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ARB216: Mismatched payout rules – tennis arbitrage

Not all bookmakers have the same bet payout rules, and arbing between two bookmakers with opposing payout rules can be risky. Four common sports with mismatched rules exist – tennis, baseball, ice hockey, and basketball. This lesson focuses on tennis, subsequent lessons focus on the others.

The payout rule mismatch relates specifically to the stage of a tennis match that a wager is declared ‘complete’ should a player retirement or default occur.

The risk is that one bookmaker can void the bet (returning your money), and the other will consider the bet as ‘completed’ (paying your winnings on a winning bet; or keeping your wager on a losing bet). This is effectively keeping an open position… or gambling.

Thankfully, this risk can be eliminated by simply knowing the bookmaker payout rules and not betting across mismatched bookmakers.

A good arber is aware of this issue, and maintains a table of common rule mismatches for quick and easy reference. If a tennis arb is across two bookmakers then Sports Arbitrage Australia generally recommends executing the arb only if both bookmakers have identical payout rules.

Below we discuss the three different payout rules for tennis, and provide a bookmaker rule summary table that you can use to ensure your tennis arbs are risk-free. Print the table off, stick it to your wall for quick reference, and check it before placing any tennis bets.

The three payout rules for tennis

In all sports, wagers are paid/settled only after the event is declared ‘complete’. In tennis, the definition of when a match is declared ‘complete’ varies at each bookmaker, but falls into one of three definitions:

  1. One point played – that is, as soon as the first point of the first set is played the wager will be settled irrelevant of any player retirements or defaults. The winner, for bet settlement purposes, is the player who advances to the next round.
  1. One set completed – that is, as soon as the first set is finished the wager will be settled irrelevant of any player retirements or defaults. If the first set is completed then the winner, for bet settlement purposes, is the player who advances to the next round. If the first set is not completed then all bets are void and funds returned to punters.
  1. Entire match completed – that is, the wager will only be settled if the entire match is played out and completed with no player retirements or defaults. If the match is not completed for any reason then all bets are void and funds returned to punters.

The rule summary table: tennis

As noted previously, Sports Arbitrage Australia has created a bookmaker rule summary table for tennis that we use to ensure our tennis arbs are risk-free. Feel free to print the table off, stick it to your wall for quick reference, and check it before placing any tennis bets:

Mismatched payout rules: Tennis

Updated 1 February 2017

 

Moneyline, 1×2, head-to-head, matched betting
One point played One set completed Entire match completed
Pinnacle Sports

Unibet

Bet365

Centrebet

Luxbet

Ladbrokes

Palmerbet

 

1x2wH, Asian handicap, over/under, line bets
One point played One set completed Entire match completed
Bet365

Centrebet

Ladbrokes

Luxbet

Pinnacle Sports

Palmerbet

Unibet

 

Proposition or event-based wagers
One point played One set completed Entire match completed
Bet365

Centrebet

Ladbrokes

Palmerbet

Unibet

Luxbet

Pinnacle Sports

 

 

Our table is designed for quick reference and is self-explanatory. As you will see, each bookmaker is classified into one of the three definition categories above (each with its own column). You use this table by ensuring that both bookmakers are in the same column for that bet type before executing a tennis arb.

Our table is updated regularly, however bookmakers can change payout rules without notice so for the utmost surety you should review each bookmaker’s betting rules as well.

Alert services warning of mismatched rules

To assist arbers, some alert services provide warnings of possible rule mismatches when notifying you to an arb. These warnings are there to caution you, not necessarily stop you from executing an arb.

Please bear in mind that these warnings are for “possible” mismatched rules, not certain mismatched rules. Further, in our experience the warnings have not always been accurate because bookmakers have been known to change payout rules and it is difficult for alert service developers to keep track of the 100+ bookmakers they are covering.

Therefore, Sports Arbitrage Australia always recommends you do your own research and review each bookmaker’s betting rules yourself rather than solely rely on your alert service to be up-to-date and accurate.

Arbitrage across mismatched rules – strictly for pros

In a later lesson we discuss the possibility of arbing across bookmakers with mismatched bookmaker rules, though this is an advanced strategy and strictly for experienced arbers only.

The basic premise is to calculate the statistical chance of each player/team retiring and then overlay those probabilities onto the player/team odds in order to calculate a ‘probable chance’ that your bets will be settled favourably, and within acceptable risk tolerances.

If this sounds too technical for you then we suggest you stay safe by adhering to the basic premise of avoiding arbs across bookmakers with mismatched rules – be safe, not sorry.