Infograph: Touts, The Truth About Handicappers

April 18th, 2014 By: Ron
Posted in:  Infographs, News

touts infograph smallAs sports betting became more popular after the legalization of online gambling in Las Vegas, touts as we know them today began in the late 1970s and 80s with toll free phone numbers which they used to sell handicapping picks.

Known as “scamdicappers” in some circles, these guys are almost always dishonest with the information they provide to players. Not only in regard to their handicapping prowess but information about themselves.

truth about touts

Early Days

As the popularity of sports betting began to sweep across the nation, toll free phone outlets known as sports services began surfacing in many major cities in the 1980s. These “handicapping experts” would promise players profits if they took their betting picks and advice. Of course, these services wouldn’t be giving away this wagering advice for free. They presented themselves as experts to players and charged customers premium for their picks.

Even in the early days of this industry, these guys were unregulated and ruthless in their business practices. Most were not at all skilled handicappers, but instead looking to advantage of sports bettors who didn’t know any better.

They often manipulated sports bettors into betting more money to increase their fee and lied about betting records or their betting expertise. They told clients that they had “secret” information on upcoming games and that “they would bury their bookies” if they followed their picks.

Even in the early days of the pay-for-picks phone services, the business quickly became a multi-million dollar industry. While bettors from all across the country flocked to the phone lines for nightly betting advice from experts, unfortunately all they received was misguided handicapping advice from teams of charlatans.

In the 90s, the state of New York fined many handicappers’ pay-per-pick services for lying about the accuracy of their pick. With the advent of the internet, the industry is wide open with everyone trying to make a name for themselves. (Citation: Sports Illustrated)

Tout Services Today

With the advent of the internet, pay-per-pick “handicappers” got another platform to peddle their tips. The rise in sports betting and the proliferation of online sportsbooks soon saw a new generation of touts begin to sell their sports picks online.

Why Distrust Touts?

Well, mostly because giving away your betting information and techniques as a sports betting expert is simply bad business. If one had the ability to hit 60%+ of his bets long term, he or she would be foolish to give them away for hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

Giving away expert betting advice, if you’re betting much more than the average bettor is counterproductive. Sportsbooks may limit your action if you became famous, and they would monitor your bets to see what your methods might be if you really begin to beat the sportsbooks for big money. Long story short, if these guys were crushing the sportsbooks for as much money as they claim – they would be crazy to be selling their plays for pennies compared to their so called profits. (Citation: 2+2)

Are All Touts Liars?

Not necessarily, but as outlined above, it makes little sense from a handicapping perspective. Selling picks would only diminish an expert sports bettor’s edge over the long haul. For this reason, most touts are likely outright liars or misleading their clients. Sure, some may be profitable, but because so many are dishonest, it’s hard to take them at their word.

Few post long term records; instead they try to get players in the door with their most recent hot streak, while failing to mention their losing streaks. While it’s great they have hit 8 out of their last 10 Sunday Night Football games (which may also be a lie) that proves little about their long term success.

Some touts may provide winning betting information, but it’s impossible to know for sure. As crazy as it may sound, someone who is giving free picks away may do a better job anyway. Bettors can usually find information that is just as good, if not better following handicapping message boards and forums.

Misleading and Outright Lying

Touts and payment for picks have long been dishonest with their record, even “premium” “handicappers” on top sports betting sites and forums have directly lied to customers about their records. Even well respected site in the industry have misled customers on a mass scale.

Lying directly about wins and losses isn’t the only issue. Many times, cappers will post lines after the market has been adjusted. It doesn’t matter to us for the tipster locked in the Eagles -2.5 on Monday night if by the time he releases the play, it has moved to -3.5. Of course, if the Eagles win and cover, the handicapper gets to count the game as a win in his books. However, the fact that his clients didn’t get the pick in time to take advantage of the key number is irrelevant to the tout.

While some sports handicapping watchdog services track and record picks of many services, a large portion of them are completely unregulated. There’s no real verification method to be sure that a tout is telling the truth. (Citation:

They’re Not Really Professionals

Pay handicappers take advantage of sports bettors when they are most vulnerable. Usually, they are losing bettors who have little concept of money management, or they are in a bad spot after a long series of losses. Some may need a “bail out” game and will seek the advice of these so-called “professionals.”

Betting sports for full time living is tough. Not only does it require a large bankroll but years and years of hard work and a keen understanding of betting markets, bankroll strategy and more. It’s extremely hard to make huge money betting sports, which is why most successful bettors are still betting part-time for extra income.

If we’re paying someone for betting picks – we want this to be their full time job. Some handicappers claim they have a full team working behind them at their “wagering office.” Unfortunately, even if they were telling the truth, we would have no way of knowing.

For all we know, they could be sitting in their office all day watching ESPN while doing minimal research, all the while charging prospective gamblers big money for their “expert analysis” of the lines.

Cuts into Player’s Winnings

The most important reason to not trust touts with your hard earned money is because it will literally cut into your bottom-line. Winning at sports betting is a game of thin margins, as even a 55% percent win percentage is excellent and 52.38% is breakeven. When bettors pay these guys for their picks, they’re reducing their profits and the chance of having a winning season.

This is especially true for those that bet smaller amounts per game, like $100 or $200 per bet. If said player pay $500 for a package of NFL picks, this will only make it harder to win money by season’s end. If the handicapper could guarantee a winning season, this would be perfectly all right, but we know that is not possible.

Author: Joseph Falchetti