Matched Betting and Arbing Safely

We all make mistakes, and the occasional bloomer is inevitable when arbing or matched betting. This post aims to help you to avoid some of the common pitfalls that can catch out the unwary (or careless) arber.

1. If you are doing a free bet or a wager requirement, make sure you know the rules. It is infuriating to go for a free bet and mess things up by taking an odds on arb as a qualifier when the minimum odds required are 2.0. Check the Bookmakers List for the rules on individual offers.

2. If you are doing anything other than very straightforward markets, check carefully for rules differences. If the rules are different between bookie and exchange there is potential for both sides of the bet to lose and this is very expensive. There are many sports and markets which have different rules at some bookies than at Betfair, the best known of these being tennis, but you can also get caught out on cricket, golf, baseball, ice hockey, novelty markets and even football in some odd situations. There are sections containing posts on rules differences for various sports in the Knowledge Base.

3. Take extra care if there are horses or teams with the same odds. It is very easy to back overs and lay unders if both are 1.83 for example, which is not uncommon. Similarly horses (and teams) can have very similar names, so be vigilant.

4. Make sure you are looking at the same market at the bookie and Betfair. Be wary of big arbs – they often indicate a mismatch and arb finding sites are not infallible. You may be looking at a half time result, or a to qualify market, or a very common mistake with horses is to mix the win and place markets. If it looks too good to be true it probably is!

5. Palpable error. Another problem with very big arbs is that they may result from a mistake such as the bookie swapping the odds of 2 horses. Bookies all have a clause in their t&cs regarding such “palpable errors” – they may void the bet or give you only the real odds. In either case you are likely to lose out. Always regard huge arbs with suspicion.

6. Always check the start time of the event before you bet on it, especially if it does not go in play at Betfair. Many of the best arbs appear in the last few minutes before the start, and it is very easy in the rush to catch the arb to find yourself left high and dry as the market suspends.

7. If you bet on an event in Australia make sure that you have transferred funds to your Australian Wallet. It doesn’t take long, but sometimes seconds count and you can miss the lay money by having to mess about with this mid-arb, especially if it is something you haven’t met before. (Note that in order to withdraw from the Australian wallet you must have done Betfair’s KYC process, ie had your ID accepted.)

8. Be wary of long term arbs like outright football markets and ante post horse bets. Can you really afford to tie up all that money for months on end?

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