Strategy – Using Sportsbooks to Hedge Your DraftKings Lineups

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So often I hear the phrase “I would have won X amount of money if only Fighter A had won,” in reference to people talking to me about their DraftKings lineups. I’m guilty of it myself, there’s been several times in the last year that I can think of off the top of my head when either the co-main event or the main event drastically swung my potential earnings into the negative.

When it happens in a situation where your potential earnings turn from $100 to $70, it’s not so bad. But when a scenario hits where you could have won a major tournament for $10k, or a potentially a qualifier seat, and it swings you to a break-even night, well that can be rough.

I haven’t been dealing with the sportsbook side of the MMA gambling for as long as many others, but the more I experiment with it, the more I feel we can use it to our advantage as a hedge against DraftKings. By sportsbooks, I mean sites like 5Dimes or Bovada where you can place straight bets on fighters using the odds, as opposed to making lineups.

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For the process to work correctly, you will need to constantly be assessing your potential profit compared to your potential risk. Hedging at the right times will help you profit in the long run. But hedging in every possible situation will likely cause you to lose money.

Here’s the most simple, most applicable time when hedging DraftKings lineups with a sportsbook can be beneficial…

There’s 12 fights on a card, it’s down to the co-main event or the main event. You are sitting in first place and can all but lock up major profit if a specific person wins. Or maybe you’re sitting in the top 10 of a GPP already and will see yourself earning a top 3 finish if one specific person wins. However, if the fight doesn’t go your way, you likely won’t profit anything of note, or maybe you won’t profit at all.

For sake of reference, I was playing BigMarley3 h2h for the Qualifier seat during the GSP/Bisping PPV. I had Michael Bisping and he didn’t have either fighter, and I was losing by enough points that I needed a victory. If Bisping won, I would win the Qualifier seat. If he lost, I would lose the qualifier seat.

The risk/reward situation was high, second place was only $50, compared to the $1,200 is value of the Qualifier ticket, with the potential to earn 20k for 1st. We know the situation, it’s clear. Maybe I am willing to take on that much risk and hope the fight hits, but it is a big swing. Instead of simply letting it ride, I could have hedged with a sportsbook by placing a bet on GSP. That way, if Bisping won I would win the Qualifier seat, but if GSP won I would still win the bet.

The amount of risk you want to undertake is up to you, though. Maybe you would want to place a $500 bet on GSP which would obviously suck if you won the Qualifier seat, but even with the Qualifier seat you would still be guaranteed a minimum of $500. Maybe that’s worth it to you. Or maybe you could place a $200 bet on GSP. If Bisping wins, you’ll still profit a few hundred bucks and if GSP wins, you’ll profit a few hundred as well.

There was even a scenario two weeks ago where one Premium member could have won, or tied for first place in the $8, which would have been several thousand dollars of profit. It came down to the main event. If that fighter didn’t win, he wouldn’t have finished anywhere near the top, considering how many entrants there are. That would have been a strong spot to hedge with a sportsbook. If I get myself in that situation, where it’s 10k worth of profit or $0-$1k, I am absolutely making a hedge. I would likely bet a couple thousand dollars against my lineup in DK, meaning I would only win $8k on DK as opposed to $10k if my fighter won, but I would also win a few thousand dollars if my DK fighter lost.

The point isn’t that you HAVE to hedge in these situations, the point is that you have the ability to hedge yourself outside of DraftKings if these situations are applicable to you. You don’t HAVE to put yourself in an all-or-nothing situation.

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Other situations where I would consider hedging against my DK lineups with a sportsbook…

Let’s say I have a bunch of good lineups going, and I’ve also gone all in on the Vitor Belfort/Nate Marquardt fight. My lineups are great and this is the fight to cap off the night, I have done great everywhere else so as long as one of these two fighters does well, I will have a shot at big GPP money. Of course if it’s one of those terrible, low-scoring fights then that would suck, I wouldn’t have any great chances at big money.

The fight is super likely to end in a finish, so I should be safe, but I also have the option to hedge myself by placing a Fight Goes to Decision bet. The odds in this actual situation were +450 to go the distance. I don’t have to bet major money here. If I put $50 down on the +450 to go the distance and it hits, that’s $225. And if one of these fighters does finish, they will almost certainly score well and I’ll make much more than $50 profit on DraftKings. Again, you have to decide for yourself how much risk you undertake. Maybe you would let it ride in this situation. Maybe you would put $10 on it, maybe $100.

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At the beginning of the night on DraftKings, fights don’t mean as much as they do late in the night. Early in the night, there are still so many outcomes left to be played out. Maybe my fighter early does well… still doesn’t mean a whole lot. Maybe my fighter does poorly…well there is still a lot of DK left to be played.

But late in the night, we know what we need. If Fighter A wins I will have a very good shot at winning money. Maybe I went all in on someone on the main card, if I’m doing well before that point I have a high expectation of profit.

Throughout the night, you can constantly evaluate how strong your portfolio of lineups is and how much profit you expect to earn. And if/when a situation rises where “It all comes down to this” and you find yourself wanting to hedge, just know that you CAN hedge.

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Some people will say, hey, I hedge myself by making a ton of DK lineups. I made 10 Lawler lineups and so I made 10 RDA lineups as a hedge. That’s fine, but that means you have already decided to commit to a certain amount of money. Instead, you have the option of doing this..

Just make the 10 Lawler lineups, or maybe you make 10 Lawler and 1-2 RDA. Don’t fully commit to a hedge if it’s late on the card. If you’re doing well, and it comes down to the Main Event, and you find yourself saying wow if Lawler wins I will win a ton of money, you still have the option to hedge. You can make a bet on RDA and you didn’t have to commit the money beforehand.

But if it comes to the main event, and you say damn I sucked tonight, the main event wouldn’t have even mattered. Guess what, you didn’t already commit extra money to the RDA hedge, so you essentially saved money.

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This is still a new practice for me, and I’ve used it in effect multiple times. You absolutely do not have to practice this, it all depends on how much risk you want and are willing to take on.

If you like those RIDE OR DIE scenarios late in the night, then you can let it ride. But instead of waking up the next morning thinking wow if only this had happened I would have won big, you now have another option.