A recent game in the Champions League threw up a rather interesting situation in the world of cross market betting. FC Copenhagen’s game at home to Galatasaray, a match which the Danish side narrowly edged out the Turkish opposition by a goal to nil, wasn’t the most glamorous of contests on match day 4 of Europe’s premier club football tournament however it delivered an arbitrage betting scenario with three of the most popular bookmakers.
An arbitrage bet is a bet which offers a sure payout no matter what the outcome. They are rare, and as odds fluctuate, do not fall in adjacency thus rendering the possibility of guaranteeing returns a difficult proposition.
Before kickoff a popular trio of bookies - Betfair, Bwin and William Hill – unbeknown to all three at the time offered the following respective odds:-
31/50 for a home win with Betfair.
14/5 for a draw with Bwin.
9/1 for an away win at William Hill.
€100 bet would have yielded a 2% profit no matter what the result and here’s why:
€62.96 on a home win would return €102
€26.84 on a draw would return €101.99
€10.20 on an away win would return €102
A 2% profit is not much at those amounts but consider larger amounts or even events such as tennis or basketball where there is no chance of a draw. Having two possible outcomes instead of three widens the propensity for profiteering even further.
It is unlikely that this scenario would turn out for a top of the table clash as the teams involved at the sharp end of domestic leagues are studied thoroughly and form is widely known but for minority sports or matches between competitors whom little is known about the push and pull of the cross market levers offer the chance for eagle eyed sports fans to make a safe bet.
Opening group games of major international tournaments such as the World Cup lend themselves well to such scenarios as teams with no recent (or none at all) head to head records often get drawn in the same group. After the draw is made for Brazil 2014 on the 6th of December it will be interesting to examine just how many opportunities to yield profits will be available across the betting market.
A profit is a profit and the best way to earn a small fortune is to start with a large one.