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What is 'Hedging'?

Hedging is when a casino player or sports bettor backs and lays the same selection. For him to make a profit, the odds must be greater for the back bet than it is for the lay. For example, if he places a wager at decimal odds of 2.1, he will need to lay the bet at odds of 2 or lower to make any money. Of course, the lower it is, the bigger the profit. Most bookmakers work it out so the lay odds are higher than the backing odds; sometimes ridiculously so. To hedge their bets, players have to rely on moving odds.

'Hedging' Explained

Moving odds can happen before or during a game. Sometimes, odds can move slightly before a game because of the number of bets placed on one result. Bigger movement occurs when something happens that could potentially change the result. For example, the odds of Andy Murray winning the Australian Open would lower significantly if Novak Djokovic dropped out through injury beforehand. So if a player had a placed a bet on Murray before Djokovic dropped out, he can now place a bet against Murray to guarantee himself a profit before anyone has even hit a tennis ball.Keeping an eye on the odds during a match will show a player just how many opportunities he has to hedge bets during live play. In a game of cricket, a team's odds can drop significantly after the fall of a wicket. In tennis, odds can drop and fall by the point.Like everything in gambling, though, hedging is not as simple as it sounds. A bookmaker will always do what it can to safeguard against big losses. Firstly, bookmakers almost always have a 5 to 10-second delay before they register an in-play bet. In sport, what a good bet was ten seconds ago may not be such a good bet ten seconds later. Secondly, the lay odds don't always change as significantly as the backing odds. Players will particularly find that the lay odds on smaller teams or events are ridiculously high in comparison to the backing odds.