Arbitrage betting: Middles

I had many of my accounts restricted due to arbitrage betting during the years. Luckily, I have found out a live betting strategy to utilize those restricted accounts to the maximum and made some extra money out of them even after being restricted to 10-15 EUR profit per bet. A low risk-strategy (perhaps comparable to arbitrage risk-wise) which requires much less starting capital and is more viable as it can be used with even heavily restricted accounts. Its only drawbacks are that it is more time-consuming than arbitrage betting and perhaps it takes a bit more time to learn. So in this article I present to you the Middles.

Middles

Betting on Middles (aka Polish Middles) is quite similar to arbitrage betting as it is just another matched betting strategy. Middles are two opposing bets whereby there is a certain area between them that would ensure winning both legs of the middle. Take as an example a Totals betting in a basketball game. Betting U 199.5 @ 2.05 and O 199.5 @ 2.05 is an arbitrage, while betting U201.5 @ 1.99 and O 197.5 @ 1.98 is what is referred to as a middle. You can already see that if you have the rare chance to land bets for U201.5 @ 2.05 and O 197.5 @ 2.05 you have both an arbitrage and a middle, since you have a sure profit (an arbitrage) and also a guaranteed win on one of the bets and a possible win on both (a middle).

Arbitrage middles don’t come often but sometimes they do. On a good day you would get one or two of those delivered by your arbitrage alert service. Those of you using these services would probably already know that. If you are lucky enough to place the arbitrage middle and to win both legs you might double or even triple your daily arbitrage profit. This is obviously a wonderful thing, however winning this mini-lottery happens only once in a while and seems to be entirely dependent on luck. But is that so?

Your arbitrage alert service gives you only the arbitrage middles. However, there are a lot more middles on the market worth pursuing even though they are not arbitrages. You can probably intuitively see that the example given above for a basketball middle U201.5 @ 1.99 and O 197.5 @ 1.98 is a value play even though it is not an arbitrage.

Placing 100 units on both sides of the middle will give you an expected loss of around 50%*100*(0.99-1)+ 50%*100*(0.98-1)=1.5 units in a loss scenario (where the game finishes above 201.5 or below 197.5 points). If, on the other hand, the point total ends between 197.5 and 201.5 points you will get a profit of 100*0.99+100*0.98=197 units. Your probability-weighted outcome in case you make a loss is just-1.5. So, if the game has more than 0.75% chance to finish between 197.5 and 201.5 (which is probably the case), this middle has value.

The Basics

So in order to know if a Middle is worth your money you need to weight off how likely it is to win it and what would you potentially lose if you don’t. Estimating the probability of hitting a Middle is a challenging task and is best done by intuition coming from experience. After landing a certain amount of middles in a given sport (I prefer basketball, will later explain why), you will get a feeling which middles are good and which are not. There are, however, a few simple rules that are useful to remember.

First, if the odds on both sides of your middle are around or a little below 2, that means the game is more likely to finish within the middle than in any other area of the same size. In the example above, the 4 points between 197.5 and 201.5 will be more likely than, say, the points between 190.5 and 194.5 or the points between 204.5 and 208.5.

Second, as the end of the event approaches the uncertainty of the total amount of points/goals/whatever in the event decreases. For example, placing the above middle after half of the game has passed will be worth more than placing it at the beginning of the game.

Third, if you have several selections on one of the bookies you are looking at and one of those selections creates an arbitrage pair with the other bookie, beware. It is very likely that the other selections have the potential to create valuable middles. For example, imagine you get U201.5 @ 2 at bookie A and O201.5 @ 2.05 at bookie B. That is obviously an arbitrage, which you could and should make use of as quickly as possible.

How not to leave money on the table and where to find the Middles

Now imagine, in addition to O201.5 @ 2.05 bookie B offers  O199.5 @ 1.95 and O197.5 @ 1.825. Probably those two selections matched with the U201.5 @ 2 at bookie A will also make for valuable middles. So in case you are limited at bookie B and cannot fully utilize this O201.5 @ 2.05 selection, you can take the other two selections as well to get the most value out of the situation.

Theory aside, one important practical issue is how and where to find those middles. I am personally looking for those manually. There might be some alert service out there which could do that for you but I am not aware of one. You would use two soft bookies for the two legs of the middle. The reason: they are more likely to screw up the odds and they also normally offer wider selection on live events compared to sharps. Live events are perfect for this strategy as during live events odds change constantly creating valuable middles. Moreover, the constantly changing odds allow you to place a big number of small bets. That allows you to use even your restricted betting accounts as explained above.

Basketball

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And finally, as mentioned above, I am doing basketball. Why basketball? If you have read some of my other articles you probably know football is the sport I like betting on the most. While this continues to be true, there are some properties of basketball that make it particularly suited for live betting. First, basketball has a high amount of stoppage – time outs, breaks between the four quarters, disputing a referee’s decision and the like. These are a lot of small windows of opportunity that allow you to place a bet without worrying about a drastic unexpected change in the game coming all of a sudden.

Second, in basketball you have a large number of points scored in each game. In other words the development of the game is rather gradual and the result does not get turned on its head in a split second. Consider the worst case scenario: Bookie A has accepted your bet on Team 1 and while waiting for bookie B to accept your bet for Team 2 only to find out Team 1 has scored 3 points and your bet has been denied. The loss you are going to incur will not be too dramatic.

Compare this to live arbing football. Imagine you place the under bet and while waiting for the other bookie to accept your over, one of the teams scores a goal. Unlike the many points in basketball, football is in the other extreme. You have 90 minutes and only a few goals to decide the outcome. So a few seconds gone the wrong way can be deadly for you as a bettor. Surely there are ways to overcome this but I don’t want to complicate my life. Therefore, when it comes to live betting – I just stick to basketball.

Summary

Well, that’s about it. In my experience placing live arbs and middles in basketball is a valuable strategy. It requires little capital, works even on restricted accounts and starts delivering profits quite quickly. I recommend to anyone interested to give it a try with some small stakes. It is a nice complementary strategy in the arsenal of the bettor. In addition, in my experience, it’s quite fun! It won’t make you super-rich but it is certainly a useful thing to learn.

Thanks for reading. If you have your own experience with betting middles or any questions I would be happy to see your comment. Also don’t forget to follow The Church on Facebook and Twitter for new content. See you!

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