From Nags to Riches

What is Sports Arbitrage?

Pace Tips sports arbitrage service

Sports arbitrage is betting on very possible outcome of a sporting event.  This is done at prices that guarantee a profit irrespective of the outcome.  A more detailed and informative general definition of arbitrage can be found here . Sports arbitrage relies on different prices across bookmakers. Profits are not huge, but the risks are low.

Is Sports Arbitrage Possible?

Yes.  Each bookmaker builds their own book (market) on each event.  The prices they offer are based on a number of factors including:-

  • perceived chance of each outcome
  • liability incurred on each outcome
  • what prices other bookies have

Each bookmaker will offer a different opinion on the prices.  These will usually be similar but not identical.   With a bit of mathematics, it is possible to spot sports arbitrage opportunities where the prices are imbalanced across markets.

I can now spend more time watching and enjoying the races knowing that I am already a winner

If you aren’t yet convinced, click here to  see a couple of real examples walked through showing how to lock in a profit.

What Sports Arbitrage Do We Offer?

We offer a simple sports arbitrage service.  It consists of web page identifying arbitrage opportunties in UK and Irish horse racing.  It compares the prices available at bookmakers with Betfair prices. The prices are updated in real-time.  We have the most up to date prices on UK and Irish horse racing

What are the risks

We would be foolish to say there are no risks.  There are a few small risks that you need to take into account.

  • Bookmaker Price Availability.   Is the price actually available at the bookmakers?  Make sure you check the price offered.  This is especially relevant in the 30 minute or so before the race.  During this time the market can move dramatically.  This means the bookmakers sites will lag behind the market.  Thus the price offered may differ from the price on the website.  In turn, the data on our web page may thus be “stale”.  It is also worth checking on Betfair for non-runners/withdrawals. The bookmakers’ websites may still be offering a price reflecting the market beforehand.  In these cases, they may apply a deduction to the price you get.   Thus your potential winnings would be less
  • Exchange Price Availability.   You cannot place the two bets simultaneously.  Therefore, the exchange price may move against you
  • Exchange Liquidity.   Maybe the entire amount required to lay-off your bet at the bookmakers isn’t available at the time
  • Rule 4 deductions.   When a horse is withdrawn from a race,  the bookmakers prices will change.  Prior bets will be subject to a deduction under Rule 4.  Most bookmakers follow the industry standard for price reductions.  But you should check with your bookmaker’s rules for their deduction tables.  On Betfair, there is a reduction factor applied based upon the weight of money.  This will generally differ from the rule 4 deduction.  The exchange reduction factor will differ from the deduction under Rule 4.  Thus your profits may be reduced.  The profit can even turned into a loss.  Fortunately the revers is usually true
  • Losing accounts.  A bookmaker may close your account at any time.  Even if you have been losing with them

Possible Upsides

There are a number of ways that your profits may actually be more than you expected

  • BOG/BPG.   Some bookmakers offer a Best Odds/Price Guaranteed.  If a horse drifts out and wins, you get paid on the SP.
  • Rule 4.   See above.  Often a rule 4 deduction will favour the arbitrage player.

Hints and Tips

  • Check the prices.  Always check prices on Betfair AND the bookie before commiting to bet.  The price finding software is not infallible and the occasional mistake happens in gathering the data.  If it looks too good to be true, then it probably is.  Even if a really good price is available, then the bookmakers usually have an “out” in their terms and conditions to cover “palpable errors”
  • Check for liquidity. if liquidity is low, the risks are higher.  You may not get your lay matched
  • Look for patterns.  Experience will tell you when a horse may shorten.  This allows you to delay laying. Waiting for a lower price can increase profits.
  • Exploit Rule4.  Often a rule4 will favour you.  you will have two options.  One is to leave things as is and benfit from the win.  The other is to adjust and increase guaranteed  profits.
  • Exploit BOG/BPG. Useful when a horse drifts.  Adjust on the exchange to increase guaranteed profits.  Otherwise benefit more if the horse wins


Sports Arbitrage can be very profitable.  The profit on each bet is small.  The number of sports arbitrage opportunities is large.  Try it!  What have you to lose?