There are many different scenarios that can develop over the course of an NFL weekend, and if you are ever playing some of the more exotic wagers such as teasers or parlays, the concept of a “hedge wager” has to be discussed. So what exactly is a hedge? This is when you place a wager that actually goes against an original bet. To a casual observer, this seems extremely counterproductive: Why would you ever want to bet both sides of the same game? On rare occasions, this is actually the smart play and can guarantee a winning wager, one way or another – if you can properly determine how to place that second wager.
Allow me to explain with an example. Let’s say that you played a 6-game teaser bet over the weekend, with three college games and three NFL games, including Sunday Night Football. By the time the late slate of the NFL games are completed, you have won all of your first five games and now you just need to win the last contest to cash a ticket that wins you about seven times your original wager. That would mean a $700 profit on a $100 bet if you nailed the right side of the final game. But then, a thought crosses your mind. What if you bet on the other team for that last game? Spending the right amount, on the right wager, could lock in most of that profit regardless of the outcome of the final contest, and you can go to bed early knowing that you are waking up a winner on Monday morning. A lot can be said for playing things that way, and this is the attraction of a hedge bet.
Let’s say that the Giants and Eagles are the last contest for that same 6-game teaser, and you had Philadelphia as a -7 favorite, teased down to -1, essentially making the ticket a winner as long as the Eagles win. Let’s assume again that this is a $700 winner if Philadelphia is victorious, while a New York victory results in a $100 loss. If you notice that the Giants are getting +200 on the money line, a $200 bet on that will net a $300 profit ($200 x 2-1 odds (the +200 money line) minus the $100 on the losing teaser ticket), while an Eagles win nets $500 ($700 win on the teaser, less $200 spent on the Giants to win). This second wager reduces your profits overall, but “hedges” being 100% invested in winning only if that last pick (Eagles win) is successful. With the help of that hedge bet, a $300-$500 win is guaranteed, so while you are more profitable if the original pick (Eagles win) is correct, covering both sides of the game on the off-chance that the underdog pulls off the upset yields a $300 profit as a nice consolation prize.
This situation does not come up every day (or week), but it is important to understand the criteria where the hedging play may be the right play. While there are numerous possibilities for when this makes sense, the most common reason to make a hedge bet is to secure a big winning ticket with longer odds that is just about to win. The reason to bring up this topic is the exact situation that occurred this past week in “For The Win”, where four big teasers are about to all cash on Monday Night Football if the Saints beat Washington at home. If New Orleans wins, four multiple team teasers (6-team, 7-team, 8-team and a 9-team) all “hit”, netting a $4,100 win for a $100 wager on those four teasers. Would it not be nice to secure those wins, even before kickoff? Here is how to analyze this situation, and what can be done to lock in profits and just enjoy the Monday night game.
First, a little math is needed. What are the odds for “hedging” your original wager? In this case, the 6-point teaser calls for New Orleans to just win (Saints -0.5, to be exact), so the right hedge play steers you not to just look at Washington, but to take them to win the game as well. Thankfully, Las Vegas makes this an easy thing to look for, as it is just Washington’s Money Line, or a simple odds bet on whether or not they will win the game. Washington is a +230 underdog against New Orleans, which means every $100 wagered will win back $230 if Washington pulls off the upset. Finding the right mix of a bet on the underdog will secure a big profit, but what is the right way to play it?
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