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Advanced Betting Terms and Strategies

You know all the basic terminology, you might win a decent amount of your bets, but these strategies are what separates the professionals from the casuals. 

Hedging - a bettor takes the opposite side of his/her original bet once that original bet's likelihood of winning has increased. The intention of a hedge is generally to guarantee a profit, or at the very least, to reduce or eliminate the potential loss.

  • Example for a single game bet: A bettor places a 2-unit bet on Team A at -110 odds to win straight up over Team B. Team A is up by 10 points at halftime, so to hedge their bet, the bettor places a 1-unit bet on Team B because the odds have gone up to +300 since they are down by 10. Now no matter what the result of the game the bettor will profit. If Team A wins, the bettor will win their original bet and profit 1 unit (win 2 units off of the original bet, lose 1 unit on the hedge). If Team B wins, the bettor will profit 1 units (lose 2 units off of the original bet, win 3 units on the hedge). 

  • Example for a future: A bettor places a bet at the beginning of the season on Team A to win the title at +2000 odds. Team A makes it all the way to the championship game, so the bettor places a large wager on the opposing team in that game so that either way he/she profits.

  • Example for a parlay: A bettor places a 4 team parlay that risks 1 unit to win 10 units (+1000). If the first 3 games of the parlay win, the bettor will place at least a 1 unit wager on the opposite side of the 4th and final game of the parlay to guarantee a profit.

Arbitrage - when a bettor makes multiple bets on the same event to guarantee a profit no matter the result. It’s usually a result of different sportsbooks offering different odds on the same event.

  • Example: A bettor has accounts at multiple sportsbooks and is an experienced line shopper (someone who searches for the best odds among different sportsbooks before placing a wager). The bettor finds Team A at -110 odds at Sportsbook A but sees that at Sportsbook B the odds are -105. The bettor will place the bet at Sportsbook B because it offers the best value. 

  • While it is a small difference, professional bettors look at numbers in terms of large sample sizes. Finding a tiny difference like -110 compared to -105 might not seem significant for a single bet, but consistently finding that value over time adds up.

Buying Points - Risking more money in order to get a game at a more attractive line.

  • Example: A bettor is planning to bet on Team A and sees that the line is at -3 with odds of -110. If the bettor wants to win their bet if Team A wins by 3, they can pay to move the line to -2.5 at odds of -125. 

  • Instead of pushing if Team A wins by 3, the bettor would win if they win by 3. 

Fading the Public -

  • Sportsbooks set the lines for games so that 50% of the money will be bet on each side of a line, for example 50% on Team A at -3.5 and 50% on Team B at +3.5.

  • Many professional sports bettors will pay for data that tells them which side most of the bets are on, and also how much money is being bet on each side of a line.

  • The number of bets will tell you who the average bettor is wagering on, thousands of bets but small amounts

  • The amount of money on each side will tell you who the professionals are betting on, hundreds of bets but large amounts

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