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The Art of "The Arb"

TheEdge949TheEdge949 Member Posts: 5,022
Hi Neil, as someone who obviously likes to put it to the oddsmakers I just wondered if you have any opinions or experience of arbitrage in the betting world ?

Time was when I could look at the spreads find a good value market and then study the plethora of fixed odds to find guaranteed profit given any outcome. This got even better when the exchanges first started up as it was possible to use the less researched (by the traders) sports ie lower level rugby and then make your own market on the exchange.

Now however, it would seem that even lacrosse, GAA sports and "Madeupistan" 4th division football has an expert making the spreads. Value is thinner than a supermodels waistline and trying to even find arbitrage is almost impossible.

Not everybody liked "Arbers" as they felt it was like theft but to me it was simply a reward for diligent research. Now its all you can do to find a beatable spread, although I suppose if it was easy everyone would do it.

Yours in sport

Mark.

Comments

  • MP33MP33 Member Posts: 6,230
    I used to love searching through fixed odds sites trying to find that stand- out price where i could back it and then lay on exchanges for a profit but nowadays the bookies are much quicker to pick up on arbitrating and although they don,t ban you, bets get very quickly restricted.

    Its a shame
  • EvilPinguEvilPingu Member Posts: 3,462

    This got even better when the exchanges first started up as it was possible to use the less researched (by the traders) sports ie lower level rugby and then make your own market on the exchange.

    Now however, it would seem that even lacrosse, GAA sports and "Madeupistan" 4th division football has an expert making the spreads. Value is thinner than a supermodels waistline and trying to even find arbitrage is almost impossible.

    The problem is that in 2018, all of the bookies and traders have access to very similar databases and mathematical models of everything as they're all now available at a fairly reasonable cost. It's hidden away somewhere on Betfair's help pages (like how Poker sites that allow 3rd party software hide their list of what software you can use where the recs won't find it). Any trader worth their salt will have these pieces of software etc, which are capable of spitting out prices for any given point in a match.

    Does the kid straight out College who is barely old enough to gamble but works for a large bookie have some sick knowledge of Kazakh Women's U19 leagues that allows him to price these markets up accurately? Of course not. It's all just someone putting numbers into a computer and the computer spits out more numbers, prices everything up and knocks off 5-10% before bookies put their prices up.

    If everyone's got similar algorithms and databases for projecting outcomes and pricing up markets, then it follows that there's also going to be very little arbitrage opportunity once the bookies have the same prices and deduct their overround.

    I suppose if it was easy everyone would do it.

    MP33 said:

    nowadays the bookies are much quicker to pick up on arbitrating and although they don,t ban you, bets get very quickly restricted.

    Its a shame

    Everyone is doing it.

    If you type in things like "Money saving tips" or "How to make money quickly" on Google, you probably get someone like Martin Lewis or a random owner of some money saving blog titled "50 ways to make money online today!" telling you to sign up to [insert matched betting/arbitrage alert service of choice] to make some 'risk free' money. The service will charge a subscription fee, the person posting the link rakes in the affiliate money, and the person who has never placed a bet in their life before clicks the link and takes however much money off all the bookies for a while until they get restricted to 14p max bet everywhere and they go back to having zero interest in the gambling industry again (or they get their pet goldfish to sign up).

    Some of these sites and their affiliates even make it their USP to sell themselves to a target audience (a lot of Mums and students) who are more likely to need money and less likely to understand sports betting at all. From what I've heard and read, my understanding is that these sites spoon feed their customers on how to arbitrage bet and also how to take advantage of bookmakers' offers (matched betting) in return for their monthly subscription fee.

    The result is that pretty much anyone can place arbitrage bets, and a **** of a lot of people do because it's become so much more accessible to groups of people for relatively little cost who aren't bothered by the negative consequences of things like matched betting and arbitrage (i.e. Bookmaker restrictions and account closures, as they have 0 interest in placing a legitimate sports bet anyway).

    As much as I despise a lot of the practices within the industry, I can't fault bookmakers clamping down on arbitrage and promo exploitation from customers that won't place a single genuine bet in their lives.

    That said, I'd love to see a Pinnacle-style bookie in the UK market aimed at the genuine punters who struggle to get on, where arbitrage is permitted but at the expense of the site having all of these promotions (to limit abuse from people with no interest in sports betting otherwise). I think there's definitely value in the market for someone to get some proper old school intelligent traders in who know what they're doing, say "We'll lay to lose £2k on absolutely anything that's on telly and £500-£1k on everything else", even to sharp punters, and ditch all of the money back if a leg of your accumulator loses and all the gimmicky stuff that bookies do nowadays. Run the markets to a decent overround and if someone wins consistently over time then fair enough because the majority won't.

    If the bookie is smart then legitimate winning punters like @NChanning *should* provide value in the form of being a marker for when the book is giving up value, so when Neil bets on a horse they can bring the price in from say 5/2 to 9/4 and avoid losing EV to people who keep taking that horse at 5/2. Unfortunately, bookies are so short-sighted that they would rather limit legitimate winners to a max stake of 7p nowadays, and take bets from all the mugs on these stupid gimmicky RequestABet style nonsense markets, correct scores with a market running to 150%+ and 14 team accumulators.
  • EvilPinguEvilPingu Member Posts: 3,462
    EvilPingu said:


    The result is that pretty much anyone can place arbitrage bets, and a **** of a lot of people do because it's become so much more accessible to groups of people for relatively little cost who aren't bothered by the negative consequences of things like matched betting and arbitrage (i.e. Bookmaker restrictions and account closures, as they have 0 interest in placing a legitimate sports bet anyway).

    Apparently, "Helll" with 2 Ls is filtered. :D
  • TheEdge949TheEdge949 Member Posts: 5,022
    Brilliant post EvilPingu and a very erudite and damming portrayal of gambling in the U.K today. Bookmakers are so happy to keep the gimmicks coming with ever more celebrity endorsements. Bet 365 are now the biggest employer in Stoke on Trent and my son in law is a tekkie on their RnD side. He knows of 1 former very high profile poker player and professional backer whos account is restricted to £5 singles simply because he landed a six figure coup that they were slow to lay off.

    My main gripe is that yes if you use all the matched offers and the special odds and enhanced prices every man and his dog can make very small (by industry standards) amounts, until "no more no more" is the cry from the poor bookies and accounts are frozen limited etc. Whereas the real art of looking at a market and realising that there's a 1/4 point here and a half tick edge there which you can exploit is really a thing of the past unless you want to sit in a bookie joint in the States with your laptop and Arb the life out of it with the online bookies back here. Difficult but not impossible.

    I think it will go one of two ways soon either punters will wake up and realise that accas and the like are really a mugs game as is correct score IMO and as all the stakes are returned as free bets the house bookie has a massive edge. Or, they will continue to suck in people with no understanding of how the system works until legislation has to step in to prevent a gambling meltdown.

    I know we've slipped slightly off topic but there are a few baseball markets where the spread is beatable. i look for two strong batting line ups in a 3/4 match series. Yes its long and arduous but hey and wait until the 2 weakest starting pitchers come into rotation and then go long on the X x X runs. The markets usually 9-13 or 10-14 with the batting line ups being strong but more often than not these games go like 8 runs to 6 which= 48 total. Happy days.

    Now if only Corals did a cross runs market i could arb that massive lol.

    yours in sport

    Mark
  • EvilPinguEvilPingu Member Posts: 3,462
    edited May 2018

    I think it will go one of two ways soon either punters will wake up and realise that accas and the like are really a mugs game as is correct score IMO and as all the stakes are returned as free bets the house bookie has a massive edge. Or, they will continue to suck in people with no understanding of how the system works until legislation has to step in to prevent a gambling meltdown.

    The latter of the two will be the closest to what actually happens. For every person that becomes 'smarter', there's several who have just turned eighteen and are excited that they're now legally allowed to stick an acca on every Saturday afternoon.

    There's no more Oddschecker adverts atm. Betfair would rather promote their Sportsbook than the exchange. Smaller exchanges don't have the money to throw at significant amounts of TV advertising so that people initially sign up to and become loyal to exchange brands over bookmakers. So people are just like "Okay I'll bet here because Chris Kamara is advertising their app and he's funny" with little or no regard for prices. Unless that changes, I can't see people suddenly gravitating towards exchanges for better prices any time soon.

    Exchanges also have the issue of not really being suitable for accas, requested bets and markets like "BTTS both halves" where there's no liquidity which mug punters seem to love, so unless that changes I can't see exchanges becoming the norm.

    I saw one of my 'friends' from school bragging about a win the other night - Haven't spoken to him since school, alright guy but one of those people who you accept as a Facebook friend because you knew them but you never speak to each other. He had won a £20 punt on the round betting in the boxing. He was clearly happy with his win but I was cringing knowing how much more he would've won if he used an exchange, because the pricing on that market with bookies is hideous for punters.

    Sounds like a quality spot you've found the baseball thing there btw. Not a huge fan of the sport because it's always on PPV channels that I'm way too nitty to buy so I've never got into it properly (beyond watching people get hit by pitches and mass brawls breaking out on YouTube). But have heard from others before that there's often spots that appear with knowledge of things like pitcher rotation - GL.
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