One of the best betting opportunities in the NBA, NHL and baseball playoffs are the series bets which are provided. Odds are changed after each game, so you do not necessarily need to place a series bet before starting the first game.
You can jump in at any time, even though betting before a series starts may give you the best price and the best opportunities to hedge a bet. The key is determining which series bets you want to hedge and which ones to keep.
The first round of the 2009-10 Stanley Cup Playoffs have been a dream for hedging series bets, as each series was 1-1 after the first two games, and in some cases, the underdog won the first game, allow for hedgers to act quickly.
When you hedge a series bet on an underdog, you are simply looking to take the initial favorite at lower odds than the original price of the underdog, but many times you can get the original favorite at plus money as well, as long as the initial underdog takes the series lead at some point.
An example was the 2009-10 NHL playoff series between Philadelphia and New Jersey, where the Devils were -235 and the Flyers were +195. After the Flyers won the first game in New Jersey, the odds became -110 for each team.
Having taken the Flyers at +195 as one of my main playoff series bets, I could simply take New Jersey for the same amount as my original bet to make sure that the worst I could do was break even or take New Jersey for a larger amount of 1.5 times the series bet to ensure a profit.
To demonstrate, say I had bet $100 on the Flyers to get $195 on the series. After Philadelphia won the opener, I decided to put $110 on New Jersey to win $100. If the Flyers won the series, I win $195 and lose $110 for a profit of $85. If the Devils had come back and won, I could have won $100 on the Devils series bet and lost $100 on the Flyers series bet to break even.
If I wanted to ensure a small profit after the first game, all I would have had to do is bet $154 to get $140 on the Devils to win the series. If New Jersey won, I could have won $140 and lost $100 on the Flyers bet for a profit of $40. If the Flyers won the series, I would have won $195 and lost $154 for a profit of $41.
Hedging on Favorites
The same concept works with the favorites of any series, but the key now is to take the underdog at better odds than you gave with the initial favorite.
If you have a series bet on Team A -200 and Team A rolls to a victory in the first game, you can come back and take Team B +300. And as with the underdogs, you can bet to ensure a profit or bet an amount so that the very worst you can do is break even.
If we wanted to guarantee that we broke even, we would simply bet the same amount on the underdog as we would win on the favorite. If we make a $200 series wager on Team A to get $100, after the first game we would simply bet $100 on Team B to get $300. If Team A goes on to win, we win $100 on our Team A series bet and lose $100 on the Team B series bet.
If Team B came back and win the series, we would lose our $200 series bet on Team A, but win $300 on our Team B series wager for a profit of $100.
To ensure a profit after the first game, we would then bet $75 on Team B +300. If Team A went on and won the series, we could win $100 on our initial series bet and lost $75 on our Team B series bet for a profit of $25. If Team B rebound and win the series, we would lose our initial $200 series bet on Team A, but win $225 on our Team B series wager for a profit of $25.
Anytime you have a series bet, try to look at the adjusted odds as the series progresses. You may find a new price which is simply too good to pass up and bet a bit on the other side.