Hedging in tennis betting a way to reduce one’s betting risk to earn guaranteed profit for the bettor whatever the result of a tennis betting market. A hedge is like a car insurance policy you pay to buy to overcome the small chance you might be in accident but one that could cost a lot of money.
Now as mentioned above, hedging isn’t a phenomenon restricted to tennis alone. It’s a tactic used not just in sports betting but also in the world of finances, and is found in the English lexicon for ages now.
We spoke about the car insurance example earlier. What we are essentially doing when we buy a car insurance – or any insurance for that matter – is reducing our financial burden in case of a low-probability, but likely event of a car accident. Similarly, by hedging one’s tennis bets, what one is essentially doing is reducing the chances of losing all money by taking necessary action.
More on this is explained using the examples mentioned below.
One might question whether tennis hedge betting is the similar to a tennis arbitrage (which we have explained here), but it works in a different manner. While a tennis arbitrage bet takes advantage of difference in the odds offered by different bookmakers, and is often frowned upon by bookmakers, tennis hedging is all about ensuring you take the risk out of a bet by betting on the other results as well at different odds.
Why to Hedge in Tennis?
The most basic reason to hedge one’s bets in tennis is to book your profits instead of running the risk of letting the bet collapse at the 11th hour. You would also want to hedge your bet to reduce losses, or in some cases if you have mistakenly wagered on something you think you didn’t want to.
Example of Tennis Hedging
Suppose Daniil Medvedev goes into the 2020 Australian Open at 10/1 to win the title and the punter puts GBP 100 on that result. Let’s now assume that Medvedev does reach the final where he is playing Roger Federer, and the Swiss maestro starts off as favourite, 7/10 to win the match and the title as a result.
If Federer did go on to win the title, you would end up losing the GBP 100 you had placed on Medvedev to do that but you can mitigate that risk by backing Federer before the final. A 500 GBP bet on a Federer win, for instance, will get you GBP 250 if he beats Medvedev (350 for the Federer win minus the 100 placed earlier) while a Medvedev victory will win you GBP 500 (1000 for the Medvedev win minus the 500 placed for a Federer victory).
Tennis Hedging Strategy
Ensure a Balanced Profit Irrespective of the Result
In the above Federer-Medvedev example, if you want to ensure the same hedged profit irrespective of who wins, change the odds to the decimal format and divide the total returns (1000+100) by the Federer win odds (1.7).
This is the amount you will need to bet on a Federer win at 1.7, which will give you a return of 452.94 GBP for a Federer win minus the 100 GBP for the bet on Medvedev making it a total profit of 352.94.
However, if Medvedev wins, the punter will win 1000 GBP on his victory minus the 647.06 bet on the Federer win to also give a profit of GBP 352.94.
Adjusting the Tennis Hedge
If you look at the above example again, we could have put 400 GBP on a Federer win too or 600 GBP as well, and other such different amounts resulting in different profits from their respective victories.
Suppose Federer has been in rampaging form while Medvedev goes into the match having played back to back five-setters, thereby adding to his exhaustion, you would probably want to bet higher on Federer, say 600 GBP.
On the other hand, if Federer is struggling with a fitness issue all week and has had his own long-drawn matches in the lead-up to the title-decider, you might want to reduce the amount bet on a Federer win, thereby backing Medvedev a tad more without worrying about losing money.
Hedging by Laying at the Exchanges
The one other way to hedge a tennis bet is by laying it once the player whom you have backed has gone deeper into the tournament. We will continue with the same example and assume the punter had backed Medvedev at 10/1 (11.0) at the start of the tournament and he makes it to the semifinal.
At that stage of the competition, i.e. when Medvedev has made it to the semis, he is probably the second-favourite behind Federer to win the title and is, say, 2/1 for the title victory. At this stage, you can lay Medvedev at 2/1 (3.0) on one of the exchanges like Betfair to ensure you can get out with a profit irrespective of whether or not he wins the tournament.
Laying the bet isn’t too different from backing another player but if done at the semifinal stage, it becomes easier since you would otherwise need to back three other players to ensure a profit.
In-Play Tennis Hedging
Much like how you can hedge your tennis bets during a tournament, you can do that during a tennis match as well. If you back a non-favourite at the start of the match and at some point during the match he becomes a favourite, you can then back his opponent to nullify the risks associated with the bet and take home the smaller profits.
Of course, the risk attached with this is higher because there is a possibility the non-favourite player never gets a chance to get ahead in the match and you are left with no option but to try and cut your losses.