Hedging is a betting strategy applied by cautious punters across the board, from the world of finance to sports betting and even casino games. But the increasing volume and variety of cash back offers in football betting now means you can add hedging to your gambling repertoire at no extra cost.
Hedging, for the uninitiated, means making an investment, or placing a bet, that reduces your exposure to a particular outcome. For example, let's say you were betting on the match between Aston Villa and Cardiff on the 9th November 2013, and had a pre-match bet on it finishing 0-0. By the time the game passed 60 minutes, it was clear that Aston Villa were turning the screw, so a successful hedge would have been to place an in-play bet on Villa to win, or, if you were more conservative, on over 0.5 goals in the match. When these landed, they would, hopefully, eliminate some or all of your losses on the pre-match bet.
Hedges aren't just an emergency exit for your football betting strategy either. Although it's not mathematically possible to bet for and against a specific outcome and make a profit (bookies would quickly go out of business if this were the case), with some careful selection from football markets you can make a hedge that minimises risk without destroying value.
As an example, take a look at the Premiership match between Tottenham and Newcastle on the 10th November 2013. Betfair Sports' odds on Newcastle to win at 6/1 seemed like a worthwhile punt given their performance against Chelsea the previous week, but you may have perhaps wanted a bit of security before parting with your cash. Choosing a general market to minimise the chance of losing all your bets would have been the best course of action here.
It's sensible to start with a nice, broad market that could payout regardless of the team that eventually took home the points. And with the goal scoring prowess of both these teams, betting on over 2.5 goals at 4/5 would have been worth considering.
Another hedging option is to utilise markets that factor in a hedge in exchange for lower odds. For example, betting on Newcastle or draw at 13/8, or Newcastle draw no bet (draw returns your stake) at 17/5.
Hedging your football bets without destroying value has become increasingly more simple with the recent rise in money back offers. Betfair Sports in particular has come up trumps in this area. As well as offering to return your stake when one leg of a five-fold (or more) accumulator lets you down, their Cashback Extra promotion allows punters to choose from a selection of cashback triggers in certain matches.
A great example of the usefulness of this promotion was the Champions League matchup between Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal. Betfair Sports offered to return stakes on 'first', 'last' or 'anytime goalscorer' markets, and one of the triggers was Aaron Ramsey to score anytime. With 10 goals from 16 appearances so far in the 2013/14 season, backing an in-form Gunner as your hedge was undoubtedly an attractive prospect, even without the benefit of hindsight.
So, next time you’re betting on your favourite team, look out for another chance to hone your hedging skills over at Betfair Sports!