Sports betting has a certain allure to it. And I get it; money won is twice as sweet as money earned. People have dreams of being able to quit their jobs and just bet on their favorite sports for a living. If only it were that easy.
You see, it doesn't matter how big of a sports fan you are. If all it took to be a winning sports bettor was to have an incredible amount of sports knowledge, then nobody would be working at ESPN, FOX Sports, or SKY. They would be using what they know to make a killing by betting on sports.
But it's not that easy.
You need an edge.
You need models (stats, not women, haha).
Most likely, you will need professional help.
And there's nothing wrong with paying for professional help.
You pay for a pro to cut your hair, to fix your car, and to take care of your health, right?
A lot of people have it in their heads that all handicappers are scammers, or that you're weak, or you can't cut it if you have to pay for a professional opinion.
Those people are statistically long-term losers.
Never listen to losers.
I wouldn't take financial advice from somebody cooking my burger at Smashburger, nor would I take medical advice from the guy that picks up my trash.
Why would I take winning advice from a loser?
Most people are losers. I ignore most people. So should you.
So now that you know that it's perfectly fine, normal, and even encouraged, to pay for professional betting advice from handicappers, how do you go about finding good handicappers?
That, my friend, is the million dollar question.
A simple search on Twitter would have you believing that every sports handicapper or tipster out there is always winning. Never losing. Always winning.
Be careful with these Twitter touts. Some of them delete their tweets of their losing bets. Most of them don't track their record, and probably don't even know what their yield or ROC is.
I bet most of them don't even know what ROC means (Return on Capital), or the difference between ROI and ROC.
It's hard to find good handicappers that work well with your style of betting, but they are out there.
Here's some tips to help you find them, and some questions you should be asking them.
Before the advent of reputable third-party bet tracker websites, it was very difficult and time-consuming to find handicappers that you could trust.
A big part of being a successful sports bettor is knowing how to set realistic expectations. You need to know how a handicapper is going to perform for you.
You can't take their word for it. Even if they're completely honest, it's human nature to forget about the bad times. I can't expect a handicapper to tell me, from memory alone, how they did 3 seasons ago in MLB.
You need to see their long-term record. You need data. You need to know what sports they're the strongest in; that provide the best yield.
You need to know what to expect, going-in, before you send them any money.
You can't expect most handicappers to know the answers off the top of their head. The reality is that 95% of handicappers out there don't even track their bets.
The best you can hope for with most handicappers is an overall win percentage and how many units they're up (because they're never down - they always win).
For these reasons, I mainly use 3rd party handicapper monitor websites to find the handicappers that I use. I also use reputable review sites that I trust, but you'll often find that even with these review sites recommendations, the handicapper is still tracked somewhere.
There are many monitoring sites to choose from; this definitely isn't an exclusive (nor exhaustive) list. It's just my own personal list that I use and recommend.
There's more than enough data on these 10 sites to keep me busy for years. It will take a lot of time to trial various handicappers to pick the ones that I am most comfortable using.
Pyckio is a site that lets tipsters (handicappers) track their picks. If the picks are profitable after 500 picks, then the handicapper gets awarded PRO status, and is able to sell their picks on the Pyckio platform.
One thing in particular that I really love about Pyckio is that when a tipster is awarded PRO status, it's only for the particular sport (or league) that he is great at.
A great example of this is Nishi Kori, a really great tennis tipster. Upon being awarded his PRO status, Pyckio determined that he was awesome at ATP, so he will only submit ATP tennis picks.
To me, it's better to use a handicapper for a particular sport (or league). Nobody has the time to be great at picking winners in all sports. There's just too many teams out there.
Pyckio is also quite active on Twitter, where they freqently promote some of their top PRO tipsters.
It's definitely a great resource to have, although you have to put the work in to find the handicappers you want to use on a particular sport/league.
PickMonitor has the potential to be a really great pick monitor site (it already has the perfect name), but it needs a motivated owner to grow the site. It's currently up for sale, for this very reason.
I don't just pay attention to the Business Members, because there are plenty of Non-Business Members that sell their picks on their own websites, and just use PickMonitor to track their picks.
You'll find a lot more handicappers here that cater to the American sports.
By the way, if you click on the screenshot above, it'll show a better quality image, and you can see who their #1 handicapper is: Custom2006.
John (Custom2006) is one of the best MMA handicappers that I've come across. I love watching UFC, so it makes it even better when I get to make money doing it.
I like BetAdvisor because they make it really easy to quickly narrow down which handicappers/tipsters you want to use.
You can either take a look at all of the top tipsters, or you can use the filters on the left to only show handicappers for particular sports, which I highly recommend doing.
BetAdvisor has tons of tipsters that are great for soccer (football), tennis and European basketball. I can't recommend BetAdvisor for the American sports.
I really like betting on soccer, because it puts my money in action during the morning and afternoon, every single day. There's always soccer going on somewhere in the world.
Why just let my money sit there, not doing anything for me? If I just bet on the American sports, I'm leaving quite a bit of money on the table.
Betting Gods is a network of highly-performing tipsters that cater more towards European sports, especially horse racing.
Anybody can submit their picks/tips to Betting Gods to be tracked/proofed, but only the best are actually invited to be a part of the Betting Gods network.
As I said, horse racing is the most popular tips on here, with soccer being second. If you're into horse racing, then Betting Gods is a great resource.
I haven't gotten into horse racing yet, but it is on my list. I am more interested in American horse racing, because of the times that the races are going on.
A lot of European racing starts in the early American hours. Betting international soccer is about as early as I'm comfortable doing.
Bettin.gs is a platform for handicappers and tipsters to track their record. I don't use them to track my bets, because they don't work with live in-play betting, which I do quite a bit of.
You can't view their top performing handicappers without paying for a membership, so you have to be creative in how you find the list of handicappers.
I like to follow their Twitter, because they frequently list the tipsters that are doing great.
I found one of the handicappers I use, Bookie Insiders, this way. They link to their Bettin.gs pages directly on their Results page.
CapperTek is a handicapper monitor that focuses primarily on the American sports, making it a very valuable resource for people that like to bet the American sports.
The only thing that I don't like about CapperTek is that the Leaderboard only goes back 90 days, which doesn't help much.
3 months is such a short time frame in this business. We need to be thinking in terms of seasons or years, not months. This is an example of what is wrong with the sports handicapping industry in the States. Sports bettors think too short-term.
CapperTek does make it a bit harder to find the great handicappers, but they are on there. You can't just do a default search and sort by the highest units, because a lot of handicappers will risk the max units (11 units) on every bet they list, just so that they can be on the top of the charts.
You want to look at handicappers that have the highest ROI, over a large number of picks. Once you find some that you're interested in, you can click on the "View Picks" link next to their name.
From that page, you can see their full record across all sports, as well as broken down by each individual sport. You can also view the same for specfic time periods.
You have to do your homework with these handicappers, just because of how CapperTek is laid out. It would be better if the site were more organized, but it is a goldmine of information if you're willing to do the work.
I don't remember how I found Honest Betting Reviews, but it's a great site. They test various handicappers, tipsters, and systems for at least 3 month periods to see how they perform (and even longer if they're top performers).
Horse racing is very popular in Europe, so they offer a lot of information on various horse racing tipsters and systems.
They also list some tipsters that handicap sports. Their reports are very thorough, and overall it's a good site to use.
Secret Betting Club is a great website that any serious sports bettor should be a member of. They put out a wealth of information, and they provide a list of tipsters that are incredibly profitable.
There are a lot of members of SBC that bet on sports for a living, so I enjoy being a member of the site and reading some of their interviews.
It's very motivating to hear about people's experiences that are currently doing exactly what you're trying to do.
SBC does list a number of horse racing tipsters, but they also track several sports handicappers, making it well worth joining.
I stumbled across Smart Sports Trader on Twitter one day.
I like his site because he's also trying to do what I'm doing, and he has some great reviews on his site for various tipsters and systems that he's using to make money from sports betting.
He has a lot of information on trading sports, which is something that I am learning how to do. I am using one of the handicappers that he uses and recommends, and I will be adding more in the future.
One particular page that I really like is his 50k in a year challenge. It's just very motivating and inspiring for me to follow along other people who are more ahead of the game than I am.
If you're a fan of betting UFC/MMA, then you'll like BetMMA.tips.
It's the best MMA handicapper monitor site that I've found. Betting on UFC and MMA has been highly profitable for me, and that's because I've done the research into finding the best MMA handicappers for my portfolio.
If I had a large enough bankroll, I could easily make a living just betting my own system picks and MMA.
Everybody has their own betting style that they're the most comfortable with. Some people are more comfortable taking risks, and they're fine following a golf tipster that only wins 25% of the time (picking the winner of golf tournaments pays out incredibly large odds).
Other people would rather win more often, but win smaller amounts. There's nothing wrong with either approach; it just depends on what you're comfortable with.
Some handicappers release 1-3 picks per day (and sometimes none at all). Others release 10+ per day. It's entirely up to you.
Personally, I'd rather follow 5 handicappers that release 4 picks a day, than 2 handicappers that each give out 10 picks. But that's my preference. It's not right nor wrong; it's just what I like.
When you're looking for handicappers to follow, the most obvious thing to look at first is whether or not they're profitable. Look at their ROI or yield to see if they make money over the long-term.
ROI/yield is preferable to the amount of units they're up, because ROI tells you everything you need to know. Some handicappers try to manipulate their record by betting large amounts of units on their picks (on 3rd party pick monitor sites). They can't manipulate ROI.
I like to see a yield of at least 5%. That's a really great return, and I'm completely happy with that. Note that when I'm talking about yield or ROI, I'm talking about the return on a per-bet basis.
With a 5% yield on a per-bet basis, I know that for every $100 I risk, I will make $5. So if over a few months, I bet a total of $65,000 and get a 5% yield, I would profit $3,250.
The next number you want to pay attention to is how many picks they've released. You want to see at least 1,000 picks tracked on their record. Note that this will be hard to do for American football, because there are so few games played each season.
Anybody can get lucky for 100-200 picks. It's not luck anymore once you hit 1,000 picks. The more picks they have tracked, the more you can rely on their stats. It's a great indicator of how likely they are going to continue performing at that rate.
After ROI/yield and # of picks, I like to look at how long they've been releasing picks (their actual tracked record). I've seen handicappers that had a great season and then completely bomb the next 2 seasons. I like to see 3 years worth of stats.
It's difficult to have a positive ROI for 1,000+ tracked picks over 3 years. Any handicapper that passes these 3 criteria is definitely somebody you should highly consider adding to your portfolio.
However, we're not done yet.
This 4th step is just as important as the first 3.
You need to know if the amount you bet per game is sufficient to make a profit, after paying for their service.
Any handicapper worth following will have the numbers you need to determine if they will potentially be profitable for you (nothing's ever guaranteed - there's always a risk that the handicapper will have a losing season).
To find out if you can afford a handicapper, you need to know 4 numbers:
Let's say a handicapper releases 3 picks a day, so that's 99 picks a month. Their picks return a 5.3% yield, they charge $99 a month for their service, and you have a sufficient bankroll to bet $25 a pick (to bet $25 a pick, you should have a $2,500 bankroll).
Based on these numbers, this service would be barely profitable for you.
The formula is pretty simple:
Once you have your profit, just subtract the handicapper's fee, and there's your net profit.
So in this example, 99 x $25 = $2475.
$2,475 x 5.3% = $131.18.
You can expect to make about $130 per month, on average, from this handicapper. However, they're charging $99 a month, leaving you with $32.18 a month profit. To me, that's not worth it.
However, most handicappers offer a significant discount if you buy a season or annual pass. $99 a month for 12 months is $1,188.
If you can negotiate for $500 for a whole year, you've added to your profit a lot. In this example, you would've taken your average monthly profit from $32.18 to $89.51, which is a huge difference.
So after I find a handicapper that meets all of these criteria, then I like to find out when (and how) they release their picks. What time of day, are they consistent, do they send an email, text message, or do I have to login to a website to get them?
The last thing that I look at is the overall profit chart. It might seem smarter to look at this upfront, but it's just the way I do things. I like to see if it's a gentle upward climb, or if there's big spikes either way.
It really comes down to what you're most comfortable with. I personally don't like large spikes either way. I prefer a gentle climb, not a roller coaster (even though I love riding roller coasters in real life).
I should point out that I always look at these numbers on a per-sport basis. I don't have any good experiences with handicappers that try to sell picks in all sports, year-round.
I pick handicappers based on how they do in a particular sport, and I tend to join them for the entire season. Their rates are cheaper, which means more profit for me.
Steve firmly believes that most meals can be improved with mac n cheese. When he's not helping people make money betting on sports, Steve loves mountain biking, playing video games with his son, & annoying his wife. Oh, and he's a big Dallas Cowboys fan. Don't hate.