A question that often comes up on sports betting forums is “Should I purchase betting picks?”
Personally, I’ve always answered this question as no, because very few cappers selling picks are actually winners. The few that are winners often rely on line movement, multiple unit bets on small markets, buying hooks, etc. As a result, their records are often based on lines not available to all clients. While all of these are concerns, the bigger reason not to purchase picks is that there are far more cost effective methods to beat sports for larger profits than purchasing picks allows. I’ll cover these methods in this article, and then cover a marketing tactic used by pick sellers that you’ll want to be aware of.
Beat Sports Betting Without a Tout
Method #1: Our website provides numerous sports betting strategy articles. Read our article on teaser betting strategy where you’ll find enough information to profit immediately from football teasers. Next, read our article on NFL prop betting, and you’ll have the knowledge required to beat the “which team will score first?” prop. Once familiar with this data, you can learn new skills via books on sports betting.
These are great books to tune you to think more like a winning sports bettor, and less like a fan or recreational bettor. One thing I’ll warn, however, is that these books are slightly outdated. I strongly suggest that prior to reading these books, you also read our article on the current betting market. When you’ve mastered the information in the articles and books I’ve suggested, you might then want to dive into the book Conquering Risk: Attacking Vegas and Wall Street by Elihu D. Feustel.
To sum this up, the two articles I recommended are enough to get you on track winning as a sport bettor. When you’re ready to take it to the next levels, plenty of information exists. Spending a little time and effort on sports betting will make you far more profitable than purchasing picks will.
Method #2: Follow free picks on the internet. Here at TheSportsGeek.com, we run a picks blog, where you can get the same caliber betting picks that NFL expert pick sites sell. Why pay for picks when you can get picks for free?
Our picks blog is only one source of free picks. Bloggers, forum posters, twitter users, and others give out free picks daily. While I’m sure this will sound absurd to most readers, I actually know a guy who uses custom developed software to scour the internet and find picks. The software delivers to him via a feed where any detected picks are hyperlinked. To track the pick, he clicks the hyperlink, assigns it to a user and the software does the rest. He can then go back later and find all sorts of data about how forum posters, bloggers, and tweeters are doing. This helps him not only to follow picks, but to spot winners and start paying more attention to the info they share elsewhere. This is obviously way too advanced for most of us, but the point is that looking for winners and then tracking their picks going forward can help you greatly. Once again, I ask, why purchase picks, when you can get picks for free?
When Should I Buy Picks?
When purchasing picks you need to find services that are either low cost, proven and tracked with high win rate, or of course best of all – both. The more money you spend on a picks service the higher winning percentage the handicapper will need to hit in order for you to make a profit. Check out our sports betting systems page for a list of handicappers and systems that are affordable.
Starting Off Small
For recreational gamblers, sport betting is meant to be fun. There are tons of contests on the internet that you can enter for either free or low stakes. During the football season, anyone who wins a $5 staked 10-team parlay at Bovada.lv also receives a share of the $10,000 weekly jackpot which is split with all winners. If there is no winner, the jackpot rolls over to the next week. Meanwhile, an old sportsbook previously offered $100,000 free to anyone who picks a perfect parlay card. While these are long shots, there are also picks pools, survivor pools, etc. available at the start of the season. Starting in late August, begin Google searches for NFL contests, and starting in late February, search for March Madness contests and bracket buster challenges. This type of betting can be a lot more fun that purchasing picks, and it can help you grow a bankroll while learning.
Now, if you’re a serious sports bettor looking to do this as an investment, purchasing picks is not the way to go. Once you win enough, your opportunities to wager become less, as no one wants to take your bets. Getting around this requires creativity, and the more knowledge you actually have about sports betting, the more creative you can get.
Reason to Avoid Touts
Having already presented a solid argument on reasons not to purchase picks without attacking the pick selling industry, it’s time now to get a little more dirty. The first thing to understand is that the tout industry is based off hype and marketing that plays on desperate gamblers. In sports betting, there are a lot of degenerate gamblers absolutely buried in debt looking for a way out. Also in this group, you’ll find a lot of extremely naïve people, which is easily explained by the fact that this is the group who feels they can make a profit randomly picking, despite the bookies 4.55% house edge. While most bet responsibly and use sports betting for entertainment, many are much deeper than that, and this is who the touts target.
To give an example of an ad that plays on the naïve, I’ll share the details of a newsletter I recently got from one of the largest and most reputable expert picks site. The header is a large advertisement with a photo of one of the cappers, and the impressive text states “Going back to last year he is riding a STAGGERING 13-5 ATS (72.2%)”, and reading further into the text, this relates to his picks on Fridays – yes, only Fridays. Below this, to the side of the newsletter’s main content, there are three smaller ads which each have a photo of a capper. The first capper is 13-4 on NFL games this month, the second has 27 years in business and wants to sell me a pick (no stats), where the third won last night and thinks he’ll do the same tonight.
I’ve played down what the ads say a little, and the ad copy is great with many claims sure to get a casual sports bettor interested. However, as a professional gambler and someone who uses statistics on a daily basis, I have a much different opinion. The first thing that jumps out at me is the opening ad, and I say, “what the heck makes Friday special?” If this capper is winning long term, wouldn’t his overall record be much more relevant than some obscure stat. What are his records on other days of the week? Now don’t get me wrong; maybe he has a winning record all 7 days of the week, I have no idea, what I’m simply saying is that they dived into a huge pool of stats to come up with whichever statistic looked best. He could in fact be a massive career loser and have a stat run like this on “Fridays dating back to last season”.
I had similar feelings about the 13-4 in October advertisement. Out of curiosity, I went and checked this company’s main website and found they have 15 cappers marketed as NFL experts selling picks. Having some knowledge of statics, I ran the math. If 15 people flip a coin heads or tails a total of 17 times each, there is a 73% chance one of them hits heads at least 13 times. More or less, if I had 15 monkeys picking teams at random, I’d have a similar stat to share.
Expert pick sites are great marketers, I’ll give them that. However, these ads are rather deceiving, as most are just cherry picked ripples of variance. It’s good marketing and the company might be legit; I just encourage you to keep a level head and not to get drawn into purchasing picks based on tout marketing hype. These guys have tons and tons of data that they can pick from, and they can market their results in such a way that desperate gamblers want to buy.
Once again, rather than pay for picks, why not get them for free at a free picks blog such as our sports betting picks blog that provides winners weekly at no cost. Ultimately, though, buy betting picks or don’t buy betting picks. It’s your choice. Whatever you decide, we wish you the best of luck.