The Fallacy of the Hot Handicapper

 

Last Updated: 2017-05-11

buying sports picksNobody has ever really studied the number of bettors who make their own selections on a daily basis, although I’d venture it’s a relatively small number. Many bettors will follow the selections of a sports service or public handicapper or at the very least, see which teams they like and occasionally tag along depending on how the handicapper is doing and if they happen to agree with their picks. And there’s nobody bettors like to follow more than a “hot handicapper.”

The question of “who’s hot” is one that gets almost daily in most betting forums and many bettors will tag along with somebody who has gone on a 12-2 run. What ends up happening more often than not, however, is that bettors piggyback somebody who is about to cool off and fall victim to the law of averages. Nobody is going to hit 80% over an extended period of time in any sport.

Likewise, many bettors will jump off of somebody who has hit a slump. Again, what often happens here is you stop following them just as they are about to turn things around. Making matters worse is that they’ll jump from the guy who is “cold” and move to the “hot” handicapper just as the two are about to see a form reversal.

This is frequently referred to as “handicapper shopping” and frequently leads to trouble for a bettor. It’s one of the primary reasons why the majority of bettors are going to end up in the hole at the end of the year. Professional touts are quick to boast when they’ve been on a winning run, knowing they’ll likely attract some new customers because of that fact. But if you’ve ever jumped on the “hot” handicapper you probably already know they were unable to maintain their winning ratio over any stretch of time.

All handicappers, good or bad, are going to have periods of doing well and periods where things don’t go right. Just as the worst handicappers around are going to have some winning streaks, the best handicappers will also have some slumps. It simply can’t be avoided.

If you find somebody who has proven himself to be competent over a stretch of time, stick with them. Sure, you’re going to have some losing streaks, but those will most likely be followed by winning stretches, where you can recover previous losses and get in the black.

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