Hedging a Bet: Is It Worth It?

by | 24 Jun 2022

Picture this: you placed a bet on your favourite basketball team that, over the years, is used to dominating their opponents. In a twist of fate, as you watch the playoffs unfold, they find themselves on the verge of loss against an underdog team. You sit at the edge of your seat, still hopeful for a positive outcome despite the plummeting odds but finally — defeat. 

Luckily, you hedged a bet towards the opposing team before the end of the championships, once you were aware of the shifting odds — essentially spending more on what now are two bets. The question is, did it save you your money or not?

If you’re familiar with sports betting, you’ve probably heard of the word “hedging” before. It’s a strategy used by sports bettors to maximise the outcome of their bets when the winds start changing directions.

In this article, you will read about how hedging can benefit you on your betting journey and when is the best time to use it.

Related: Getting Started on the Basics of Sports Betting so You Can Start Winning Big 

What Is Hedging? 

Hedging is a sports betting strategy where the bettor places an additional wager against their original bet when he/she becomes unsure, or their odds have decreased in value.

Hedging a bet is trying to secure any sort of profit, or at least minimise potential losses when the initial wager starts looking less promising. This may be thought of as a bettor’s “insurance” to protect him/her against unfavorable outcomes, although this is not a one-size-fits-all solution.

That said, it’s wise to identify when the situation calls for a hedge so that you can yield the best results out of your money.

The Right Time to Hedge Your Bets

There are different circumstances where you can weigh out whether to hedge a bet or not. A strategic hedge bet may potentially bring you more profits than your original wager, depending on the amount you put in. 

You may consider strategising a hedge when your betting odds have declined and you don’t want to risk the chance of losing your initial wager. These situations may include losing streaks, player injuries, or sometimes it can simply be a bettor’s change of mind. A hedge bet can help get back the money you could potentially lose if you were to ride your first bet. 

For example, let’s say Team A’s odds are -200 and Team B’s are +200 (if you’re not familiar with how to read odds in sports betting yet, check out this article).

Original bet:

  • Wager: $200 for Team A to win
  • If Team A wins: You would win $100, plus the original stake of $200—a total profit of $100.
  • If Team A loses: You would lose the original stake of $200

Hedge Bet:

  • Original bet: $200 for Team A to win
  • Hedge: $100 for Team B to win
  • If Team B wins: You would lose your original stake of $200, but you win $200 from your hedge bet plus its stake of $100. A total profit of $0.
  • If Team B loses: You would win $100 plus the original stake of $200, but you lose your hedge bet of $100. A total profit of $0.

Depending on how strategically you place your money on a hedge, it may do more than just retrieve the initial stake and actually bring in profits for you. At the very least, hedging a bet is ideal if you want the money you bet in the first place to return to you.

Related: The Art of Hedging in Basketball 

If that’s so, wouldn’t it be wise to hedge all of my bets?

Not necessarily. If your initial bet’s chances of winning are steady or have shifted in your favor, it might be best to ride it. Placing another bet on the opposing side may only decrease profits if they already have low odds. Making a hedge bet is also costly. You have to risk more money in order to return only some profit—or even none at all—which may not be practical for everyone.

Hedging, generally, is a great trick to keep up your sleeve, especially when the circumstances are high-risk and high reward. Ultimately, the decision to hedge a sports bet should be based on your analysis and overall strategy to get the most optimal results. After all, sports betting is all about the thrill of winning and taking risks. 

Conclusion

Whether you’re a seasoned bettor or a new explorer to the world of betting, it’s always a great idea to have a good grasp of hedge betting — in terms of determining when it is the right time for it, and how much is safe to hedge based on your circumstance. Who knows, it might do incredible things for you in the future.

Don’t rely on luck alone when betting! 

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