You could be forgiven for thinking it's impossible, but there are ways to place a legal no lose bet - with zero risk where you win whatever the outcome.
The most successful way to bet that can't lose is known as arbitrage - a term that refers to any activity that can result in financial profit whatever happens.
But arbitrage isn't the only method, although it is the only one which - if carried out properly - can guarantee a locked in profit at the point of striking of the bet rather than relying on other influences.
So our overall list no lose betting methods includes:
• Arbitrage - using discrepancies in bookmaker odds
• Match Betting - taking advantage of free bet or free betting money offers
• Back & Lay Betting - using movements in market odds to lock in a profit
Aside from understanding how no lose betting works, the trick is in knowing where and how to find those no risk betting opportunities, and then taking advantage of them quickly before they disappear.
The most profitable way of betting with no risk is known as arbitrage or sure betting, and is defined as 'the placing of wagers with different operators at odds which guarantee you a positive return whichever way the result goes'......Read More
Right, let's start on our exploration of no lose betting and all its intricacies. It's not easy, there are some pros and cons to be aware of, and you'll need to work hard at it to be successful. But the rewards can be good if you can make it work.
So we want to know how to beat the bookie by placing a bet where whatever happens you end up winning. You might think it's impossible, but actually this form of betting has been around for a long time.
There are a number of different ways of getting involved in betting where you can't lose - one is known as arbitrage betting, with the people that make money from placing winning no lose bets being known as arbers, and the others are in taking advantage of free bet bonus offers or in odds trading.
On this page we'll be focusing on arbitrage betting, and before we get involved it's worth noting that most successful arbers don't look on their art as any form of gambling. To them it's a business, with a built in guaranteed profit from their 'work' that can build a big bank over the long term.
''Betting arbitrage, miracle bets, sure bets, sports arbitraging is a particular case of arbitrage arising in betting markets due to either bookmakers' different opinions on event outcomes or plain errors. By placing one bet per each outcome with different betting companies, the bettor can make a profit. As long as different Bookmakers are used for arbitrage betting, the Bookmakers do not have a problem with this. Each one will still make a profit because they've baked their commission into their calculations.''
So basically this means that to enjoy a no lose bet and get a guaranteed profit irrelevant of the final result, what you will be doing is betting on both outcomes in any type of match event. The bet will normally be placed with two different bookmakers, such that you win whatever the outcome. For example this might be in a tennis match, a head to head golf match, or in a soccer match on an Asian handicap bet.
The same opportunities can be found in a number of other sports. By placing bets on two (or more) matches where the odds are high enough on both outcomes, you can cover all those outcomes and be guaranteed to win.
You should note though that aiming to place arbitrage based bets that can't lose is not for the faint-hearted - it's a fast-paced process and to do it successfully requires lots of focus, time, experience, dedication and the ability to keep your discipline. Plus plenty of cash in betting accounts to make sure you can place the bets when they arise.
Why Do These No Lose Bets Exist?
We all know there are lots of bookmakers around, and we know they rarely go out of business. All of which proves there's money to be made as a bookmaker. They make lots of money. Consistently.
But competition is fierce. For the same reason that casino, bingo, or poker operators regularly offer betting promotions, sports bookmakers have to fight for Customers. The way they do that is by either running their own promotions, or by offering better odds than their counterparts.
This is where arbitrage betting gets its name. There will be - and are - opportunities to place bets with different bookmakers where their odds are out of line with their competitors. This might occur due to competition, because of errors in pricing, or because the market has changed and one of the bookies haven't yet updated their odds.
Let's take a look at an example. Liverpool versus Chelsea in the opening Premier League match of the 2014 season. It's early in the season, there is no real current form to go on, and plenty may have happened with the teams between the end of last season and this match.
So the bookies are uncertain of how to price it up. One may go Evens Liverpool to win, one way go 6-4. If you can place one bet on Liverpool at 6-4 with one bookie, and another on Chelsea at 6-4 with another (both with a draw no bet option), then whichever way the result ends up, you end up in profit (or at least with your original stake intact if it was a draw).
This is a fairly extreme example, most often the differences in odds won't be anywhere near this big, but the example does show the theory.
Although the bookmakers need to be seeking to offer better value than their counterparts, they still have a business to run and need to limit their own risk exposure. This is where the overround comes in.
It's basically a term which refers to the overall market the bookmaker is offering and how much profit they will make whatever the outcome. They will shift odds depending on liabilities so that they make a profit whatever happens.
What Happens When The Bookmakers Work Out What's Happening?
They already know. Arbitrage betting has been around for a long time. The reality is that bookmakers will always have to offer attractive odds if they want to attract or keep Customers, and they have to balance their books so they make money.
There are some that obviously don't like having arbers betting with them, but equally there are a number that don't mind. After all, their profits are already built into the odds they offer overall...and if you can find part of a no lose bet on a betting exchange, these are not even bookmakers. On betting exchanges you are betting against other punters, just like you.
There are a number of betting operators that frown on the practice, but the worst that can happen is they'll eventually close the account of anyone who they suspect of carrying out successful arbitrage betting. If that happens, you just shrug and move on to a competitor that will take the bets.
Which Bookmakers Are Best For Arbitrage No Lose Bets?
You'll find that to get the best opportunities you'll need accounts at many different bookies. But there are a handful which are going to be the most important:
• William Hill
In particular you're very likely to be using a betting exchange at the core of your betting strategy.
Exchanges are not like regular bookies, and offer a number of benefits including higher odds, back to lose options, a clear understanding of how much you can win or lose, and they offer a great way to practice. From the list above, Betfair are the most well known.
What About The Profits? How Much Money Can I Make?
This depends very much on how much time, effort, and risk you want to put into it.
Generally each arbitrage bet can make you around 2% profit, occasionally going up to 5%, and rarely but possibly higher up to 20%. If you place enough bets you could make from around 15% up to 20% profit (of your starting bankroll) per month.
Of course this is not as good as getting a big win from an accumulator or one winning bet on a high odds outcome, but as we've seen before the best way to make consistent profits from betting is to do it slowly and carefully.
15-20% profit is a whole lot better than the few percent you'd get in a building society or bank, and remember you're placing no lose bets which theoretically mean it's money for nothing.
Types of Arbitrage Betting
We've seen that it might be possible to back two opposing teams or players in a match at odds which guarantee a positive return whichever one wins. That's the simplest form of no lose bet.
Another option though is to look for opportunities where you can bet one party to win and also to lose at the same time, such that either result still gives you a profit at no risk.
The amount of profit in these cases is likely to be low, but finding one is like finding gold dust on the ground. The problem is you probably will need to lay out fairly large sums of money to make it worthwhile. If you want a good example of buying money though, this is it.
Back and lay betting, as this is known, will almost always take place on betting exchanges where you're betting against other punters rather than traditional bookmakers.
One big point to note with betting exchanges is that they charge a small percentage commission on winning bets - which may be high enough to wipe out the small profit you might be making. For that reason, you'll need to be cautious with these types of wagers.
Another possible problem is in the size of the bank you'll need to cover the 'bet to lose' side of any wager struck. Although in theory you're not going to lose it, you still need the cash there or the Exchange won't allow the bet to be placed.
Arbitrage & Free Bet Offers Combined
Taking advantage of a free bet offer in combination with an arbitrage one is well worth looking into, although it obviously can only be used sparingly and won't offer a long term opportunity since you normally only get free bets on initial account creation.
This opportunity works by gaining your free bet by registering a first time account, making a win bet for example at reasonable odds, then backing the alternative result separately - maybe on an exchange - so that whatever happens you make a profit.
The advantage here is that it can often be simpler to find a bet that offers a good degree of acceptable loss instead of one that makes a profit - and leaves the option to make other bets at good enough odds to lock in your ultimate profit.
The big potential drawback is of course that free bets come with terms and conditions attached, normally meaning you can't withdraw the cash until you've wagered the amount a given number of times.
Cross Market Arbs
It won't have escaped your notice that in pretty much every sport you can bet on different markets it's no longer the case of betting win or lose (or draw), but you can bet on number of goals, supremacy, and a whole range of other options.
So our term 'cross market arbing' here obviously refers to no lose bets across different types of markets.
To explain let's take a look at an example football match:
Chelsea vs Arsenal - with a standard arb bet on the market for over/under 2.5 goals
Back over 2.5 (Bet365) @ 6/4 - staking £39.91 for a return of £104.56
Back under 2.5 (Pinnacle) @ 37/50 - staking £60.09 for a return of £104.56
Total staked around £100 for a £4.56 profit
In a cross market arb it might look like this:
Man City vs Southampton
Back correct score 0-0 (BetVictor) @ 10/1 - staking £9.81 for a potential return of £107.91
Back Man City to score over 0.5 goals (Ladbrokes) @ 3/10 - staking £83 for a potential return of £107.90
Back Southampton to win to nil (Corals) @ 14/1 - staking £7.19 for a potential return of £107.85
So our example shows three bets on three different markets, all resulting in a profit whatever the end result.
The good points to note about cross market sure bets are in the fact that there are many more opportunities to spot and strike a wager, plus because of their nature they may be harder to identify hence have less other arbers going for the same bet. This means they may stay available for longer.
You'll probably be aware that during the course of any normal day there may be thousands of events that you could place a bet on, and finding the ones where you can't lose is not going to be easy.
Unless you're very lucky and stumble upon an opportunity, you're going to need help...and that's where some types of software come in.
These can range from software that highlights bets where discrepancies in odds exist and tells you exactly what is on offer and with which betting operator.
Others are designed to actually place bets for you in superfast time as soon as they appear, given they might only be available for seconds or minutes before those odds change.
Software can also show calculations of potential profits, and let you use filters that allow the choice of specific sports types, events, profit percentages, and specific bookies or sportsbooks.
Because of the nature of arbitrage bets, they're best placed on the outcomes of events where there are no more than three possible outcomes.
Football (and a number of specialty football bets), tennis matches, boxing, and golf matches are all good examples.
With football particularly there are now hundreds of different betting markets, which gives rise to many possible cross-market opportunities. An example of this may be in spotting a betting opportunity that gives good odds on a team for number of goals scored in a match, coupled with an arb opportunity by betting on the asian handicap market.
Once you start moving into sports with more participants such as horse racing, it becomes impossible to back all the possible winners unless you rule out all the outcomes, and as soon as you do this you're introducing an unacceptable level of risk and bringing luck into play.
So What Do I Need to Do To Get Started? - Finding The No Lose Betting Opportunities
It's possible to weed out the best no lose bet opportunities yourself, using your own knowledge of the specific type of betting concerned and most likely many hours of study and analysis. Using an odds comparing service will be critical given how many different bookies there are operating.
But unless you want to spend every minute looking through odds and trying to identify these no lose opportunities yourself (which will take too long and soon become impractical), or want the latest bets available as they appear, then you're going to need help.
The best way of getting this help is through an arbitrage subscription service where the bets are identified for you.
This is where Rebel Betting arbitrage software comes in. They offer a no lose betting service which is the best of this type I've been able to find. RebelBetting gets you:
• Hundreds of arbs every day
• No arb profit restriction (you will be able to bet on ALL arbs)
• Cross Market support (advanced arbitrage betting by mixing different markets in the same arb!)
• Full access to support
Signing up with RebelBetting will get you a free no lose betting Ebook which explains every aspect of no lose arbitrage betting that you'll need to know.
Once you've got the Ebook and fully understand how their solution works, you can sign up for the subscription and get the bets laid out for you without any effort needed on your part.
What Can Go Wrong?
What Are The Risks?
It all sounds so easy, doesn't it. And if you keep calm and don't get too greedy then it is possible to keep on winning.
But there are some dangers, drawbacks, and risks.
All or most of these can be negated or reduced with experience, but to get that experience you need to display commitment and invest time and effort. If successful, you might find the reward is around 10 percent (often tax-free) profit each month - profit that doesn't come with risks you might encounter trading on the stock market, for example.
• They Don't Last Long
Arb opportunities sometimes last only a few minutes. Bookmakers change odds all the time. You have to be fast with placing your bets (this is where RebelBetting helps of course) before the odds change. The odds might change before you've had a chance to place both bets, potentially leaving you with a small loss (depending on the size of your bets).
You can make each trade or bet quickly, but in between making those bets or trades you should have access to a computer running arbitrage software that will tell you of each arbitrage opportunity. No lose betting opportunities (or “arbs”) sometimes only exist for up to 10 minutes until the odds change and the opportunity has disappeared. Having software that helps you place trades quickly helps
• You Need To Be Ready - Constantly
If you don't prepare properly there is a risk of making mistakes with your bets. It's highly important that you take time to study arbitrage betting thoroughly. The best way to do this is to spend at least a week performing 'paper trades'. That is doing it without actually placing bets, or very small ones.
• You Need To Keep Good Records
In any situation where you're juggling lots of information, there's a risk of making mistakes. For successful sure betting, you'll need multiple accounts and keeping track of how much money is in each will be important. Likewise you'll need to be aware of what works and what doesn't, and that entails keeping good records of previous bets and their outcomes.
If You're Not Quick - You Can Get Bitten
No matter how fast you are there always exists a small risk that the odds will change after you've placed your first bet and before you've placed your alternative bet. This could result in a small loss.
Most likely this will happen if a high number of bets come flooding in for the same result - something which will happen particularly if you're using a subscription service. Think about all of your fellow punters all trying to take advantage of a bet that can't lose all at the same time!
• There May Not Be Enough Liquidity
Liquidity is the term for how much money there is on offer in a betting market, and it's particularly applicable to exchanges. For example you may spot a bet where one traditional bookmaker is offering 3 to 1 and an exchange is offering a lay at 2 to 1. That might look like a great opportunity, but if in fact there's only a small amount available to trade at that price with the exchange, then you'll probably want to avoid it.
• The Bookies May Not Like It
If you're good at arbing - and show a profit over time - there is a chance that some bookmakers will eventually close your account. One possible way of overcoming this is to occasionally deliberately place a small losing bet, though of course if you are using different bookmakers (which you must) then not all bets will win with the same bookmaker every time anyway.
• Watch Out For Mistakes
If you're using a subscription service to notify you of good bets, you won't want to be risking a loss because of a mistake in the notification. This is unlikely to happen, but is possible. Some caution is needed, and wherever possible you should carry out your own checks to whatever extent is possible.
Clearly the same goes if you're finding your own wagers. Under pressure it's easy to make mistakes and get the wrong market or the wrong match.
• Make Sure Your Internet Connectivity Is Strong
With the small amount of time available to strike profitable bets before they disappear, you can't afford to be losing internet connectivity. Make sure you have reliable broadband and PC or laptop. Using a smartphone is inadvisable in most instances.
• Bookies Can Cancel Bets
Although this is bad business for a bookmaker - and may well result in poor publicity - the bookies are able to cancel or void bets if they believe something untoward is happening. In fact they can even cancel if they've clearly made a mistake.
Imagine the pain of not being able to complete one half of a no lose bet and face the liability you'll already have incurred? It'll be OK if it goes your way, but for the period of time the wager is running you'll be experiencing some interesting adrenalin flows?
And to add insult to injury, the bookie doesn't necessarily have to state they've cancelled anything until after the event.
You won't be hitting this potential problem often, if ever. To avoid it as far as possible, the best advice is to stay clear of any arb bet that looks to good to be true. Big mistakes in determining odds in the bookmaking world don't happen. They are much too clever.
Stick with arbs that will return no more than 10% profit and you'll probably be safe. If you can stick with 5% then even better.
• You'll Need To Bet Big
As an illustration if you're aiming for 5% profit per bet:
To achieve this at a level sufficient enough to earn £100 per day, you're going to need to be staking around £2000 per day.
• Have a Big Betting Bank
Taking our last figure of £2000 per day, recognise that this doesn't mean that's all you need. In fact you need access to that bank level consistently, and across multiple bookie accounts.
You could stake everything on one winning opportunity, but if the next no lose bet comes quickly afterwards you could miss out if there hasn't been enough time for the wager to be settled and the cash to make its way back into your betting accounts.
Withdrawals of cash are seldom a problem, but they do take days sometimes. The reality is you'll need cash in various accounts all the time to make sure you don't miss an opportunity.
• You'll Need To Consider Disguising Your Bets
Where small amounts are concerned the bookies are unlikely to take much notice of your betting activity. But if you suddenly place a very specific amount high value bet (for example - £397.75) on the outcome of a match, this will most likely set off alarm bells and signal that you're involved in arbitrage betting.
This won't affect that current bet, but all eyes will be on you afterwards and you'll be facing the risk of account closure.
Seriously consider rounding off any bets so as not to give the game away too obviously, and be careful betting large amounts with an operator you haven't used for a while.
• All Good Things Come To An End
It's entirely possible to have a great run at no lose betting. If you're clever and focused - plus take care of everything I've covered in this article - you might be able to build up a nice profit.
One thing's certain though, in the end those bookies will spot you. You'll be forced to find other operators who'll take your bets. None of which like losing, and ultimately will close down your accounts too.
Setting up new accounts in different names is an option, as is building syndicates to spread the accounts. This last option will be particularly applicable if you've been successful. There will be no shortage of other punters that want to climb onboard.
The bottom line though is to avoid being recognized as an arber and make as much money as possible in as short a time as you can safely do it. But only if you've first proved that you can hack it.
• Watch Out For Currency Fluctuations
To lock in guaranteed profits you will need to make the best use of all options of where to place bets, and that means using different bookies. If you don't stick with a single currency you may open up a whole raft of potentially profit-reducing situations.
This can be caused by rapid exchange rate fluctuations, or by errors in calculating rates of exchange.
• Make Sure You Understand The Rules Around Betting On Any Event
Bookie rules can differ, and you'll need to be sure that any bets you are placing are all for the same event and have the same or similar rules.
An example might be that in a football match one bookmaker may be offering the odds for the result after 90 minutes and the other bookmaker offering the result for an event which includes extra time.
Keep an eye open too on rules around abandonments or uncompleted matches for any reason. These can also be different between bookies and the best approach is to make any bets with those that run exactly the same approach.
• Don't Leave a Bet Too Long
Once you've identified a positive arbitrage bet, you'll need to be placing both legs of it as fast as possible, and at the highest/best odds available. There can sometimes be an inclination to wait a while after placing the first leg to see if you can get a bigger profit. This can be a mistake, and leads you more into the realms of gambling as opposed to making an informed surebet.
The intention is to make a profit, so do everything in your power to make sure you do.
What Other Types Of No Lose Bets Are There?
Aside from true arbitrage no lose betting, there are other ways that are regularly offered by bookmakers that can sometimes be used effectively to guarantee a winning return whatever happens.
They've not been the main focus of this page because although they can (and do) work, they'll only either work a few times at the most and you're almost certainly be going to need to place another bet to take advantage of them, or you'll already need to be in a winning position to start with.
The first option is to take advantage of bookmaker free bet offers or match betting as it's also known, the second is in trading odds. Let's take a look at these in turn:
Free Bet Offers - Match Betting
These are 'free' promotional offers that the bookies make to attract new Customers (and sometimes to keep existing ones).
So how do free bet/match bet offers work? And how can you use one to give you chances of making that lucrative bet that can't lose?
Well. Let's say a bookie is offering new account holders a free $/£/€ xx bet if their first bet loses. You sign up, make a deposit, place your bet, and it loses.
But you haven't lost it right? You get another try with the same value at another winning bet. If you're lucky the second bet wins, and you have a positive return.
These offers don't necessarily involve you losing the first bet either. The bonus bet could be awarded irrelevant of whether you lose first time or not.
Occasionally you may even be able to place an arbitrage-type bet by using your initial deposit stake on one wager, and the free bet on a different opposing outcome in the same event. Opportunities for this are likely to be few and far between, but they are possible.
I'm guessing at this point you're realised why I focused on arbitrage betting as the real true way to place no lose bets, but it does work and you can read more about it here.
Free bets can be fun, and maybe a good offer to take up when you sign up with a new bookie for the first time - but they're not going to give you any real long term chances of filling your own betting account with no risk profits. Plus the free bet money is never actually yours - it has to be used to place a wager, and also there will be rules around how many times you have to place the value of the free offer before you could actually withdraw any winnings.
All in all, free bets are offered by bookies because they know that in the long run they'll never lose money from them. In fact, they know they'll make money from the vast bulk of losing punters.
Trading Odds & Back To Lay
This method of betting without risk is one which needs you to be already in a winning position, and is achieved due to shifting in the odds of your selection winning or losing. It's essentially a form of short term trading and can be referred to as scalping.
The idea is to make lots of trades resulting in individual small profits, all of which can add up over time to a big payback by reinvesting and building up scale.
Take an example:
• You place a bet on a 10-1 shot to win, placing £10. You stand to win £100.
• Either before the start of the event, or even during the event itself (in running betting), the odds change to 5-1 (because the selection has attracted other punters money or has moved into an improved winning position somehow).
• You can now lay the selection to lose at slightly over 5-1, such that if it wins or loses you now make a profit.
Sounds simple right? And in theory it is.
But note you've already struck the potentially losing bet to start with, so it starts with a risk. You need odds to move in your favour to effectively turn it into an arbitrage opportunity, and to some extent this is bringing luck into play.
This type of bet is normally, but not always, placed on a betting exchange. Many punters will already have had some experience with these, and if you're in the US you'll most likely be able to see what they're all about once the first US exchange betting operation goes live. That will be for New Jersey residents at first, though success in the Garden State may well see other states opening up to the opportunity in future.
Always remember with back to lay bets that you'll need to take any commission you might need to pay into consideration. This of course is especially applicable on exchanges.
Is It Legal?
The main question to be asking around any form of betting from a legality perspective is ' Is it legal for me to place any type of bet?' rather than if no lose betting is legal.
The bottom line is that if the country in which you live allows betting in general, and any bookmaker you want to use doesn't expressly forbid it, then there's no legal reason why you shouldn't use arbing as a profit generator. All you're doing is taking advantage of the differences that occur in a market from bookmaker errors, right!
In fact in many cases of arbing opportunities, those same opportunities may have been deliberately created by a bookie in an attempt to balance their books.
Pros & Cons
The positives of betting where you can't lose are obvious. It's a dream situation for any punter. On the negative side - and especially if the thrill of betting to win is what really drives you - then you may find thst the focus of sure betting on cold, hard, small profits is not so exciting.
Let's take a deeper look at the positives of each type of no lose betting to see which might be best, and we'll highlight some of the negatives along the way too.
Arbitrage Pros & Cons
As long as you take note of all the elements that can go wrong - and take steps to avoid them - plus you can identify the opportunities, there are very few negatives we can spell out around arbing. It's all positive from a perspective of profit-making, which of course is what it's all about. Just be aware that it's hard, focused work and often you'll be spending time on making small amounts unless you can scale up.
Match Betting Pros & Cons
For me, the use of match betting just doesn't match the potential of arbitrage. You're just too limited in the number of times it can work, and the pain of spending excessive time registering new accounts - just to eventually run out of new options - just doesn't cut it. On the plus side, if you have the time and the inclination, then match betting does work. There are plenty of websites that focus entirely on it.
Trading Odds & Back To Lay Pros & Cons
Again this is definitely not in the same league as arbing when it comes to bets you can't lose, and there are risks. In fact those risks are the biggest negative.
We've explored a few different ways to bet with no risk, each of which does offer real possibilities to do it successfully. But you'll have noticed that true arbitrage is the best way to get the desired result - more money in your betting accounts than you started with.
If you do want to make the attempt, I'd suggest starting off slowly with some trial accounts and a small bank with a low profit target. Once you prove you have all the bases covered it's only a short step to ramping up bet values and the resulting profit percentages.
Before we take a deeper look at what's actually involved with learning how to place a bet that can't lose - including the different types of winning bets you can make, why the opportunities even exist, which sports you can bet on, and some of the things that can go wrong - it may first be worth thinking about where you're going to make your wagers.
There are plenty of bookies that it's worth having accounts with (and you will need a number of accounts). The list of bookies which allow arbitrage style betting is further below.