How to Hedge Sports Bets

Hedging and learning how to hedge sports bets are an excellent strategy for guaranteeing a profit when the circumstances are right.

How to Hedge Sports Bets

How can hedging a bet make you money when it comes to betting sports


What Does Hedging A Bet Mean?

Like all aspects of wagering, learning how to hedge sports bets is a worthwhile step to becoming a better sports bettor. First of all, what does hedging a bet even mean? Essentially, hedging is the process of doing things that will prevent great loss or failure if future events do not happen as one plans or hopes.

One example would be in equities, where someone wanted to diversify their investment. One one hand, they want to take a higher risk in hopes of making big gains. On the other hand, they don’t want to lose their entire investment if the stock market crashes. So the hedging strategy in this case was to invest half half their money in stocks (risky) and the other half in bonds, which are more stable.  

Hedging to mitigate potential losses: When it comes to live betting on a sporting event that you have already placed an initial wager on,  –  sometimes hedge betting to mitigate your potential losses is a good strategy when the probability of your original wager cashing is less likely than when the event started.

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An example of hedging a bet

To get an understanding of how to hedge a NFL futures bet, consider this example: . Let’s say you bet the Minnesota Vikings at +2500 to win the Super Bowl ahead of the season and they eventually make it to the Big Dance after winning the Conference Championship. Instead of riding out the +2500 bet and hoping the Vikings win, you could hedge that bet and take the opposing team. In this situation, if the opposing AFC team was listed on the moneyline at -200, you would have a big window between the two lines, and by hedging you would lock up a guaranteed win, regardless of which team came out on top.

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Is hedging illegal?

There is nothing illegal about hedging a bet. In fact, hedging a sports bet is not only legal, it can be a sensible strategy that mitigates risk, guarantees returns and ensures that you will have funds to wager another day.

Why is it called “hedging”

The word hedge means to avoid making a definitive commitment. It comes from the noun hedge, which means a fence made of shrubbery. The hedge that forms a fence offers protection and security, much like hedging a bet. Strategy on how to hedge your bets first appeared in the late-1600s.

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How do you hedge a parlay?

Parlay bettors know that each leg of their initial stake must win in order for the parlay ticket to cash. When the start times are staggered throughout the course of a day or week, it presents an excellent opportunity for you to hedge the final leg once all of the preceding legs of the parlay have won.

Take a four-bet parlay, for example, where the first three bets have already won. The bettor now has to win only one more wager to net the whole parlay profit. Under this scenario, a hedge bet placed on the outcome opposite  of what the original parlay needed to win makes sense.

Changes in opinion can also constitute a time to hedge. Using the same 4-team parlay example above, let’s say that your first three legs are in at 3-0, and all you need is a home favorite of -150 on the moneyline to win and you’ll strike it rich. But since placing the bet, you’ve learned that the home favorites top player is going to miss the game with an injury. If you still think his team will win, great. But if you now feel that the underdog, who is paying back at +130 on the moneyline, has a 50% chance to win outright, you might consider hedging your bet with a flat bet on the road dog.

Hedging means accepting the fact that your winnings will be reduced, but it also means you can all but guarantee a profit. In the world of gambling, where guarantees are super hard to come by, learning how to hedge a bet is something everyone needs to know.

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