3 Mar

Sports Handicappers: The Naked Truth

Why even the best sports betting handicappers are scam artists (and other good tips for handicapping).

Why the best sports betting handicappers are scam artists (and other good tips for handicapping).If there’s one resoundingly conclusive truth about sports betting, it’s that you can only make money by making the right picks. And nobody makes the right picks all the time. Statistically, most bettors only pick right about half the time. Add in the juice of a sportsbook, and they’re losing money. The really, really good ones – the sharps, who boast long-term gains somewhere in the 60-65% range – are a rare breed. They know better than anyone that picking the right teams is hard work, and at least in part, a guessing game.

It doesn’t matter how well you know the teams or their individual athletes. You could have followed the tennis circuit since childhood, aware of every contender, from every country, their records, their stats, they’re brand of racket – everything! This may give you an edge over other tennis bettors, but it’s not going to guarantee you make the right picks. Even when all the data favors one outcome, it could go the other way. Bad days happen in sports. Unpredictable things, from the common cold to serious injuries, to a bad call from a line judge, referee, or umpire – these events happen in every sport, every day.

The plain truth is, you can’t get every pick right, no matter how educated or devoted you are to a sport. The same goes for handicappers. And while some of them are genuine handicapping professionals with an above average record and a solid reputation for transparency, most are not. That’s just one reason you should not waste your money buying picks.

Below, you’ll find explanations to a number of reasons why, all in all, paying a pick service is a bad idea. Then again, a lot of people do it. So, if you want to skip all the “cons” and get right to the “pro” stuff, click here: How to Pick a Good Handicapper

The Best Sports Betting Handicappers are Scams

As I mentioned, sharps are a rare breed. Most of them don’t bother selling picks, because they’re too busy studying stats and observing lines for opportunities. As such, the number of honest, reputable handicappers are virtually non-existent. I’m sure there’s a few out there – I know there are – but it’s almost impossible to tell which ones are legit in the swarming sea of scam-dicappers.

The biggest problem is that sports betting is not well regulated. The activity is regulated, and the operators are regulated (at least here in Indiana), but handicappers are under no legal obligation to follow best business practices. Anyone can create a website and pretend to be a long-time legitimate handicapper. They can fabricate years worth of experience and positive pick ratings, making it appear they’ve been doing this successfully for a very long time.

Most importantly, the higher win average a handicapper boasts, the more likely it is to be fake. 63% is reasonable. 78% is not. Some people will figure out it’s a scam, while others will get duped, but either way, there’s no penalty for the scammer. Unfortunately, without regulation, this practice will continue indefinitely.

Their Average is Not Your Average

Let’s assume for a moment that you’ve come across a confirmed professional handicapper with a reliable win rate. Their picks have averaged winning consistency over a respectable period of time. You decide to go for it. You don’t want to get too committed yet, so you buy a week’s worth of picks. When you receive them, they cover all the games for all the major sports occurring that week.

Now what?

Most bettors will scour the list, choosing a few picks from their favorite sports, then place their wagers, confident that they’ve made a good decision. Therein lies the problem. You can’t half-ass it. In order to get the same average win rate as your handicapper, you must place equal bets on each and every pick on that list. Are you really prepared to do that?

One of the first rules of strategic sports betting is to stick to a single bet unit. Every bet you make should be equal to one unit, and each unit should be a meager fraction of your overall betting budget. So the question is, how deep would you have to dig into your bankroll to cover every pick on that list?

If you can’t afford to bet them all, don’t bother buying them in the first place. If you deviate from the list, you’re essentially making your own picks, thus defeating the purpose. And while we’re on the topic of cost efficiency…

Pick Services are Expensive and Counter-Effective

The only way using a pick service can possibly be a positive for your bankroll is if you a) find a genuinely reputable one; b) bet every pick on the list; and c) have a big enough bankroll to offset the price of buying those picks, and still finish with a profit. Let me explain…

Buying picks can get pretty expensive. You can buy them in bulk with a subscription package, which can run you anywhere from $10 to $100 a month, or you can purchase picks by the day or week. Whatever you pay, you must add that expensive into the total cost of your betting. Even if you finish the day with a 55% success rate, the cost of picks and juice could still mean you’re losing money.

The only way the cost of buying picks won’t really impact your bottom line is if you’re placing bets so large that the purchase price is a mere drop in the bucket. I’m certainly not suggesting that you bet more than you can afford. If you happen to have a lofty bankroll, good for you. If not, pick services are probably not the right choice for you.

Touts Have Bad Days Too

Even the best handicappers have bad runs, just like everyone else. They may have an average of 63% correct picks over the last 12 months, but that doesn’t mean every day, week or month ended with a positive average. If you don’t consistently buy and use all of their picks, your long term average will not match theirs. By picking and choosing, you’re just as likely to buy the dips and miss the spikes as anything else. Once again, this just leads to inconsistency and the eventual realization that you’re making your own decisions. Er go – what’s the point?

Handicappers Don’t Need to Win to Make Money

Last but far from least, pick services should be avoided because handicappers don’t need to make good bets to make money. All they need is for people to buy their picks, and they’ll be rolling in the profits.

Think about it. If a handicapper sells subscriptions for $10/month, and 1,000 people pay for it, he or she is pulling in $10,000 a month. That’s not a bad payday for a (more often than not dishonest) days work. Just because he’s cheap doesn’t mean he’s worth throwing $10/month at.

Okay, so you avoid the cheap handicappers, since 99% of them are scam artists looking for a quick buck. Instead, you find a pick service that charges $100/month. It’s expensive, yes, but you figure this person must be really good at their job to charge that much money, and actually get customers. So, you pay the $100 for the picks. All this guy needs is 100 people to think the same way you do, and he’s another probable scammer, rolling in the same $10,000 a month.

The truth is, you can’t judge a handicapper by his price tag. At any cost, these people are making far more money than their customers ever will betting on their picks. Which, for some of you, will surely raise the question… Do you have what it takes to become a professional handicapper? A good one, though; not the scam-dicappers that are plaguing 99% of the market today.

How to Pick a Good Sports Handicapper Pick Service

If you’re reading this section, you’ve either clicked on the ‘jump ahead’ link at the top of this page, or you’ve decided to disregard all of the above information, detailing why you shouldn’t pay for picks. Either way, here we are, and while I can’t condone it, I do understand how popular pick services are. I can’t blame you for at least wanting to give it a shot. So, here’s my advice:

1. Research the legitimacy of the website.

If they claim to be in the business for five years, and have a complete history of their picks and success rate for that period of time, you can verify (to an extent) the legitimacy of that claim by looking up the domain on WhoIs.com. This will give you a complete background check on the website. What you’re looking for is dates and transfers. The domain should have been in existence for no less than five years, and remained registered under the same name/company for at least five years. If the domain was first registered or transferred 6 months ago, the webmaster is obviously lying.

2. Read the customer reviews.

Every reputable handicapper will have a review section, where customers can comment on the service. Look for honest reviews written by real people. If every single review is positive, or if they sound like a sales pitch from a used car lot, you can assume they’re not real; or at least, not all of them are real. Too many times, a webmaster will delete the reviews they don’t like, or simply publish fake reviews to drown out the bad ones (or both). If they seem legitimate, see what the people are saying and use your own judgment.

3. Observe the handicappers long-term units/yield stats.

Every pick service is judged by the ratio of bet units to yield. Units are used in place of dollar amounts to track how many wins, versus how many losses, with the difference being the profit (or loss). Yield is the measure of bet efficiency. We get this by calculating profit/total bets. If you wager $500 and end with $550, your profit is $50. Calculate 50 / 500 = 0.1, or 10%. Thus, your yield is 10%. A good handicapper is one that averages a minimum of 5%, up to 10-15%. Anything over that, and you’re probably dealing with fabricated stats (i.e. he’s lying).

4. Determine the level of transparency.

The more transparent a handicapping service is, the more likely it is to be legitimate. Above, we talked about observing the unit/yield stats. Every pick service has these, but what else are they divulging? A truly transparent handicapper will post monthly statements that reveal the number of picks issued, and a complete breakdown of that data, with results by sport.

5. Look for variance in types of sports.

A lot of handicappers are better at picking some sports than others. If you’re not reviewing detailed data sheets of the tout’s monthly yield by sports, you’ll never be able to pin-point their strengths and weaknesses. What you’re looking for is extreme variance, or swings, in certain types of sports. If a tout’s 6-month yield for basketball is all over the boards, they’re not exactly proficient in making basketball predictions. However, if they’re picks for baseball are consistently yielding between 3% and 10% each month, you can surmise that this person has a good grasp on the league.

Long story short…

To be a good sports bettor, you’re going to have to do some research. You can either be your own handicapper, researching the teams and players to make your own picks, or you can research the best sports betting handicappers, and pay them to make picks for you. Either way, the effectiveness of your research strategy will be reflected in the amount of work you put into it.

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