You might have heard the terms “sports handicapper” or “sports betting handicapper” a few times, but what actually are they? To be honest, almost anybody can be one, but it takes a lot of work to be an accurate one.

What does a Sports Handicapper do?

A handicapper is somebody who handicaps – the act of analyzing results from sports games to calculate odds, set specific money amounts, and generally work out the chances of different results or outcomes to the same sports event or game. They are the people who decide when a certain team has 10:1 odds instead of 5:1, and these decisions are almost always made on the past performance of the teams involved.

There are two parts behind a handicap: the actual data and the ‘gut feeling.’ For example, data might say that the fan-favorite team only actually wins half of the games that they play, but that gut feeling of them being so popular can often count for a lot in general.  A handicapper will sift through data while also noting down their thoughts about how the game might go and what could motivate people to expect different odds. To find the best odds on live games such as Super Bowl LV, make sure to check out BetOline for the big game!

The Analysis

Companies like Kyle Covers Spreads have far more than just a single person jotting down and comparing statistics: they have full-blown algorithms that are used to refine the potential results and make the handicapping feel more accurate.

They aren’t just going to cover things like the win rate of a team, but granular data that an individual handicapper might miss: defensive and offensive strength, the amount of prep time they have been given, their current team coach, and the strategies that said coach pushes, or even just the weather that could be expected.

Handicapping can also use more obvious information, like a player being injured or the roster changing. If a star player is no longer with the team or can’t play in that match, then it makes sense to factor that into the odds being presented.

Understanding Context

Analysis is all about context. A team might technically have a low win rate, but if they are up against a team that is weaker than them, they are more likely to win anyway. A team with awful defensive strength but great offensive strength could be more likely to score and be scored against, which means that the ball changes hands more often, and there are more opportunities for one side to end up scoring multiple times in a row.

A successful sports handicapper understands the game that is being played, as well as the teams involved and the kind of details that might be important for each game. However, they also know that luck and context are equally important and that there is no such thing as 100% accuracy when it comes to sports. They also have a deep knowledge of where their skills can actually be useful – an NFL handicapper won’t try to apply that exact same technique to basketball, for example.

Why use a handicapper?

If you aren’t interested in doing any handicapping of your own, the reasons for using one anyway should be obvious: even if you end up paying for the service, they can very accurately predict the results of some sports games, and many even suggest the ways that you could bet to maximize your potential winnings. Instead of leaving things to chance, even some basic sports handicapper work can massively increase your chances of making a good bet.

Decent handicapping work requires a lot of data, and high-quality handicapping can often be a paid service. However, if you are somebody who regularly bets and isn’t afraid to put down reasonably large amounts of money to get some high winnings, then a good handicapper is almost essential. Not only can you end up winning far more (if you place your bets correctly), but some of them include their own bankroll systems to help you manage the money that you bet.

Handicappers aren’t an intimidating or shady force that you go to when you are desperate for a lucky win. They are a legitimate part of the betting process, one that comes in many forms and can be just as complicated as they are helpful. The more you understand them, the easier it becomes to understand why they’re suggesting the bet picks that they give you.