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When You Should Hedge Your Bet

October 8, 2014

Hedging a bet means to place a wager against a guaranteed winning ticket. For example, if you have clinched victory on the first 7 legs of your 8-team parlay it may be wise to place an individual bet against the team you need to cover in order to win the parlay. What’s the purpose of hedging a bet? To guarantee a win.

8-team parlays typically payout around 150/1. A $10 winning parlay ticket would payout $1,500. If you’re down to that last game your ticket is essentially 50/50 to win. If your team doesn’t cover you end up getting nothing. If you place a wager on the opposing team you guarantee a win. Should you always hedge a bet in this situation? That depends on your purpose of gambling and your bankroll.

If you don’t hedge the bet you risk losing out on an opportunity to win a large sum. Of course, if $1,500 isn’t a lot of money to you then it would be pointless to hedge the bet. Or if you love the thrill of taking risks, by all means, let it ride! However, the smart gambler, in that spot, is going to throw down $330-$550 on the opposing team to cover. If the original bet comes through, you collect $1,500 and invested a total of $340-$560. If the hedged wager comes through, you still profit nearly $300-$500 (minus the $10 original parlay bet). Not a bad payday either way.

Large Parlays are Difficult to Win

Parlays are tough to win – even 3-team parlays. It’s rare to win a 7+ team parlay so when you are a game away, many gamblers prefer to hedge their bet. Perhaps you heard about the football fan that recently came within 1 win of a 15-team parlay. He placed a $5 wager on a 15-team parlay that would have paid out $100,000. All he needed was the Colts to win by 3 points or more to cash in the ticket. He was in a great position but the Eagles rallied to win, costing him $100,000.

It’s unknown if this individual hedged his bet. If not, he’s insane. He should have gone straight to the sportsbook Monday morning to place a large wager on the Eagles to cover. In this situation it’s difficult to decide how much to wager. In a perfect world, a $25,000-$30,000 would suffice. That way you go home with a huge win no matter what.

However, that may not be possible. It’s not easy for most to come up with $25,000+ in a day’s notice. This person may have been unable to obtain the necessary funds to place a large wager. Or maybe he didn’t even think about hedging his bet. I’m not sure. I hope he was able to hedge his bet but, then again, we all know about the Auburn fan that would have collected $50,000 on a futures bet had Auburn beaten Florida State in the championship game last year. That genius refused to hedge his bet. So who’s to say this guy did the right thing.

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