Beginners Arbitrage Lessons

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ARB217: Mismatched payout rules – baseball arbitrage

As mentioned in a previous lesson, not all bookmakers have the same bet payout rules, and arbing between two bookmakers with opposing payout rules can be risky. Baseball is one of those sports where mismatched rules exist across sports bookmakers. The mismatched payout rules in baseball relate to whether or not a bookmaker requires listed pitchers to pitch in a game when grading their bets. Most sports bookmakers will list two pitchers in the betting slip of a baseball wager – one pitcher for each team. If either of the listed pitchers does not make a pitch in the game then the wager is void and funds returned. The risk is that one bookmaker can void the bet if their listed pitcher(s) didn’t pitch in the game, 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 double-checking the listed pitchers BEFORE confirming any bets and not betting across mismatched bookmakers. A good arber is aware of this issue, and ensures that a) both bookmakers require listed pitchers to pitch; and b) any listed pitchers are the same on all legs of an arb. Sports Arbitrage Australia generally recommends executing baseball arbs only if both bookmakers have identical listed pitchers. Below we discuss the three different payout rule categories for baseball, and provide a bookmaker rule summary table that you can use to ensure your baseball arbs are risk-free. Print the table off, stick it to your wall for quick reference, and check it before placing any baseball bets. The three payout rule categories for baseball In baseball, wagers are paid/settled based on whether or not a bookmaker requires listed pitchers to pitch in a game when grading their bets. The listed pitcher requirement varies at each bookmaker, but falls into one of three categories:

  1. Both listed pitchers must pitch in the game – that is, when grading bets the bookmaker requires that both listed pitchers as per the betting slip must pitch in the game for the bets to be valid. Wagers on games where either or both listed pitchers did not make a pitch are deemed void and funds returned.
  1. No listed pitchers – that is, listed pitchers have no relevance on how bets are graded. Wagers will be settled no matter which pitchers play in a game.
  1. Punter can choose requirement – that is, the punter has the option when placing the bet to choose one of the following two pitcher requirements (either listed or none). The wager is then graded on the basis of the chosen requirement. Note that under this method, the odds offered can differ dependent on the choice made so please taken this into account when checking your arbs.

The rule summary table: baseball As noted previously, Sports Arbitrage Australia has created a bookmaker rule summary table for baseball that we use to ensure our baseball 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 baseball bets:

Mismatched payout rules: Baseball

Updated 11 February 2017


Listed pitchers, must pitch

No listed pitchers

Punter can choose requirement

William Hill Luxbet Ladbrokes Ubet Crownbet Palmerbet   Unibet Bet365 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 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 baseball 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.