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Advanced Lessons And Strategies

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ARB305: Middles

A middle is a unique type of arb whereby the two bets placed create an overlap (the ‘middle’) where both bets can win and the result is hugely profitable.

To help explain this concept, below are examples of the two types of middles:

  1. Positive middle

The opportunity that all arbers dream of but rarely occurs; a positive middle is a positive arbitrage opportunity where an overlap of bets is created in which both bets can win.

For example, let’s assume the following scenario:

  • Australian Open final: Murray versus Djokovic
  • Bet365 offers 2.15 for there to be more than 40.5 games in total
  • William Hill offers 2.05 for there to be less than 41.5 games in total

This scenario creates a positive middle, because it is possible to place two wagers such that your net profit is positive regardless of the outcome, PLUS there is a possibility that both bets will be winners if the match ends with 41 games in total. If this example was real then you could:

  1. bet $100 on Murray at Bet365; and
  2. bet $105 on Djokovic at William Hill

…with the results as follows:

Match result Bet365

wager

William Hill

wager

Overall

profit

If 42 or more
games –>
Win

+$115

Loss

-$105

+$10
If 41 games
(the “middle”) –>
Win

+$115

Win

+$110

+$225
If 40 or less
games –>
Loss

-$100

Win

+$110

+$10
  1. Negative middle

A much more common occurrence; a negative middle is a negative arbitrage opportunity where an overlap of bets is created in which both bets can win.

Let’s assume the same scenario as above, with more realistic odds:

  • Australian Open final: Murray versus Djokovic
  • Bet365 offers 2.04 for there to be more than 40.5 games in total
  • William Hill offers 1.95 for there to be less than 41.5 games in total

This scenario creates a negative middle, because it is possible to place two wagers such that your net loss is very small regardless of the outcome, BUT there is a possibility that both bets will be winners if the match ends with 41 games in total. If this example was real then you could:

  1. bet $100 on Murray at Bet365; and
  2. bet $105 on Djokovic at William Hill

…with the results as follows:

Match result Bet365

wager

William Hill

wager

Overall

profit/loss

If 42 or more
games –>
Win

+$104

Loss

-$105

-$1
If 41 games
(the “middle”) –>
Win

+$104

Win

+$100

+$204
If 40 or less
games –>
Loss

-$100

Win

+$100

-$0

Are middles worth playing?

If you find a positive middle then absolutely yes! Positive middles don’t come by very often.

On the other hand, negative middles are much more common and can in fact be manually discovered by using arb-find alert services as a guiding light. Statistically, if you find enough middles the long-term profits from playing them can be huge and significantly increase your arb income. Many professional sports arbers only trade middles and normally negative middles.