Sports gambling might feel like it’s brand new in America to some, but it’s been a part of our lives for generations. Common phrases like “I bet” or “underdog” are spoken as part of everyday conversation.
However, when it comes to sports gambling as an activity, I believe there are two types of individuals that I think you can separate based on one simple question.
Do you hedge your bets?
I’m sure you have seen it on social media; the ticket that shows a seven-team, six-point teaser that has one leg left that could pay out 3-, 4-, even 10-to-1. One of these popped up right before the Cowboys took on the Giants on the road as 6.5-point favorites on Monday night. Legendary Las Vegas bookmarker Jimmy Vaccaro posted a $4,000 teaser that would have paid $32,000 if the Cowboys simply won the game.
We can talk about the logic of putting $4,000 down on a seven-team teaser at a later time, but this gambler had a big question to tackle pregame. Do you let it ride or do you guarantee a payout?
If you believe in trends (we don’t), the home team had won every game outright played in the US on Sunday. The Giants were the home team and they were catching +6.5 in prime time against their arch-rival Cowboys who had not played well on the road this season. Dallas was coming off a bye, but the Giants had their backs against a wall and were desperate for a win.
Vaccaro asked the question about hedging the bet. Would you do it? Well, I can tell you that I am a firm believer in this practice for a bunch of reasons.
First, you can lock in guaranteed money. If we are being honest, making money on sports gambling is really hard. So, when presented with the chance to have a sweat-free experience, I jump at it.
Second, things can change from the time you made the wager and maybe you don’t like the bet as much as you did when you placed it. Dak Prescott entered the game against the Giants with 13 touchdowns to 0 interceptions over his last 5 games against New York but maybe you felt like he was due to have a bad game. The news of Prescott having 4 wisdom teeth removed during the bye broke right before the game. Maybe that was enough to make you change your mind about a Cowboys victory.
I had a chance to do this for the World Series where I bet the Washington Nationals to win at +200 before Game 1. After the Houston Astros lost both home games, they were +210 before Game 3 to win the series and I bet it again. After the Astros won all three games in D.C., the Nats were +600 to take the title and I bet it again. Finally, once the game went to a Game 7, I bet Houston at -140. I bet 1 unit on all four bets and enjoyed Game 7 without any stress knowing I was cashing two tickets regardless of who won.
Now, I’m sure there are friends of yours who will say that you are being “chicken” by not rolling with your bet for maximum return. While I understand that mindset, I’m just not interested in the roller coaster ride of sports gambling. I’m interested in cashing tickets and guaranteeing myself a profit.
To me, hedging is a form of money management. I get the excitement that comes from “letting it ride” but I will take knowing I’m winning money regardless of the outcome of a game whenever I can.