Very rarely –if ever – is there such thing as a ‘sure thing’ in sports betting. If there was then there would be plenty of rich bettors about. Unfortunately to become a successful bettor what separates the winners from the losers is often a great deal of knowledge and betting nous, coupled with a bit of luck along the way.
A strategy you can adapt to your betting arsenal is that of hedge betting. Adopting this strategy successfully will be the closest you can come to a certain bet by making a positive return on investment from any given result.
What is Hedge Betting?
Hedge betting is strategy used to ensure that no matter what the outcome of an event you will make money. It requires you to place two or more wagers on that event increasing the chance of earning a profit from a number of (if not all) scenarios.
Hedge betting can be known throughout the sports betting scene under many different names including ‘arbing’, ‘laying’ and ‘greening up’. With each comes a slight difference in the process of the strategy, with all basically managing to conclude the same result. The concept of hedge betting is to reduce the risk of the market we are betting on, but this comes at a cost of which we will explain later in this article.
Before we continue it’s going to be easier to look through a working example so you can increase your grasp on the subject.
Hedge Betting Example #1
Let’s say we place a £10 wager on Liverpool to win the FA Cup at odds of 6/1 prior to the tournament starting. As the tournament progresses Liverpool happen to make the final against Portsmouth with the match odds for Portsmouth to win the game being at 2/1 and the draw also being at 2/1.
At this point we decide we want to hedge our bets and make sure we make a profit on each result, or at least break even. So we place £10 on Portsmouth to win and £10 on the game ending in a draw. Let’s look at the numbers.
- Amount wagered = £30 (£10 on Liverpool to win at the start, £10 on Portsmouth on match day and £10 on the draw also on match day).
- Potential Return = If Liverpool win we would get £70 in returns (£10 @ 6/1 inc. stake back)
If Portsmouth win we would get £30 in returns (£10 @ 2/1 inc. stake back)
For a draw we would get £30 in returns (£10 at 2/1 inc. stake back)
So at no point would we receive less than the £30 wagered overall no matter which result comes in with our profits essentially coming from that of a Liverpool victory.
Why it’s’s Not Always a Good Idea to Hedge Bets
One of the biggest reasons why many punters are discouraged when it comes to hedging bets is that it reduces their overall return. As you can see from the above example if we had let our original bet of Liverpool to win the cup ride, then we would receive a much larger pay day if we hadn’t hedged.
Profit is profit I hear you say. And yes, whilst this is certainly a valid point you have to bear in mind that any sports bet you place should be on the back of a string of research into that specific sport, market, team, and whatever other variables you can think of. By hedging you essentially doubt your initial judgment on that market and your research.
Another reason not to hedge is the added ‘juice’ or commission you will have to pay to bookmakers. As you make more bets then the online bookmaker will be skimming their share with each bet. This means it’s actually costing you more and reducing your overall profits. This plays an especially important role if you are betting for smaller stakes due to the hit in profit amounts – essentially percentages stay the same, but this is a numbers business and when numbers are already small then it becomes less of an incentive to win.
When it’s Best to hedge Your Sports Bets
You can look at this section as a counter argument for the above if you wish.
Hedging bets guarantees you a profit. Never forget that! If you make a successful hedge then you will be receiving money back into your betting account. It may seem obvious but many bettors forget this when chasing that big pay day. If for whatever reason you don’t feel as comfortable about your bet from the moment you first placed it then there is no shame in getting out for either a reduced profit or even a small loss if you think the time is right.
There are simply tons of variables that can affect your bet from the time to placing your wager to the time in which your window opens and you can hedge your bet. A lot are sports specific but carrying on with football as our example, say the star striker falls ill before the game and he’s basically been carrying a team then this will likely have an effect on the outcome of the result, and more importantly the odds. If you can hedge, then there will ALWAYS be another market to bet on.
Online Hedge Betting and Wagering Tips
- Never rule out the possibility of hedging your bets – Don’t feel that you will be ‘chickening’ out if you hedge. We’ve mentioned it earlier but hedging will mean a guarteed profit (or small loss) on all results, meaning no sweat.
- Don’t be hasty – If you’ve done your homework on a specific market or event then trust your instincts and back your knowledge especially if you find yourself in a favourable position early on.
- Bigger is better?- Hedging is definitely a strategy that works best the more money you wager. We aren’t suggesting that you need to increase your bet sizes – your bankroll should determine this – more that the larger your wagers the more beneficial hedging becomes.