Handicapping for Beginners


Who will win the game? That’s the answer all handicappers are searching for and since the sportsbooks conveniently place numbers on a game in order to equalize betting on both sides, the numbers make your job of selecting the winning team more difficult. With all of the factors available to you as a handicapper and also available to the odds makers and bookmakers the difference between winning and losing comes down to the practical application of that information.

Common sense, hunches, TV games and personal loyalties are nice instruments to keep a player interested, but over the long run they are also the best way to keep you from winning! The best and most successful handicappers are money managers looking for ideal situations which are defined as games with only a high percentage of return. In individual situations dumb luck will play into the outcome of games which no amount of handicapping can overcome, but in the long run a disciplined handicapper will win more of those lucky games than they lose, because they aren’t depending on the luck-factor for winners.

Experts will gather as much information that’s available through the latest in available statistics, trends, weather, home field and team histories. One well known example of a historical trend is that NFL teams which play on the road three weeks in a row have been strong go-against plays. This trend has been a winning play for a decade.

Computer programs are also being written daily to review, analyze and predict how each team does against the point spread. These programs reflect the opinions of each individual because some handicappers give more value to some factors over others. For instance one handicapper may determine home field to be the most important issue in each game, while another believes that the coach is the most important component in a game. It is important to note that there is no “right” way to pick a game. The emphasis of a handicapper needs to be on disciplining themselves to a system that has produced winners for them and never varying from it.

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