What Does Hedging or Hedge Mean In Sports Betting?
by Doc's Sports - 10/9/2014
When you make a sports bet you are exposed - you have the potential to lose the amount that you have bet. Sometimes exposure is fine - it’s part of being a sports bettor. Sometimes, though, you are no longer happy to be exposed to a game. Perhaps something has changed about the game - the weather has worsened, a key player has been injured, a coaching change has been made, and so on. Or perhaps you have just done more handicapping and come to the conclusion that your original bet isn’t a good one. You can decrease your exposure - and perhaps eliminate it entirely - with hedging. Hedging, simply, is a bet placed on the opposite side of your original bet in order to reduce or eliminate exposure.
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An example - You bet the Patriots at -140. Tom Brady gets banged up in practice and may not be at full strength - if he can play at all. Instead of risking what could happen, you bet on their opponent, the Giants, at +130 for the same amount as your original bet. Now, instead of having your entire whole bet at risk, you only have the vig on your bet at risk - much less.
Hedging can also be used to lock in a profit. You will make much less than you would have if you had won your original bet, but you don’t risk losing it all. Say, for example, that you had bet $100 on the Athletics in futures betting action before the season started to win the World Series at 12/1. The World Series has now begun, and the A’s are up against the Cardinals for all the marbles. You could let your bet ride, hoping that you come out on top, or you could hedge to ensure some profit no matter what. Let’s say that the Cards are at +150 to win the Series. If you bet $600 on the Cardinals to win, and if they did win then you would win $900 on them and lose the $100 on the A’s for a total profit of $800. If the A’s win you lose the $600, but make $1200 on the A’s bet for a profit of $600. Instead of having a shot at $1200 with a chance at nothing you have guaranteed a smaller profit either way.
Hedging can also be used to lock in a profit at the end of a parlay. Say you have bet a five-team parlay and the first four games have won. Instead of sweating the outcome of the fifth game, you could simply make a bet on the other team in the final game of your parlay. By making an aggressive bet you could make it so that your winnings would be the same regardless of what happens in the final game. It could be worth it if the payoff is large - though if you aren’t willing to risk the outcome of the fifth game for the potential payout of the parlay then you have to wonder if it is a value bet that you should have made in the first place.
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