November 15, 2021 Sports Betting

Handicappers Vs. 'Scamdicappers'

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Sports betting analysts from The Game Day explore the world of betting tipsters, and explain how punters can find trust in this ever-growing service.

With legal sports betting as accessible as it has ever been, the question arises: Who do I listen to for an edge? Clearly, most of the action is on social media, but which voice is worth engaging with?

With the ever-growing need to wade through an ocean of information – determining what information to research and which tipster picks to use or ‘tail’ – being a casual sports bettor has never been more complicated. Like anything complex, betting on sports requires a sound long-term plan and the ability to be on the lookout for possible hurdles.

 

BANKROLL MANAGEMENT, HANDICAPPERS, & ‘SCAMDICAPPERS’

Bankroll management involves two steps: Set (1) a total amount for your betting budget (your bankroll), and (2) an amount for each individual wager (unit).

Generally, bettors are recommended to place 1-5% of their bankroll on an individual wager.

Sometimes, a tipster will recommend a bettor put down an amount well above one's comfort zone. In this event, a ‘scamdicapper’ might’ve just blown their cover.

‘Scamdicappers’ often charge exorbitant fees for their services and advise you to go beyond what your resources allow, emptying your pockets on a single wager. They will even get you to the point where they recommend you stake double or triple your allotted budget so that you will place their minimum bet on  a sensationalized ‘Lock of the Day’ type of tip.

If you vary the amount you’re placing on each bet, you’re only increasing the margin for error,” says pro bettor Kenny Bets Big. “[Betting for the long term] is no different than when you invest in stocks or cryptocurrency. You spread it out and diversify it to give yourself the best chance for long-term profitability.”

 

CHALLENGES IN WINS, LOSSES & VERIFYING PICKS

Prospective bettors looking for help should check on the transparent sharing of win-loss records with the total units won or lost. Unfortunately, an albatross still hangs around the neck of the betting industry: the potential fabrication of bets, which can be manipulated with internet publishing tools.

“No one actually hits 90% of their bets and is up 10,000 units in a season,” said Matthew Holt, President and CEO of US Integrity who also serves as Vice-Chair of the Fantasy Sports & Gaming Association. “But if you can show that, through the course of the season, you are maintaining a success rate in the 53-58% range, and it is being tracked transparently, that may help drive some customers your way.”

Sports betting publishers are aiming to promote transparency as the field of public 'experts' grows.

“From a record tracking perspective, if someone wants to keep a public record, our site ensures that when a user locks in a pick, it actually exists at a sportsbook,” said Rob Pizzola, pro bettor and COO of Betstamp, a site that locks and tracks betting predictions from registered, approved personalities. “This prevents users from uploading picks after the games have started or gone final (past posting) or from posting fake lines that were never available to boost their record."

Context matters, though. A pundit’s win-loss record can go a long way toward building credibility. However, if a bettor has a losing record, that doesn’t automatically mean they aren’t profitable or worth following.

If someone has lost more bets than they’ve won but actually finishes up in their units, that might underscore a talent for finding +EV (positive expected value), which can strike a big return in calculated opportunities.

 

BE CAREFUL USING BETTING TRENDS & STATS

While acquiring advice from the right tipster can set bettors on the right track, learning how to correctly research and use betting stats and trends the correct way will also help.

From NFL records against the spread (ATS) to strokes gained data for a golfer on the PGA Tour, the data at bettors’ fingertips could help determine value plays. However, blindly letting established data dictate your bets can go horribly wrong.

For example, one widely circulated NFL Week 6 stat highlighted the New York Giants’ 9-1 record ATS versus the Rams across their last ten meetings.

Is it wise to think New York is 90% likely to cover again? Probably not. Heading into this game, the Giants were dealing with plenty of injuries. Additionally, so much time had passed between those 10 matchups that this data lacks relevance.

“Trends are no substitute for the individual merits of a game,” according to Kevin Davis, a sports bettor and writer at The Game Day. “Most of the time, trends represent a small sample size and are not actually applicable to the current game’s situation. If they are, sportsbooks have generally already baked them into the line.” Be wary of tipsters who lean too heavily on data that may not help.

 

PRO TIP: FOLLOW CLOSING LINE VALUE

One trend that often plays well in long-term betting is closing line value (CLV): the pregame price that a bettor gets on the market compared to when the game starts.

For example, if an NFL handicapper puts in an early-week bet on the Dallas Cowboys at +7.5, and the game kicks off on Sunday with the Cowboys at +6, the bet at +7.5 holds a point and a half of value ahead of the market.

That closing line value may not make a difference in the result of the bet, but over time, planting a flag on the right side of line movements will pay off.

The inverse of this can reveal flaws in a tipster’s approach. “If a bettor is showing negative closing line value, it is highly improbable that a winning record is sustainable in the long run,” Pizzola said.

 

RECOGNIZE INDUSTRY & PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY

Transparency in this exponentially expanding industry will help bettors, publishers, and tipsters all the same.

Many sportsbooks offer tools to help set limits on bets placed, units wagered, and more actions over a predefined window (of course, bettors or their loved ones are advised to seek professional counselling if gambling is becoming a problem).

With a measured approach and an education on these crucial practices, beginners can take informed, carefully planned steps to create a safe sports-betting hobby that will hopefully also work toward stronger self-monitoring.

“There is an opportunity for industry regulators and operators to unite and fight back against the fraudulent activity from tipsters with nefarious intent,” Holt said. “But to do so, the industry must first put processes in place to register and identify the individuals selling the tips. This is a long, expensive process that will require significant resources but is well worth it for the consumer protections it will provide.”

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