What is Cross Market Arbing?

Bradley Gibbs


Cross market arbitrage betting (or cross market arbing) is a form of betting that might sound fairly complex, but, it’s actually quite simple. Following on from recently looking at sure betting, Cross market arbing is essentially the next step.

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What is a cross market arb?

Whereas traditional sure betting/arbing exploits differential pricing set by two separate bookmakers on either side of a two entrant market, cross market arbing aims to exploit a difference in bookmaker pricing using two or more different markets.

Here’s a simple example:

A normal sure bet that exploits just one market will look something like this:

Coventry City vs Bradford City – Over/Under 2.5 Goals

Back Over 2.5 (Coral) @ 81/50 – staking £39.91 for a potential return of £104.56

Back Under 2.5 (Unibet) @ 37/50 – staking £60.09 for a potential return of £104.56

A cross market arb looks something like this:

Hertha Berlin vs Werder Bremen

Back correct score 0-0 (unibet) @ 10/1 – staking £9.81 for a potential return of £107.91

Back Hertha to score over 0.5 goals (188bet) @ 3/10 – staking £83 for a potential return of £107.90

Back Bremen to win to nil (sportingbet) @ 14/1 – staking £7.19 for a potential return of £107.85

This example shows the punter placing three separate bets on three separate markets. The three bets have also been placed at three separate bookmakers. Because of the nature of these three markets, only one of the bets can win. However, in choosing these particular three markets, at these particular prices, the punter is onto a guaranteed profit no matter what the end result is – if the game finishes 0-0, the punter collects on the first bet. If Hertha score one goal or more then the punter collects on bet number two and so on.

Why cross market arbing?

Why not just stick with traditional sure betting/arbing? Why complicate the process? Well, there are two main reasons a punter might choose to have a go at cross market arbing. First up, because there are now so many different markets available, if we are looking for arbs across two or three separate markets, it stands to reason that more opportunities will arise. Secondly, since separate markets are used, potential cross market arbs aren’t always obvious and, therefore, when a window of opportunity exists it remains open for a longer period of time.

As we’ve already established, punters now have a large variety of betting markets at their fingertips and, as a result, there’s likely to be several potential cross market arbs available at any one time.

Here are some examples:

Example one:

Market = Match Result = Back Draw

Market = Draw No Bet = Back Team A

Example two:

Market = Total Goals = Back One

Market = Total Goals = Back Two

Market = Over/Under = Back Over 2.5

Market = Time of first goal = Back No Goals

Example three:

Market = Team A Goals = Over 0.5 Goals

Market = Team B Clean Sheet = Back Yes

These are just some basic examples of the type of markets that the punter can combine in order to place cross market arbs. There are many different combinations that can be used. In fact, one of the real positives is that, within reason, there isn’t really a limit to the markets that can be used. The only real rule that needs to be followed in this respect is that the markets used must offer conflicting outcomes, such as the examples shown above. Providing the two/three/four markets offer conflicting outcomes then, in theory, the potential for an arbitrage bet should exist. However, the deciding factor will always be the difference in price between each bookmaker and, ultimately, whether it allows a guaranteed profit or not.

What does cross market arbing require?

As is the case with all sports betting, there are a couple of prerequisites. Knowledge of how odds work is a must, as well as a solid understanding of betting in general. More importantly, what cross market arbing really requires is a combination of time, hard work and discipline. Basically, if the punter is hoping to make a success of their cross market arbing activities then they need to put the work in. Results certainly won’t come from half-hearted attempts. It’s important that the punter invests the time to carefully work out each arbitrage possibility carefully. Be sure to calculate the returns, ensuring that the staking plan is worked out so that after each conflicting bet is placed across different markets a secure profit is safely locked in.

What risks are there?

Once a cross market arb is successfully placed, assuming everything is calculated correctly, a risk-free profit is indeed secured. However, this doesn’t mean that there are no risks involved overall.

For example, bookmakers can and certainly will make mistakes in their pricing. It is not uncommon for a betting operator to reverse the odds of any given bet. These mistakes are referred to as palpable errors. Unfortunately for punters, bookmakers reserve the right to cancel a bet at any time by claiming it was a palpable error. While this might seem a unfair, unfortunately, this is just the way things are.

Aside from bookmaking errors, the main risk attached to arbitrage betting, be it regular or cross market, is the fact that odds are frequently on the move. These sudden movements can often make it difficult for the punter to successfully place an arb. Problems can arise when the punter places one bet with the first bookmaker, before discovering a change in the odds at the second bookmaker. In such situations, two things can happen – 1. Less profit can be achieved, or 2. The punter arrives at a loss. In order to minimise this risk, the cross market arber should enter the bet with the first bookmaker and proceed until final confirmation, then place the next bet with the second bookmaker, wait for the second bet to be accepted before immediately returning to place the first.

Other things to consider

Cross market arbing it a type of betting that, if carried out successfully, can be very time consuming. As well as taking up lots of time, in all honesty, despite being potentially lucrative, it isn’t the most exciting activity. With this in mind, if you are serious about giving it a go, but aren’t too keen on the idea of spending hours sat at your computer trawling through different bookmakers in order to identify sufficient price differences, you might wish to consider using an arb finding service. Such services are available online, although, because of the high programming effort required, they aren’t usually available for free.

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