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ARB219: Mismatched payout rules – basketball 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. Basketball is one of those sports where mismatched rules exist across sports bookmakers.

The mismatched payout rules in basketball usually relate to whether or not a bookmaker includes overtime when grading their bets. However, there is a lesser known mismatch that can catch arbers out and it relates to when bookmakers determine if a basketball game has reached ‘official’ time.

The risks are 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 basketball arb is across two bookmakers then Sports Arbitrage Australia generally recommends executing the arb only if both bookmakers have identical payout rules, on both the game reaching ‘official’ time AND within the same inclusion of overtime.

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

The two payout rules for basketball

In basketball, wagers are paid/settled only after the game is declared ‘official’. The definition of when a game is declared ‘official’ varies at each bookmaker, but falls into one of two definitions:

  1. NBA: after 43 minutes of play; NBL: after 43 minutes of play; NCAA: after 35 minutes of play; and all other games: at the end of normal time – that is, when the competition regulators (NBA, NBL, NCAA etc.) determine the game is complete for the purposes of announcing official results, then the wager will be settled irrelevant of any subsequent team retirements or defaults. The winner, for bet settlement purposes, is the team who is officially recorded as such. If this official time in the game has not been reached, then all bets are void and funds returned to punters.
  1. Five minutes left of scheduled game time – that is, as soon as the game enters the last five minutes of scheduled game time (excluding overtime) then the wager will be settled irrelevant of any subsequent team retirements or defaults. The winner, for bet settlement purposes, is the team who is officially recorded as such. If the game does not play into the last five minutes before the scheduled end time, then all bets are void and funds returned to punters.

The rule summary table: basketball

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

Mismatched payout rules: Basketball

Updated 8 February 2017

Wagers stand when reach ‘official’ time
NBA: after 43mins of play

NBL: after 43mins of play

NCAA: after 43mins of play

Others: end of normal time

All: 5mins of scheduled game time left
William Hill

Ladbrokes

Pinnacle Sports

Crownbet

Palmerbet

Luxbet

Ubet

Unibet

Bet365

 

 

Moneyline, 1×2, head-to-head, match betting

NOT ON the fourth quarter

Over-time not included Over-time included
Bet365

William Hill

Ladbrokes

Pinnacle Sports

Crownbet

Palmerbet

Luxbet

Ubet

Unibet

 

Moneyline, 1×2, head-to-head, match betting

ON the fourth quarter

Over-time not included Over-time included
William Hill

Ladbrokes

Pinnacle Sports

Crownbet

Palmerbet

Luxbet

Ubet

Unibet

Bet365

 

 

Proposition or event-based wagers
Event determined Entire match completed
Bet365

William Hill

Ladbrokes

Pinnacle Sports

Crownbet

Palmerbet

Ubet

Unibet

Luxbet

 

 

Our table is designed for quick reference and is self-explanatory. As you will note there is effectively two checks you need to perform before executing a basketball arb:

  1. check that both bookmakers involved in the arb classify a basketball game complete at the same time (although we have never heard of a single basketball game being forfeited by one team half way through a match); and then
  2. check that the wagering specific payout rules of each bookmaker are classified into the same definition category for that bet type.

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.