How Does Sure Bets Work?

Some new punters invest large sums of money in online bookies and expect big returns by placing outright winner bets. Unfortunately, such individuals end up losing their bankroll since they fail to employ the right betting strategies. 

If you are a beginner or have lost multiple consecutive wagers, you can start winning by placing sure bets. You can place sure bets in different sports, including soccer, golf, hockey, and basketball.

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What are Sure Bets?

Sure bets or arbitrage betting refers to types of wagers where punters make a profit by exploiting the difference in odds in different sportsbooks. Therefore, you need to register on multiple bookies to be able to place such bets. 

Many professional bettors prefer arbitrage betting to other forms of wagers since there is no risk. Sure bets guarantee some payout irrespective of the match results. However, most inexperienced bettors avoid such wagers since they involve calculating and comparing odds from different bookies, which can be tiresome and time-wasting.

How Sure bets work

Arbitrage betting involves wagering on two opposing markets, where one of the two outcomes must occur. For instance, the result of a football betting event can either be Over 2.5 or Under 2.5. 

Therefore, you are guaranteed to win one market if you place bets on both odds. However, it is possible to place sure bets on three possible outcomes. For example, a soccer event can end in a draw, an outright win for the home team, or a win for the away team.

 In such a scenario, you can peruse multiple operators and identify those with good odd margins for the three outcomes. When you have your sites, you can calculate the percentage of your betting budget to stake across the three platforms to benefit from the market variation.

The risks with sure bets

  • Sportsbooks’ terms: The minimum wagering amount varies from one bookie to another. Therefore, sure betting might be impossible if a platform’s minimum stake value is higher than the amount you intend to spend on the selected market. Besides, some sportsbook rules on outcomes of events might not favor arbitrage betting. For instance, some sites might return your stake when a tennis player retires from a match prematurely, while others might consider the opponent the winner. If such a thing happens, you might incur unnecessary losses. Therefore, check bookie rules before placing such stakes.
  • Slow betting: You should place bets on all bookies within a few minutes before the odds change. Some punters might also waste time until a game starts, making it impossible to place other stakes. If you don’t bet on time, negative adjustments in odds can lead to losses.  
  • Bookmaker errors: Some bookmarkers state that they have the right to void winnings if they make errors while setting odds. Therefore, always check the bookie’s terms if you notice markets with odds that are way too high. If you fail to do so, the operator can cancel the bet, leaving other wagers uncovered, which might lead to losses.
  • Wrong selection: Avoid last-minute betting since it can lead to unnecessary errors. For instance, if a match is about to start in a few minutes, you might place similar bets in multiple bookies. Wrong selection increases the risk of losing all your budget on a single wager.
  • Account suspension/closure: Some bookies don’t allow punters to participate in arbitration betting and threaten to void winnings related to such wagers. Therefore, you should read sportsbook terms carefully to avoid losing your winning or being banned by the operator. If you want to place such bets, consider doing it on multiple platforms to minimize the risk of losing your account.

Tips for placing Sure bets

  • Open multiple sportsbooks on different tabs: Sure betting is only possible if you have accounts on multiple sportsbooks. If that’s the case, you’ll have to open the sites on different tabs to compare the markets without hassle.  You should also write down the bookie and selections with favorable odds to prevent confusion while placing wagers.
  • Follow tipsters: Professional tipsters tend to have vast knowledge about different sports. Therefore, they play a big role in helping bettors identify strong teams and predict the outcome of events. You should consider visiting reputable prediction sites to identify matches that are perfect for outright wins and those suitable for arbitrage betting.
  • Use sites that publish sure bets: Some Nigerian websites publish dozens of sure bets on different bookies. As a punter, you may just check if the information is true and place your wagers. Such platforms are helpful since you don’t need to spend several hours comparing and calculating odds.
  • Bet on different companies: Nowadays, some companies operate multiple bookies which offer similar odds. If the odds are the same, arbitrage might not be possible because the profit margin might be negligible. Therefore, sign up on bookies run by different corporations to get varying odds.

Strategies to think of while using Sure bets

  • Have a budget: You should have a budget since you’ll be betting on opposing outcomes. Therefore, you should allocate values that allow the minimum bet to be above the bookie’s minimum wagering amount. Experts recommend placing big stakes to get big returns from such wagers.
  • Diversify your bets: Although sure bets are risk-free, their returns are small compared to other types of wagers. Therefore, you should diversify your action to include outright wins, handicaps, accumulators, and other markets to increase your potential winnings. Also, consider wagering on different sports to identify events that give good payouts.
  • Research: If you are new to arbitrage betting, you’ll need to understand how the bet works before wagering. Knowing how to calculate odds is important since it is where you get the profits. Wrong calculations might lead to losses because the returns are low. Additionally, you should visit betting forums and read punters’ views and complaints about different sites to understand the pros and cons of using various bookies.
  • Calculating and comparing odds: before you place a sure bet, you need to compare odds on different bookies to identify those with better markets. After selecting the sportsbooks, you need to calculate odds to estimate the right wagering amounts for each option. For example, the odds for Over 1.5 is 2.3 on sportsbook X, while the odds for Under 1.5 is 1.92 on sportsbook Y, and your budget is 100 Naira for the two possible outcomes. If you place the Over bet with a stake of 45 Naira and the Under bet with a stake of 54 Naira, potential winnings for the two markets will be about 103.5 Naira and 103.6 Naira, respectively. Therefore, your profit will be approximately 3 Naira no matter the outcome.


James is responsible for the Nigerian market on BettingGuide. He has a keen interest in sports betting and Gambling laws in particular. James is a Lawyer practising in East Africa, loves writing, and has a Law Degree from Makerere University, Uganda and a Post Graduate Diploma from the Kenya School of Law, Kenya.