An Introduction to Sure Bets
Our magic formula will probably look meaningless to the inexperienced sports bettor. Even the most experienced punter might not quite understand it.
However, those who keep reading this sure bets tutorial will soon understand the significance of it and how to use it to make steady profits. We’re talking about the Holy Grail of sports betting known as sure bets.
A sure bet is another term for arbitrage betting. This means exploiting odds discrepancies between opposing online bookmakers to turn a guaranteed profit. In other words, you bet money on both sides and win money regardless of who wins the match. While not every match will produce a sure bet opportunity, you shouldn’t have trouble finding one that does. Because there are so many excellent online bookmakers out there in the ether, more and more sure bet situations are becoming available every day. You just have to find them.
What Exactly is a Sure Bet?
Most successful sports bettors have active accounts with multiple bookmakers. They don’t just do this to claim a wide range of bonuses although this certainly factors in.
Instead, they patronize several online bookmakers so that they can shop for the best odds. Sometimes, the odds discrepancies between two bookies are so significant that they generate a guaranteed profit scenario in which sure bettors stake bets on both sides of a moneyline.
Let’s think in terms of betting on a simple coin toss. Even though it’s a 50/50 proposition, your online bookmaker needs to make money from the deal too and would likely offer odds in the neighborhood of:
- Heads 1.90
- Tails 1.90
As you can see, there is no way to wager on both sides of that moneyline and guarantee a profit. However, what would happen if the betting site was seeing heavily lopsided action on Heads? Well, they would probably adjust the odds to attract more Tails action. Let’s, for argument’s sake, say that the odds jump to:
- Heads 1.80
- Tails 2.05
This is one-half of a possible sure bet situation. All we need to do is find a bookie that’s offering the right odds on the Heads. We’ll say that one of your other online bookies had to adjust the odds because they were getting too much action on tails. They shift their odds to:
- Heads 2.01
- Tails 1.79
We now have a guaranteed profit waiting for us. We can bet the 2.05 on Tails at the first sportsbook while betting the 2.01 on Heads at the second. Suppose we bet $100 on each. If Heads wins, then we win $101 on our $100 bet and we lose the $100 wager on tails bringing us a total profit of $1. If Tails prevails, then we win $105 which shakes down to $5 profit after subtracting the losing stake on Heads. The point is that there was no possible way to lose money on this bet. Hence the name sure bets.
Admittedly, the above example is very basic and not that likely to happen, but it is only intended to draw an outline. Let’s start adding some colour by using an imaginary NFL game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the hapless Jacksonville Jaguars. After comparing the moneyline odds at your favourite online sportsbooks, the best odds for the Chief’s moneyline were 1.20 while the best Jags moneyline was 8.00. You can go ahead and plug those numbers into the above-mentioned magic formula.
((1 / Decimal Odds for Outcome A) x 100) + ((1 / Decimal Odds for Outcome B) x 100)
= ((1 / 1.20) x 100) + ((1 / 8.00) x 100)
= (.833 x 100) + (.125 x 100)
= 83.3 + 12.5
Because this calculation totals less than 100, we have ourselves a sure bet. We can wager on both sides and make a profit no matter which team wins.
How Much to Bet
Now that we have identified our sure bet, we now have to figure out how much to bet on each side in order to pull this off. This is the point where we reveal a second golden formula.
This formula enables you to figure out how much you need to stake on each side to win a certain amount. To keep things simple, we’ll say that our desired win amount is $1,000. Here’s the formula:
(Desired Win Amount ÷ Odds 1) + (Desired Win Amount ÷ Odds 2)
Let’s add the numbers:
= ($1,000 ÷ 1.20) + ($1,000 ÷ 8.00)
= ($833.33) + ($125)
This tells us that we will need to invest $958 to guarantee a $1,000 return which equates to a guaranteed profit of $41.67. The magic wager amounts have also been revealed. You can stake $833.33 on the Chiefs ML at the first bookie and then stake $125 on the Jaguars ML at the other one. Don’t forget to take advantage of enhanced odds if you can get them because they can make a huge difference on your sure betting bottom line.
Only two things can happen after you’ve placed your bet. The Chiefs could win and you would make $166.67. After factoring in the $125 you lost on the Jaguars bet, you would be left with a total gain of $41.67.
If the Jaguars pulled off the upset, then we would win $1,000 on it. You’d then have to subtract the $125 stake amount and the lost $833.33 on the Chiefs bet which leaves us with $41.67. In either case, a $2,000 total investment netted a guaranteed profit of $41.67 and there was absolutely no risk involved.
Sure Bet Obstacles and Some Finer Points
If you are starting to understand sure betting and you want to give it try, there are a few things you should know. As you may have gleaned from the example above, sure betting can sometimes require a decent bankroll.
With that said, patient beginners with modest bankrolls can quickly and easily build formidable account balances. You should make sure that a bookmaker gives you bet limits that are conducive to sure betting. You may find yourself scrambling if you need to wager $833.33 but your bet limit is $500.
Speaking of betting $833.33, it isn’t always a good idea to wager such odd stake amounts. You see, most online sports betting sites don’t take kindly to sure bettors. It’s not that sure bets are illegal; it’s just that bookies don’t like it. It’s like card counting at the blackjack table. It isn’t illegal, but the casino will kick you out if they even think you’re doing it.
Bookies aren’t stupid. A bunch of odd and erratic wager amounts is sure to raise red flags. We suggest that you round off the wager amounts to less suspicious numbers. Instead of $833.33, make it an even $830 or $835. It may alter the profit margin, but not by much. You might even want to consider throwing in some low-stakes parlays into the mix every couple of days to further mask the scent of sure betting.
We will expand on bonuses and promotions a little further down, but we want to focus on one particular betting feature that can really fatten your wallet. We’re talking about enhanced odds. A lot of top online sports betting sites run daily enhanced odds offers. A lot of the time, these boosted odds are offered on select matches. However, some promotions allow you to use boosted odds on pretty much anything on the menu. Regardless, enhanced odds boost the profitability of existing sure bet opportunities while opening the door to others.
The Importance of Getting the Best Odds
Seeing how we just touched on the topic of odds, let’s elaborate on it. In short, the odds dictate how much profit you stand to make through sure betting. If the odds don’t meet a certain criteria, then there is no sure bet opportunity.
If you can get better odds, then it behooves you to take advantage of them. You might not see a huge difference between 1.90 and 1.95, but experienced bettors know how much of an impact such a discrepancy will have over the long term. They also know that such a difference in the odds can lead to sure bet opportunities.
To demonstrate, pretend that you have compared odds at multiple bookmakers. You zeroed in on a sure bet candidate in a match between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Minnesota Twins.
The best odds you found were:
- Toronto ML 1.95
- Minnesota ML 2.30
We have applied this to our magic formula and have confirmed that it is a sure bet candidate. We can now figure out how much to bet by applying:
(Desired Win Amount ÷ Odds 1) + (Desired Win Amount ÷ Odds 2)
Let’s add the numbers:
($1,000 / 1.95) + ($1,000 / 2.30)
= ($512.82) + ($434.78)
This one’s a dandy! We’re looking at a guaranteed profit of $52.40 when we apply that second secret formula. Now, instead of getting Toronto at 1.95, let’s say you snagged them at 1.97. That would mean that we would only have to wager $507.61 on the Jays ML instead of $512.82. Now we are investing a lesser total of $942.39. That seemingly insignificant 2 pennies on the Toronto ML odds has boosted our profits by over $5. You can imagine how incorporating an enhanced odds offer into the equation would affect the bottom line.
Using Bonuses and Promotions to Your Advantage
If you have come this far, then you should have a solid grasp on what sure bets are and how to profit from sure bet situations. You also know that getting the best odds and partaking in enhanced odds offers can greatly benefit your bankroll. However, there are many other betting perks that you can use to make your foray into sure betting a lucrative one.
Let’s start with welcome bonuses. All of the top online sportsbooks have them. Bookmakers usually offer one of three types of sports bonuses. You can usually claim free bets, risk-free bets, or bonus cash. In some instances, you might be able to claim a combination of free bets and bonus cash. No matter what the bonus is, it can help you make more guaranteed money through sure betting.
If you have a $10 free wager, you can use it to stake one side of a sure bet. If the $10 free bet isn’t enough to cover the required stake amount, split the wager into a $10 free bet and another separate bet to make up the shortfall. In the end, that $10 will factor into your profits. With the best bookies running so many regular free bet promotions, you can keep on feeding from the trough.
Risk-free bets can be used in the same way. These are usually much more valuable than free bets. Some top online bookmakers will give you a risk-free bet valued at up to $1,000 or more. They will definitely come in handy if your sure bet requires a larger investment on one side. Again, all of that bonus value directly pads your bottom line.
Let’s go back to our Toronto Blue Jays vs. Minnesota Twins game. If you have a risk-free bet up to $1,000 at the site that’s offering Toronto at 1.95, you can go ahead and use it to stake the $512.82. You can then stake the $434.78 on Twins at your other sportsbook. If the Blue Jays win, then you collect your guaranteed profits as per usual and the bonus offer is over. However, if the Twins took it, then not only do you earn the guaranteed profit, but you also receive your losing Blue Jays stake amount back. That’s a cool $512 and change.
Of course, having a stash of bonus cash can if helpful when sure betting. Some top sports betting sites offer $1,000 or more when you open and fund a new account. Most cash bonuses are subject to wagering requirements. For instance, a $1,000 cash bonus might have a 10X rollover attached to it. This means you would be required to stake a total of $10,000 in wagers. That’s a lot of sure bets.
We should also let it be known that top online sportsbooks feature VIP and Loyalty Rewards programs. These schemes reward sports bettors every time they place a bet. In addition to earning access to such things as more free, bets, bonus cash, and cashback, members can take avail themselves of higher limits, express withdrawals, and a wide range of retail prizes and VIP getaways.
We cannot overstate the importance of reading a bonus’s terms and conditions. You want to be 100% certain that you know exactly how an offer works. Conditions like bet limits and minimal odds along with event restrictions might not fit into your sure bet strategy.
How to Find a Bookmaker for Arbitrage Betting
Because sure betting requires shopping for odds and placing wagers with two different bookmakers, you are going to end up with several sportsbook accounts. However, we advise against going out and opening a bunch of accounts right out of the gate. Instead, wait until the site presents you with a sure betting opportunity so that you can claim a welcome bonus. You can then use that bonus to help fund your sure bets.
While a great welcome bonus offer should be a consideration when choosing a bookmaker, there are many other important factors to think about. We suggest that you start your search by checking out our expert bookmaker reviews. If the bookie satisfies our ultra-high expectations, then you know it’s a reputable and reliable site for sure betting. You can be sure that the bookmaker possesses the following key traits:
- Licensed: We would never recommend a sure betting bookmaker unless it was licensed by a respected regulatory authority like the UKGC, MGA, or Curacao eGaming. These licensing bodies are among the strictest in the world and they offer some of the best player protection in the industry.
- Low Odds Margin: The odds margin refers to the commission that bookies charge for accepting bets. It’s also known as vig, juice, and betting margin among other things. It’s how bookmakers make money. Paying a lower commission means that you are getting better odds and putting more money in your pocket.
- Betting Markets: Having a full spectrum of sports and events to choose from equates to more sure betting situations. Our top sportsbooks online offer competitive odds on nearly every sport under the sun. A betting menu for a mainstream match will typically serve up hundreds of unique betting options.
- Live Betting: On top of the thousands of pre-match betting options, the best sports betting sites offer an endless flow of live betting opportunities. While sure betting scenarios exist within this sphere too, you have to act quickly as in-play odds can be very volatile and change in the blink of an eye.
- Ongoing Promotions: Sure bettors and their account balances will appreciate having access to a good selection of regular promotions. Bonus cash, free bets, enhanced odds, and cashback are just a few ongoing offers that can consistently add to your sure bet profits.
- Fast Withdrawals: Online sports bettors want to collect their winnings as soon as possible. By using the right payment method at one of our fast payout sites, you will always get paid quickly and without hassle. The best of the best will process withdrawals within a few minutes.
- Limits: Hunting for bigger sure bet payouts means staking larger amounts. Make sure that the bookmaker you select can handle the type of action that some of your sure bets will require.
- Special Features: Some of the best bookmakers support a wide range of special features that make the sure betting experience more enjoyable. Features like alerts, quick bets, and live streaming will take the experience to the next level.
Are Sure Bets Safe?
Sure bets are safe if you place them at one of our top-rated sports betting sites. Nevertheless, novices should proceed with caution. They should also become familiar with some of the sure bet finding software that’s out there.
While knowing how to use the formulas we have covered is important, you can simply have an app or program do the heavy lifting for you.
The apps monitor the odds at a huge number of bookmakers. The user is then notified when new sure betting scenarios become available. The app will let you know where to place both sides of the sure bet wager, how much to stake, and how much you are guaranteed to profit. It doesn’t get any easier than that.
Sure betting is also safe in the sense that the best bookmakers use the latest internet security technology to keep you and your private information secure. All interactions with our favorite sites are protected by SSL encryption and any stored information is inaccessible behind the most advanced firewalls.
Sure bets are safe from a legal standpoint too. As mentioned, most bookmakers don’t exactly welcome sure bettors with open arms. Some are downright hostile. But sure betting is 100% legal. In fact, you may come across a bookmaker or two that openly welcome sure bettors. Furthermore, they offer a variety of arbitrage resources such as guides and sure bet calculators.
What are the Best Sure Bet Wager Types?
With the sure bet examples we previously discussed, we illustrated using 2-way moneylines. However, most wager types can offer opportunities.
It’s just that moneylines are among the most popular bets and they are prone to movement which creates the required odds disparity. Another thing that makes 2-way moneyline so attractive to sure bettors is that the odds margins tend to be a bit lower than they are for many other bet types like player props, team props, and game props.
You should also know that 3-way bets can be exploited. The exact same principles apply. The only difference is that a three-way sure bet requires three calculations and three separate wagers instead of two. In theory, you could sure bet parlays although that would be getting ahead of ourselves. We just want you to know that sure bets aren’t limited to moneylines.
Sure bets aren’t limited to certain sports either. Almost every sport ranging from baseball, hockey, football, and tennis to niche sports like lacrosse, darts, and snooker offer sure bet opportunities. Major soccer matches and horse racing are two of the most profitable sports for arbitrage. As long as the odds add up, it doesn’t matter which sports you sure bet on.
Is it Possible to Make a Living from Sure Betting?
In theory, it is possible to make a living from sure betting. After all, we’re talking about guaranteed profits. However, being possible and being practical are two different things. For starters, you should never think of sports betting as anything more than a bit of fun. It’s supposed to be a form of entertainment.
Then there’s the issue of the practicality of sure betting for a living. How much would you need to earn from sure betting to survive? At a minimum, we’re probably talking about somewhere in the range of $200 per day. Seeing how a 5% return on a sure bet investment would be considered pretty good, you’d need to tie up somewhere in the neighborhood of $4,000 every day. That’s assuming you can find a sure bet every day. Not to mention that most sure bet ROIs are typically only between 1.5% and 3.5%. This means that you likely need an even bigger financial commitment to meet your profit target.
How to Get Started with Sure Bets
If you are interested in getting started with sure bets, we suggest that you first find a reliable sure bet app. While you may have to pay for one of the fancier sure bet apps, there are a few excellent ones that are free of charge.
Having reliable software will help you quickly find sure betting spots you’re looking for. When you have settled on your sure bet, you can then open accounts and claim welcome bonuses at the appropriate sites. Needless to say, you should make sure to check out our bookmaker reviews to make sure the site you choose meets our high standards.
It’s then just a matter of placing the right side of the bet at one site, and the other side at the other online sportsbook. Now it’s time to chill out while you watch the match on your sportsbook’s live streaming service. Make sure to keep your ears open for more sure bet alerts from your app. You don’t want to miss out on any opportunities to win free cash.
FAQ: Sure Bets
Yes. Sure betting is perfectly legal. Be reminded that not all bookmakers look at sure betting in a favorable light. Some bookies will find a reason to freeze your account or ban you if they think you are using them for sure bets. It’s a lot like how land-based casinos treat card counters.
To be clear, a sure bet involves placing two opposing bets. As such, you will always win one and lose one. With that said, you will win money with every sure bet provided you do it correctly.
The chances of finding a sure bet-specific offer are beyond remote. Most bookies simply don’t want to encourage it. However, sure bettors can claim the same great bonuses and partake in the same promotions as anyone else. That means they can claim perks like free bets and bonus cash that can be used for placing sure bets.
All of our top online bookmakers are mobile compatible. This gives you the ability to find sure bets and place them while you’re on the go. You can either get a bookmaker’s native app or simply use your mobile browser.
Several factors have an impact on how much you can make. You need to consider how much you can reasonably invest and what a play’s ROI is. You also need to think about any bet limits and other restrictions that your bookie might place on you.
Sure Bets Conclusion
It may come to you as a shock, but there is indeed a way to make money through sports betting. And it’s perfectly legal! Even though sure betting can be a bit of a grind, you will see a noticeable improvement in your sportsbook account balance in no time. The profits pile up even faster once your betting balance allows you to invest more into your plays.
Sure betting has become much more popular in the Great White North as Canadians gain access to an ever-expanding number of reliable online sportsbooks. Having more top-tier bookmakers to choose from means more lucrative sure bet opportunities. The bonuses, promotions, and betting features are the icing on the cake.