Arbitrage Betting vs Value Betting: In-depth Comparison

Arbitrage betting and value betting are the two most popular working betting strategies used by sports bettors worldwide.

Both strategies offer unique advantages and challenges, and choosing the right one depends on your risk tolerance, time commitment, and betting experience as well.

In this article I summarized my experience with both as an in-depth comparison of arbitrage betting and value betting, examining the advantages and disadvantages of each.

The simplest way of proving why Value betting is more profitable compared to arbing is by checking both my arbitrage bet calculator and the value betting calculator.

Use the same odds, and you will find out that the possible expected profit on value bets are significantly higher.

My main goal was to help both beginners and experienced bettors decide which strategy best suited their needs and situation.

Arbitrage Betting vs Value Betting: General Overview

II. Arbitrage Betting

A. Explanation of arbitrage betting

Arbitrage betting is my favorite sports betting cheat. It is the betting technique where a bettor takes advantage of significant odds discrepancies between bookmakers to guarantee a profit regardless of the outcome of an event.

This sure profit is achieved by placing bets on all possible outcomes of an event, ensuring that the total amount staked results in a profit, no matter which outcome will be the winner one.

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Many people ask me a question right after starting to learn about sure betting. In the following article I have the answer you need: Is arbitrage betting still possible?

B. Advantages of arbitrage betting

1. Reduced risk
arbitrage betting vs value betting risk

One of the main advantages of arbitrage betting is the reduced risk involved, or at least when you don’t make mistakes.

Since bets are placed on all possible outcomes, the bettor is locking in a guaranteed profit, making it an attractive option for risk-averse players.

Unfortunately, there is no totally risk-free strategy because we are humans and make mistakes even in the most simple steps.

You can place the bets on the wrong markets, make a mistake in calculating arbitrage stakes, be too slow and miss hedging the other outcome, .etc.

2. Consistent profits

Arbitrage betting can provide consistent profits over time, as the bettor continuously takes advantage of discrepancies and excludes losing by covering each outcome.

While individual profits may be relatively small, they can accumulate over time, resulting in a steady income stream.

arbitrage betting vs value betting comparison predictability

Many wannabe bettors think sure betting is not worth your time. Well, a $5 profit placed by 800-1000 times can be a pretty good result.

C. Disadvantages of arbitrage betting

1. Account limitations

When I say many bookmakers do not look favourably upon arbitrage bettors I’m just simplifying the situation.

A single moderately major mistake and they limit or close your betting accounts.

This can make it challenging and not obvious how to find arbitrage bets and maintain a consistent profit in the long term.

value betting vs sure betting comparison limitation
2. Smaller profit margins

Arbitrage betting typically offers smaller profit margins compared to other strategies like value betting. This is because the guaranteed profit is often only a small percentage of the total amount staked.

While covering the other outcome you are losing money on commissions or the profit edge of the bookie. This profit is added to the potential long-term profit at value betting.

D. Tools and resources for arbitrage betting

1. Software

There are various arbitrage bet finder software, programs, and tools available to assist with sure betting, including odds comparison websites and alert services that notify bettors of potential sure betting opportunities.

The majority of sites started covering both strategies.

But even if you use a sure bet software, you just simply lock in Pinnacle as the main bookie to compare odds with and viola you have value betting software.

I have a tool that displays the best tool based on your need: arbitrage service searcher tool.

2. Websites

Numerous websites and forums are dedicated to arbitrage betting, offering tips, advice, and resources to help bettors maximize their profits.

The majority of them are focusing on pre-match strategies and tools (unfortunately).

III. Value Betting

A. Explanation of value betting

1. The concept of identifying value bet

Value betting involves identifying and placing bets on outcomes where the odds offered by bookmakers are higher than the true probability of the outcome.

In other words, the bettor is searching for undervalued outcomes and overvalued odds, which they believe will generate a long-term return.

I have a dedicated article on how to find value bets.

It can help you spot new opportunities in new ways that you might not have thought about until now.

2. Betting on overvalued odds

Value bettors carefully analyze the odds offered by bookmakers, along with various factors.

In some cases, these might be such as team or player performance, historical data, and situational conditions, to determine if the odds represent true value.

B. Advantages of value betting

1. Higher profit potential
arbing vs value betting profit potential

Value betting can offer higher profit potential compared not only to arbitrage betting but to almost each betting strategy.

As the focus is on finding and exploiting overpriced outcomes rather than simply ensuring a guaranteed profit.

Successful value bettors can achieve higher returns on their bets because of not having additional hidden costs such as bookie edge or exchange commissions.

By excluding them and taking the additional risk, the reward is also higher with positive EV betting.

2. Longer-lasting accounts

Bookmakers are generally less likely to impose restrictions on value bettors than arbitrage bettors.

Value betting appears more like typical betting behaviour because of smaller and rounded stakes.

This allows value bettors to maintain their accounts and betting opportunities for a longer period and earn more because of this situation as well.

C. Disadvantages of value betting

1. Increased risk
sure betting vs value betting risk difference

One of the main drawbacks of value betting is the increased level of risk compared to arbitrage betting.

Since value bettors do not cover each outcome of a market, many bets will be lost.

However, the expectation is that the value bets will generate profits in the long run because of higher odds than the true chance of winning the bet.

2. Variance

Value betting can be subject to significant variance, meaning that you will surely experience winning and losing streaks.

Don’t freak out, but sometimes they can be 12-15 bets long.

It’s great when you face a winning streak of this long, but you need to be strong mentally when losing 10+ bets in a row.

This requires a disciplined approach to sports betting bankroll management and a long-term perspective to withstand the massive ups and downs.

value betting vs arbitrage betting variance

D. Tools and resources for value betting

1. Software

Various value betting software and tools are available to help bettors identify undervalued odds by analyzing mainly odds but, in some cases, even historical data, team or player performance, and other relevant factors.

2. Websites

Several websites and forums are dedicated to value betting, offering advice, tips, and information on finding value bets and improving betting strategies.

But it’s important to mention that each community is significantly smaller than other groups related to arbing or matched betting.

You can also check my article on the best bookmakers for value betting and the way you should find them.

Comparison: Arbitrage Betting vs Value Betting

A. Risk level

Arbitrage betting offers a lower risk compared to value betting, as it guarantees a profit by betting on all possible outcomes.

Value betting, on the other hand, involves covering only one outcome on overpriced odds with the expectation of long-term profits.

So, value betting carries the guaranteed risk of losing individual bets all the time.

The profits, in this case, are generated by winning more than the total stakes lost.

B. Profit potential

Based on my experience, value betting offers significantly (50% – 70% more) higher profit potential compared to arbitrage betting.

By focusing on wrong odds or betting lines, successful value bettors can achieve higher returns on their bets.

Arbitrage betting, while providing consistent and guaranteed profits, usually has smaller profit margins due to having to pay the cost of house edge when hedging the initial bet.

C. Time investment

Both arbitrage and value betting require a significant time investment to identify profitable opportunities and analyze various factors.

However, arbitrage betting often demands more frequent monitoring and faster decision-making, as odds discrepancies can disappear on both sides.

Another factor why sure betting can take more time is the need of calculating the stakes for each outcome, opening and placing an additional bet.

D. Longevity of accounts

Based on my experience and the general opinion of major bettors, value bettors tend to have longer-lasting accounts, as their betting activity is less noticeable.

Bookmakers are more likely to impose restrictions or close accounts of arbitrage bettors, limiting their long-term betting opportunities because of higher average stakes.

You can check my article on bookmakers for arbitrage betting to hedge your bets on the highest odds possible.

E. Suitability for beginners

Both strategies can be suitable for beginners, depending on their risk tolerance and betting objectives.

Arbitrage betting may be more appealing to those looking for a lower-risk approach with consistent, albeit smaller, profits.

Value betting might suit bettors who are willing to accept a higher level of risk, sometimes long losing streaks, and weeks without making real profits.

E. Initial starting capital

There is a big difference between the required size of your initial investment between arbing and value betting.

The latter can be started with a smaller capital (even like 300-500 euros) and smaller steps. You can easily build up your bank with the right stake strategy.

Arbitrage betting on the other hand requires you to cover each outcome. This by itself will double the amount you need to invest when starting.

E. Tools to use

Each somewhat good odds comparison service includes a sure bet finder which is a big plus for arbers.

Value betting, on the other hand, is not available in each software.

Of course, you can set up sure bet finders in a way to compare odds between the right bookies, which means a value bet finder as well.

Generally speaking, value bet finders have a lower subscription price as well.

V. How to choose between sure betting vs value betting

1. Risk tolerance

Consider your personal risk tolerance when deciding between arbitrage and value betting strategies.

If you want a steady, smaller but guaranteed income source, arbitrage betting may be more suitable.

You won’t risk the profits won earlier, and you can use these to complement your other income.

If you are willing to accept a higher level of risk for potentially greater returns, value betting could be a better fit.

It’s not for the faint-hearted, but this strategy is the one that will generate enough money to buy a car, go on exotic vacations and even buy a home.

3. Betting experience

Your experience and knowledge in sports betting can also influence your choice of strategy.

If you have a deep understanding of a particular sport or the ability to analyze various factors effectively, you may be more successful in profiting with value betting.

To be really successful, you will need to predict some bets to fail, even if the bookies offer high odds. It’s not essential, but it can increase your long-term profits

Tips for success: arbing vs value betting

1. Combining strategies

Some bettors choose to combine elements of both arbitrage and value betting. I get questions about this tactic each month.

This approach can help balance risk while maximizing profit potential but in many cases can draw you back. I never liked combining these strategies and to be honest, I never was disappointed because of this choice.

My arbitrage betting tip of the day: When I needed money right away, started focusing only on sure betting. After that switched to value betting.

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2. Specializing in a sport

Focusing on one or a few sports can improve your chances of success in both strategies.

As you develop a deeper understanding of the factors that influence odds and outcomes, you can almost predict when an arb or value bet will occur.

This type of knowledge will have a significant effect on your profitability (probably the most). You might steal some good info from my football arbitrage betting article.

3. Staying disciplined

Discipline in bankroll management and sticking to your chosen strategy are essential for long-term success in either arbitrage or value betting.

Avoid chasing losses or deviating from your plan, as this can lead not only to bigger losses and depression but to total failure and losing all of your money and time invested.

I have a dedicated article on arbitrage betting career, focusing on the possibilities required for long-term success.

Conclusion: Arbitrage betting vs value betting

Arbitrage betting offers a lower-risk approach with guaranteed profits, albeit smaller, while value betting involves a higher level of risk for potentially greater returns. The longevity of accounts and time investment also differ between the two strategies.

Ultimately, the key to successful sports betting lies in finding the approach that best aligns with your individual goals and circumstances.

By carefully considering the differences between arbitrage and value betting, you can make an informed decision and develop a strategy that maximizes your chances and also helps keep your peace of mind.

Check my similar comparison article on alternatives to matched betting and read about other strategies as well.


What is the main difference between arbitrage betting and value betting?

Arbitrage betting guarantees a profit by betting on all possible outcomes, while value betting involves covering only one outcome on overpriced odds with the expectation of long-term profits.

Which betting strategy is riskier: arbitrage betting or value betting?

Value betting is riskier than arbitrage betting, as it carries the guaranteed risk of losing individual bets. However, it has the potential for higher returns in the long run.

Does arbitrage betting or value betting offer higher profit potential?

Value betting offers significantly higher profit potential (50%-70% more) compared to arbitrage betting, as it focuses on exploiting wrong odds or betting lines.

Can I combine arbitrage and value betting strategies?

Some bettors choose to combine elements of both strategies, which can help balance risk while maximizing profit potential. However, others prefer to focus on one strategy at a time.

How can I choose between arbitrage and value betting?

Consider your personal risk tolerance, betting experience, and objectives when deciding between arbitrage and value betting strategies. Your choice should align with your individual goals and circumstances.