What does it mean to hedge a bet?
Hedging is a sports betting strategy when a bettor takes the opposite side of their original bet.
There are different methods of hedging, but the idea is usually the same. A bettor is trying to guarantee a profit or, at the very least, reduce the potential loss of a wager by hedging with a subsequent bet. It can essentially be a way to create some kind of insurance when a bettor is unsure of an outcome.
To get a better idea of what hedging is, here are a few examples for when it might make sense to use this strategy:
This is a common avenue for hedging a bet. As an example, let’s say you placed a $100 bet on Green Bay to win the Super Bowl at +1000. Then, they made the final game, and you could possibly win $1,000 if they pulled it off.
But Green Bay is facing Kansas City, which we all know is no easy victory. In this theoretical situation, quarterback Patrick Mahomes is on a mission after getting trounced by Tampa Bay last year, and you are not comfortable with betting against him.
So, in this case, you could hedge your bet by placing a sizable wager on the moneyline for Kansas City. This could guarantee that you win money either way, regardless of who ultimately hoists the Lombardi Trophy.
Much like with futures bets, hedging is worth considering near the end on parlay bets. Remember: With a parlay bet, a bettor needs every leg to hit in order to have a winning ticket.
So let’s say you have a five-team parlay on a random Sunday afternoon featuring five different NFL games. The first four teams all won, and so it all comes down to the primetime matchup for your 25/1 ticket to cash.
In order to mitigate a potential loss, this is when you could hedge your bet by placing a wager on the opposite team’s moneyline.
Live sports betting
There is no need to wait to hedge your bets when it comes to live sports betting.
In this instance, let’s say you picked Dallas to cover the 7.5-point spread against Tampa Bay in the 2021 NFL opener. You believe in that offense with Dak Prescott under center, and feel pretty confident that they can stay within a touchdown.
But then the defending champs stormed out to a big lead in the first quarter, and you are ready to cut your losses. This is when you can hedge your bet by backing Tampa Bay with an in-game wager instead.