Hedging your bets is a betting term that is also used commonly outside the gambling world to refer to giving oneself more chance of a favourable outcome by choosing to be on both sides of a particular situation.
In betting hedging refers to placing a wager on both sides of an outcome to ensure that a profit is made – regardless of which way the event goes.
When it comes to sports betting there are various different ways that hedging can be employed to ensure a favourable outcome – or profit. Sometimes it may be possible to use slight margins between different bookmakers’ odds to bet on both sides, making simultaneous bets. This is referred to as arbitrage, or ‘arbing’.
But more often hedging is possible due to the shift in odds over time. For example, a bettor places a £10 ante post bet on the Chicago Bears to win the Super Bowl at the start of the season at 8/1. On the day of the big game their opponents – the Miami Dolphins – are 2/1 to win. Hedging here would mean placing a £30 bet on Miami to win. This would ensure that whoever won the game the bettor would make a profit.
Hedging doesn’t always result in big wins, it can be seen as a way of making sure that there are no losses – but it only if the odds work in the bettor’s favour.
The verb ‘to hedge’ comes from the actual growing of hedges that limited a field in terms of size and therefore became a ‘secure, limited risk’ – which now perfectly illustrates the way a hedged bet works.
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