One of the more popular sports betting terms you’ll hear these days is handicapping. It is actually a rather old term and has been thrown around for years. However, it is also one of the most misunderstood terms in sports betting.
Handicapping goes back over a hundred years and often referred to horse racing, where weights were added to the stronger horses to even the field. The same basic principle applies today but only in certain cases.
Let’s have a good look at what handicapping really is and how it is used today.
What Is Handicapping in Sports Betting?
Handicapping, when strictly defined, is the process where oddsmakers will turn a sporting event with varied odds into an even money contest by giving a virtual advantage or disadvantage (known as a point spread) to the competitors.
Much like adding 10-pound weights to Seabiscuit, these points are supposed to level the playing field. However, nowadays it is the sports bettor who is the handicapper, not the oddsmaker.
Oddsmakers Are NOT Handicappers
Every reputable sportsbook has an oddsmaker. Most have several. These are the guys in a dark, smokey room somewhere outside of Vegas setting the action for every and any sporting event.
They decide on the odds, the totals, and, most importantly here, the point spreads. It is here where the major misunderstanding occurs. These oddsmakers are not handicappers, but, for some odd reason, many sports bettors assume so.
The professional oddsmakers actually have no interest in leveling the playing field. Their complete interest is in getting sports bettors to place sports bets. How much money is being bet on which side is much more important to them.
Simply put, an oddsmaker’s job is to get you to bet, and that’s it. Handicappers are the ones trying to pick winning wagers. Oddsmakers give them a starting point.
How To Be A Professional Handicapper
There are thousands of professional handicappers out there, all working in various capacities. Some work for syndicates. Others work from home. Most try to sell their picks in costly packages with the promise of big winnings.
The fact of the matter is, this is a tough gig, and not many people can do it. Every recreational gambler knows this. To be a professional sports handicapper, you are going to need a big bankroll and at least a 70 percent success rate on your wagers. This is no easy feat.
Beware Of Hack Handicappers
As mentioned above, there are a ton of professional handicappers offering up packages for winning picks. These guys advertise everywhere on the internet and are easy to find.
However, the internet being the internet and sports gamblers being sports gamblers, most of these handicappers are not to be trusted. That said, there are legit handicappers out there, but to find them, you’ve got to do your research.
Do The Due Diligence
If you are seriously thinking of enlisting a handicapper to assist you along, look long and hard first. Scour the internet and all of social media. Find as many free picks as you can and see if they are coming in.
If they are advertising a system or method, study it to see if it checks out. Don’t trust advertised records and do the due diligence. Be sure to get on as many email lists as you can, as these will send you free picks weekly or even daily.
Follow them for a few weeks and see how they hold up. Just like placing a smart sports wager, you have to do your research. Finding a smart handicapper is exactly the same.