The Guide to Hunting for Value, Hedging and Placing Each-Way Bets when Betting on Football with Tips from Expert Handicappers

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Taking the short odds every time is no way to bet on sports. Look for weak lines, hedges and each-way bets.

Most people who bet on sports in the UK, Europe, North America and Asia are conservative with how they bet their money (myself included!). Each of us has a limited bankroll for wagering on our favorite Premier League of Champions’ League clubs, so we tend to go with the safe bet.

For most people the “safe bet” means going with the club (or player, if it’s a special or prop) with the shortest odds. That means if Manchester United has 11/4 odds on beating Swansea City while Swansea is at only 9/1, you put your money on Man U.

That’s not the worst way to bet on sports, but it doesn’t deliver the best bang for your buck, either. Getting creative with how you bet on football matches, specials and props can be a lucrative and fun way to build your bankroll.

Be diligent in seeking high-value offers

• Look for value when betting on sports like Premier League football

• Consider placing a wager on a long-shot for a large potential payout

• The each-way can increase your payout and act as a hedge in the event of a loss

The reason that favorites have short odds is because they’re seen as near-certain winners. That’s fine, but they always return weak payouts. In the above-mentioned line you need to wager €40 to win €110. Not a bad bet/payout ratio, but nothing to get excited about.

Consider the specials bets offered for the leading goal scorer in La Liga this season. Bet365 has Ronaldo to finish as the leading goal scorer with odds of 8/11. That means that you have to bet €110 to win €80, which is really not lucrative. While Ronaldo has a great shot of winning, this wager is by no means airtight and may not be worth the small payout ratio.

What would a smart handicapper do in this situation? Put a modest amount of money on the longshot. Neymar is given 33/1 odds and Gareth Bale 40/1. To be real, neither player looks to have a strong chance of winning the goals title, but with a payout ratio that high, why wouldn’t you make a wager?

Consider this scenario: you put €10 on Bale. If you win you pocket a cool €400; if you lose your wallet takes a small hit. That’s a risk that more football bettors should make. Some pro handicappers make a living out of seeking out weak lines and pouncing on them for huge payouts.

Try hedging your bets

There are a couple of ways to effectively hedge. One way is to bet on multiple players or teams to win a single special. The goal is to minimize your losses more than you potentially cut into your gains. Consider the La Liga goals leader special mentioned above.

You could put money on both Ronaldo (the favorite) and Bale (the longshot). If you put €50 on Ronaldo and €10, and Ronaldo wins, you pocket €68.75 minus the €10 you bet on Bale. It’s still a net win for you. If Bale wins you pull in €400, so the money you lost on Ronaldo feels like a paltry sum.

Another way to hedge your bet is by making a pre-match bet as well as a live bet after the match has begun. This is especially popular for bettors in the live betting generation. Let’s say that you put money on Man U to beat Swansea, but at halftime Swansea is up by a score of 1-0.

You think that Man U is unlikely to win in this situation, so you place a live bet on the match being a draw, or a win for Swansea. This would eliminate some of your losses from the initial bet.

Some handicappers aren’t big fans of the hedge because it reduces the potential payout. There’s something to be said for that, so use it sparingly. The more tools you have in your belt the better, however.

Making the each-way bet

This is a special way of betting which sometimes means a form of hedging but is more often a method for maximizing returns. The bettor puts money on the winner as well as the “place,” so two separate bets at once.

Let’ say that I want to bet on Chelsea to win the Premier League outright, but I want to place an each-way bet. I put money on them to win, but I also put money on them to place first or second. The odds for the win are 7.5/1, and odds for the place are 1/3 of those of the win, so 2.5/1.

That means that if you wager €50 on Chelsea you would win €375 for the win and €125 for the place, if they do finish first. If they finish second you pull in€125 while losing the €50 you bet for the win, which is still a net win. If Chelsea falls altogether out of the top two places you lose your entire bet.

The each-way is a very underrated way of betting which more punters should consider making once in awhile. It can be an effective hedge while at the same time increasing your return in the event of a win.

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