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.

Read More Sports Betting Q&As

More Questions To Read
What are some current trends in sports betting?
Betting trends usually refer to what the public is doing. You have two choices, to follow the public or fade the public.
Who benefits from sports betting?
Sports betting not only benefits each state, but it also gives fans another way to enjoy games.
What is a sports betting model?
A sports betting model is a system that can identify unbiased picks to determine the probability for all outcomes in a certain game.
What is a sports betting exchange?
A sports betting exchange allows bettors to bet against each other instead of through a bookmaker.
What are some tips for managing your bankroll when betting on sports?
The most important tip when betting on sports is to limit each bet to be between one and five percent of your bankroll.
Can sports betting be a career?
Yes. Sports betting can be a career if you make it your full-time job and put in the hours.
Can sports betting make you rich?
Sports betting is unlikely to make you rich unless you turn it into a full-time job and become one of the best bettors in the world.
Is sports betting a waste of money?
Sports betting is not a waste of money if you define your goals before making your first wager.
Can sports betting be profitable?
Sports betting can be profitable, but the majority of bettors lose money, which is why sportsbooks exist.
What some simple tips for betting on sports?
A simple tip for betting on sports is to remember that only a small percentage of bettors are profitable in the long run.
What are some good sports betting tips for beginners?
A tip for beginners may be that turning a profit in sports betting is difficult and because you "know sports" doesn't mean you'll be successful.
How do you win at sports betting?
To win at sports betting, one has to put time into studying and researching various aspects of a matchup.
Why should sports betting be legal?
Sports betting should be legal because not only is it another way for fans to enjoy action, but it's also a boost to the economy.
Is sports betting rigged?
Sports betting is not rigged, but it is against your favor because of the vig.
What is the tax rate on sports betting winnings?
When PASPA was overturned in 2018, states began legalizing sports betting and introducing different taxes on revenue.
How do sports betting payouts work?
Sports betting payouts depend on which type of odds are being used.
What is a bookie in sports betting?
A bookie is someone who facilitates gambling by setting odds, accepting and placing bets, and then paying out the winnings.
What are some popular sports betting books?
BetMGM, DraftKings, FanDuel and PointsBet are some of the more popular sportsbooks where sports betting is legal.
Which sports betting site is best?
BetMGM, DraftKings, FanDuel and PointsBet are some of the more popular online sportsbooks where betting is legal.
What is the spread in sports betting?
The spread, also referred to as the line, is used to even the odds between two unevenly matched teams.
How do sports betting spreads work?
Sports betting spreads, also referred to as lines, are used to even the odds between two unevenly matched teams.
What does hook mean in sports betting?
The hook means a half-point in sports betting.
What is arbitrage in sports betting?
Arbitrage in sports betting is when someone places bets on all possible outcomes of an event at odds that guarantee profit.
Can you arbitrage sports betting?
Arbitrage sports betting is legal, though it's frowned upon by bookmakers.
How are sports betting odds calculated?
Sports betting odds are calculated with the main goal for sportsbooks being to receive equal money on both sides of a bet.