Arbitrage Betting in Nigeria

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Arbitrage Betting
Written by Omolola Akinyemi

With due honour to those die-hard Nigerian football and/or sports lovers who wish to leverage on sports betting, you might need to go a step further to learn about arbitrage betting, and perhaps ‘beat the odds’. After all, your aim is to win more bets than lose over the course of time. But is sports betting (or gambling) profitable after all? And what sets arbitrage betting apart from everyday sports betting, what does a bettor stand to gain from arbitrage betting? Can you indeed be smarter than your bookmaker in winning your bet, perhaps? In this article, we would take you on a journey of discovery; let’s explore the world of arbitrage betting Nigeria together.

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Sport Betting Vs. Arbitrage Betting: Definitions and Comparison 

Sports Betting

Sports betting to begin with, is the attempt to predict the outcome of a sporting event (winner and probably their scores); and the willingness of a prospector or bettor to place a wager, stake or bet (money) on just one possible result. This is in the hope of winning opposing bettors to get the profit. The sport betting industry is a multi-million dollar market that has over many decades, capitalized on the zeal of sports lovers across the world – in addition to myriads of sporting events to choose from in order to kill boredom (and perhaps help fans make some money on the sidelines while they can).

Between the years 2019 and 2020 in Nigeria alone, an estimated 730 million Naira collectively was staked as wager money by bettors within the age range of 19 and 40 years old; the figures appear to be increasing. One would easily observe numerous game betting parlours and game stations/shops around town coming up more and more, patronized by youths who are eager to spend money.

About 48% of gamblers in the USA are heavily into sports betting. Undoubtedly the spirit of sports, the excitement, can easily pitch fans against one another in fervent support of their favorite and perhaps top performing teams, hoping that the favoured team would win. But experience has clearly shown that feverish fanaticism in support of a sporting team or athlete is of course not a guarantee of that athlete’s/ team’s ability to win the next game against the opponent, though past statistics and present fitness of such athletes/players can be a strong factor in influencing their next win.

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Betting websites, or bookmakers of the modern world attempt to collate and use these sports statistics while they monitor the progress of each sports team and their athletes, to reasonably predict what to expect in the next game or the next season so their bettor customers can hope to achieve meaningful wins every now and then.

It goes without saying that the bookmakers are in far greater advantage at making profit here – whether any bettor wins or loses. We are speaking of several hundreds, if not thousands of bettors staking their money daily against one another; minus taxes, the bookmakers have enough left-over from the pooled money to rake in after a sheer handful of bettors get lucky from time to time. Plus, the inevitability of a loss the customer may often face should the predictive capability on a betting website be found to be slack or not so accurate. Is there any chance of gaining that extra luck above and beyond the limited predictions offered by one bookmaker?

Arbitrage Betting

Arbitrage betting (or arbs betting, surebet, miracle win) on the other hand, requires a bettor placing a bet or wager on all possible win outcomes of a game (so it does not matter who or which team wins the game) and by so doing, the bettor is sure to profit from one win. For best results, rather than place your arbitrage bets on one sports betting company or website (though it is possible), the bettor would stake his/her money on all possible game outcomes with different sports betting sites. Different sports betting companies offer slightly different odds.

Odds are more like the projected probability that a sports team or athlete would win a match. So the bettor gets the opportunity to continually monitor and compare the odds offered by the different bookmakers on each game, put a wager on each outcome separately, and surely profit in any one of the sites. If you were to place all your bets on the same sports betting site, the mode of pricing on just that one betting site for different odds will ensure that the bookmaker takes all of your money and most certainly target that you lose big! The bookmaker might replace the actual odds with their own odds by including what is referred to as ‘overround’ in their prices.

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The subject of how to calculate sports probabilities, odds and overround is a bit complex and goes beyond the scope of this article; but you can get more information about them on online articles. The ultimate aim of each bookmaker is to ensure no bettor tries to gain profit on all possibilities, which would not be to their own advantage.

Typically, when added together, the total percentage for all possible outcomes on one sports betting company site is normally bigger than 100%. Take this hypothetical set of odds predicted by a particular sports betting company on a soccer match (human error is evident, since it adds up to larger than 100%, or whole number 10):

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Team A wins



Team B wins





With soccer/football, the possible outcomes would be three altogether – a win for each team, or a draw. In tennis, either of the two players might win, just two outcomes. A simple example: a bettor who invests 2000 Naira by placing N700 on outcome WinA, N700 on outcome WinB, and N600 on outcome Neut would calculate his profit manually in each case as follows:

WinA – (700 X 5.1) – 2000 = 1,570

WinB – (700 X 3.8) – 2000 = 660

Neut – (600 X 3.7) – 2000 = 220

{TOTAL: 1,570 + 660 + 220} = N2450

So definitely you would make a profit one way or the other regardless of which game outcome plays out. That is a loss on the long run on the part of the bookmaker; after all, how would the site profit if bettors get it right with absolutely every alternative? Such a site would do everything to block or restrict that possibility. Ultimately when you place your wager on each outcome with different sports betting sites (as against using only one betting company in the example above), the final payout you receive must be bigger than your initial stake money.

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Why Do Arbitrage Sports Betting?

Some reasons on the part of the bettor for opting to do arbitrage betting, may include the following:

If game betting companies set their odds too high in the bid to retain customers and get new ones as they compete against one another for more patronage.

If the game betting site finds it hard to respond fast enough in real-time to changing odds in a sports game. Sometimes these odds change as fast as several times in a single minute.

Arbitrage Betting Sites in Nigeria

Since it is generally considered illegal to do arbitrage betting on a single bookmaker; and rather than embark on the complex process of calculating your game profits manually through arbitrage betting on different sites – there are sites that act as online arbitrage bets calculators, or betting exchanges. A betting exchange allows a bettor to ‘legally’ pitch the set of odds for a single game on one particular sports betting site, against each other to earn profit or commission. Some of the common betting exchanges in Nigeria include Netbet, 22Bet, Bet365, Pari Match, BetBonanza, MelBet, Betway, CyberBet, Wazobet, 1XBet, BetWinner, 888Sport, and BetFair (the list is not by any means exhaustive, you can find more from further research).


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About the author

Omolola Akinyemi

A Computer Science graduate of UNILAG, I hail from Ekiti state of Nigeria. An astute teacher, learner & admin assistant of many years experience. I love technology, innovation, and Nature. A problem solving mentality is important to me. The future is only seconds away, and I believe I can define the future now. You can also.