Choosing a Sports Handicapping Service 

Here’s how to choose a sports handicapping service.

Key Points

– Consider your betting style before thinking about a sports handicapping service.

– The best cappers in the industry have winning percentages between 55 and 60 percent.

Choosing a Sports Handicapping Service 

If you bet on sports, you may have thought of using a handicapping service. Some sports bettors believe that employing a professional to make their selections is the same as cheating or wasting their money. Both, however, are untrue. 

Of course, if you’re good at handicapping, have the time to do it, and enjoy it; you probably don’t need a sports handicapping service. The truth, though, is that a competent sportsbook can be well worth the money, especially if you bet on sports three to seven days a week. 

For many bettors, the difference between making money and losing money can depend upon a reliable picks service. How do you pick one? Like any industry, there are far too many con artists in the business just looking for a money grab. 

There are certain things to look for when choosing a sports handicapping service. Read on to learn more.


Type of Bettor

What type of bettor are you? This is an important question when thinking about using a sports handicapping service. If you are a recreational bettor that might wager a couple times a week, a handicapper is probably not a wise investment.

The same holds true for the bettor whose betting unit size is relatively small. Some bettors are $1 to $5 bettors and might even stretch that to $10 or $20. In most cases, it will not make enough financial sense for those bettors to use a handicapping service. 

Now, if you are a bettor that wants to make money betting and maybe even make it a full-time thing, you definitely need a capper. If you wager $50 and $100 per bet, you could benefit greatly from using a picks service.

Take a look at yourself first as a bettor. Is your team down 0-2 in the NBA playoffs? Then, determine whether or not you should even begin looking for a professional handicapper.

Trust & Reputation

Once you’ve determined that you can benefit from the services of a handicapper, you begin the search. Your goal is to find trustworthy and reputable cappers or pick services. 

Those that are legitimate will be able to provide you with reliable information that can be verified. This data will include things like success rate and average winnings per unit for customers of their service. You may even find a capper that provides tips like betting NCAA football totals.

Any service that seems in any way sketchy…stay away. If something doesn’t feel right, there’s a reason. As was mentioned, there are a lot of scammers out there in this industry.

Handicappers that have long track records and have been in business for a long time are usually the ones you can trust. 

Don’t Fall for the Hard Sell

You have to avoid being duped by pressure or hard sell methods. A reliable handicapping service is aware that you need some time to think things over as this is a significant decision for a bettor. 

It’s like deciding on hiring a stock broker to take care of your investment portfolio. You aren’t going to trust any old schmuck to be in control of your nest egg. It’s the same in the sports handicapping business. 

Sites that make outlandish claims, such as an 89 percent winning rate, should be avoided. That might be true for a day, a week, or even two, but in the long run no handicapper out there has anything remotely close to an 89 percent winning percentage. 

Sports Handicapping Service Success Rate

Speaking of success rates, it is important for bettors to realize the best in this business will have winning percentages of somewhere between 53 and 60 percent. Typically, a handicapper that wins 55 percent of the time is winning a ton of money. 

At standard odds of -110, sports bettors must win 52.4 percent of the time just to break even. That makes 53 percent the magic number. Now, when you factor in betting on underdogs, it’s easy for some handicappers to win 53 percent of the time and make a lot of money.

Outlandish claims of 65, 70, and 75 percent (or even higher) success rates are absolute lies. Is it possible to go 100 percent in a week? Sure. Some professional handicappers are good enough to go off for a short period of time and win numerous bets in a row. 

Remember, though, that no bettor wins all the time. The average bettor doesn’t win 50 percent of the time. That’s why sportsbooks are still in business.


It’s worth finding out if a sports handicapping service offers a guarantee of any kind. Many of the best cappers in the business will offer some sort of guarantee. Typically, the guarantee comes in the form of more picks.

For example, you buy a day’s worth of NBA picks from a service. The service provides three picks and guarantees that you will go 3-0. If you do not, the service gives you a week’s worth of picks for free.

Of course, the guarantees are greater on bigger packages. Handicappers will sell picks daily, weekly, monthly, and even annually. The bottom line is to choose a service that offers some sort of guarantee. 

There is no such thing as a money back guarantee in the picks business. Still, bettors can feel like they are getting more value if they lose on a handicapper’s pick. They receive more free picks that can help them make up for those losses.

Other Amenities

What else can a handicapping service do for you? You should inquire as to how the service will communicate with you. You might receive picks via email or text. There may be text alerts that you can sign up for. A capper may also recommend his best bookie. The better the communication, the more satisfied you will be with the service.

It might be worth looking into if a service will offer instruction on unit size. Many of the best cappers out there will offer their picks and the unit size they would wager. For example, a capper that specializes in betting NBA point spreads really likes the Celtics -3.5. He gives you the pick and tells you it’s an all-in bet. Whatever your top unit size is would be the suggested wager. You don’t have to follow this advice, but it is available.