmakers.

The goal of the strategy is to detect opportunities where placing a bet on each outcome at different bookmakers can lead you to guaranteed profit regardless of the result after the final whistle.

The strategy can be a bit of a time-sink, requiring sharp instincts, a good eye for opportunities, and a knack for betting the correct amounts. However, you have nothing to worry about since we are chuffed to teach you the ropes and suggest the top tools to up your Arbitrage betting game.

How Sure Bets Work

Sure Bets, or Arbitrage betting, as many call it, is a betting strategy in which bettors secure a guaranteed profit by placing multiple wagers on a single match at different bookmakers. The success of this strategy hinges on taking advantage of price differences between two or more bookies. If executed perfectly, sure betting will allow you to laugh your way to the bank, well, at least to your piggy bank, or your PayPal account if you’re betting online – regardless of how the match pans out.

The first prerequisite for Sure Betting is to spot a sports event that offers the opportunity. The best way to do this is by looking for sports commonly associated with 2-way betting markets. Although football and basketball matches can surely bring plenty of opportunities for Sure Bets, tennis is, by far, the easiest option for novices looking to dip their toes into the profitable yet stormy Arbitrage waters. Let’s see how it works with an example.

Imagine a Wimbledon final where the odds for Alexander Zverev are 11/10 at Bookmaker 1, while the odds for Carlos Alcaraz are 6/5 at Bookmaker 2.

  • Betting £100 on Zverev at Bookmaker 1 will bring you a return of £210
  • Betting £100 on Alcaraz at Bookmaker 2 will bring you a return of £220
  • If Zverev wins, you will secure a profit of £110.
  • If Alcaraz wins, you will secure a profit of £120.

This is the simplest form of Arbitrage betting, and as you can see from the example above, using this method in this particular situation will bring you profits no matter the outcome. However, finding such an opportunity for Arbitrage betting is practically impossible.

How To Manually Detect a Sure Bet

The best way to detect an opportunity for Sure Betting is by using software and an Arbitrage calculator. However, to fully grasp how Sure Betting truly works, you should learn how to manually detect it and how to calculate how much you need to stake on each bet. Let’s do it with an example of a football match using 1×2 markets.

Let’s say we have the following odds:

  • 1 (Home team): 2.50 (6/4)
  • X (Draw): 3.00 (2/1)
  • 2 (Away team): 4.00 (3/1)

To see if this is a Sure Bet and if there is an opportunity for Arbitrage betting, first, you must use the Sure Bet formula.

(1 divided by the Home Team odds) + (1 divided by the Draw odds) + (1 divided by the Away Team odds) < 1

Then, using the formula, calculate the implied probabilities of each outcome.

  • 1 / 2.50 = 0.40
  • 1 / 3.00 = 0.33
  • 1 / 4.00 = 0.25

Once you get the implied probabilities, you sum them and get the total amount.

  • 40 + 0.33 + 0.25 = 0.9833

If the total amount is less than 1, you are in luck. Getting a value lower than 1 means there is a guaranteed Arbitrage opportunity.

Now that we are sure there is an Arbitrage opportunity, it is time to find the required stakes on each bet and calculate the potential profit for every possible outcome.

Let’s say you have a bankroll of £100.

Here is how much you need to place on each bet:

  • Bet 1 (Home team) = 100 / (0.9833 x 2.50) = £40.68
  • Bet 2 (Draw) = 100 / (0.9833 x 3.00) = £33.90
  • Bet 3 (Away team) = 100 / (0.9833 x 4.00) = £25.43

 

  • Bet 1 (Home team) = £40.68 at 2.50 = £101.70
  • Bet 2 (Draw) = £33.90 at 3.00 = £101.70
  • Bet 3 (Away team) = £25.43 at 4.00 = £101.72

As demonstrated in the example, regardless of the outcome, you will secure a profit of £1.70.

Sure Bets Software

While detecting Sure Bets requires knowledge of how to use the formula and lots of time on your hands or an Arbitrage Software tool, using a Sure Bets calculator is very straightforward.

Our Sure Bets calculator is free to use, and all you have to do is enter the odds of your bets and the amount you are willing to spend. The calculator will then indicate how much to stake on each bet to ensure a profit. It will also display your total return and overall profit.

Sure Bets Calculator Example

Is the Use of Sure Bets Legal?

Although Arbitrage betting is an entirely legal sports betting strategy, bookmakers are not particularly fond of it. Thus, they often employ various methods to deter those who are successful in it.

While legality will not be a problem, you can fully expect to deal with various restrictions if you become successful with sure bets. One of the most common methods bookmakers use to stop you from Arbitrage betting is imposing limits on your stakes.

Such limits can put you in an awkward position and leave you unable to place the minimum stake required to secure profit.

Do Sure Bets Guarantee Profits?

Many refer to Arbitrage betting as the Holy Grail of betting strategies, and it’s our duty to let you know that they couldn’t be more off the mark. While it can generate steady profits when executed flawlessly, Sure Betting is still a strategy loaded with risks.

From changing prices to canceling bets, limiting stakes, and even throwing in fake arbitrage opportunities, bookies have invented bags full of tricks to expose your Sure Bets strategy, and they won’t think twice about opening them. The reality is that you’ll have more luck finding a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow than a Sure Bet opportunity, but there are still cases where a Sure Bet opportunity might be possible.

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Alex, a ten-year iGaming industry veteran and Managing Editor at BettingTools specializes in sports betting and betting tools. He also provides insightful reviews, ensures the accuracy of all offers, and maintains content quality helping you make informed choices. Combining professional expertise with a passion for football and soccer, Alex ensures we offer you a reliable resource, focusing on betting tools to assist with odds, accas, and other betting strategies.