Bowl Parlay Hedge

If you ever want to start an argument with sports bettors, ask a group of sharps and squares their thoughts on hedging their plays. No matter where they are on the handicapping spectrum, some will argue that it’s unmanly to hedge and the province of losers. Others will steadfastly declare that it’s intelligent money management. Put me in the latter camp. Here’s an excellent real world example.

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work”
– Thomas Edison

In the photo posted with this article, you will see I bet a five-team favorite moneyline parlay. I bet this based on my sound handicapping method. But I bet it many days before all the games were scheduled to play. As we have discussed, college football bowl games offer their own set of handicapping variables that we typically do not see during the regular season.

The variable I was unable to consider at the time I placed this parlay, and add into my handicapping process, was the reality of the stud Memphis running back, Darrell Henderson, removing himself from the Birmingham Bowl and declaring his eligibility for the NFL draft. Other things could have happened, but this certainly was not good for my wager.

The betting line opened with Memphis as 4-point favorites. The line drifted around a bit, but started dropping a few days before the game. The line settled at kickoff with Memphis as 1.5-point favorites.

Because I pay attention to this stuff, I’m always on the lookout for information that will move a line. When the line moves my way, I don’t worry too much. But when the line moves against me, there is usually a reason. Mind you, the parlay was a favorite moneyline parlay. But, when the spread moves, the moneyline moves with it. While my bet was locked-in, the line movement told me I better do something to protect my bankroll.

You will note I wagered $200 on this parlay. Because of the new information, line movement told me my wager was in serious jeopardy. Hence, my $200 at risk was in jeopardy of being lost. I did what any rational human being would do and took the other side – Wake Forest +3.0 points, as the adjacent ticket shows.

Why did I bet the Wake spread and not the moneyline, which would have been around +130? Because with this point spread hedge, I could win both bets! Remember, I had Memphis to win the game straight up, the point spread would not matter for settling this wager, so long as Memphis won. Let’s say Memphis won by a single point. If this happened, my parlay would still be alive AND I would have won the play on Wake at +3.0.

Alas, final score was Wake 37 Memphis 34, on a missed Memphis field goal try, as time expired.

I won back the $200 originally bet on the parlay and my bankroll didn’t suffer for my hard work. You might ask why I didn’t bet Wake +3.0 for more money, say $440 to win $400? Well, I could have, but if Memphis won the game and covered the spread, that would have reduced the value of the parlay payout.

Full disclosure… I had full faith in Army beating Houston. Assuming my parlay was still alive prior to the Buffalo/Troy contest, I would have hedged the parlay by betting a substantial amount on Troy, to guarantee a good payout for all my hard work.

Tomorrow is another day… and there will be plenty more action!

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