Some of the sportsbooks featured on this page are our partners. We may receive compensation if you sign up for one through our links, but this doesn't affect our ratings or opinions in any way. You can learn more by visiting our advertiser disclosure page.
If you placed a bet and the current odds of it winning are much better than when you placed it, you can usually bet the opposite side to guarantee yourself a profit. This is called hedge betting.
Similarly, if two sportsbooks have very different odds for a game, you may be able to bet one side at Sportsbook A and the other at Sportsbook B to guarantee yourself a profit. This is called arbitrage betting.
Our hedge and arbitrage betting calculator can show you the ideal hedge bet amount and guaranteed profit based on the odds of your original bet, how much you bet, and what the odds on the opposite side currently are.
Hedge Bet & Arbitrage Calculator
You have entered an invalid value
*Special offers from our partners. May vary by state.
No Sweat First Bet Up to $1,000
States: AZ, CO, CT, IL, IN, IA, KS, LA, MD, MI, NJ, NY, PA, TN, WV, WY, VA
2 Second Chance Bets Up to $2,000
States: CO, IL, IN, IA, KS, MD, MI, NJ, NY, PA, WV, VA
Bet $10, Get $200 Free
States: AZ, CO, IL, IN, IA, KS, LA, MD, MI, NJ, TN, VA, WV, WY
Bet $100, Get $100 Free Bet
States: AZ, CO, IN, LA, MI, NJ, NY, TN, VA
When to Hedge Your Bet
There is no “correct” time to hedge your bet—it really comes down to how risky you want to be.
If you hedge your bet, your total possible payout will always be lower but you can guarantee yourself (or at least make it more likely) that you will make a profit. If you don't hedge your bet, you could win more if your original bet wins, but could also win nothing if it loses.
Most often, bettors will hedge their bets when they will earn a very large payout if the original bet wins and it looks like there is a good chance that the original bet will win.
This most often happens in three cases:
1) Hedging Parlays
If you place a parlay with many legs, it may make sense to hedge your bet if all of the legs besides one or two have already hit.
For example, let's say you placed $100 on the following parlay with the following results so far:
- Eagles +5.5 (-110) – WIN
- Chiefs -6.5 (-110) – WIN
- Browns -2.5 (-110) – WIN
- Seahawks -4.5 (-110) – Not yet started. Playing the 49ers (+4.5).
If the final leg of the parlay (Seahawks -4.5) wins, your profit would be $1228 (Note: I calculated this using our Parlay Calculator).
BUT if the Seahawks don't cover the spread, your profit would be $0 despite the other legs hitting.
If you would prefer to guarantee yourself a profit, you could bet the 49ers +4.5 so no matter what happens, you win money.
Using the parlay hedge calculator above, you can see that the ideal bet amount on the 49ers that guarantees you the most profit no matter how the game settles is $696—giving you a $532 profit.
If you still think the Seahawks will cover the spread, you could bet an amount less than $696. For example, if you only bet $200 on the 49ers, you would profit $1028 if the Seahawks won and $82 if the 49ers won.
2) Hedge Betting Live Games
The other time when bettors often hedge their bets is when live betting is available on a game.
The theory on why you would place a hedge bet is the same as hedging parlays—the odds shifted in favor of your original bet, presenting an opportunity to guarantee yourself profit by betting the other side.
Let's take a look at another example:
Say you placed a $100 bet on the Eagles to win (moneyline) at +250 against the Cowboys. It's now the third quarter and the Eagles are winning by 7 points. The Cowboys moneyline live betting line is now at +200.
If you placed a $116.67 bet on the Cowboys moneyline, you would guarantee yourself a profit of $133.33.
You could also place a lesser amount—say $50—if you think the Eagles have a good chance at winning still. In this case, you would profit $200 if the Eagles won and $81.82 if the Cowboys won.
3) Hedging Futures
If you placed a future at the beginning of the season and it looks like it has a good chance at winning, you may decide to bet the other side to guarantee yourself some profit.
For example, if you bet the Bucs to win the Super Bowl at +1000 odds and they are now in the Super Bowl with -120 odds to win, you may want to bet the team they are playing to guarantee yourself some winnings. This is just another example of how you can use the hedge bet calculator above.
Weekly NFL Picks Delivered Straight to Your Inbox
Get our experts' NFL picks every week for FREE
Hedge Betting vs. Arbitrage Betting
Though hedge betting and arbitrage betting follow the same basic principle, they are slightly different.
With hedge betting, the odds that your original bet wins are much better now, as in the example outlined above. Because of this, you can place a wager on the other side of the bet in order to guarantee yourself a profit.
With arbitrage betting, you take advantage of differing odds at sportsbooks to guarantee yourself a profit.
By betting the Eagles +250 at FanDuel and the Cowboys -220 at DraftKings, you can guarantee yourself a profit if you choose the right wager amounts. If you bet $100 on the Eagles +250, for example, you could bet $240.62 on the Cowboys -220 to guarantee yourself a profit of $9.38.
Arbitrage betting typically requires much more effort with less guaranteed profit than hedge betting. This is because sportsbooks typically have very similar lines, making finding arbitrage opportunities difficult and not very profitable. In the example above, you have to wager a total of $342.62 just to guarantee yourself $9.38. You can use our arb calculator to see see how much you have to bet and what your profit would be when finding arb opportunities.
Hedge betting, however, requires the odds to shift in your favor. You can't really hedge a bet if it looks like your original bet isn't likely to hit. Arbitrage betting opportunities—though rare—guarantee you a profit right off the bat. You don't have to wait until the game is in progress or the odds change.
Other Betting Resources
- Make Money Sports Betting: Learn strategies you can use to turn a profit through sports betting—including arbitrage betting and hedging your bets.
- Betting Odds Calculator: Calculate the payout of your bet based on the amount wagered and the odds. Also, convert between odds formats and find the implied probability of your bet winning.
- Free Play Calculator: See how much profit you can guarantee yourself by betting the other side of a free bet.
- Odds Converter: Convert between the three odds formats including American, Decimal, and Fractional.
- Implied Probability Calculator: See the implied probability of a sports bet based on the odds.
- Parlay Calculator: Calculate the payout of a parlay based on the odds of each individual leg.
- NFL Odds Calculator: See the projected payouts of your NFL bets.
- NBA Odds Calculator: See the projected payouts of your NBA bets.
- MLB Parlay Calculator: See projected odds and payouts of your MLB parlays including moneyline, run line, totals, and more.
- How to Read Betting Odds: Learn how to read odds, calculate your payout, and calculate the implied probability of your bet winning in each odds format (American, Decimal, Fractional).
- Spread Betting Guide: Learn how betting on point spreads works and learn common strategies for doing so.
- Total (Over/Under) Betting Guide: Learn how betting on totals works and learn common strategies for doing so.
- Moneyline Betting Guide: Learn how moneyline bets work and learn common strategies for placing them.
- Types of Sports Bets: Learn about how each of the main types of sports bets works.