It's quite common for bettors, particularly recreational ones, to think about following sports picks or tips at one time or another. The idea of making money just through following the experts can be very tempting. The problem, though, is that it's not quite that simple.
For one thing, the number of services providing betting picks is huge. The internet, and social media especially, has made it easy for anyone to give out their betting "expertise" to the public, and it is difficult to know who's providing valuable information and who isn't.
A lot of the stuff you'll find at places like Twitter and Facebook is relatively useless. It's largely from betting enthusiasts who just enjoy sharing their views, or want to build up an audience for their own satisfaction. These people typically don't charge for their picks, and some of them do occasionally provide some useful insight and information, so there is no real harm in checking them out from time to time. You shouldn't expect to make huge profits from following them though.
There are plenty of paid services available too. A lot of these are also fairly useless, and not at all worth paying for, but some of them are run by people who genuinely know what they are talking about. The big question is whether or not these services actually reflect value for money. That is something we endeavor to answer in this article.
Making money from sports betting is not at all easy. Anyone can do it, but the reality is that most bettors don't. To be truly successful you need patience, discipline, and a decent amount of sports knowledge. You also need to put in the necessary time and effort to identify possible betting opportunities and assess their value.
These requirements are why paying for picks can be so appealing. You may really enjoy betting, but not have enough time to carry out research and evaluate potential bets. You may not be very disciplined, or be patient enough to wait for the right opportunities. You may simply not be very good at picking winners. None of this matters if you decide to just to follow picks. If you use a reliable service which consistently provides good quality picks, you may well be able to make some money without having to put in any real effort yourself.
Paid picks don't have to replace your own efforts though, they can complement them too. Many services provide comprehensive write-ups with their picks, explaining the rationale behind the decision to recommend a wager. With services like this you are not just paying for the selections, you are also paying for the insight.
This can be useful for validating your own decisions, or highlighting where your thinking might be a bit off. It may also make you look at factors that you had not previously been taking into account. Therefore the right service will not only provide you with some winners, it can also help you to improve your own betting skills over time.
There are clearly some advantages to paying for picks, but there are some disadvantages to consider too.
One of the main problems you face if you decide to pay for picks is in choosing a service. We've already mentioned how many there are, and how hard it is to determine which of these are any good. Most paid services will provide some kind of record of their previous picks, but you can't always be sure that they are being entirely accurate.
The only way to know for sure if a service is any good is to try it out for yourself and follow the picks for a while. This could end up being a complete waste of money. If it takes you a few attempts to find a service that actually helps you win money, you could already have done some serious damage to your bankroll.
Even if you manage to find a service that provides regular winners, there is no guarantee that you'll make a profit consistently. All bettors have bad runs where they can't land a winning bet, and pick providers are no different. You still have to pay, though, if a service is going through a bad run with its picks. You'll be losing money on your bets too, so again your bankroll could take a real hit.
It's also worth noting that you need to stake a certain amount to make a picks service pay for itself. To highlight this we'll use a simplified example, of a hypothetical picks service that charges $50 a month and generally recommends wagers at even money odds (+100 in moneyline odds, 2.00 in decimal odds).
Let's assume that this service has a win rate of 60%, which would be considered a good rate for bets at these odds, and generally provides a total of around ten wagers a month. In an average month you would therefore win six wagers and lose four. With even money odds you would win an amount equal to your stake, so if you were staking $25 each time you would win $25 six times ($150 in total) and lose $25 four times ($100 in total).
This would give you a total betting profit of $50, which is exactly what you'd be paying for the service. If your stake was less than $25 for each wager, you wouldn't make enough to pay for the service.
There are cheaper picks services available, but the fact remains that the cost will always eat into any betting profits you make. Of course, this may not be an issue if your stakes are high enough and you are getting enough winners. If you don't bet large amounts, though, the costs associated with paying for picks can be a significant disadvantage.
We have shown that there are both advantages and disadvantages to paying for picks. Whether or not the advantages outweigh the disadvantages is ultimately down to your personal view and your own circumstances.
As a general rule, we believe it is much better to try and make your own selections. If you have the time to put into developing your betting skills, and doing any necessary research, you have every chance of being successful. You will also find it far more satisfying if you are making money based on your own judgments.
However, we would not go as far as to say that you should never pay for picks. It can be the right way to go if you don't have much time to spare and have a big enough bankroll to justify the costs. You will need to find a reliable service though, and that can be just as hard as picking your own winners.