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Hi-Pe, Not Hype

Using the right metrics to find High Performing handicappers instead of relying on who's loudest

There's a lot of great sports betting handicappers out there. But for every one of those, there are at least 10 who aren't. Unfortunately it's become more and more difficult for the average sports bettor to find the good ones with the easy access everyone has on "Gambling Twitter" and other free outlets. This blog will focus on how to avoid the noise and give you the right metrics to use to put everyone on an even playing field. Only then, can you make a good decision to help you build your bankroll. Let's dive in...

Rule #1: Clear and transparent publicly visible records

If a sports betting handicapper does not have publicly visible, regularly updated records, this is a huge warning sign. Why wouldn't they? With so many options out there, having your good work visible is a must in order to validate your worth. If you can't find an updated spreadsheet or some other record-keeping method easily, you might want to remove this service from your list before you even get started.

And a recent tweet showing their recent hot streak doesn't count. Anyone can use a small sample size or piece of data to build a good hype piece. We need to see a significant sample size of all plays made, not just the ones they want you to see. I cannot stress Rule #1 enough. You have too many options to settle for anyone who isn't 100% honest and transparent.

*** Note: Spreadsheets can easily be edited. Following for a while and using screenshots to see that there is nothing unethical going on is a good way to avoid a cheater.

Rule #2: Win Percentage on its own isn't nearly enough

Ok, so this handicapper passed rule #1 and you can see all the plays they've made and they are legit. Their win percentage seems pretty solid, as we just need to win 52.4% to break even and they are currently hitting 55% winners. You are correct that 52.4% is the break-even rate on a standard -110 (1.91) bet. But what if that isn't what this particular handicapper is sending out? Winning percentage on it's own can be a very misleading metric and without another key piece of data is basically worthless. Let's use a few examples to illustrate our point (these are real examples we found on Twitter).

Example 1: Handicapper with 55% winners over a 100 bet sample size

The only statistic we could quickly find was the winning percentage. But we were able to go through the recent 100 plays and the odds that were quoted to find out that the average odds on those 100 plays was -126 (1.79). There were many plays in this data set that were quoted at -150 (1.67) to -200 (1.5) and even a few over -200 (1.5) which significantly drove up the average odds.

What win percentage do we need to break-even at -126 (1.79) odds? We can use our free calculator again (Maybe we need an endorsement with ace odds for how much we use and tout this great tool for them) to find out.

The answer is 55.8%. So even hitting at a solid 55%, we are falling short of making profit. Now, we understand that using averages isn't perfect math. The truth is if the higher odds bets are hitting at a high enough clip, we can still make profit at the 55% mark. Over time, however, regression to the mean will and always does take place. So over a large enough sample size, we need to outperform 55.8% (in this case) to make money.

Example 2: Handicapper with 60% winners on a 200 bet sample size

This particular handicapper is hitting at a great rate! But again, a similar story. We found the average odds to be -147 (1.68). In this case, that's just enough to make a little profit over time, since the break-even on these odds is 59.5%, but just barely.

Bottom line for Rule #2 is this: Win percentage only can be properly evaluated when you understand the average odds of each bet made during that sample size.

Rule #3: Units won on its own isn't enough either

So now we've found a few handicappers who have transparent and publicly visible results and are running at winning percentages that are profitable given the average odds of their bets. This is a great start!

We now want to evaluate these successful handicappers against each other to determine who should become a part of our portfolio (side note: having more than one is always a good thing especially across multiple sports and we are big proponents of finding sport-specific specialists. We will do a future blog about our personal portfolio).

We see the units won of these three potential handicappers over the same period of time (3 months) is as follows:

Handicapper 1: +20 units

Handicapper 2: +30 units

Handicapper 3: +60 units

Simple, we go with Handicapper 3.

60 units is triple of Handicapper 1 and double that of Handicapper 2!

In the words of the great Lee Corso "Not so fast my friend!" Let's take a deeper look.

Units won (or lost) alone is also not a good enough metric. We need some more context here also. What if I added the following context for you:

Handicapper 1: 250 units risked

Handicapper 2: 500 units risked

Handicapper 3: 2,000 units risked

What we didn't see in the units won was that Handicapper 3 uses a 10 unit max play and most of their plays are 5 units or more (average of 8 units per play). Handicapper 1 uses a standard 1 unit system and every once in a while gives out 1.5 or 2 unit (at most) plays (average of 1.2 units per play). Handicapper 2 is in between the two and uses a 1,3,5 unit system (average of 3 units per play).

In order for the average sports bettor to play each of these three handicappers plays, we have to adjust our unit size to make sure we can place every bet at the recommended amount without running out of money (see our prior blog on bankroll management here).

Let's say that we have a $5,000 bankroll and we don't want our average bet to be more than 2% of our bankroll (the most aggressive we would ever suggest).

  • Handicapper 1 plays we will use a unit size of $100 at the average of 1.2 units per play.

  • Playing Handicapper 2 plays we will need to adjust down to a $40 unit for the average 3 units per play.

  • For Handicapper 3 we will use a $15 unit for the average 8 units per play

In all 3 cases, our average risk will be $120 ($100 x 1.2; $40 x 3; $15 x 8).

Now let's see how much money we make on each of these handicappers over those 3 winning months.

  • Handicapper 1: 20 units won x $100 / unit = $2,000 profit

  • Handicapper 2: 30 units won x $40 / unit = $1,200 profit

  • Handicapper 3: 60 units won x $15 / unit = $900 profit

Are you shocked?

That's because using units won on its own doesn't work! The only way Handicapper 3 is a better add to your portfolio is if you used the same unit size for each of the 3 handicappers... but then we would suggest you would need 8 times the bankroll to do so. And even then, if you have that bankroll, you could just increase the unit size for Handicapper 1 to $800 and still be ahead!

To account for the difference in units risked, the key metric is Return on Investment or ROI.

ROI takes into account what the return is on the betting stakes you've put in play. ROI is simply this:

Units of Profit (or loss) / Units risked

In our example above, if we had ROI present we would have seen the following:

  • Handicapper 1: 8% ROI (20 / 250)

  • Handicapper 2: 6% ROI (30 / 500)

  • Handicapper 3: 3% ROI (60 / 2000)

Handicapper 1 is the best fit for your portfolio and if you want to make even more profit, use a bigger bankroll and increase your unit size accordingly.

Rule #4: How the incremental cost of the picks needs to be a part of the evaluation

We won't dive too deep into all the different cost structures out there for certain handicapping services. Just know this, whatever the cost is, you need to account for it in the ROI calculation.

If the service charges a payment, you need to subtract that from the expected profits to properly calculate your ROI ((Profit - Cost of Service) / Units risked).

Now we hear a lot that you should never pay for picks. We think on face value, that's not necessarily true either. There's a contradictory saying that "you get what you pay for."

Our philosophy at Soccer Picks Club is a one-time small investment of $50. This is literally the only payment required... forever. We do this for 2 reasons:

  1. In our experience, having all plays for free can lead to some people following along who aren't serious and don't understand that this is about long-term profits, not looking for today's "lock" to throw their last $50 on.

  2. We put a lot of time into our service. This nominal fee covers some of the time investment and costs that we take on to run our model and find profitable plays for ourselves and our members.

We hope you found this information insightful.

Follow these 4 rules and you will find the right handicappers to add to your sports betting portfolio!

As always, for interest or more information about joining Soccer Picks Club, please email or DM us on Twitter at the below.


@Soccer_Winners on Twitter

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