Dutching is a technique used by punters who wish to back more than one selection and have a fixed amount of money set aside with which to bet. By looking at the odds and splitting their stake accordingly, dutching guarantees that the profit would be the same regardless of which of the selections wins.
In an event with a large field of competitors, such as the Grand National or a tennis tournament, it can be hard to narrow down your choice of who will win to just one. It may be more likely that you are confident that one of two horses will cross the line first, or reckon that either Novak Djokovic or Andy Murray will lift the Wimbledon trophy. Rather than putting your faith in just one selection and risking a loss if the other one wins, or not having a bet at all, you can try to work out how backing them both would guarantee you the same return.
Dutching is not to be confused with the act of finding a sure bet, or arbitrage betting, which ensures a profit by betting on all the possible outcomes across different sportsbooks. Dutching is a method which does not guarantee that you will win, but it can still be very effective.
As dutching involves backing multiple selections by dividing up a stake, the two key factors to consider are the odds and then how you split the money to ensure you make the same profit. If you wanted to back England, Wales and Ireland to win the Six Nations, for example, at odds of evens, 7/4 and 11/2 respectively, you could not win anything. As there are only six possible winners and you fancy the three favourites, you would be making a loss by backing all three.
However, if you thought that England or Ireland would win the tournament, at odds of evens and 11/2, you could use dutching. It would then depend on how much you had to stake, and dividing it between the two accordingly. For example, if you had £50 but put half on each, you would not make any money if England became Six Nations champions because you would you win £25 from the bet on England but lose £25 from the bet on Ireland. It is therefore necessary to bet a higher amount on the selection with shorter odds to get the same profit.
The main attraction of dutching is that it gives you a greater chance of winning as you are backing more than one selection. However, there is always a fine balance to be struck - the fewer selections you make, the better off you will be, as you will not be backing so many losers, but there is less chance of winning.
Dutching can be particularly effective when there are outcomes which you feel are highly unlikely, especially if it is one of the favourites. For example, if you have some knowledge about the most fancied horse in a big race and are convinced it will not win, you could back the second, third and fourth favourites if the odds are good enough, and guarantee a decent profit if any of them win.
One drawback of dutching is that you are not likely to get a decent return because you will be backing at least one losing selection each time. You are also not guaranteed to win at all, if a different selection to one you have backed emerges victorious.
It is therefore a technique which requires a lot of patience, but by carefully considering different events and picking the right markets it can be a great way to minimise the risk and boost your chances of success. Just because you are backing multiple selections, it does not mean it is impossible to find good value!
Even if the really big wins are elusive, at the end of the day it is all about trying to make a profit and dutching provides a steady method for those who are prepared to do their research and prefer a systematic approach to their wagering.