How To Hedge a Bet – Explained

How To Hedge a Bet Explained

Most gamblers are not fans of losing cash. They want to ensure that every single bet that they place earns them something…or at least ensure that they do not go into the red too much.

 This will never happen with a single bet. It is pretty binary. You win, or you lose. This is where bet-hedging comes into play. 

Bet hedging is a way to ensure that no matter the outcome in a game, you don't lose money.

  • If you do lose money, then it will be a minimal amount.
  • Essentially, you are cutting your losses.

What Does It Mean To Hedge Bets?

When you hedge a bet, you are betting on both outcomes for a game, albeit with slightly different stakes.

For example, let's say you are betting on the English Premier League. It is Brighton v Crystal Palace.

Since Brighton are obviously the better team, you would place a bet on them to win but you can never be 100% sure in a game of soccer, so you also bet on Crystal Palace to win.

  • This means that whatever team wins, you get some cash.
  • The only time you will lose is if there is a draw, but there are ways to hedge against that too.

We will discuss more about that later on.

 Don't worry. We will give you an example later on so you know how to calculate what you need to bet on each outcome. 

Betting On Both Sides To Win

Generally speaking, those looking into “how to hedge a bet”, will only ever really focus on the bets which focus on the winner of the game (moneyline).

However, bet-hedging bets whenever you are faced with just two options.

 For example, you may find prop bets that have two potential outcomes, you may even be able to change your bet up during a live game. 

While hedge-betting is all about making cash, we also want to ensure that you have fun too.

The best places to hedge your bets will be one of these four offshore betting sites, mostly because they have the largest selection of bets available (and they offer a tremendous customer experience!)

Where To Find a Sports Betting Hedge Calculator

Honestly, as you become more experienced with hedge betting, you won't actually need to use an online betting hedge calculator. You should be able to work things out in your head.

However, in the early days, you want to know that you are getting things right.

After all, if you get things wrong with your hedge-betting, you can make catastrophic losses.

You will find all sorts of sports betting hedge calculators online.

However, one of our favorites can be found at Action Network. All you need to do is input the betting odds, and the calculator will tell you exactly what stake you need to place on the second option.

It will even tell you what your maximum profit/loss is should the bet hedge come through.

How Do You Hedge a Bet?

 A lot of people dress up “how to hedge a bet” something incredibly complicated, and we suppose it is if you are brand new to the gambling game. 

However, all bet-hedging involves is placing two bets.

  • The first bet can any be stake you are comfortable with placing.
  • The second stake will require a bit of math, but nothing too complicated.

Choosing The First Bet ; Stake

When it comes to how to hedge a bet, this stage is the easiest.

Generally speaking, your first bet will be the riskier bet and have the lowest possible stake.

While you can choose any binary bet for this (bets with just two options), we suggest that you do your research and put the effort into choosing a first bet that is right for you.

This means choosing the games that you want to watch, and having a rough idea about what is going to happen.

You can place any stake you want here.

 However, do bear in mind that the higher the stake you place, the more you will need to be spending on your second bet. 

Choosing The Second Bet ; Stake

This is where you hedge your bet. Basically, you will be betting on the opposite outcome.

You should already know the betting odds of your first bet, as well as the stake that you have.

Let's say these betting odds are +500 and you bet $100.

This means that you could potentially win $500 if that bet comes through. This means that you could feasibly win $600 as you get your initial stake back too.

You now need to look at the second odds.

This will be the safer bet. Let's say they are -150, so you would need to bet $150 to win $100.  This means once you have your initial stake back, you receive $250.

Your goal is to change your stake for the second bet to ensure that the returns are enough to cover the first stake and the second stake.

Since you are betting $200 total, you need to know that the potential return is greater than $200.

 This means that no matter what happens in the game, you walk away with cash. 

Now, we do want to point out at this stage that this is a rather simple example of bet hedging.

Odds can be more complicated than this, and you may not always be able to tinker with the odds to guarantee a profit (especially when it comes to live betting), but you should be able to cut your potential losses by a decent amount.

Your Winnings

  • If you have done things properly with your bet-hedging, then the online bookie will pay you.
  • The money you receive back will either be a huge amount of profit, or at least enough to cover what you staked across the two bets.

Is It Illegal To Hedge Bets?

No. It is not illegal to hedge bets.

We know that there are some online bookmakers that have banned players because they use a lot of bet hedging, but it absolutely isn't against the law.

 If you stick to one of the better online bookmakers, and split your bets across several of them i.e. one bet on one site and the hedged bet on another, then you should be fine. 

These are the online bookies that we recommend for bet hedging, mostly because they have some absolutely tremendous betting odds and plenty of gambling options, which should make profiting on your bets a little bit easier:

How Do Bookies Hedge Bets?

You see, bet-hedging can never be illegal.

It is the way that bookies ensure that they always make cash from the bets placed on their sites.

Have you ever heard the phrase “the house always wins”?.

Well, that is true with bookmakers.

Assuming the bookmaker is sensible, no matter what happens in a game, they will always make a profit.

There have been rare cases where this hasn't happened, a lot of the time that makes national news (i.e. if something completely unexpected happens with a futures bet)

You can even see bet-hedging at bookmakers in action. We are sure that you have seen bookmakers change betting odds frequently.

This is how they hedge their bets.

A bookmaker tries to ensure that they have bets on both sides to ensure that they always make a profit.

They are in a constant battle to adjust their betting odds to ensure that if one side doesn't have enough gamblers, they make their odds much more favorable to attract them.

This means that if you spot one betting outcome having more favorable odds, it means that the bookie is looking for more bets to be placed.

Why Is Hedging Illegal?

Bet hedging is not illegal.

What Is An Example Of Hedging?

We have already given you an example of bet hedging.

However, we want to wrap up with a more practical example, using odds that we pulled at the time of writing this article (incidentally, from our recommended site “MyBookie”)

This is for the moneyline on an NFL game:

  • Las Vegas Raiders: +185
  • Cincinnati Bengals: -230

These betting odds tell us the favorite is the Raiders.

  • A $100 bet could give us $185.
 However, we want to make as much money as we can, so we are going to bump our bet to $1000. 

This could give us a cool $1850, plus our initial stake for potential returns of $2850.

Now we know we need to make at least $1000 from a bet on the Bengals to cut our losses. This is on top of the stake we are placing on the Bengals.

We know that for every $230 we stake, we get $100 back.

So, a $1,000 bet would give us $434.78 in returns (for a total of $1,434.78).

Obviously, this isn't enough to cover the full losses across the two bets.

We would need to bump this up to $2,000. This will give us a return of $2,884).

It still isn't enough to cover the full losses from the first bet, but it is close enough.

If we went any higher with this stake, then we may start to get into loss-making territory.

We think this example goes to show that you won't always be able to make a profit from bet hedging. However, you will be able to reduce your risk by a considerable amount.


If you are serious about gambling, then bet hedging is the way to go.

 It will allow you to stretch your bank roll further, and even help you to make small amounts of profit along the way. 

It won't make you dreadfully rich unless you have a ton of cash to invest, but at least you will be having fun.

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Andy nelson owner of

Andy Nelson

Andy has been writing and posting about offshore sportsbooks for over 15 years. He's also an active sportsbook bonus seeker and seasoned online gambler on US sports.

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