When Should You ‘Hedge’ Your Bets?

Daniel Collins

Written by: Daniel Collins

Last Updated:

Read Time: 4 minutes

When a sports bettor gets cold feet about a bet they have made or is in a position to receive a massive payout on a parlay, a decision needs to be made about what to do about these nerves.

Some players fight through the doubt and push towards the final outcome, while others simply can’t handle the pressure and look for a way out.

Hedging your bet is a way to limit your exposure while also relieving the pressure.

But what exactly is hedging your bet and why would you do it?

Why would someone hedge a bet?

There are several reasons that someone might hedge a bet, and they all revolve around protecting an asset.

Let’s look at a couple of the more common forms of hedging.

How to Hedge to Maximize Value

First, a bettor could be hedging to maximize the value of a future bet.

For example, if you have placed a bet on a longshot to win the Superbowl – let’s say +3000.

Well, if that team makes the big game, you might want to place a bet on the other team in the game to a number that will still guarantee you a payday regardless of who wins.

To take this example further, let’s say you placed a $100 wager on that +3000 bet. If that team were to win, you would be taking home $3,100.

Now, on the day of the game, you could bet on the other team, and as long as that bet didn’t cost as much as the $3,100 you stood to bring home already, then you would be up the difference between the two.

How to Hedge in a Playoff Series

Second, someone may hedge a bet that they have made on a playoff series in one of the sports.

For example, if the Toronto Raptors are a huge underdog against the Cleveland Cavaliers in a series, you could take them to win the series at a good set of odds.

If they actually win the first couple of games, then you could conceivably bet on the Cavaliers to now win the series as those odds will have dropped.

In this scenario, if the odds and bet sizes are right, you could end up being profitable no matter who wins the series!

This happened a couple years ago in the NHL playoffs when the Columbus Blue Jackets went up 2-0 in a series in which they were the heavy underdog to the eventual Cup champion Washington Capitals.

How to Hedge a Parlay Bet

Another scenario where someone might hedge a bet is when they are just about to win a big parlay bet.

If you have a 5 or 6 team parlay and have hit all but one game, you are on the cusp of a big win.

One option to avoid complete disappointment is to bet against the team you have in the final parlay spot with a straight bet.

This way, if you win the parlay, it’s a big win, or if you lose the parlay at least, you win on the straight bet.

Either way, you are a winner!

How to Hedge out of a ‘Bad Bet’

Finally, you may just want to get out of a terrible bet by betting on the other side.

This can now happen two different ways – you can make a bet before the game starts on the other side (and maybe the odds have moved, so you aren’t losing the juice on both bets but have a chance to break even).

Conversely, you can use Live Odds to bet during the game itself.

In-play betting is increasing in popularity, and this is one of the main reasons why – you can find a way to make money even if you are on the wrong side of the bet to start the game.

When it comes to betting on sports, you have to have nerves of steel to endure some games.

It’s OK to take an Early Payout

However, there are moments where you might want to consider taking a lower payout by hedging your bets.

This is one way to alleviate the pressure, but these days there is a new way for you to get out of a bet if you want.

This is only applicable to bets that look like they are going to be winners, but some sportsbooks offer players a chance to be bought out of bets before they are completed.

You will of course receive a far lower amount than if you stick it out to the conclusion, but if it is a longshot bet then maybe it is worth taking the cash.

You have seen it more and more recently where a bettor will be on the cusp of a big win on a longshot parlay and they are on the last leg of a wager. The Sportsbook will offer a Cashout that is lower than the overall win but still substantially more than the original bet.

Most of the time, bettors will take this buyout to give themselves the guaranteed payout. But some, love to let it ride.

We think that you should stick to your guns when you make a wager.

But in the case of trying to be the most profitable you can in the the long term, looking for the right moments to hedge your bets is still an excellent strategy and is always worth considering.