Lessons

Beginners Arbitrage Lessons

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ARB206: Betting lines, types and markets

Bookmakers continuously offer new and unique betting markets and lines in order to attract new business, which is great for arbers because it provides more possibilities of profit.

Whilst a good quality alert service will provide you with accurate arbs, Sports Arbitrage Australia recommends that you understand how the following common bet types/lines work, in order to be certain that you cover all possible outcomes of any sporting event when placing bets.

1X2 (a.k.a. ‘head-to-head’, ‘home-draw-away’, ‘match’, or ‘three-way’) – the most common wager on an event between two opponents where a draw is possible. The three lines offered are home team, draw, and away team. This bet type can apply to any period of a match (i.e. first half, 3rd quarter, full time).

1X2 with Handicap (a.k.a. ‘home-draw-away with handicap’, ‘match handicap’, or ‘three-way handicap’) – similar to 1X2, except the opponents are given a points head-start or points disadvantage. The wager is won or lost depending on the final score after taking into account this head-start. Draws can result should, after taking into account the head-start, the scores be even. These bets are often displayed as 1X2wH(+1) or 1X2wH(-1).

Line bet (a.k.a. ‘points’ or ‘points handicap’) – similar to 1X2, except the underdog is given a points head-start in order to create theoretically even opponents. The wager is won or lost depending on the final score after taking into account this head-start. The handicap given is usually to half a point, to ensure no draws can result. These bets are displayed as Team A (+9.5) vs. Team B (-9.5).

Over/under – a wager on the total goals/points scored in an event. The wager is won or lost depending on the sum of both teams final scores. The over/under handicap given is usually to half a point, to ensure there is a result. This bet type can apply to any period of a match (i.e. first half, 3rd quarter, full time) and are displayed as Over 42.5 vs. Under 42.5.

Asian handicap – a specific type of handicap wager invented in Asia and, like line betting, is designed to eliminate the draw as a result. At first it can be confusing to understand, so one of our later lessons deals with Asian handicaps in more detail, and provides a summary table that you can quickly refer to when arbing. The primary difference from line betting is that Asian handicaps are offered at 0.25, 0.5 and 0.75 intervals. For example wagering $100 on:

  • AH+0.25 is equivalent to wagering $50 on AH+0 and $50 on AH+0.5; or
  • AH+0.75 is equivalent to wagering $50 on AH+0.5 and $50 on AH+1

12 (a.k.a. ‘draw no bet’, ‘DNB’, ‘home- away’, ‘moneyline’, or ‘two-way’) – a wager on an event between two opponents where a draw is possible, however if the match is a draw your bet is refunded. The two lines offered are home team and away team. This bet type can apply to any period of a match (i.e. first half, 3rd quarter, full time).

Zero point handicap – exactly the same as 12, only you will find this bet under a different section of a bookmaker’s website. The opponents are given a points head-start or points disadvantage, but since the handicap is zero points, you are actually just betting on the winner of the event, ignoring the draw. These bets can be displayed as 1X2wH(0), AH+0, Team A (+0), AH(pk) or Team A (pk).

Odd/even – wager on whether the total goals/points scored in an event will be an odd or even number. The wager is won or lost depending on the sum of both teams final scores. This bet type can apply to any period of a match (i.e. first half, 3rd quarter, full time).

Double chance – a wager of the 1X2 type, except you win if two of three possible outcomes occurs (i.e. you win if home/draw wins, or draw/away wins, or no draw).

There are numerous exotic betting types and lines available at sports bookmakers, most of which are self-explanatory (i.e. first goalscorer; time of last goal; half-time correct score). Exotic betting lines don’t come into sports arbitrage very often but we recommend you familiarise yourself with them just in case.

Cross-market arbs

A good quality alert service will identify cross-market arbs. A cross-market arb is one where placing bets on two different bet/line types will still cover all possible outcomes of a match.

Consider the two possible arbs below on, say, a soccer match:

  Home

team

Draw Away

team

Arb #1 Single market (1X2) Bet 1

HOME

Bet 2

DRAW

Bet 3

AWAY

Arb #2 Cross-market (1X2 and Asian handicap) Bet 1

HOME

Bet 2

AWAY AH+0.5

Both arbs:

  • cover all possible outcomes of the match;
  • use the same bookmakers;
  • result in the same profit; and
  • are for all practical purposes the same.

In fact, the only difference is that Arb #2, because it crosses two markets (“1X2” and “Asian handicap” markets), is achieved with fewer bets and therefore less execution risk.

Accordingly, cross-market arbs are not something to be fearful of – as you can see in the above example a cross-market arb can be preferable to its single-market equivalent. This does, however emphasise the point that you should understand the above common bet types/lines and how they work in order to be certain that you cover all possible outcomes of any sporting event when placing bets.