How To Hedge A Sports Bet

Posted by Jordan Walterss on June 14, 2016 in

Let’s say you just bought a house. You would want to protect your investment as much as possible, right? Of course you would. That’s what insurance is for; should something happen to your home, insurance keeps you from going potentially bankrupt. And that’s essentially what hedging a sports bet is. It’s a way to eliminate the risk or loss on a potential bet. And if you aren’t hedging your bets at times, you should be. But I don’t recommend it all the time if you want to win big at your online sportsbook.

Taking a Closer Look on How To Hedge A Sports Bet

The concept of hedge betting involves placing bets on a different outcome, or outcomes, subsequent to an original bet in order to create a scenario where there is a guaranteed profit whether the first bet wins or loses. Let’s use Game 5 of the 2016 NBA Finals played on Monday night as an example. The Golden State Warriors won Game 4 in Cleveland 108-97 to take a commanding 3-1 lead back to Oakland. The Warriors opened as 6.5-point favorites immediately after Game 4 for Game 5.

However, on Sunday the NBA looked at video of a confrontation between Golden State’s Draymond Green, arguably the team’s most important player — I said important, not valuable as that’s Steph Curry — and Cavaliers star LeBron James. The NBA decided to suspend Green for Game 5. I had placed a bet on the Warriors on the moneyline to win originally. When that injury happened, I decided to bet on the Cavaliers getting the points. And it’s a good thing I did. The Cavs won 112-97 as the Warriors clearly missed Green. Had I not hedged that bet, obviously the game would have been a loser for me.

Another time I like to hedge a bet is in college or pro football if I’m not totally sold on the result. Let’s say the Chicago Bears open as 5-point home underdogs against the New England Patriots. But then heavy action on the Patriots sees that line move to -7.5 near the end of the week. I had bet on New England at -5 on Monday but did think the Bears would keep it close. That spread move above a touchdown was too good to resist, so I hedged the bet at that point by taking Chicago at +7.5. Getting lines above 3 or 7 points in football from an early-week opening below those numbers is huge.

I often see people hedging their futures bets. Let’s say you have bet the Boston Red Sox early in the year to win the World Series and they play the Chicago Cubs in the Fall Classic. You might want to put money on the Cubs at the best price possible to win the Series if you are pretty sure they will win. That way you are covered either way. When you hedge your bets, you can wager the same amount to ensure you break even — minus paying the juice. Or bet more on the side where you are most comfortable.

Another smart way to hedge a bet is with in-game betting. Perhaps you bet the Seattle Mariners at -160 to beat the Chicago White Sox at +150 because the Mariners were starting ace pitcher Felix Hernandez. But if he leaves early or is scratched with an injury, you then might want to start pouring money into the White Sox hitters. The key in sports hedge bets is you have to act quickly to be sure to get the right price. But the obvious downside is that you aren’t going to win big by hedging bets, barring a huge advantage on one side or the other. It’s basically conservative betting simply designed to help avoid huge losses.