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Should You Pay for Sports Betting Picks?

Written by: Richard Janvrin
10 min read

Paying for sports betting picks essentially means paying a professional gambler or betting company to tell you how to bet. Thanks to the internet and increasingly powerful analytic software there are lots of options.

But is buying sports picks really worth it?

There is no straightforward answer to whether buying sports picks and advice is a good idea. There are positives and negatives associated with it and deciding whether it’s right for you really comes down to your personal situation.

On this page, we walk you through the world of paying for sports picks in detail, including:

  • How buying sports picks works and how to get started.
  • What kind of gamblers benefit from buying picks.
  • The advantages and disadvantages of using capping services.
  • The dangers of paying for picks, especially from non-reputable sites.
  • Finally, we look at the many alternatives to paying for picks and suggest other ways that internet technology can influence your sports betting.

There’s no doubt that paying for picks is a really useful service for some people. If you’re serious about sports betting it’s definitely worth getting all the information so you can make an informed decision.

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What Are Sports Capping and Picks Sites?

Sports capping sites or picks sites are services where a professional bettor or company charges a fee to give you “expert” sports betting predictions.

The predictions can be based on statistical models, a group of people’s analysis, or simply one person’s opinion. Anyone can create a website and set themselves up as a sports picker. Because of this, it is very important to sort the worthwhile options out from the duds, as we will explain later.

You’ll often see sites like this called “capping” sites. It stands for handicapping which is the process of generating odds for different sports outcomes.

Most commonly, capping sites work on a subscription basis, meaning you pay for predictions for a predetermined period. It could be a round of games, a month or a full season. Some sites also have options for one-off purchases of special picks or data.

As well as indicating which teams you should bet on, picking services will let you know what odds you should look for before betting, and often how much you should bet. There are pick sites for all major sports including NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, and many more.

When you use a picks site you are paying for information and opinion, which you can then use to make bets if you choose.

Picks sites are designed to help casual bettors decide who to bet on, and help them make a profit. They are often marketed towards three types of bettors:

  • New bettors who have limited knowledge about sports or gambling.
  • Bettors who don’t have time to research.
  • Bettors who want to bet big and earn a lot of money

Capping site owners always style themselves as professional and ultra-expert bettors, with a hugely positive winning percentage over a long period of time. However, it is worth repeating that anyone can claim themselves to be a “professional” and set up a site. That said, there are many reputable options available.

Another thing to keep in mind is that some pick sites, like WSN, provide expert picks for free. This begs the question: why pay for something that you can get for free? Our experts do all of the analysis for you to bring you the best possible picks every day. Our best MLB bets page is updated every day during the season, as are our MLB props and NRFI bets pages. Our NFL picks against the spread page offers picks for every matchup during the regular and postseason.

What Kind of Gambler Should Buy Picks?

Using picks sites can be a good idea for people who are new to gambling but enthusiastic to get involved quickly and learn from more experienced gamblers.

Since you can pick a subscription period that suits you, new bettors could easily give themselves a month or two of learning from pick services before going it alone, like training wheels on a bike.

If you are not a newbie you can ask yourself a few questions to get a better idea if this kind of service is right for you:

  • Are you satisfied with your current sports betting record?
  • Do you win some weeks and lose others, but have fun regardless?
  • Have you steadily made money from modest betting?

In cases like these, buying picks might not be for you. However, what if you are investing a lot of time and money into sports betting but consistently getting negative results?

Diverting some of your bankroll or budget into paying for picks could be a good way to set you back on the right course.

Time and Bankroll

Time management is also important. If you are interested in betting and want to bet every week but you just don’t have time to do the necessary research, buying picks can be a shortcut. The convenience of buying picks is an appealing factor for those who want to place a bet each week but just don’t have time to research for themselves.

Your betting bankroll is another big consideration before deciding whether to use picks. If you are only betting a couple of bucks each weekend, then it is highly likely that it just doesn’t make financial sense to buy picks, since the cost would eat into any profits you would make. You probably need a decent-sized bankroll before paying for picks becomes worthwhile.

If you are willing to invest a lot of money in betting, and you are more interested in turning regular profits than in the fun of deciding who to bet on, a trusted picks site can be very useful.

Listen to tips on sports betting and how to manage your bankroll on our sports betting podcast, Wise Kracks.

Make Research Part of the Fun

A big part of sports betting is the fun of researching and strategizing, and the satisfaction when your research pays off. Paying for sports picks and blindly following them removes this element. If you are in it for the love of the sport, you might not want to pay for the opinions of others.

In short, the ideal candidate to use picks sites would be someone with a healthy bankroll who is more interested in making money than spending time analyzing sports.

The worst-suited candidate would be someone who gets a kick out of deciding how they will bet each week, a sports fan, and casual bettor who doesn’t like to gamble too much money.

Every case is different, you need to decide whether it is right for you.

Buyer Beware

As we have already mentioned, anyone can set up a picks site for sports betting and claim an impressive win rate. This means that you should be very careful before you start paying anyone for picks.

There are many options on the market, and the majority of them are not worth it. Worse still, there are a significant number of sites that are set up entirely to scam unsuspecting new bettors.

The options out there range from legitimate winning services to straight-up scams. If you decide to use a picking service, you should be ultra-careful about selecting one. Following recommendations from friends who have been using services for a long time is a good option.

Even if a site is not a scam and the person providing the picks is a well-meaning bettor who is trying their best to provide good advice, chances are they will not be successful enough to be worth spending money on. Of all the options available, only the very best few will offer enough value for the money to make it worthwhile.

Tips for Choosing a Sports Picks Site

Try to choose sites that have been endorsed by lots of customers or reputable sports sites. The longer a picks site has been in existence, and the bigger profile it has, the less likely it is to be a scam. Doing your homework is key before handing over any money.

Most services provide a breakdown of their methods and win records, which you should check thoroughly to see if it appears legit. The more information they give you about the people making the picks or their logic, the better. Basically all picks sites claim a high win percentage, but few genuinely deliver.

Many sites offer a guarantee, which means that if you don’t win a predetermined percentage of bets they will extend your contract with them. However, this will only apply if you follow their betting patterns exactly as they prescribe.

Remember, if you think you can have identified a reputable site that provides the kind of advice that you feel you are missing in your betting, you can always subscribe for a short period of time to see how things go.

Advantages of Paying for Sports Picks

Depending on your circumstances, there can be valuable advantages to finding a legitimate capping site and paying for picks to help you bet:

  • They help you make greater profits.
  • They are convenient and offer you the chance to get involved in sports betting even if you don’t have the time to read up on it.
  • They offer a fast and easy way into betting for the complete beginner with little sports knowledge.
  • They are another source of information, and even if you only use them for a short time they should make you better at analyzing and understanding betting if you are committed to learning from them.

Disadvantages of Paying for Picks

At the same time, paying for picks comes with some disadvantages that you should consider very carefully before deciding to follow that path:

  • Paying for picks is costly, which eats into any profit that you would have made from simply deciding on your own bets.
  • It can be difficult to find a trustworthy site, which will require research and patience – something that using betting picks was supposed to remove.
  • There is always the risk of being scammed.
  • Depending on your outlook, paying for picks arguably removes a lot of the fun from sports betting.
  • You probably need a pretty healthy bankroll for the numbers to make sense.

Best Alternatives to Paying for Picks

While it is true that the market for paid sports betting picks is pretty crowded, there are at least as many free resources out there too.

Sports betting, like being a fan of sports in general, means that people like to build communities and share their predictions and strategies. The internet has countless free sources of information, all of which can help make you a more successful bettor.

The sports gambling sub-forum on Reddit.com and similar forums are a great place to get a feel for how successful gamblers like to bet. You can watch experienced gamblers discuss upcoming bets, follow their progress, even ask them direct questions about strategies.

Free forums like this are a great way to cut your teeth before considering whether to pay for picks or not. Sites like these can also be invaluable in calling out bogus subscription services.

Always remember that there are thousands of sports betting strategy guides available for free on the internet. Before jumping into paying for picks, read up on strategies and tactics.

Make sure to learn how to shop around for the best lines, how spread betting works, and what key numbers are. If you really want to improve as a bettor, there are plenty of options apart from paying for someone else’s picks.

Many sportsbooks have community forums, with pages dedicated to each sport where bettors discuss their upcoming bets. You can find experienced gamblers with YouTube pages and Twitch accounts where you can keep up with their betting in real-time.

All in all, there are a lot of resources out there. If you are considering signing up for picking services, make sure you have checked out all the other free information available first.

You may find you don’t think you need to pay for picks anymore, or you will have a better idea of how to find a picking service that suits you

Are Pay Capping Sites for Me?

Sports capping and picks sites are not for everyone. Every bettor is different with different goals, different finances, a different level of knowledge, and different schedules. Depending on what combination of these you find yourself with, paying for picks could make a positive contribution to your betting experience or it could be a waste of money.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Am I more interested in turning a profit than thinking about sports?
  • Is my schedule too jammed to find time to study form and odds?
  • Do I have a healthy bankroll, and just want to have a few bets each week without devoting too much time to it?

If you answer yes to these questions, you should consider paying for picks.

If you answered no to most of them, picks services probably are not the right choice for you.

Remember to be vigilant when deciding on a picks site that is best for you. There are plenty of scams out there, and still more well-meaning dud sites. Follow recommendations if possible, and research any picks site thoroughly before you give them money.

Whether you think picks sites are right for you or not, remember to check out all the free resources available for sports bettors on the internet.

Whether sports betting is currently legal where you live or not, you can easily start checking out picks sites and keeping track of their records. If you are betting regularly yourself, check how their record compares to your own. Shop around and figure out which sites have the best reputation.

If sports betting is not currently legal where you live, you can still follow along with tips and results. When legal sports betting arrives, which likely will not be long, you will be ready to make informed bets.

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Richard Janvrin

550 Articles

After graduating from the University of New Hampshire with a BA in Journalism, Richard Janvrin has been covering iGaming and sports betting since December 2018. Richard has covered betting at Bleacher Report, Gambling.com, The Game Day, Forbes, and more.

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