What is Hedging? | When to Hedge Your MLB Bets?

Matt Olson #28 of the Oakland Athletics gets tagged out by Kris Bryant #23 of the San Francisco Giants on August 22, 2021. Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images/AFP

Hedging your bets can be a useful and practical tool for bettors of all sizes. Why not take the risk away from the odds and guarantee a payout with your picks?

That’s what hedging is all about and, although many believe they know what it is, trust me they don’t.

Below we will cite a couple of examples and show you how to incorporate hedge-betting into your arsenal for the MLB Playoffs.

As the season heads into the final stretch, Odds Trader Power Ranking tool can give you the edge with your MLB picks before and during the MLB Playoffs.

First Bet One Side, Then the Other

The headline above describes hedging in a nutshell. But you don’t bet both sides at the same time of course. That wouldn’t make much sense unless you were trying to middle a game but that’s another topic for another day.

For the purposes of this discussion, we will talk about a good old-fashioned hedge and how it can benefit you in the long run…and the short run for that matter. The OddsTrader app has you covered.

If we take a look at the MLB odds on the San Francisco Giants before the start of the 2021 season we would see they were listed as longshots at +4500 to win the National League pennant.

Yes, nobody believed in San Francisco except the diehards who clung to the belief that the last four years were aberrations and this would be the year where redemption would be theirs!

Well, guess what? The diehards appear to have been onto something because as of this late August writing, the Giants own the best record in the majors and are 2 ½ games ahead of the defending World Series champion Dodgers.

Although an NL West title is far from a foregone conclusion, it would take a monumental collapse for them to not gain entrance into the postseason via at least a wildcard.

Now let’s assume they win the division, own the best record in the NL, and reach the postseason. If that is indeed the case then let’s take it to the next step. The Giants’ first-round opponent would likely be the LA Dodgers after they defeat the other wildcard opponent which could be the Padres, Reds, Phillies, or Mets.

Now we have the National League Division Series (NLDS) between the Giants and Dodgers, a best-of-five series that would give the Giants the home-field advantage.

Staying ahead with information is vital when looking to hedge, especially with long-term wagers like odds to win a series, the division or the World Series. The Odds Trader app features an updated injury list for every team on the board.

Ponder This

Let’s ponder what the series odds would be on this matchup assuming LA’s Clayton Kershaw is on the mound and chucking in October. We could easily see the Dodgers as the favorite in this series matchup.

Let’s hypothetically set the series line at Dodgers -140/Giants +120. Remember. We bet $100 on the Giants to win the pennant before the season began, at odds of +4500. That means we will get a return of $4600 ($4500 + our $100 initial bet).

Now we can put a slight hedge on our Giants pennant bet by betting the Dodgers in this series. The only thing we have to decide is how much do we want to bet knowing that if the Giants are victorious, they still need to win the next series for us to collect.

Perhaps a wager of $700 to win $500 on the Dodgers would be the sweet spot we are looking for?

Scenario 1: In this scenario, if the Dodgers win the series, then we would lose our $100 bet on the Giants and all our hopes and dreams of a big payday would be dashed. However, we would win $500 on the Dodgers which means we net $400 without breaking a sweat.

Scenario 2: The alternative is the Giants winning the series, keeping our pennant hopes alive with the $4500 reward remaining intact. The bummer, of course, is that we lost $700 on the Dodgers but we’ve got one more series in front of us and one final hedge bet to make.

Line movements can force bettors to reconsider their early picks and hedge their bets. The Odds Trader app allows you to go over any important changes in the odds.

Hedge a Win

The NLCS features the Giants hosting (pick a team will ya,…) we’ll go with the Brewers emerging from their NLDS series. In this scenario, we could assume the Giants would be the favorites in this best-of-seven series which gives us even more value as we will be getting the vig and not laying it on Milwaukee.

We will tag the Giants as -170/Brewers +150 favorites in this series as San Francisco will once again enjoy the home-field advantage.

Here, we will up the ante and bet $1000 on the opposite side, this time the Brewers at +150. That means we could win $1500 if Milwaukee vanquishes the Giants NL pennant aspirations (and our big payday).

Scenario 1: The Brewers win and we win $1500 and collect a total of $2500 ($1500 + our $1000 initial bet). However, we lose the $100 on the Giants to win the NL pennant and we also lost $700 on the Dodgers for a total of $800. But, we wind up on the winning end of things because of our hedge bet on the Brewers and win a grand total of $700 ($1500 – $800 = $700).

Scenario 2: The Giants win! The Giants win! And as we pat ourselves on the back for being more prescient than most, we eagerly collect our winnings of $4500 (plus the $100 we bet initially). But we have to deduct our hedge bet losses which total $1700 ($1000 on the Brewers and $700 on the Dodgers = $1700).

Therefore, $4500 – $1700 = + $2800 and that’s not a bad haul even if our hedge bets didn’t work out. At least we protected ourselves and guaranteed we would put money in our pockets regardless of the outcome. And, in the end, isn’t that all we want?

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