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What is a sure bet? How to find a sure bet from bookmaker odds

What is a sure bet? Discover the best way to calculate a valid sure bet. How to understand sure bets and the best way to find them

Published on
Updated on 15 October 2018

Betting Tips for Today's Football

Find more value in your next football bet. You could gain a betting edge by checking out the tips and stats for today's and tomorrow's fixtures...

Sports betting is all about balancing risk and reward. Sure betting is not any different.

As you can imagine increasing risk, increases the potential reward and reduces the potential returns, but provides more predictable results.

What is a sure bet?

A sure bet is a betting opportunity that basically means what it suggests!

If the sure bet odds are aligned correctly, you will return money when betting on all outcomes within the same event, even when your bets are spread across a range of bookmakers.

As you can imagine, it’s very unlikely for individual bookmakers to permit this kind of betting opportunity on their platforms, so you must conduct this process across different bookmakers

This spreading of your stake ensures you can return a profit, which is designed to vastly reduce the risk of soccer betting.

However, I must disagree with anyone that suggests this betting strategy is risk free, as risk free suggests you are not at risk of losing money.

Unfortunately, your money is still very much at risk.

Many thousands of people practise sure betting every day and how many sure betting millionaires do you know?


In our opinion, sure betting should be used as part of a wider footy betting approach, but you should also concentrate on other footy betting strategies, so you can diversify your risk and make sure you can obtain betting profits.

Now you know what sure betting is…Do you really understand it?

Sure betting isn’t just about making money from bookmakers. It’s about understanding how different betting options can affect your selections.

How to calculate a sure bet from bookmaker odds?

If we use a classic Home, Draw or Away (1X2) selection to make life easier, we can quickly work out how to make a sure bet calculation.

Let’s take Team A and Team B playing in a league game in any county. The team names do not really matter for this calculation, as we’re more concerned about how we should think about the different selections.

If we use 1 unit as the stake for each of the bets, we can demonstrate the potential returns across three different bookmakers:

Match Team A v Team B

•    Home Win (1) 2.70 at Bookmaker A =  Potential Return of 2.70 units

•    Draw (X) 3.70 at Bookmaker B =  Potential Return of 3.70 units

•    Away Win (2) 3.80 at Bookmaker C =  Potential Return of 3.80 units

At a basic level, if we place a single unit bet across each of the outcomes within the match between Team A v Team B, we can be confident of a profit if the Draw or Away Win occurred.

This covers two options, but it does not cover the Home Win selection, so we must slightly modify the stake placed on the selections to artificially obtain the correct stakes against each of the selections.

Recognising sure bet opportunities

Now let’s see if these odds will permit a sure bet.

We need to understand the proportion of the units required for each bet, this would ensure that each of the bets are correct or incorrect for your next sure bet.

How much will each odds selection cost you?

Simply divide 1 by the bookmaker odds for each outcome...

1 Unit / bookmaker odds = the cost of each selection to return 1 Unit

•    Home Win (1) 2.70 at Bookmaker A = Potential Return of 2.70 units

Cost of 1 Unit / 2.70 (Home Win) = 0.37 Units

•    Draw (X) 3.70 at Bookmaker B = Potential Return of 3.70 units

Cost of 1 Unit / 3.70 (Draw) = 0.27 Units

•    Away Win (2) 3.80 at Bookmaker C = Potential Return of 3.80 units

Cost of 1 Unit / 3.80 (Away Win) = 0.26 Units

The three betting options for the event translate to: 0.37 + 0.27 + 0.26 = 0.9 Unit cost

Sure Betting Profit = 1.0 – 0.9 = 0.1 (or 10% sure bet profit)

Anything below 1 Unit cost quickly identifies that you have a sure betting opportunity, so if you’re able to place a bet across three different bookmakers you will return a profit, as the final return from each of the selections is greater than the money you staked against all three outcomes.

Finally, you use the cost information about to determine the proportion of your stake that you should place on the bet. Therefore, guaranteeing a 1 unit return from each of the selections.

How much to wager on sure betting?

So, you would place the following sure bets with the different bookmakers:

•    Home Win (1) = 0.37 x Stake at Bookmaker A

•    Draw (1) = 0.27 x Stake at Bookmaker B

•    Away Win (1) = 0.26 x Stake at Bookmaker C

How could sure betting be improved?

Remember that you’re the only person responsible for your bets and you should never blindly follow a strategy recommended by a service without first understanding how they came to their sure betting suggestions.

A successful betting portfolio should include sure betting options, but also provide you with the ability to adjust your selections across bookmakers. Sometimes you may want to leverage promotions and bonuses alongside the sure betting opportunities and many services do not provide this feature.

Sure betting risks and challenges?

The potential risks and issues surrounding sure betting are usually based on how quickly the sure bets service updates their odds feed between the bookmakers.

This can also be an issue with services that do not have a feed that is up to date.

Missing the bookmaker odds and the sure bet opportunity is the main issue that can occur. Remember that bookmakers are focussed on providing a true betting market for their customers.

This means that prices across bookmakers are rarely substantially different and positive betting books for sure bets may not last for a long time.

Check the sure bets services before you buy a monthly subscription

Sure bets services provide you with odds that show there is the possibility for a return across a range of bookmakers.

Sometimes you must be very careful with sure bets services that provide sure betting options. Especially, free services that allow you to see sure bets across a range of different bookmakers.

I’m sometimes wary of services, which provide this type of service particularly if the service allows you to place bets through their online portal.

Many services are affiliates of bookmakers and they essentially get paid when you lose money on one or more of the bets.

Understandably, if the service is offering sure bet opportunities you may not be losing money over your bets, but it is 100% certain that you will lose money with at least one side of your sure bet trade.

This means that you will lose money with at least one bookmaker and the service providing you with the sure bet opportunity may be paid a proportion of your loss.

This is standard with some services, which allow you to place bets through their website or app. This is a method to pay the sure bets provider and give you an easy way to see the bets.

In an ideal world, it would make more sense if the service provided you with additional information, so you could understand not just the sure bet, but also value selections within the event.

This allows you to make a betting decision across all sure betting options or simply focus on bets that provide traditional betting options in addition to the sure bets option.

Take care and profit over the long-term

The sure bet process is not a get rich quick scheme, such as bookmakers changing the odds, bookmakers not accepting the bets due to overuse and other issues with any service used for the odds information.

There are too many variables to assume sure betting is the only approach. You must use a combination of betting strategies and understand betting markets, so you can gradually accumulate your winnings over time.

Remember, thousands of competing bettors and traders are all looking for the same quick win, so you should use sure bets sensibly, so you can create a value betting process.

Good Luck!

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