What does a hedge have anything to do with sports betting, exactly? It is a row of small trees or bushes that are placed close together and form a boundary or fence. This seems to have little to do about wagering money on a particular game. This definition means that it does not relate to sports betting. Except maybe a prop bet on the Stanford Cardinal Mascot.
Although discussing shrubs may seem like a lazy way to introduce hedging in sports betting it does not diminish its importance. Hedging is an integral part of being a successful sports bettor.
What is hedging?
Before you can profit from a bet, it is important to fully understand what hedging means. A bet that is hedged means you place a bet on a different outcome, or combination of outcomes after the original bet has ended. This creates a situation in which there is a guaranteed profit, regardless of whether the original bet loses or wins.
Let’s say you placed $100 on Green Bay Packers winning vs New England Patriots. 100 percent profit would be earned if the Packers win. Although the Patriots were slight favorites to win, they are now in even money. The Packers, however, jump out to a 17-0 halftime advantage. The odds suddenly swing heavily in favor of the Packers.
The bettor can now ride out the original wager. The bettor might decide to hedge. The Patriots will be underdogs if they are facing a 17-0 loss against a strong team. The Patriots could win if the line goes up to +300. In this scenario, a bettor could place 40 dollars on the Patriots winning. A $40 bet would result in a $120 profit. This would mean that if the Packers win, the bettor would make a $60 profit. The bettor would make a $70 profit if the Patriots win, which is a win-win situation.
Hedging can reduce risk and be extremely profitable. This is why the Packers and Patriots are great examples. There are many other examples of effective hedging.
When to hedge
Sports betting does not stop. Expert bettors can continue sports betting without interruption. It is a common misconception that you should “forget it” when betting on sports. When is the best time to hedge a wager?
Future bets offer the best opportunity to hedge a wager and still make a profit. Simply put, a hedge wager becomes more rational as the original futures bet moves closer to winning. For example, let’s say a bettor bet $100 on the Los Angeles Rams winning the Super Bowl. This type of bet is high-risk and high-payout.
In reality, a $100 preseason bet that the Rams will win the Super Bowl would yield a profit of about $1,500. The bettor loses if the Rams fail to make the playoffs or lose in the postseason. If the Rams reach the NFC Conference Championship or the Super Bowl it’s time for a hedge bet.
The bettor can make a profit of about $1,500 with some flexibility. Let’s say the bettor waits until the Super Bowl to hedge. The bettor will then be able to take $1,500 of that potential profit and place it on an opponent. He knows that only one team has to win. This is especially true if the Rams are favorites. The bettor will make a nice profit regardless of what happens.
Parlay bets, which are the most popular type of bet to hedge, are next. Parlay bets are a combination of single bets linked together. They are dependent on all wagers winning. If all wagers win, a higher payout is earned than if they were placed separately. These bets are also the easiest to explain hedging.
Hedging should be used when there is a high risk/reward parlay bet. Hedging should be avoided for most small and low-risk parlay wagers. Hedging should be considered with high-reward parlays.
The odds of winning a parlay wager are higher the farther it is from the end. Let’s say you have a four-bet parlay. The first three winning bets will win. To make the entire parlay profitable, the bettor must win one additional wager. In this case, a hedge wager placed on an outcome other than the one the parlay must win makes sense.
A Change of Opinion
It is possible to hedge when your opinion changes. A bettor can change his mind, but it will not be the first or last. Long-term betting is not easy. People’s opinions, preferences, and even the players and teams they support can change. These elements can change faster than the odds. If the odds of losing are extremely low, a hedge bet isn’t smart. Sports can be unpredictable. If the odds are still in your favor, it can be beneficial to hedge a bet that is based on a change of opinion.
Live and In-Play Bets
One final method of hedging is to use live, in-play betting. A live, in-play wager is a wager on a current game. This is evident in the above Packers and Patriots example. Hedging is recommended at all points in live game wagers where the odds of a hedge betting can guarantee the bettor profit.
Hedging is not always the best or worst way to do it. That’s why it can be so confusing. It is perfectly fine to let a bet go all the way through its conclusion, win or loss. You can also hedge a bet to guarantee a profit, even if it’s a smaller one. Calculators and tools are available to help you determine the best time and places to hedge.
Experts will tell you to hedge only when a certain percentage or amount of profit can be guaranteed. Which advice is the best? Each situation is unique so you should judge it by its characteristics. If she is confident in her bet, a bettor might hold off on the hedge. If he feels lucky, a bettor might jump at the chance to hedge. Every bet is unique and should be treated accordingly.
No matter what the situation may be, sports betting pros always consider hedging an option. Hedging can be used for almost any type of bet and can help to net a solid profit as well as reduce all risk.