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Best Sportsbooks US / Betting Guide / How to Hedge Your Bets?

How to Hedge Your Bets?

Publish Date: 30/03/2022

Betting Hedge Calculator

Want to know how and when to hedge a bet? Or perhaps you simply want to know the basics about this strategy and what it is? Either way, we’ve got you covered!

Hedge betting is one of the most commonly used and popular strategies in sports betting for a reason. Whether you’re looking to guarantee a return or limit your losses, this is a strategy that can help. So let’s not keep you waiting any longer and get started, shall we?

What does a hedge mean in gambling?

You could be forgiven for thinking that it would be silly to think that a hedge in gambling has any relation to the bush and shrub hedges that you might find in your garden or local park. Actually, though, a betting hedge does get its name from a garden hedge in a sort of roundabout way. By definition, a hedge is a boundary that’s designed to protect those it serves from potential downsides. In the case of your garden hedge, you’re most likely protecting your own privacy; with a park hedge, the tranquility of the park is being protected from the bustling town or city outside of its boundaries.

So how does this relate to betting? Well in betting, the hedge is a boundary that’s designed to protect you from the potential downsides of betting. And what are the downsides of sports betting? Losing money of course, or failing to break even. A betting hedge is a strategy that you can implement in order to try and protect yourself from potential losses. Here, you’ll find betting over under explained. It’s not foolproof, and can’t always guarantee a profit, but if you’re willing to learn, there’s no reason why it can’t serve you well. So let’s take a closer look at how it works.

Hedge betting explained

The easiest way to describe and explain hedge betting is to use a straight wager example. Essentially, hedging involves betting on the opposite side of your original wager, meaning that you are guaranteed a payout no matter what the outcome is. This could mean betting on both teams to win or betting on the over and the under, or both sides of the betting handicap. Hedging doesn’t always guarantee a profit, but as a payout is guaranteed, you will reduce your losses when hedging a bet.

Does this mean that it’s a simple and advisable strategy? No, and certainly not for beginners. Hedging requires solid knowledge of sports betting and how the mathematics behind it works. It is considered to be an advanced betting strategy and best avoided by beginner, novice, and even experienced but casual bettors.

Is hedge betting illegal?

Technically, there are two angles from which we have to approach this question. As you may or may not know, sports betting is still illegal in all forms in many US states. Therefore in states where betting itself is illegal, hedging is also therefore legal by default. With that out of the way through, let’s address the legal US sports betting states: is hedge betting illegal in any of them? No, there is nothing in the gambling laws of any state to make hedge betting illegal. It’s not a widely frowned upon or condemned strategy and therefore it doesn’t look like it will be pushed underground anytime soon.

Do sportsbooks want to ban hedging?

As well as being legal, hedging isn’t a practice that has been widely banned by sports betting. Unlike some other strategies, such as arbing, hedging statistically has a chance of hurting the sportsbooks. Can the bookies detect hedging? Absolutely – but unless you are a professional gambler who is repeatedly doing well out of it, the chances of you getting banned for hedging are extremely slim.

How to hedge your bets – a complete guide

The basic concept of hedging your bets is easy – you bet on both or all possible outcomes in order to limit losses. For example, if there’s an NFL game between the Rams and the 49ers, you might want to take the Rams to win but aren’t 100% sold on them winning. As a result, you then also bet on the 49ers to either protect profits or limit your losses.

Should hedging be looked at as profit protection?

The best way to view hedge betting is actually more akin to taking out an insurance policy on your bet, as it essentially reduces your risk but also your potential payout. It’s almost akin to sportsbook promotions and their risk-free bets. In some cases, you can hedge in order to guarantee a profit, but it will always be smaller than your potential payout on the straight bet. It’s therefore best to do the math first, and that’s where the use of a betting hedge calculator comes in. Some people are fine with merely limiting their losses when hedging, but the smartest thing is to guarantee a payout.

Using a betting hedge calculator

The math behind hedge betting is pretty straightforward; still, it definitely makes life easier to use a hedging calculator, which is easy to find online. If we use the above example between the Rams and the 49ers, let’s say the odds and spreads being offered are as follows:

Rams -40

49ers +250

If your original bet on the Rams to win is $100, meaning that you stand to win a total payout of $ 171.43, with $71.43 of that being profit. You would then need to wager at least $48.98 on the 49ers at +250 in order to guarantee a profit. This guarantees you a profit of $ 22.45 on your hedged bet if the 49ers win.

Of course, this is nowhere near as good as the $71.43 you would stand to make in profit in the event of a Rams win. However, the implied probability of you winning that 71.43 profit on the Rams is just 58.33, whereas the chances of you winning the $22.45 profit is now 100%.

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When to hedge a bet?

Above, we’ve used an example of hedging on a moneyline bet, because it’s the easiest example to use. However, it’s not the most common betting on which sports bettors hedge their bets in 2024. These days, bettors hedge their bets on multiple different types of betting lines, whereas in the past it was almost exclusively used on futures betting – which we’ll explain more about below. If you’re wondering more generally when to hedge a bet, we’d say whenever you feel not 100% confident in your original bet. Basically, if you like minimizing risk and taking out insurance policies, then using a betting hedge might be for you.

Futures hedge betting explained

As we mentioned above, futures hedging used to almost be the only type of hedge betting that gamblers engaged in in the US. That has all changed now; however, futures hedging does still remain one of the most popular types. Let’s take a look at how it works in action below.

Basically, hedging a futures bet actually involves hedging it against another futures bet or even a moneyline later on. For those of you unaware of what futures betting is, it is a type of betting that involves wagering on a long-term outcome – such as picking a Super Bowl or Stanley Cup winner at the start of the season.

Let’s use the Super Bowl and say you bet $100 on the Rams to win at the start of the season, at odds and spreads of +7000. Now let’s say the Rams make it to the Super Bowl and are playing against the Bills. You could then hedge your futures bet by placing $1000 on the Bills to win. If the Rams go on to win it, you would still get your original profit payout of $7000. Only you would have to take the $1000 that you put on the Bills from that, leaving you with a total profit of $6000.

If the Bills win, you still get a total payout of $2500, which minus your $1000 + $100 stakes leaves you with a profit of $1400.

How to hedge your bets on in-play betting

In-play betting or live betting is now available in most US states where gambling is legal, and it offers bettors the chance to hedge their bets if the game isn’t going as well as they planned. For example, let’s reuse the Rams/49ers example and say that you bet on the Rams to win ahead of the game. Only by halftime do you find that the game isn’t quite panning out as you’d hoped. You could then place an in-play bet on the 49ers in order to either guarantee your profit or at least limit your losses.

Unlike with hedging on ante-post bets, you don’t have as much time to plan and do your calculations here. If the game is going really badly, you could wind up being left only with odds and spreads so bad that the most you can do is limit your losses. In-play betting, in general, requires a cool head and isn’t for everyone – especially not those of you who are new to sports betting.

Is it always advisable to use a betting hedge?

We’re not going to tell you what to do one way or the other, as hedge betting is really a matter of choice and personal tastes. While some gamblers want to hedge their bets all the time in order to protect profits, others are happy to keep the increased risk if it means keeping their potentially larger payout alive. Some bettors also prefer a mix, or simply engage in another strategy, such as maintaining a 55% win ratio over time, or using betting deals - but that’s for another time. In the meantime, you can also find out what it means to be a betting handicapper here.

Are there any bet types where hedging shouldn’t be used?

Totals or over/under bets generally don’t lend themselves well to hedge betting. This is especially true for basketball and football totals, where the odds and spreads almost always start at -110 and rarely fluctuate between -120 and +100. With most totals bets, the best you can do when hedging is break-even or reduce your losses. Betting spreads can also have similar odds and spreads in most sports and are also best avoided when it comes to hedging.

What does hedge mean in gambling? The summary

So we’ve now found out what a hedge means in gambling and when to hedge a bet. Before we go through, let’s summarize the key things that we’ve learned throughout this article. Firstly, hedge betting is best thought of as a betting insurance strategy, and it’s not something that’s going to yield massive payouts. Secondly, hedge betting isn’t for everyone, and if you don’t think it’s for you, that’s fine. Lastly, you don’t always have to hedge your bets – mixing and matching is totally fine.

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Betting hedge FAQ

🤔 What is hedging betting?

Put simply, hedging betting is one of many betting strategies that is used by gamblers. You can find hedged betting explained in full in our guide here at PromoGuy. Ultimately, our experts aim to inform and help you decide if this is something that is for you.

🤓 Is it smart to hedge a bet?

That really depends on the scenario that you are looking at, and what type of betting you’re looking to place. You can find a complete guide that will tell you if and when it’s smart to hedge your bets by following the link on to our site.

❓ Can you bet on both outcomes?

On the face of it, you would think that this is something that is definitely possible? But is it legal? And do the sportsbooks like it or will you get banned? Find answers to these important questions and more by clicking on to our site today!

💸 What is an example of a hedged bet?

You can find multiple examples of hedge betting in our article by following the link contained with this answer. As well as providing you with examples, our experts have also given you full explanations of the hedge betting definition.

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