Should you use a pick service when betting on sports? It’s a good question, and it has caused debate among the betting community. Some believe that professional sports bettors should be responsible for their own handicapping – they compare using a service to having someone take the SAT for you, or hiring another singer to dub your song. Before we get too far into this debate, let’s take a look at how pick services work, what the hallmarks are of a good one, and how you might utilize such services.
What a Pick Service Does
A sports betting pick service, or handicapping service, offers clients picks on a certain number of sport-specific games played during a specified time. As an example, they may offer ten NFL picks per week for each week of the NFL season, or fifteen MLB picks per week during the regular season. Some services sell only individual picks, while others offer packages.
Service providers usually have their picks done by handicappers who are specialists in a specific sport. The most common sports offered in the U.S. are NFL and college football, NBA and college basketball, MLB and the NHL. You may find other sports; however, this is rare.
They will specify which games and teams on which you will bet, as well as the number of units you should wager on each game. They will also prescribe at what odds you should bet.
How They Work
Handicapping services will offer a certain number of picks over a specified time at a set price. Season and partial season packages are often offered as are combination deals, where you save money by subscribing to two or more sports. The handicapping provider usually offers some type of guarantee, which certainly varies from site to site.
Common guarantees may include a service saying that they will provide a certain percentage of winning bets per week or over the course of the season. The basic type of guarantee promises that you will make money. Rarely do they say how much.
What will a pick service do for you if they do not come through? They will usually, free of charge, extend your service for a specific amount of time. This is actually a good deal when you know that they are willing to continue working with you until you make money
Of course, they are only guaranteeing their picks based on the manner in which they tell you to wager. If you deviate from their recommendations, the guarantee is no longer applicable. In order to preserve the guarantee you will usually need to wager on the games and teams that the service has designated, making the unit wager that they suggest at the specified odds.
What to Look For
How do you know that you’ve found a legitimate pick service? First, look for those that have solid track records and that have been around for at least five years. How good is their success rate and how many units ahead are bettors at the end of the season? Who are their handicapping specialists? Do they have different people focusing on different sports? (They should.)
Also, consider what sort of volume they offer – that is, how many games per week are handicapped, and how discerning they are. You don’t want a pick service that handicaps every game for you. Why not? Not every game is a good bet. You want a provider who will offer you premium picks that include a unit bet strategy which will allow you to make the most out of your bankroll. They have to be able to justify the price they charge you with the potential they offer.
Be Wary Of…
There are some very good handicapping services and some very bad ones. Beware of these:
- A service that claims it has a success rate of 75% or higher.
- One that won’t identify their handicappers.
- Does not offer a reasonable guarantee.
- Offers you bogus free picks for which you are ultimately charged.
- Cannot offer you proof concerning their claims.
- Does not provide you with the number of units to bet on a game.
- Has just started out and is incredibly inexpensive.
- Calls for you to wager extremely large amounts on one or two games.
How to Use a Pick Service
You may decide to use a handicapping provider in a few ways:
- Only bet their picks.
- Bet their picks throughout the season with a combination of your own.
- Bet on just some of the picks they provide throughout the season, plus your own.
- Purchase occasional picks from them, at different times, and primarily stick to determining your own bets.
- Use them only in the postseason.
How you choose to use a pick service and when you utilize their services is entirely up to you. Whatever you do, make sure that the service you choose fits within your budget. Their price does not include the cost of your bet. You are paying to get better results than what you believe you can generate on your own.
Ups and Downs
The first thing to realize is that you cannot make a judgment in one, two, or three weeks on any service that offers sports picks. You need, at minimum, a month to figure out if a pick service is a good one. Here’s why.
During your first week, you may win 80% of your bets. The next week, you may hit just 40%. Although you’re still ahead due to your first week, that’s really a big difference in results. The following week they hit 60% and the next week 60%. In terms of accuracy, this is a good service. You can make cash winning between 55% and 60% of your bets, and with proper unit distribution, you stand to make a lot of money.
In the first week, you won more than the expected percentage, while the second week you took in less than the expected amount. The final two weeks your picks were right on target according to professional standards. On average, you have to get between 55% and 60% of your bets correct and take cash to the bank. When you put the four weeks of bets together, you’re on the high end of average. That’s a good sign.
You can usually tell how good a sports pick service is by their seasonal average. A reputable pick service will offer this information to you. As mentioned earlier, always be wary of services that make claims that are extremely hard to believe, such as they have a 90% winning average, or they are right on 99% of Monday Night Football contests.
Better Shop Around
Before choosing a sports handicapping service, shop around for some of the hallmarks mentioned in this article. Make sure the service offers what you want, and also see if they have various plans from which you can choose. You can usually purchase picks by the week or month. This will let you sample a specific service without committing to a full season. If a pick service can help you make more cash, then go for it. There’s nothing wrong with seeking expert advice on a venture that carries with it a decent amount of risk.