There are plenty of websites offering a free sports arbitrage calculator. A calculator will take all the guess work out of how much you will need to bet for profitable arbs. Before we get into calculators we would like to re-explain the fundamental mathematics behind arbitrage opportunities. Please not you do not need to be a mathematician to successfully arb- in fact you do not need to know the maths at all. This is just for those out there who want to understand it. Alert services will do all the calculations for you and a calculator will tell you how much to bet. This is also a feature of arbitrage alert service software.
How arbitrage opportunities exist
When the sum of the inverse of odds for all bets on a specific event are less than 1 then an arbitrage opportunity exists.
Examples are often more easier to understand. Let’s assume we have a 2 team game. Cleveland Cavaliers vs Golden State Warriors.
- Basketball Final: Cavaliers versus Warriors
- Bet365 offers 2.15 for Cavaliers to win
- William Hill offers 2.05 for Warriors to win
The calculation would be:
Arbitrage calculation = ( 1 / 2.15 ) + ( 1 / 2.05 )
Here we can see the result of 0.953 is below 1. This is a profitable trade. In percentage terms it is (1-0.953)x100% = 4.7%.
So from here you would use a sports arbitrage calculator to figure out what size bets you need to place on each side. Please bear in mind that alert services will automatically find and present arbitrage opportunities to you, you’ll never have to calculate them while you use a service.
What are they used for?
Once you have found your arbitrage opportunity the next step is to calculate how much you need to place on each bookmaker to ensure a profit. As we’ve mentioned, arbitrage alert services will have built in calculators so you can do it all in the software as you the opportunities present themselves.
Which calculator do we recommend?
Honestly, there is no specific one that is better than the other. If you have signed up to an alert service, use the free one offered by the software. If you haven’t signed up to an alert service and are manually finding arbitrage opportunities then use excel and create your own.
Creating your own
If you can’t sign up to an alert service or just want to practise yourself then open up excel and follow through with the example below. Using the example above:
win = bet x odds
Return = win -bet
Profit = return – bet placed on other bookmaker
If you set your spreadsheet up using formulas when you change the bet amount it will change the other values. So you can play with the bet size until your profit is as close as possible to each other.
So we would go by the second attempt at the calculation. We would place $205 on the cavaliers and $210 on the warriors. If the Cavaliers win we would make $25.75 but if the Warriors win we would make $20.50. It is important to note that our first guess of $200 on each bookie is correct but it is possible to maximise our profits by changing our bet size. In the first calculation we would still be profiting, however, if the Warriors won it would be a profit of only $10 but if the Cavaliers won it would be a profit of $30. It’s better to find the middle point. Please note calculating this manually can be a time consuming process. For this reason we recommend the free calculator provided by your alert service software.
Overall if you are looking for a sports arbitrage calculator we recommend going with the one provided by your alert service. We don’t believe there is one that stands out more than the others, they all should do the same thing. Alternatively you can create your own, however you may find it is too time consuming.
If you found this helpful, please subscribe to our blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. You can also find us on Facebook and Twitter.