Evaluating Sports Handicapping Services

To many sports bettors, using a sports service or “tout” is an abomination akin to baby seal hunting. It is simply something they would never do, COULD never do. Personally, having met several touts in my day, I don’t blame them for feeling this way.

“Touts are all crooked,” they insist, and, in large part, they would be right. Many do keep dubious or outright incorrect records of their successes . Many do practice spam, cold-calling, and the hard sell – all of which makes them look sleazy and untrustworthy. Some are, however, the real deal, with real skill and a genuine ability to maintain a long term advantage over the sportsbooks. These are the sports services that can assist you in moving beyond mere recreational sports betting.

Whether or not you use a sports handicapping service is entirely up to you, but there are some things you can look for that may help you find a diamond in the rough, or at least eliminate the scoundrels.

First, look for a sampling of their sports picks over a period of time. There’s no hard and fast rules here as to how large of a period, but if all you can find is yesterday’s winners and nothing else, move on. Generally, you should be able to see at least several days of recent sports picks. Another reason for this is to prevent what I call “splitting”. This is where half of the sports service’s clients are given one pick and the other half are given the opposite pick. By doing this, the service is assured of winning for at least half his clients at all times. An easy to locate public page of recent picks prevents this. Not only prospective clients, but also current clients can see what bets the sports service actually recommends – to EVERYONE.

Second, the sports handicapping service should publish its picks after the games begin, not after the games are over. Hindsight is 20/20 and sports betting is no different. Anyone can pick winners after the fact. The vast majority do not do this, I’ve noticed, so don’t be surprised if you have difficulty locating the few that do.

Third, skip those with unbelievably good records. As in winning 80% of their football picks over the course of the season and other such ridiculous claims. Remember the old adage “If it looks too good to be true, it is”. The simple fact is, no method or system or sports handicapper can maintain such high winning percentages over long term periods. It’s a mathematical impossibility. (Unless, of course, they’re picking huge money line favorites, in which case you wouldn’t make any money at those percentages anyway).

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