Hedging Super Bowl futures tickets better than cashing out

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Are you one of the lucky ones to have a live Los Angeles Rams or Cincinnati Bengals Super Bowl future?

I have a ticket on the Rams (though let’s not talk about the slew of losing tickets that are already on my NFL futures betting bonfire. But still, it is exciting to have a potentially large payout at the end of Sunday’s game). And as is typically the case, many bettors start to question how they should handle a ticket like a Rams Super Bowl future.

Should you hedge with the Bengals moneyline? Should you hedge with the Bengals spread? Should you wait and look for a spot to hedge in-game? Or should you just let it ride?

Or, if your sportsbook offers cash-out options, should you take the payout now and lock in profit?

The easy (and least helpful) answer is that this is solely up to you, especially when it comes to the dollar amount.

Rams
Aaron Donald
AP

In general, I tend to let my futures tickets ride. The math just never makes sense to maximize your expected value. But I’m sure I’d change my tune a bit if the payout was large enough that I could hedge and guarantee myself a smaller, yet still large, windfall.

So first, you need to decide what the potential amount of money means to you, and this is obviously different from bettor to bettor.

In my case, I have the Rams to win the Super Bowl at 15/1 odds, which is a really nice price.

And yes, I’m breaking my general rule and have already hedged this ticket, but with a bit of a caveat.

I opted for Bengals +4.5, which I posted to The Action App back on Feb. 1, for two reasons.

First, if the Rams win by one, two, three or four points, I win both bets, which would be ideal.

But second, the Cincinnati spread bet is one that I’d make independent of my Rams Super Bowl future, meaning I’d be betting on the Bengals at that number whether or not I had the potential for a Los Angeles 15/1 payout.

So from a high level it does appear that I’m hedging, but I’m not necessarily thinking about it as a traditional hedge, but instead as a bet I’d be making normally that also has the high upside of winning both should a Rams win and margin of victory land between 1-4 points.

Bengals
Joe Burrow
USA TODAY Sports

Sportsbooks now offer cashout options, as well. They’ll pay you based on what the odds are now. Say you are holding a ticket for $20 to win $1,000 on the Bengals at 50/1. Most sportsbooks are offering Bengals cashouts at around 17/1 heading into the Super Bowl.

But the math doesn’t check out — 17/1 (what they took to get here) and Bengals moneyline at +170 in the Super Bowl (what they’ll need to cash the ticket) parlayed together pays 48/1. That’s less than the 50/1 you bet originally.


Find out more about Super Bowl betting


As much as they want you to believe it, sportsbooks are not in business to help you — they’re here to make money. So it’s very unlikely that any cashout that they offer you is going to favor you, the bettor, instead of them, the sportsbook.

Every situation is different, but the price you’ll pay to cash out will almost never be exactly what it’s worth based on current market prices. If you do want to lock in profit, you’re likely going to find better options by shopping the market for the best possible Bengals moneyline and using that to hedge your Rams future.

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