Arbitrage Alert: Opportunity in Capitals, Hurricanes Series
As first mentioned in today’s Breakfast Spread, the series prices across several sportsbooks on the first round playoff matchup between Washington Capitals and Carolina Hurricanes presented bettors with an arbitrage opportunity early this morning.
What’s an arbitrage?
For those not familiar, arbitrage is a finance term describing a situation where investors exploit market inefficiencies by using different markets to simultaneously buy and sell the same asset at different prices to guarantee a profit.
Similarly, an arbitrage bet is when the odds are so that a bettor eliminates risk by wagering on each possible outcome of a sporting sporting event. In some cases, the bettor can guarantee themselves a profit like the observant investor.
The arbitrage at hand
In this case, FanDuel Sportsbook had the Hurricanes as +192 underdogs to win the first round Eastern Conference playoff series while the Capitals were -150 favorites at DraftKings Sportsbook, after the Hurricanes tied the series 2-2 with a win Thursday.
One might find value with either the Hurricanes or the Capitals here. The Caps are the defending Stanley Cup Champions and have the season’s leading goal scorer Alex Ovechkin, after all. On the other hand, Washington might be without star forward TJ Oshie for the remainder of the series following a controversial hit from Hurricanes rookie Warren Foegele.
On top of that, hockey is a sport with a ton of variance, especially in a best-of-four series. Hockey’s variance is highlighted by the Columbus Blue Jackets’ first-round win over the No. 1 seeded Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning tied an NHL record for regular season wins, yet the Blue Jackets swept the Lightning in dominating fashion.
So why not take some free cash in this Caps-Hurricanes series?
How to do it
By betting $100 (to win $192) on Hurricanes +192 and risking $175 (to win $117) on Capitals -150, a bettor is guaranteed $17 in profit. That’s just over 6% return on the $275 investment. Of course, you can lower or raise this amount depending on how much cash you have on hand and how much sportsbooks allow you to bet.
Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for bettors to grab the great price on the Hurricanes this morning. By noon Friday FanDuel Sportsbook had dropped Carolina’s series odds to +154, drastically decreasing the return on the arbitrage.
Between Caps -145 (MGM’s New Jersey Sportsbook) to win the series and Hurricanes +154, you can only ensure $3.70 by betting $100 (to win $154) on the Hurricanes and risking $150.30 (to win $104) on the Caps.
The modest 1.5% may or may not be worth your time, but the earlier prices serve as a prime example of why it’s important to shop prices across sportsbooks early and often if you want find opportunities to arbitrage and boost your long-term ROI.