Skip to main content

How to Calculate NBA Arbitrage Bets

Calculate NBA Arbitrage Bets Sports betting is a favorite pastime of people all over the world and basketball is one of the most popular sports to bet on regardless of punter’s nationality and location. Unlike American football, basketball enjoys great interest not only in the US and avid basketball fans can back their teams by placing bets in almost all online sportsbooks. Such a significant admiration is due not only to the widespread of the discipline but also to the fact that it is an amusing source of entertainment and allows for diverse betting strategies. Given the variety of bets, things get even more interesting.

Although we often talk about sports betting as a hobby, a free-time activity, or just as a way of entertainment, in the end, we all hope to make some profit. For professional bettors, it is a main source of livelihood. Knowing the game rules and keeping up to date with information about teams and players is, of course, very important, but not enough for a successful basketball betting experience. Gambling aficionados use different strategies, one of the most popular being arbitrage betting. If you are not fully familiar with this term, we invite you to keep on reading and learn what exactly the concept is and how it can contribute to less risky betting on basketball matches.

Basketball Arbitrage Betting Explained

Basketball Arbitrage Betting Explained As can be assumed, the word arbitrage is not a strictly sports term but is used in other areas, mainly economics and finance. In its essence, it represents the practice of purchasing an asset or product and quickly selling it in another market for a higher price. Often but not always correctly, it is referred to as a risk-free operation. It is not difficult to guess how this principle is transferred in the field of sports betting. In fact, sports arbitrage has been around since the beginning of the bookmaking business but has become increasingly popular in recent decades along with the advancement in online technology.

Arbitrage bets enable wagering on all possible outcomes of a certain sporting event thus guaranteeing some profit regardless of the outcome. Basketball devotees who are well versed in this manner of betting will be able to take advantage of the difference in the odds value offered by the various online sportsbooks. This way, no matter how the match ends, punters will have some profit.

If we managed to get your attention and you are already interested in arbitrage betting, the first thing you need to get used to is keeping a close eye on several chosen betting platforms so that you can place bets on the same sporting event. Keep in mind, arbitrage bets may only be available to you for a limited period of time, as the changeability of the odds is very high. So, if you are careful enough and notice a significant disparity in the odds offered by different bookmakers, immediately place your bets and you will be able to achieve a high profit with almost no risk.

What Is The Reason for The Different Betting Odds for The Same Event?

NBA Betting Sites OddsArbitrage situations are not always the result of a different judgment on the part of the bookmakers concerned. There can be several other reasons for the discrepancies.

  1. Competition for more punters

    Online sports betting is a highly competitive field with hundreds of sportsbooks flooding the Internet. All of them are interested in maintaining a steady customer base and also attracting new punters. As a result, some bookies tend to provide short-term higher betting odds thus creating arbitrage situations.

  2. Unusual short-term betting activity

    Sure bets emerge in moneyway betting situations when in a sportsbook there is an excessive cash flow to one of the outcomes. In such extraordinary and unpredictable circumstances, the coefficients for the respective result decrease, and for the opposite – increase. However, this phenomenon is not observed in the other bookmakers and logically their odds are much different.

  3. Insufficiently fast reaction to live events

    Basketball is a particularly dynamic sport and sometimes the situation can change dramatically in just a few seconds. Two consecutive three points, for example, can give such a boost to the losing team that it reverses the result and eventually wins the match. The events on the field happen so fast that sometimes bookies fail to correct the odds on time.

How To Find Arbitrage Betting Opportunities

How To Find Arbitrage Betting Opportunities Arbing has never been very easy, but nowadays it requires constant monitoring of multiple events among hundreds of online betting platforms, a task that seems burdensome and tedious. There are three main ways used by modern punters to find arbitrage bets, two of which save a lot of time and effort.

First comes the old-time manual search still practiced by multiple bettors from different parts of the world. If you insist on using this method, our advice is to make it in connection with live betting events since this is the field where bookmakers are more likely to make a mistake and give you a chance to perform profitable arbitrage betting. On the other hand, live betting odds are moving really fast and you need to be experienced in order to have success in the manual search through ongoing sports events. For punters using this type of betting strategy, appropriate basketball betting markets are over/under points, handicaps, and winners in quarters/halves. Especially if you are a novice, it is more reasonable to place bets during the game breaks.

A more favorable way to find arbitrage bets is via free arbitrage scanner software. The providers of this type of service are scanning different online bookmakers and comparing the odds they offer in order to find arbitrage options. We believe the advantages of this method are obvious – without paying anything you are gaining experience and thus funding your account faster than through manual search. The comparison made by the software gives you an idea of what the individual sportsbooks offer and which of them best reflects your preferences.

Punters must keep in mind the two main drawbacks of using free arbitrage scanners. Since no payment is involved a lot of people operate with the software which makes it easier to detect and there is a chance bettors to be flagged as arbers. And bookmakers, as you know, do not welcome them with open arms. Another downside is that most free scanners show arbs with an approximate delay of 1 minute. Although this may not seem much, it does give an advantage to paid scanner users. If a lot of them place their bets, odds may drop before you can also do so.

Punters who want to reach a bigger number of arbitrage bets and significantly increase the eventual winnings must think of using the paid versions of the above services. Paid arbitrage bet finders show results with no delay and have no profit % limitations. It is better to use these scanners when you have already gained some experience because some of them are pricey and you need to know how to make the most of them. Some of the paid arbitrage scanner providers offer weekly subscriptions which are a great way to test if the service is suitable for you.

How To Calculate NBA Arbitrage Bets?

How To Calculate NBA Arbitrage Bets Now, when you already know how to find an arbitrage situation, it is time to start wagering. After a suitable event has been found where there is a possibility for guaranteed profit, the punter should split his bet proportionally to guarantee a successful bet.

We will look at an example with a match between Orlando Magic vs Philadelphia 76ers with the stake being $80. We are about to place a bet on which team will be the winner and the formula is as follows:

(1/Orlando Magic odds) + (1/Philadelphia 76ers odds) < 1Odds to be included in our calculation are 1 (Orlando Magic) - 6.00 (Bookmaker “A”) and 2 (Philadelphia 76ers) - 1.50 (Bookmaker “B”).(1/6.00) + (1/1.50) = 0.167 + 0.667 = 0.83 which is 17% less than 1.A possible split of the $80 stake to result in profit:

  • 1 (Orlando Magic) – 6.00 (Bookmaker “A”) x $15.60 = $93.60
  • 2 (Philadelphia 76ers) – 1.50 (Bookmaker “C”) x 62.40$ = $93.60

This type of wagering locks the 2 possible outcomes to guaranteed $93.60 payout from the $80 stake, or in other words, a 17% net profit (high sure bet).

5 Risks of Arbitrage Betting

Risks of Arbitrage Betting Despite the undisputed options for minimizing the risk that arises from the arbitrage betting strategy, it must be borne in mind that nothing in life is 100% risk-free. A number of menace situations are possible, but they are relatively small and could be easily mitigated. If we compare the potential profit from sports arbitration with the possible negatives, the former is far more significant than the associated risk.

However, before you start your real-money betting, we advise you to look at our compilation of 5 main risks associated with arbitrage betting and ways to overcome them.

  1. Odds moving too fast

    As we have already clarified, the basic principle of NBA arbitrage betting is to make at least two simultaneous bets in two online sportsbooks. No matter how modern and innovative your computer is, there is always a few seconds delay between placing the first bet and placing the second bet. Not infrequently, during this time the bookmaker changes the relevant odds and thus leaves you in a position where the arb is no longer profitable.

    The good news is that even if the bookie lowers the odds, in the worst case this will lead to a very small loss (eg 1%) and may even leave some profit. To avoid this risk as much as possible make sure you always stay alert and use multiple monitors if possible. It would also be very helpful if you open separate accounts with different betting platforms. Do not confirm a wager before you are ready to make the same with the others contained in your arbitrage bet.

  2. Human factor

    We are human beings and as such, it is normal to make mistakes. Whether it is about typos, transposition errors, or not thoroughly checking the game rules, small mistakes can result in serious consequences. The worst thing is that you do not know there is an error before you see bets are settled against you.

    The more experienced you are, the fewer mistakes you make, so it is a good idea to start with paper trading first. Not double, triple-check everything before you confirm your bets, and be prepared to fix mistakes as soon as you notice them.

  3. Dissimilar bookmaker payout rules

    Placing an arbitrage bet between online sportsbooks with differing game rules is quite risky. There are various T&C about when a bet is considered settled in case the coach withdraws his team due to disagreement with the referees for example. One bookie may void the bet while the other will pay your winnings if your bet is a winning one or keep your wager if the bet is a losing one. Here the solution is simple – read the rules before placing any bet.

  4. Palpable errors

    Although not that common, online bookmakers can void bets if they think they have made an obvious mistake with the odds (such as reversing the odds of both teams). Information about such practice has been reported mainly in relation to sportsbooks with questionable trustworthiness and unclear licensing data. If you adhere only to reputable betting platforms you will hardly ever fall into such a situation.

  5. Account closure

    A very common risk when arbitrage betting is practiced is your account be restricted or completely closed by a bookmaker. One of the functions of online bookies is to monitor for suspiciously high and frequent winnings. Any player who is considered to be sharp and overly successful may end up with no account without prior notice. A smart tactic in this regard is to place several small random bets between your arb ones. This way the trend in your betting practice is harder to detect.


Conclusion Sports arbitrage bets and basketball bets, in particular, can be a very good opportunity to earn a side income online, using the discrepancies in the odds between different sportsbooks. Of course, do not expect to suddenly become a millionaire, but if you act wisely and avoid the risks we mentioned, you can make a decent amount of money. In itself, an arb brings low profits, but as you repeat the process many times, things start to look much better.

Arbitrage betting can be combined with other strategies for a profitable betting experience. А very suitable example of such is value betting which we have examined in detail in the next article on our website.