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Sports Arbitrage - Long-term Strategy

Once you’ve got the hang of the basics, and can actually physically place an arb, there is still some thought required to actually be successful.

The key things to think about are:

  • Establishing a routine and getting organised
  • Maintaining bookmaker accounts
  • Managing your bankroll

Getting organised

Whether you’re doing this full-time or part-time, we believe it is important to establish a routine. You will not succeed if you’re trying to arb while sitting in the living room looking after the kids and talking to your partner at the same time. You need to set aside some time, in quiet, to focus, get your arbs on, then relax. If you work in the UK, you might like an evening slot during baseball season.

Then you will need to keep a log of things: bookmaker accounts information (sign-ins etc), p&ls, arbs placed. There are costs – you’ll need to subscribe to an arb service of some sort, so you’ll need to figure out how much you need to make to recover these costs, so that you can target a set number of arbs per week to ensure you are actually profitable.

Maintaining bookmaker accounts

It is essential for a successful arbitrage operation, to ensure that you maintain high limits on as many bookmakers as possible. You will like have your accounts limited by some bookmakers if you arbitrage full time, because this is how some bookmakers like to protect their own profits from arbitrage traders. Read about some of the main things to think about in the Top 6 Ways NOT to Get Limited by Bookmakers.


Managing your bankroll

Lastly, you’ll need to think about how you will manage your bankroll. There are a few key things to think about here:

  • Keep separate from personal funds
  • Managing withdrawals and deposits
  • Stake sizing and reinvesting capital decisions

Keep separate from personal funds

This is simple, but you need to be disciplined. We recommend you ensure your bankroll is separated from other personal funds. This needs to be spare. If you start mixing, you will complicate things.

Managing withdrawals and deposits

You need to think about how you deposit and withdraw your funds, for 2 main reasons:

1. Because making huge deposits and withdrawals can alert bookmakers to you being an arber.

2. Because you need to have sufficient funds at the relevant bookmakers, at the right times, to place your arbs.

It is not just as simple as withdrawing money in small amounts whenever you want though. Particularly because some bookmakers may charge you for making more than withdrawal per month. Tactically, you can try to indirectly ‘withdraw’ money, by making one bookmaker on the losing side of an arb, therefore all your money will be transferred to the other bookmaker through the winnings. You will need to give this some thought and planning though, and it will come with experience.

For example, you may have 90% of your bankroll stuck in Pinnacle Sports which charges for more than one withdrawal per month, and see an arb opportunity for 2 different betting companies. What should you do?

  • Pinnacle Sports will offer you more arb opportunities than any other bookmaker, so tactically, you could just find a load of other small arbs, and try to get Pinnacle Sports to be on the losing side to more evenly distribute your funds.
  • Or you might need to wait until the next month.
  • Or you might need to make a one-off cash injection elsewhere to place a big arb to make Pinnacle on the losing side so that you can withdraw.
  • Or you might need to take a hit on the fee.
  • Or you could have planned your cashflows more carefully in the first place, and missed out on some arbs with Pinnacle, to ensure you maintained a better distributed cash balance.

Stake sizing and reinvesting capital decisions

Linked to the last point above, you need to think about your stake sizes in advance. Keeping smaller stake sizes will enable you to stay under the radar better, and enable you to distribute your cash more evenly across bookmakers.

So you will need to think about the size of your bankroll, your required return, and therefore the size of the stakes you will need to make (start with 10-20% of your bankroll), and number of bets you need to make each week to generate this.

Let’s assume to start you have £1000, and want to make £100 per month initially.

If you are staking on average £200, with 2% arbs, then you’ll need to make 6 or 7 arbs per week at least. Plus, you’ll need to cover the cost of an arb service, say this is £50 per month initially, this means you’ll need to get on over 9 arbs per week. This is all very achievable, and as you increase your bankroll you can increase your average stake and number of bets to increase your return.

Which brings us onto what you do with your return? Initially, we recommend you reinvest it into bankroll, to build your bankroll. Then you can increase your stakes, and return. But after a while, you will want to take some profits. We can’t really advise you on when you do this, but it’s something you’ll need to think about, depending on how reliant you want to become on the income you make from sports arbitrage.

Lastly, before you start, you have any other questions, do not hesitate to contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we’ll be happy to help.

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