This is a bit of a cathartic post for me after failing to post what I believe was an obvious hedge bet on Michelle Wateson by submission against Paige VanZant. I stated in my writeup that whilst I was picking VanZant, I thought she would be in significant peril early;
“I’m pretty sure that at some points PVZ will end up in bad positions (maybe getting mounted, maybe ending up in armbars) and you’ll probably go “oh man, this was a bad pick” but in the end PVZ will wear Waterson down and come out with a win, hopefully by late stoppage because those odds are crazy good.
[Paige] gives up bad positions to escape, so I would worry about Michelle diving on a sub: That’s the reason I give her a 30% chance of winning rather than the KO, so bear that in mind if you want to hedge. You can get Waterson by sub at 8.0 / +700.”
You can read the full writeup on my handicapper profile.
So why didn’t I actually post a hedge bet tip? I was giving that early sub a rougly 25% chance of happening and the odds suggested just a 12.5% chance of a Waterson sub. That’s a hudge edge. I can’t remember the exact odds but Waterson Sub R1 was at least 16/1,
I’ve made a new betting tool this week: A bet value calculator. It lets you input the odds offered by a bookmaker, then your own perceived odds / probability. If you input 8.0 as bookie odds, then 25% chance as your perceived chance, that pumps out an average ROI of 100%.
The point of that tool is to make you bet sensibly, based on the cold hard facts of ROI. The difficult thing is following through.
Just 4 events prior to this missed hedge opportunity, I did basically exactly the same hedge under very similar circumstances. I believed Scoggins had roughly a 75% chance of a win at 1.61 odds. That on its own is only an average ROI of 21%. That’s just about enough in itself to justify a bet but for me, Munhoz’s only real chance of a win was a sub. So to hedge out we’ve covered virtually every eventuality with just an extra 0.5 units and had a 1U profit if Munhoz won by sub or if Scoggins won by any method.
So I’ve been thinking a lot about why I did this hedge officially and not the Waterson sub hedge. Virtually the same odds, virtually the same % chance given by me of them coming off.
I think the reason I went for the Munhoz hedge was because I viewed Scoggins as having a much lower chance of getting a finish and I also believed Munhoz would be dangerous for the whole fight with that guillotine.
On the other hand, I believed (and still believe) there was a very limited window where Waterson would be dangerous. Once PVZ got through 1 and a half rounds, I thought the fight was all hers and I thought she’d get a finish.
However, there’s flawed logic at work here. It shouldn’t matter if there’s a 1 minute window for a fighter to win or a 15 minute window. If you view the chance of a finish at 25% in both instances, you have to use the same logic. Hedge if there’s value in hedging!
You don’t always have to hedge to make the same profit no matter what the outcome. I frequently put on a cover bet to break even if a perceived risk occurs. In this instance I wish I had put 1 unit on Waterson to win by submission at any time. If it came off I would still have lost money on the fight as I had 8U on PVZ straight up at 1.91 and 1.4U on round props. However, it’s all about bankroll management. Best case scenario I’d make a massive profit on a R4 or 5 finish. Worst case scenario I’d make a 3.4U loss on the fight; a pretty insignificant worst case scenario for a massive potential win. As it is I lost 9.4U on the fight, which is definitely significant.
I will say that you can’t hedge on everything; it gets too complicated and you just eat away at your profit. However, again, try and use raw numerical facts where possible, not just instinct. To do that, use the Bet MMA site’s “your odds tool“. Fill in your % chance of each thing happening then compare the odds produced at the bottom of the page to the real odds offered. If you can cover 90% of the outcomes instead of 70%, for a slightly smaller profit, DO IT. DO IT EVERY TIME.
Interestingly, if you JUST bet these hedges, and your analysis is accurate, you’ll actually generate a better ROI just from the hedges. That Munhoz sub prop generates a perceived ROI of 125%. Comparing that to the Scoggins straight up ROI of 21% and it really makes you think. If you don’t mind losing more bets than you win, it’s a very credible and actually far more sensible way of betting to just bet props… as long as your analysis is good of course! 🙂
Below is my pre-fight breakdown for the PVZ vs Waterson fight in terms of % chances of each thing happening. (Done using the your odds tool).
N.B. This is a rough approximation of my thoughts based on what I remember entering… Looking at my writeup I was saying a 1.43 odds for PVZ straight up so I was giving Waterson a lower chance by 3% on something… Anyway you can only approximate your thoughts either after or before the fight….
The point is, I didn’t follow through properly on my own analysis, however approximated. I bet PVZ straight up which is an average ROI of around 30%. Comparatively, the Under 4.5 was available at 2.25 decimal (+125 American) and my suggested line for that was 1.37, which means an average ROI of 64.23%. So if my analysis was right, I should really have gone big on the under. My bias prevented that because I hate betting the under. I think inherently it’s a risky bet as compared to betting the over, which I bet very regularly (38% of my prop/parlay bets) and hit at a very high percentage (90%). Whilst that sounds great, it’s at much lower odds. I just don’t like losing and am a bit of a “slow and steady wins the race” kind of a guy when really, the logical numerical thing to do is trust the numbers and if that means betting the under sometimes, I’ve gotta do it.
I made the bet value calculator this week specifically because this is something I want to get better at. Hopefully you will see more props from me going forward and I would encourage you to use both of the tools I’ve linked in this blog on a regular basis to tighten up your own ROI.