Arbitrage betting in tennis is a way to take advantage of offered odds for all possible outcomes of a market leading to a profit irrespective of the result.
At the outset, we must quickly add here that most bookmakers – if not all – frown upon Tennis Arbitrage Betting because it leads to losses for them. However, the concept of arbitrage betting in tennis, or in any sport for that matter is an important one to learn because it can also be used in betting exchanges where bookmakers don’t earn through your losses but through commissions on bets placed.
So, moving quickly into how does tennis arbitrage betting work? If we are looking at the winner’s market in a tennis match, there are two possible outcomes. What would qualify as an arbitrate bet is if the odds on offer at different bookmakers ensure that irrespective of which of the two players wins the match, the punter would pocket home some money.
Example 1 of Arbitrage Betting in Tennis
Let’s take an example of a match between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open.
Say Bookmaker A offers 2.05 for a Federer win in that match while Bookmaker B has him as a favourite and offers 2.05 for a Nadal win, a bettor can earn a profit out of this irrespective of which of the players win.
So if you invest GBP 100 on a Federer win with Bookmaker A and GBP 100 on a Nadal win with Bookmaker B, and if Federer wins the match, the bettor will end up winning GBP 5 irrespective of who wins the match.
This is an example of Balanced Odds for arbitrage betting in tennis where it’s easy to calculate how much to bet on which tennis player to ensure your profit. However, real life scenarios are never that straightforward. Many times, the chance of an arbitrage in tennis betting comes in a match involving two different quality players who have unbalanced odds attached with them for the win.
Example 2 of Arbitrage Betting in Tennis
Let’s talk about another scenario. Assume Novak Djokovic is playing Roberto Bautista Agut in a Wimbledon match.
Let’s assume Bookmaker A has a Djokovic win at 1.17 while Agut is 9.0 with Bookmaker B to win it.
Interesting to note here, this is a near-real-life example from the 2019 Wimbledon where these two players had played in the semifinals and Djokovic was 1.08 to win the match while Agut was 8.57. We have tweaked the odds slightly for this example, reducing Djokovic to 1.17 and Agut to 9.
Now again, this is an example of an arbitrage tennis bet, but with odds so unbalanced that it’s tough to recognise it.
Which tennis bets fall under the Arbitrage Betting category?
How to recognise the odds on offer for all the possible results of a tennis market constitute a chance at arbitrage betting? It’s a simple calculation actually.
Calculate the sum of the probabilities associated with every result for that market and if it’s lower than 100%, you have an arbitrage available.
Let’s revisit that Djokovic-Agut example.
Djokovic’s odds of 1.17 gives a probability* of 85.47% win while Agut’s probability* based on those odds of 9.0 is 11.11%.
Add the two probabilities, 85.47+11.11, it gives us a sum of 96.58%, which is less than 100%. This is a good case of tennis arbitrage betting.
*if you are looking to understand how to calculate probability based on odds, scroll down towards the end of this page
How much to invest to profit from an Arbitrage Bet?
The next question in such cases of arbitrage betting where the odds are unbalanced, is how do we calculate how much to invest on each outcome to ensure a profit irrespective of the result. You can do that by dividing your total cash you want to bet in a ratio of the obtained probabilities.
In the above Djokovic-Agut example, if your total stake is GBP 100, then divide this in the ratio of the two probabilities, i.e. 85.47:11.11 to get how much money can you bet on each player.
So, the figure to bet on Djokovic:
100*85.47/(85.47+11.11) = GBP 88.49
Similarly the figure to bet on Agut would be:
100*11.11/(85.47+11.11) = GBP 11.51
Let’s reverse this now. Suppose you bet GBP 88.49 on a Djokovic win with the first bookmaker who is offering 1.17 odds and GBP 11.51 on an Agut win on the second bookmaker. And let’s assume Djokovic wins the match, you will win 15.04 GBP but will lose the 11.51 GBP you had bet on the Agut victory, giving you a net profit of 15.04-11.51=3.53 GBP.
Similarly, let’s assume there’s an upset and Agut manages to defeat Djokovic. We will get a return on 92.08 from bookmaker B but lose the 88.49 GBP we bet on a Djokovic win with bookmaker A giving us a net profit of 92.08-88.49=3.59 GBP.
In short, in both cases, you are earning a profit.
Tennis Arbitrage Betting Tips
- Open multiple bookmakers account. That increases the chances of getting opportunities for tennis arbitrage betting.
- Ensure you keep a record of every transaction made to ensure you know how things stand
- Ensure you don’t get too excited and ensure you have the right odds in front of you. Master the different types of odds and don’t get confused between them while using the aforementioned formulae
- Spot changes in the odds. There is a good chance of fluctuating odds between when you have first spotted an arbitrage opportunity and when you actually place your bet. Ensure you don’t use the updated odds
- Last but not the least, if you think you can spend a few bucks, opt to buy Arbitrage or Matched Betting software
So, does that mean Arbitrage tennis betting is risk-free?
From a very broad perspective, Arbitrage betting looks like it’s a risk-free proposition but dig a little deeper and there are multiple issues involved with Arbitraging in tennis. There is an obvious requirement of a huge capital, because as you saw in the examples above, you needed to invest 200 GBP to earn about GBP 3.5, a very small percentage of profit on the investment made.
Other than that, it needs time to research, tennis betting experience to understand how things work with bookmakers and a whole lot of discipline.
The risks involved with Arbitrage betting include the quick changing of odds, especially if bookmakers spot an opportunity for an arbitrage. There is also a chance that different bookmakers might have different rules associated with player retirements, which could lead to major losses – so in tennis betting, it’s very important to attempt arbitrage betting only with bookmakers which have similar retirement rules for the market bet on.
Calculation errors could lead to losses too, since there is every chance the arbitrage odds won’t be around for a long time.
What are the other risks associated with arbitrage betting?
- Slow response by the bettor: If the bettor doesn’t take advantage of the arbitrage betting option on offer quickly enough, there is a chance it could disappear before all the bets are made.
- Cyber Fraud: This is an indirect issue but given a arber needs to open accounts at multiple bookmakers, there is always that chance of information getting leaked to hacker who can then commit cyber fraud using those details.
- Bookmaker detection: While tennis arbitrage betting might not be illegal, bookmakers don’t often tolerate it and are prone to cancelling such bets or even suspending player accounts.
- Responsible gambling: Bookmakers are expected to promote responsible gambling and in case of huge losses made by punters, they are known to shut accounts. While a punter might still be making an overall profit, their accounts where they have made huge losses might get shut down by the bookmaker.
- Taxes on profits: Some countries impose taxes on money earned through betting that could erode into the small profits garnered with tennis arbitrage.
- Currency conversion cost: At times there is a high price to pay, even as high as 10% or more at times, for currency conversions and that could further nullify your tiny profits from arbitraging.
Is Arbitrage betting on tennis legal?
Although it is frowned upon, arbitrage betting isn’t illegal. However, if bookmakers do find out about cases of regular arbitrage betting on tennis matches, they can limit your betting account or even suspend it.
What is Arbitraging also called?
In betting slang, Arbitraging is often termed as an arb while those involved in Arbitraging are popularly known as arbers.
How much money can be made from Arbitraging?
At one time in the past, people made their careers, using the Arbitraging betting methods. However, in most recent times, it’s become more and more difficult to do that with Arbitraging in sports. Usually arbitrage bets offer very small returns of about 2-5% on the total capital invested. Which is why high liquidity is a much needed asset in the business of Arbitraging.
Are there any tennis betting arbitrage software?
There are a few tennis arbitrage software that helps punters recognising such opportunities and needless to say these come at a cost. ProfitAccumulator.co.uk is one such company that offers such an option but for a concept called Matched Betting.
Matched Betting works like arbitrage betting but takes advantage of new sign-ups and promotions offered by the bookmakers, making it easy to spot such opportunities in the market. They charge GBP 17.99/month for the signup but have a free, 30-day trial within which the money is refunded if you wish. You can also opt for an annual package of GBP 150.
There’s another software offered by BetBurger.com called Surebets which offer unlimited bets for a price of EUR 99.99/month. They also have an option for live bets for a way costlier EUR 189.99. If you are just starting out we would recommend Profit Accumulator for now.
Oddsmonkey is another such site which has an option of a free tool too, but its paid options are brilliant and start at GBP 17.99/month too. Coincidentally, their annual cost is also the same as the ProfitAccumulator, pegged at GBP 150.
There are a few others in the market as well, but what we would recommend is to go with one that has a free, trial period like ProfitAccumulator.co.uk and see whether it works for you. If it does, then extend it to a month’s service, and keep monitoring it closely.
How to calculate probability based on the given odds?
The simplest way to calculate probability is to use this formula:
Probability % = 100/(odds in decimal)
So, for the example used in the Djokovic-Agut match, odds of 1.17 convert to a probability of 100/1.17=85.47% while the odds of 9.0 convert to 100/9=11.11%.