In theory a surebet is a risk free bet that guarantees a profit no matter the outcome of an event. In reality there are some surebet risks. In this article the most commons surebet risks and possible solutions for these risks are presented.
1. Different bookmaker rules
Some bookmakers have different rules for an event than others. For example, Nadal and Federer play a tennis match and Nadal gives up, because he is injured. At some bookmakers the bet will be voided, others however will say that Federer won the match. These different approaches regarding rules make it more risky to place an arbitrage bet.
The solution for this problem is to be aware of the different rules that the bookmakers have. Another solution is to use software that automatically corrects or warns for different bookmaker rules.
2. Palpable errors by the bookmaker
Bookmakers set thousands of odds each day. Since most of the bookmakers do this by hand a human error will be made from time to time. The bookmaker has the right to void any bets before the match starts when there is a made clear mistake. If you have wagered money on the palpable error and the bookmaker voids the bet, you will have one side of your bet uncovered.
The solution for this problem is to never bet on arbitrages above 15 percent. Also, always check the odds when you place a bet. If the odd is clearly out of line with the other odds, be extra aware of a possible palpable error of the bookmaker.
3. Changing odds
When you find an arbitrage opportunity you have to wager two sides or more. However, sometimes it happens that when you have placed your bet at one bookmaker, the odds at the other bookmaker have changed in the mean time. The arbitrage opportunity is gone and you have already locked in your money on one side of the bet.
To reduce this surebet risk as much as possible it is important to decrease the time between bets. Also, when this happens just cover the bet with the lower odds. You will make a small loss, however will have that loss earned back with your next surebet. Do not leave sides uncovered, this is gambling and that is what you are avoiding.
4. Selection of the wrong bet
If you select the wrong bet you think you have locked in an arbitrage opportunity, but in reality you have a huge risk of losing your money. To prevent this always check if you have selected the right odds right before you place the bet.
5. Bookmaker limits
Another potential problem is bookmaker limits. Bookmakers have limits on how much you are allowed to bet on a certain event. Some display how much the maximum bet is, others will let you know after you have placed the bet. For example you have placed €400 on Federer at bookmaker 1 and want to place €1000 on Nadal at bookmaker 2. However, bookmaker 2 tells you, you can only place €500 maximum. Now you have one side partly uncovered. For players with a smaller bankroll this will not be a common problem, however note that some bookmaker limit your account after a while and you will only be able to place very small bets not exceeding €5,-.
The solution for this is to always place a bet first at the bookmaker is most likely to reject your stake or from who it is not clear what their maximum stake is.
6. Not enough balance
Especially when you place a lot of bets and use a lot of different bookmakers it will happen from time to time that you do not have enough balance on a certain bookmaker account to place your bet. This risk can easily be avoided by checking your balance before you bet. Also, having some money in your e-wallet that you can transfer fast in case of emergencies is a possible solution.
7. Bonus rules
Always read the terms and conditions of the bonuses you unlock very carefully. Bookmakers always require you to roll-over your bonus, however some ask you to do it five times, others ask you to do it twenty-five times and only on certain events. Also if they limit you before you have rolled over your bonus it can be extremely frustrating to roll-over your bonus before you can withdrawal your money.
The solution for this is to clearly understand the terms and conditions of the bonuses you unlock at the bookmaker. Decide if it is reasonable for you to roll-over your bonus the required amount.
When you are new to arbitrage betting, you will make errors. Everybody does. Therefore, always start with a small bankroll or even better with paper trading. Fully understand what you are doing before you start playing with larger bankrolls. As time progresses you will get better at avoiding surebet risks.