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10 Questions to ask a sports handicapper before you buy sports picks

What makes a good sports handicapper? More and more people who bet on sports are looking to buy sports picks. Sports betting services offer paid sports picks and they all claim, they have guaranteed sports picks and will win for you.

However, it is a known fact, that most people who bet on sports lose in the long run. Selling sports picks is in most cases just good marketing, which is based on short-period results and the hype. To answer – who is the best sports handicapper, we must make research and ask the right questions.

Everyone who wants to buy sports picks should be careful, and here are the 10 questions to ask before purchasing sports picks subscriptions. If there is no clear answer, sports picks are not worth buying.

Table of contents

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How Big is Sample Size of Betting Results?

A big sample size of bets and years of experience is important because, in the short run, betting results are the most likely the result of luck, not a betting skill.

I am sure you probably saw something like:

  • We are on amazing run 32–14 in last 46 picks
  • We are red hot 7-0 on Whale Plays
  • We are killig bookies, 3-0 run

Below is an example of such marketing of short period results from one of hundreds or thousands of sports handicappers that sell picks:

Why you should not buy picks from such a betting service?

Two reasons, why you should not buy picks from such a sports picks service:

  • Luck factor
  • Not understanding the importance of long-term results

Luck factor & survivorship bias in the short run. Professional sports handicappers and betting experts, who truly have a betting advantage know the importance of long and consistent betting profitable results. A true picture of betting results is visible only after thousands of bets.

Only if you track bets with detailed different statistics like closing line value, yield, ROI, p-value,… we can get the feeling about sports handicappers with little bit fewer bets sample size, but because most handicappers don’t have detailed statistics about their bets, thousands of bets and years of betting should be a standard.

The second problem is that either they don’t understand the importance of long-term results, or they simply consciously create hype about short-term results to attract naive sports gamblers, who are willing to purchase sports picks from them.

How to identify a legit sports handicapper that has long-term profitable results?

  • Ask for long-term and detailed sports picks results
  • Ask for pdf or excel files of their results, so you can make your own research if needed

Remember, always focus on the bigger picture. Everyone can have one month or even a negative year, but profitable long-term results with a detailed understanding of betting theory is what makes the difference between legit sports handicappers and the rest.

Do they track or talk about CLV, yield and ROI?

Win-Loss betting records with net profit are flawed information about betting results and are always a red alert.

The best and the sharpest bettors in the World talk about closing line value because this is information about beating the closing odds. In the last years, this is one of the most important topics among professional sports handicappers.

Every serious sports handicapper tracks or talks about closing line value. With the yield and ROI + reasonable sample size, you will have a better chance to find a legit sport picks service.

What sport is bet on the most?

When you buy sports picks, you’ll need to find a service that shares their bets with good liquidity. If sports picks are good, the odds will drop. This will happen, but you still want to bet on the league or sport, where you still have the advantage. If not, you are wasting your time and money.

The problem of small markets

Small and soft betting markets are great especially for new bettors and people who start with small bankrolls. But they are great only if you make your own bets without following. I’ll give you an example:

Imagine a sports handicapper, who made a nice profit in net units on Italian volleyball League.

But in reality, can you play those games?

Do you even have the chance to play those games on your bookmaker?

Will you ever place a bet for the same price?

Because if this is a small market and if your betting advisor sends sports picks out to many subscribers, odds will probably drop quickly and you’ll not make any money.

Bigger betting markets and bet types

Big market sports and bet types with good liquidity are the ones, where you can bet with reasonable stakes, that can cover your subscription.

The problem with the biggest markets is that they are very sharp. A very small percentage of bettors have legit long-term results based on their well-defined betting system.

Even the best sports handicappers in the World have only a small edge in sharp markets. If you buy picks, this edge must be big enough to cover your subscription and at the same time, you make a satisfying profit.

Where do they place their bets?

The odds are the key when you buy sports picks. Because if you can not bet on similar odds, you’ll lose. The question, where do they place bets and what kind of odds you’ll get is very important.

If they always show great odds and they use some local bookmaker, then this will not help you.

First, you must ask which sportsbooks they use and then check if you can use the same or similar sportsbook, that can offer the same bet types, betting markets, and similar odds.

What is the time of releasing sports picks?

Once you buy sports picks, you become a follower and you’ll need to take certain actions to follow wagers. It is your responsibility to ask at which time they usually send out sports picks and then see if betting these sports tips is a realistic thing to do.

There are sites, which provide 20 picks per day with a couple of different sports handicappers. You can not follow them unless you sit the whole day in front of the computer.

What is the ideal time for releasing sports picks?

Sports picks must be sent out early when the market opens. They must include detailed analysis and estimated probabilities, so you can adjust stakes if necessary. Late picks, before the game starts are useless and will not help anyone, because you’ll pay late and a worse price on the market.

Do they use sports betting models?

Understanding how they find value bets is important, because most sports handicappers, who show their short-term results are just guessing.

Some betting services claim, that they use advanced statistics, but in reality, they don’t use any probabilistic methods. It is all based on looking at numbers, standings, and maybe some simple team rankings.

Ask these questions about their method of picking bets:

  • Do you use sports betting models and advanced statistics?
  • How do you find a value?
  • Can you show me projected lines for every game?
  • How do you calculate percentage stake?

Following someone who just read sports news and then picks so-called winners makes no sense because the system is not defined. But betting algorithms, betting models, and well-defined predictive models will make the difference.

What do they guarantee from their sports picks?

The guarantee must be realistic and simple. Best betting experts are always humble and don’t make unrealistic promises and guarantees. Nobody can every bet and every time. Even the best sports handicappers in history had negative seasons. It’s still only sports betting, where nobody should promise a profit for sure.

Red alert messages:

  • We will make you rich with our sports picks
  • We win 98% of times
  • Guaranteed picks (has completely different meaning in reality)

What’s the winning percentage from professional sports handicappers?

The best sports handicappers will hit only around 53–55% of their bets, related to point spread betting, like NBA, NFL, NCAAF, NCAAB, and similar. The winning percentage (win-loss record) for other bet types is different and it depends on odds. The bigger the odds, the lower the W-L record, and the lower the odds, the bigger the W-L record.

What’s their bankroll and investment strategy?

You can buy the best sports picks, but if you don’t have the money management you’ll lose.

Very important is to educate about how they invest in sports betting, what is their stake compared to their bankroll, and what is their overall investing strategy.

They must show you exactly what is the starting bankroll when was set, and exactly what % of bankroll they bet on each game.

Get the answers about betting units

  • What are 50 units?
  • What is 5 star play?
  • What is 1 unit?
  • Are units calculated from starting bankroll or from current bankroll?

When you buy sports picks, you must know exactly how much you bet on a single game.

How many sports picks subscribers do they have?

This is a tricky question, which should be asked too.

Too many subscribers can be a problem

On one side, they will tell you that they have a lot of subscribers. With that, they are saying they are good. Which makes sense somehow.

But then ask yourself, if they have so many subscribers, will you get sports picks for the same odds then them?


Because if they send single sports betting pick to 1000 subscribers and everyone will bet $100, the market will be affected and the odds will drop? You will miss out on the odds and you’ll face a losing record with your bets.

Imagine, that you get the odds of 1.95 instead of 2.05. Winning 50% of games with the odds of 2.05 means profit, winning 50% of games with the dropped odds of 1.95 is a loss.

The price of the picks service

You should always take into account what is your budget, what will be your unit based on sports picks’ service strategy, and if you will ever make a profit.

Professional sports bettors bet around 1% per game from their starting bankroll. So if you start with $10,000, your recommended bet is $100.

Check how many games they release per year, what is their expected profit, and then see if buying picks even make sense.


If you pay one service $100 per month and if they make 10 units per month and if your unit is $10 (which is recommended stake with starting bankroll of $1000), you will not make any money.

  • 10 units * $10 = $100
  • Cost of the service = $100 per month
  • Profit loss including the cost of the service = $0

Final Thoughts

The best way we found to win at sports betting is by making your own bets and not following or paying sports picks. The advantages of betting markets are small and paying constantly for monthly sports picks subscriptions is not sustainable.

Paying sports picks means directly that you get worse odds because this must be automatically added to your overall investment.

You are paying for a betting advice

Nobody can make you rich overnight and nobody will win every single month. Losing is part of the sports betting world. What are you paying is advice. Some people spend hours and hours to win sports betting. You are paying for their work, but nobody should ever guarantee 100% profit in betting.

Most sports gamblers bet too much on single games

Most people who pay for betting advice don’t have a big bankroll and they don’t have a defined money strategy. Because they pay for sports picks services and a the same time they have small bankrolls, their wagers are 15%, 20%, 30% of their current bankroll to cover subscriptions.

They put themselves in a must-win situation every day. This leads to losing money and big disappointment.

Remember, that professionals bet around 1% per game and this is with the reason.

Learn sports betting basics to avoid the loss

Learn what are the odds, what is a probability, how bookmakers operate, and all other fundamentals even before you place your first bet.

The difference between sports betting investments and other types of investments is that you don’t give money to your paid sports handicapper. He can not bet for you.

Sports handicappers with their sports pick just recommend, what you should play and how much money you should play.

Everything else is on you. Learning sports betting basics will save you a lot of time, money, and energy. At the start of a sports betting career investing in knowledge is way better, than investing in paid sports picks.

Blaming sports handicappers

Never blame sports handicapper service if the bet is lost. Betting services didn’t play that game.

There are so many factors, that can happen in one game. Successful sports betting is not about single game-winners.

Paying betting picks for one day, one week, or one month is always a gambling mentality, and not understanding the importance of a large sample size betting. We come down to sports betting basics, which can save you a lot of time and money.

For the end an opinion about buying sports picks

Should you pay for the picks?

Depends on your situation, but most people who bet on sports will not benefit from buying sports picks. Taking into account the level of the knowledge of an average sports gambler, his bankroll size, his expectations, odds dropping, and the cost of picks services, buying sports picks will not pay off.

But if you decide to pay for the picks, ask them those 10 questions.

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