Sports Betting Q&A
Frequently asked questions about sports betting
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What is a hedge in sports betting?

A hedge is a method to reduce risk and secure winnings for a specified bet. In sports, it means betting the opposite side of your original wager in order to either try to middle the game, or to reduce the downside exposure of the original wager.

The most popular instance of hedging is for a futures bet. For example, you bet the San Francisco 49ers at +2500 to win the Super Bowl ahead of the season and they eventually make it. Instead of riding out the +2500 and hoping the 49ers win, you could hedge that bet and take the opposing team, the Kansas City Chiefs, to win on the moneyline

While you'll get more money if you ride out the original bet, there's also more of a chance you'll come out with nothing. If you hedge and bet the Chiefs, you'll win something no matter the result of the game. 

Below is a breakdown of payouts in a possible hedge:

Original wager: $100 on 49ers at +2500 for a $2,600 payout ($2,500 profit)
Hedge: $1,000 on Chiefs ML -150 for a $1,667 payout ($667 profit)

With Hedge
49ers win: $2,600 payout - $1,000 bet - $100 bet = $1,500 profit
Chiefs win: $1,667 payout - $1,000 bet - $100 bet = $567 profit

Without Hedge
49ers win: $2,500 profit
Chiefs win without hedge: down $100

As seen with a hedge, the bettor comes out in the positive no matter how the game goes. Without the hedge, the bettor wins a bit more after a 49ers win but also comes out negative if the Chiefs win as a favorite.

Should you hedge a bet?

Hedging a wager comes down to personal preference. Some people are fine with a positive payout and prefer not to risk everything, which is when a hedge makes sense. As for those who are keen on their original wager and are fine with losing money if the other side wins, there's no reason to hedge.

More hedging

Hedging can be done with almost any kind of bet. Futures bets may be the most popular instance to hedge, but as sports betting grows, in-play wagering is also at an all-time high. If a bet isn't looking good halfway through a game, hedging with an in-play bet could be done. In this case, it's important to note all possibilities in a game because if you make the wrong hedge, you may be out two bets if something crazy happens. 

For example, you bet the Titans -7 to beat the Colts and they open the second quarter down 14-0. Since it's looking like the Colts will win, you decide to hedge the Colts moneyline at -150. Unfortunately, the Colts let up in the second half and the Titans eventually win on a late field goal, meaning both of your bets lose. If you want to hedge in-game, it's usually best to know what you're doing instead of blindly betting the opposite side.

Another possible hedge method is in a parlay. Luckily, these are a little more straightforward than an in-game hedge. The easiest example is if your first two bets win in a three-team parlay. If you want to guarantee winnings, you simply hedge by betting the opposite side in the third bet of the parlay. You'll guarantee winnings, though the payout will be smaller.

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More Questions To Read
Can you bet on sports with Venmo?
No, not legally. Most legal sportsbooks around the country won't allow you to make bets with Venmo.
Which states in US have legal sports betting?
As of 2020, there are 21 states (and Washington D.C.) that have legalized sports betting.
Can you bet on sports online?
Yes. But while betting on sports is legal in almost half the states in the country, not all of them allow online wagering.
When was sports betting legalized?
Sports betting was allowed to be legalized at a state level in 2018 after PASPA was struck down.
When will sports betting be legal in Indiana?
Sports betting in Indiana was legalized September 2019 and online gambling launched a few months later.
Is sports betting legal in Indiana?
Yes. Indiana passed a bill to allow sports betting in 2019 and wagering started in October with online betting opening a couple months later.
When will sports betting be legal in Michigan?
Michigan passed legislation to allow sports betting in December 2019 and the first physical sportsbooks opened March 2020.
Is sports betting legal in Michigan?
Yes. Michigan passed legislation to allow sports betting in December 2019 and the first physical sportsbooks opened in March 2020.
Is sports betting legal in Virginia?
Yes. Sports betting is legal in Virginia and residents began betting via FanDuel in January 2021.
When will sports betting be legal in Virginia?
Sports betting is legal in Virginia and residents began betting via FanDuel in January 2021.
When will sports betting be legal in South Dakota?
Sports betting is not legal in South Dakota, but residents passed a ballot initiative in the November 2020 election, which means it's on its way.
Is sports betting legal in South Dakota?
No. Sports betting is not legal in South Dakota, but residents passed a bill initiative in the 2020 election.
Is sports betting legal in North Carolina?
Yes. Sports betting is legal in North Carolina, but it's only available at two casinos, which weren't open as of early 2021.
When will sports betting be legal in North Carolina?
Sports betting is legal in North Carolina, but it's only available at two casinos, which weren't open as of early 2021.
When will sports betting be legal in Tennessee?
Yes. Tennessee sports betting was legalized in 2019 and launched in 2020.
Is sports betting legal in Tennessee?
Yes. Tennessee sports betting was legalized in 2019 and launched in 2020.
Is sports betting legal in Maryland?
No. Sports betting is not legal in Maryland, but residents voted Yes to legalize sports gambling in the November 2020 election.
When will sports betting be legal in Maryland?
No. Sports betting is not legal in Maryland, but residents voted Yes to legalize sports gambling in the November 2020 election.
Is sports betting legal in Louisiana?
No. Sports betting is illegal in Louisiana despite numerous attempts throughout the last couple years.
When will sports betting be legal in Louisiana?
Sports betting is illegal in Louisiana despite numerous attempts to legalize it the last couple years.
When will sports betting be legal in Iowa?
Iowa legalized sports betting in May 2019, becoming the 11th state to do so.
Is sports betting legal in Iowa?
Yes. Iowa legalized sports betting in 2019, becoming the 11th state to pass a bill.
When will sports betting be legal in Illinois?
Illinois passed sports betting legislature June 2019 and launched at physical sportsbooks March 2020, becoming the 15th state to offer wagering.
Is sports betting legal in Illinois?
Yes. Illinois passed sports betting legislature in 2019 and launched at physical sportsbooks in March 2020.
When will sports betting be legal in Colorado?
Colorado legalized in-person and mobile sports betting November 2019 after a bill was signed by the governor and then approved by voters.