Liverpool vs. Arsenal Arbitrage

It’s interesting to see how public sentiment can change leading up to a match.

Liverpool host Arsenal on Wednesday morning in the English Premier League.

On April 15 I placed a wager through Sports Alive for Liverpool to beat Arsenal with odds of 2.10. Yesterday SportsBet was offering 1.85 for Arsenal to draw or beat Liverpool. If you sum the inverses of those odds (1/2.10 + 1/1.85) you get 1.017. Because it’s greater than 1.00 an arbitrage opportunity didn’t exist, but one was close, so I have been keeping an eye on the odds ever since.

I checked back today and found that SportsBet is offering 1.95 for Arsenal to draw or win, while Sports Alive is offering 2.00. Both of these odds offer an arbitrage opportunity alongside my original bet, but of course using the 2.00 odds provides better value.

Unfortunately, my original bet with Liverpool was modest, but I have entered into the arbitrage opportunity anyway, so I will be guaranteed a risk free profit. To make things more interesting, if had I bet $1,000 on Liverpool to begin with, my arbitrage opportunities, as calculated using the Two-outcome Arbitrage Calculator, would be as follows:


    |   No Arbitrage   |   Unbiased Arbitrage   |   Biased Arbitrage
    |       |       |    
Liverpool Bet   |   $2,050.00   |   $1,000.00   |   $1,025.00
    |       |       |    
Arsenal Bet   |   $0.00   |   $1,050.00   |   $1,025.00
    |       |       |    
Total Bets   |   $2,050.00   |   $2,050.00   |   $2,050.00
    |       |       |    
Profit if Liverpool Wins   |   $4,305.00   |   $50.00   |   $102.50
    |       |       |    
Profit if Ars. Wins or Draws   |   $-2,050.00   |   $50.00   |   $0.00

If I had made an original $1,000 bet on Liverpool and had entered into an unbiased arbitrage bet, I would have been guaranteed at a $50.00 profit.

It just goes to show the merits of making early bets on events. While I really like SportsBet, one of its downsides is it tends to be slow on providing betting options for upcoming events. I find agencies like Sports Alive and Betfair offer odds much earlier, which enables opportunities like this one to arise. If you can pick the best value odds and the odds move enough in your favour, you can reap a profit before the match even starts!

Update: Sports Alive is now offering 2.08 for Arsenal to win or draw. Talk about a huge odds shift. Punters seem to be heavily favouring Liverpool.

If Sports Alive keeps jumping in with early odds like this, I highly recommend you get an account with them! It’s not often you see a betting agency offer odds on a match where one of the teams involved had another game to be played beforehand. In this case, Arsenal were involved in the FA Cup against Chelsea, with Robin van Persie and Emmanuel Adebayor ruled out with injury after the game.

Update: Liverpool drew Arsenal 4-4! I feel good about my decision to accept the arbitrage opportunity now!

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