Note: This is part 1. Part 2 explores 3 specific situations where hedging may be prudent
We are all happy to be in the following 2 situations:
1: We bet an NFL team +3.5 and they are up 17-3 at the half and are 6 point underdogs in the second half.
2: We bet a 3 team parlay, won the 1st two and have a nice payday due on the 3rd during MNF.
Do we hedge our bets? Do we bet the other side? Do we ensure a profit and take money off the table?
DO WE HEDGE OUR NFL BETS?
Generally speaking the answer is NO!!!!!
Why? Why is hedging a bad idea? Why is ‘protecting your investment’ and securing a profit the irresponsible financial decision?
For starters, when you hedge, you are making another bet and incurring additional juice/vig/commission. All things being equal, making a bet costs you money, unless you have an edge. What is your edge here? Nothing. Just you trying to lock in a profit.
In situation1, the hedge makes even less sense for 2 reasons:
i – you liked the NFL dog and they looked great in the 1st half. Why bet against them in the 2nd half? Only because of your first half bet. Don’t let emotions get in the way. Ride out your good, strong bet.
ii – who is most likely betting the 2nd half? Dog bettors looking to secure a profit. The dog crushed in the 1st half and should be closer to pick’em in the 2nd half, but are 6 pt dogs because bettors like you who are ‘money managing’ are hedging and betting the other side. The value, if anything, is betting the dog to continue playing strong.
In situation 2, the hedge makes even less sense because it’s a brand new game. Why bet a 3 team parlay paying 6-1 on your money if you plan to hedge off the 3rd game? Why pay Vig twice to in essence cancel your original bet? You are better off just betting a 2 team parlay (or the 1st 2 bets separately), and then, if you like the MNF bet on Monday afternoon, betting it for a small amount. Do not bet a parlay only to hedge the 2nd or 3rd leg. You are simply paying juice twice. Bet each separately, or just wager on your best bet.
The Sharp Approach – understands hedging for the sake of financial management on a weekly NFL basis is just paying extra commissions (and sometimes getting the worst of the line). It should be avoided. You will be tempted. Your friends will explain it is smart to secure a profit and lock in the money. They will be happy because they won and will ignore that they won 40 cents on the dollar vs 90. But you are paying a steep price for hedging. When you are losing a bet by 2 tds at the half you are stuck with an ugly bet. You need to ride your strong bets and fully capitalize. Hedging weekly will cut into your profits and likely make you a losing bettor long term.
need a refresher on the terms? See our glossary of terms.
need a refresher on the odds and how they work? See explaining the odds.