Is Hedging A Better Way To Bet?

Lay Back & Get Rich

One of the oddities of betting is that it is almost everywhere regarded as a winner-takes-all business.

For instance, most betting services aim to predict winners.

Yep, even all these years after Betfair was founded, there are far more backing services than laying ones.

And there are even fewer pure trading products.

Of this latter group, those that do exist tend to be comprehensive (for which, read ‘daunting’) services that aim often to turn you into a full-time trader.

But very, very rarely do you see what I would call a ‘strategic tipping’ product.

Or, put another way, a hedged tipster service.

But I’m sure that the idea would hold great appeal…..

Have you ever considered hedging your bets?
Have you ever considered hedging your bets?

I often come across situations where I feel the favourite has been priced just a little bit too short.

However, I don’t wish to lay it outright as I think it will still probably win.

Lots of football matches fall into this category, particularly where one of the top teams is playing an underdog.

There are a number of examples in the Premier League this weekend:

  • Crystal Palace v Manchester City
  • Everton v Swansea
  • Middlesbrough v Chelsea

In all three of these matches, I expect the team higher in the league to win (i.e. Manchester City, Everton and Chelsea).

But their prices on Betfair all seem a bit on the short side.

City are priced at 1.57, Everton are at 1.59 and Chelsea are available at 1.58.

Although I accept that all three are favourites to win their games, I wouldn’t be surprised if any of them drew.

Of course, they may even lose though that would be a genuine shock.

So how about this idea?

Why not bet on the three possible match outcomes (win/lose/draw) in such a way that the draw option is favoured but a win by the top team produces a level outcome?

i.e. We could set our stakes up such that, if the hot favourite wins, we aren’t out of pocket. But we are still siding with the ‘value’ end of the wager by leaning towards the generously priced draw.

Oddschecker calls this approach ‘hutching’ and even provides a helpful calculator to assist with the maths.

If we look at the Crystal Palace v Manchester City match first, it comes up with the following:

Crystal Palace v Manchester City, 19 November 2016
Crystal Palace v Manchester City, 19 November 2016

i.e. The calculator is proposing we back the draw at 4.6 for £5, and bet on City at 1.57 for £8.80.

Doing so produces the following outcomes:

  • If City win, as expected, we break even (selection 3 above)
  • If the game ends as a draw, we profit to the tune of £9.20 before commission (selection 2)
  • And only if Palace over-turn the form guide completely and win the game, do we lose (costing us £13.80, as in selection 1).

This approach is much more cautious than simply laying City, which is likely to produce a losing bet. But it still offers us a potential reward if our instinct proves correct that the favourite is under-priced.

Taking the same approach to the other games I’ve highlighted produces the following bets:

Everton v Swansea:

Everton v Swansea - 19 November 2016
Everton v Swansea, 19 November 2016

i.e. The calculator is suggesting an £8.70 bet on Everton at 1.58 and a £5 bet on the draw at 4.4.  

We make money in the event of a tie and only lose if Swansea unexpectedly win the game.

Middlesbrough v Chelsea:

Middlesbrough v Chelsea, 20 November 2016
Middlesbrough v Chelsea, 20 November 2016

On this occasion, the calculator is proposing an £8.70 bet on Chelsea at 1.58 and a £5 flutter on the draw at 4.2. 

Once again, we only lose if the underdog triumphs. We break even if the match goes to form and Chelsea win, and we profit in the event of a draw.


I’m not necessarily proposing that you take the bets above.

Instead, I’m just suggesting a more nuanced approach to betting: hedging.

Doing so gives you the opportunity to exploit what you may feel is a distortion in the market prices, without taking undue risks.

Oddschecker’s hutching tool is definitely one to have a play with.

Feel free to let me know how you get on with it. 🙂


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

  1. I did some on the dutch leagues – all went to form. Had one in the Austrian Erste Liga that finished 1-1. Interestingly all games that have been winners have been 1-1, maybe back 1-1 rather than the draw and some on 0-0 so that 0-0 is scratch. Just a thought.

  2. George – is that more bottles of wine or hedging – or probably both 🙂

    Olly – I have a few on the Dutch games tonight.

    Good luck to all of us

  3. Ditto Olly though I only had 6 games but yes, luckily including Olympiakos and Celta Vigo. £2 bets on Smarkets so I won’t be buying a luxury yacht yet but a nice start.

    George – hope you’re enjoying/enjoyed the wine.

  4. Tried this tonight on 8 Europa League games. 6 went to form so broke even on those and 2 were draws (Olympiakos and Celta Vigo) so a profit overall. Good start though only on small stakes.

  5. I prefer this method also Olly and feel exactly the same way about bookies!

    George – with you 100%, and Utd’s performance is nearly always overestimated (just like England’s).

  6. Ok on the Man Utd game
    on Betdaq
    1.34 Utd
    5.5 Draw
    12. The dog
    if Utd scratch
    if draw 39.7% gain
    Dog loss and bottle of wine

  7. Ah yes Sue, that would have been a great result with that. Though I have to say I prefer this method (and can be done just at the exchange rather than bookies, whom I despise).

  8. And good luck to you George.

    Olly, – I was getting confused with Lucy’s better way to lay article re Bayern, a nice profit would have been made using that system

  9. Wish I’d been using this tonight with Bayern & Napoli, even Man City…. Hope some people got on. I would think these international games would be ideal for this system as so often there are big upsets. Shall have to check out tomorrow’s Europa League

  10. One thing I’ve noticed George after looking at a few matches on Betfair is that if you use the part of the spreadsheet that gives an equal profit if either the fav or the draw wins it’s not always the best thing to do.

    Obviously if we back the fav and the draw ( simply dutching them really ) we are infact laying the underdog. If we say we think either A or B will win out of 3 options then we must be saying C will lose.

    I’ve noticed that quite often a simple lay of the underdog actually gives a better return than dutching the fav and the draw.

    Here’s an example from today:

    Back odds for the fav were 1.36 and for the draw 5.40.

    To dutch these with a liability of £100 would give a return after commission of £8.21 if either outcome won.

    The lay odds on the underdog were 11.50 so if you had simply laid that with a £100 liability the return after commission would have been £9.05 ( (100/10.5 )-5%)
    That’s a 10% increase in return by laying the underdog rather than dutching the fav and draw.

    Even if the dutch bets were placed at the bookies at the same odds as were at Betfair so that no commission was payable the return would still only have been £8.64, still less than straight laying the underdog. ( I have no idea what the bookies odds were on this match btw )

    That was a very low profile match though so odds can sometimes be quite loose

    Looking at tonights Arsenal match which has a much higher profile the current odds to back the fav and draw are 1.28 & 6.80

    If you were to dutch those then after commission you would get a return of £7.33 from a £100 combined stake.

    Laying the underdog at the current lay odds of 13.0 would see the same £100 liability return £7.92 after commission if either the fav won or it was a draw.
    Again the simple lay of the underdog gives a better return by 8%

    Adding the dutch part to the spreadsheet that gives a smaller profit but on two outcomes has maybe taken this thread away from Lucy’s original intention and of course you can’t just simply lay the underdog when hutching.

    I could always add a bit showing whether dutching the fav and draw or laying the underdog gives a better return if anyone is interested.

    (Sorry to Lucy for kind of throwing the thread off course a little. )


    1. Yes of course, please do so.

      Personally prefer my hedged approach with neutral return on favourite but hey-ho, each to their own 😉

  11. Keith of BetHawk fame has kindly sent through an amended version of my spreadsheet. In this one, you make a small profit if either the favourite wins or the game ends in a draw. The usual health warnings apply: i.e. please use at your own risk.

    On a related note, I’ve also proposed a similar value-oriented approach to lay betting…

  12. Ditto George & Bertie comments and coincidentall, I was also thinking this weekend, before reading this article, how underpriced the favourites are in the Premier League.

    Shall definitely have a play with this on mini stakes.

  13. Hi Lucy,
    Yes great idea and will monitor……. the hutching calculator doesn’t really auto calc the stakes though, they need to be inputted manually, but your strategy is class.

    Thanks, Bertie

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Related Posts

Subscribe now to get the latest updates!