Consistency is the way to cash in on cashing out
Tips and advice from the betting industry insider
One of the biggest new technological developments made by bookmakers in the past couple of years has been the facility to offer “cash out” on bets which are still in-running.
Most fixed-odds online firms have this functionality across a range of sports and markets, as do some of the retail firms.
Of course, the idea of closing a bet before it reaches its natural conclusion is not a new one. There was always the option to close a position with the spread firms, or to lay off or green up on the exchanges.
The introduction into mainstream fixed-odds betting was long overdue.
But should you use it? And if so, how? There’s often a lot of discussion among gamblers around whether to hedge, trade, lay off, cash out –whatever you choose to call it.
Many will tell you that you should never cash out, reasoning that you’ll never receive a value offer to do so, and that if the bet you placed originally was value, in the long run you’re better off allowing them all to run to their natural conclusion. The times when cashing out saves you from a cruel late twist which would have killed your bet are cancelled out by the money you give away cashing out bets which go on to win.
There’s lots of truth in what they say but I think it’s a little too simplistic.
Others will tell you that the best strategy is to treat each hedged bet as an entirely separate bet. If you’ve backed a team at evens and they go 1-0 up, you may have a chance to lay them at 1-3. Under this strategy, you’d only lay the 1-3 if you believe that price is now a value lay, not solely to lock in a profit. Again, there’s sense to this strategy.
A third option is to have a plan to always trade at a certain point in time. Perhaps if the team you’ve backed are leading after 85 mins, that is your cue to take action, because the pain of a late equaliser would be too much for you and by that stage there’s only a relatively small cost attached to the hedge bet, exchange lay or cash out.
Equally, you could have a percentage of your potential profit you’re willing to forfeit, and when the price reaches that level it’s your trigger to act.
For example, you could say you’re always willing to forego 20 per cent of your potential winnings in exchange for taking a guaranteed profit.
If you have a bet that will potentially win you £1,000, once the cash-out value reaches £800 you always take it.
It's purely the individual’s choice as to which option suits them, their betting style and their personality.
The most important thing is consistency. Have a strategy and stick with it. Whatever your chosen approach, do the same thing every time.
That way, come the end of the game, the week, the month and the year, no matter how individual bets turned out, you can look back with no regrets and tell yourself that you did what you believed to be right, consistently.
There is one caveat, which is when you find yourself in a situation you’ll be in extremely infrequently. There’s absolutely no point adopting an attitude of consistency to potential life-changing bets – positions you might find yourself in only a handful of times over your betting career.
I’m thinking of an ante-post football divisional yankee where your four selections are all top of the league in April, or a double on two big-priced golfers who both lead well into the final day.
Once you get into one of those spots, abandoning your principles and ensuring a handsome profit from that unique situation is entirely sensible. In any case, having that decision to make is a lovely situation to be in. The tough bit is finding the bet that’ll get you there.
The league table lies
It is little short of a crime that a club the size of Sheffield United have been languishing in Sky Bet League One since 2011.
In many of those seasons they have spent chunks of the year looking like one of the best three teams, only to find a way to miss out on promotion.
This year, though, there will be no such slip-up – this is a case in which the league table definitely isn’t lying.
The Blades are the best team in the division by a distance, and if anything are worthy of an even bigger lead than the eight-point advantage they have.
Not only will they go up – if they continue playing at the level they have since around November they are more likely to be troubling the top six in the Championship next year than the relegation places.
So one of the three promotion spots from League One is sealed.
The intriguing part of what’s happening in that division concerns who will win the other two spots.
Scunthorpe have fallen in a hole after a flying start and have been found wanting since their fixture list took a tougher turn.
Meanwhile, Bolton lost talisman Zach Clough to Nottingham Forest in the January window and understandably haven’t looked as good without him.
Fleetwood have gone on a fantastic run and are unbeaten in the league since November. That’s made them favourites to grab the second automatic spot but I have some reservations over their ability to seal the deal.
The two teams of most interest to me are Bradford and Millwall. Both have looked very useful in spells this season, but each has suffered from a lack of consistency.
I believe they’re the second- and third-best teams in the division on ability, although I wouldn’t have a strong view on which way round. There’s practically nothing between the pair.
If either knuckles down and plays at the level they’ve shown they can consistently between now and May, it’s entirely possible that one could still squeeze into that second automatic spot.
Even if they don’t, they should fancy their chances in the playoffs against a regressing Scunthorpe or a Clough-less Bolton.
In the promotion market, I wouldn’t put you off backing either, but with a game in hand on Bradford as things stand, and with a bigger price currently available, the preference has to be for Millwall.
Millwall to be promoted
1pt 7-2 Betfair