What Does Handicapping Mean in Sports Betting with Examples
by Doc's Sports - 10/1/2014
Handicapping is to analyze a game or event in an attempt to get a sense of who is likely to win so that you can profit from through betting. Handicapping, ideally, will help you understand the probabilities of each team winning or covering the spread. When you know the probabilities you can understand if the bet makes sense based on the available odds. Not surprisingly, handicapping is what a handicapper does to find an edge and identify the bets with a long-term expectation of profit.
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There is no one way to handicap games. There are successful handicappers who use very complicated, intricate computerized systems driven by endless data mining. Others rely on game tape to look for players that aren’t at their best in ways that could impact the outcome of the game. Some handicappers will ignore the teams entirely and focus on the line movement for opportunities. Some will use angles and systems to find repeatable chances for profit. Quite often, handicappers will combine several different approaches depending upon the circumstance. There is no one correct way to handicap. All that matters is the single, ruthless measure of handicapping prowess - your long-term profit and loss.
Handicapping is rarely black and white. It can be all about combining several factors and looking for an overall situation that makes sense. For example, a professional handicapper might make an NBA prediction on the Celtics to cover the spread over the Knicks based on a combination of a fundamental factor (the Celtics are the best 3-point shooting team in the league and the Knicks are the worst 3-point defense in the league), a statistical or trend-based factor (the Celtics have covered seven of eight spreads against the Knicks at home), and a situational factor (the Knicks are playing their fourth game in five nights and the Celtics are well-rested).
One thing that is certain is that handicapping well is extremely difficult. People who are good at it don’t take it for granted and know how tough it can be. People who are not good handicappers will often think they really are, and will grossly overestimate the edge they have through their handicapping.
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