You’re at the office, minding your own business when you get a frantic call from your broker. The market has just crashed, and all the world’s losing immediately after. You’re stunned — all that hard work, and all that money just vanished into thin air. You’re looking at your watch, and panic-stricken, you hear the sadistic words, “I’m sorry, but there’s nothing left for you here today.” Your heart sinks, and all you can think about is getting your life savings out of the mess. You’re at the mercy of the market, and there’s simply no pleasing the people that matter the most to you.
Sound like something out of a Tom Clancy novel? It might as well be, because that’s pretty much what betting on sports is like these days. Fortunately, there’s more to betting than just getting your money back. If anything, your broker probably saved your investment by getting you out of that disastrous trade as soon as they could. Now it’s up to you to learn from their mistake, and put everything you have into some sort of profitable wager. For many, that means hedging their bets – which is exactly what we’re going to discuss today.
Hedging Your Bets
Many people will tell you that betting is a bad idea. After all, what’s the point of risking your money on something you know is probably going to go against you? That might make sense when you’re dealing with a single, short-term wager, but what about long-term, or even permanent hedging?
Hedging is when you make a bet with the goal of balancing out or minimizing your risk. For example, let’s say you’re betting on the Super Bowl this year. You might decide to place a wager of $100 that the Baltimore Ravens will beat the New England Patriots. That way, you’ll make $100 if the Ravens win; otherwise, you lose just $100.
Now, if the Patriots win the Super Bowl (they’re a popular pick this year), then your $100 will go up in smoke, because you took the opposite side of the bet. If the Ravens win, however, your $100 will be completely intact, and you’ll walk away a big winner.
Hedging can be a useful tool in sports betting – at least, it can if you approach it the right way. Some people might advise you against it, claiming that taking the opposite side of a bet is always a losing proposition. What they might not tell you is that in most cases it’s not. The fact is, there are many situations where hedging makes a lot of sense, and it’s something you should probably look into.
The Virtue of a Parlay Betting
Parlay betting is when you make multiple wagers on the same event. For example, let’s say you want to make some money this year on the NFL. One of the teams that you keep seeing over and over again is the New England Patriots. You place a $10 parlay bet on every game the Patriots play this year (excluding the Super Bowl), and voila, you have $40 that you can win if the Pats keep winning. You’ll need them to beat the Philadelphia Eagles in week 13 to make good on your wager, but beyond that, everything is riding on those New England Patriots.
Parlay betting can be a sound strategy, especially if you’re looking for a way to lower your overall risk. Let’s say that you’ve got a bad taste in your mouth from a previous sports wager, and you decide to completely avoid placing any more bets for the rest of the year. That means no more football betting – which is a shame, because you love football! What if, however, you decided to try out parlay betting? By making multiple wagers at once, you can spread the risk amongst a number of games. In most cases, that means you’ll end up with a smaller loss, or even a win. Take the New England Patriots again. You make a $10 wager on them each week this year (excluding the Super Bowl), and in week 13 you’re playing the Eagles. If the Eagles lose to the Patriots, then your weekly wagers won’t mean anything. If the Eagles win, though, then you’ll have a collection of $10 winning tickets that you can use to pay off your $40 in parlay bets. In that case, even if the Patriots end up losing the rest of the year, you came out ahead because of the wagers you placed in week 13.
The point is that when used correctly, parlay betting can be a viable option. It takes a little bit of research, and you have to be open to entering into a different kind of wagering arrangement. That’s what makes this sort of betting so difficult. You have to constantly be on the lookout for opportunities to lower your exposure, while trying to make the right kind of bet. The main difference between parlay betting and traditional betting is that the first one is based on a number of gambles while the latter is based solely on a single, massive wager.
The Danger of Over-Hedging
It’s essential to keep in mind that whenever you bet – whether it’s on sports, politics, or anything else – there’s always the temptation to go for the safe option. Many people will tell you that the answer lies in over-hedging – placing multiple bets where one will do. That sounds smart, right? It is, as long as you don’t do it too much. If you place too many hedges on a given wager, then you’re actually increasing your risk, not minimizing it. For example, let’s say you bet $1000 on the Patriots on Monday, then you decide to place a $1500 parlay bet on the Jaguars on Wednesday. Both of those are losing propositions. What you want to try to do is put all your energy into getting just one or two of those bets to pay off. If you do that, then you’re going to be in a much better position to make some decent money from sports. Going for the safe option too often can actually cost you – big-time.
When it comes to betting, many people will tell you that the key to becoming a successful and happy gambler is taking a bit of a chance every now and then. That means making a wager you’re not entirely comfortable with – which is, of course, the best kind of bet there is. If you want to learn how to make the right kind of wager, then take a look at our guide for beginners – it’s got all the information you need to know about putting together a winning sports betting lineup.