If you enjoy sports betting– or more importantly, if you enjoy winning at sports betting– then you’ve probably heard of handicapping. Many avid sports bettors have toyed with the idea of becoming a handicapper themselves. What does this actually entail, and how do you make the decisions and picks that let you handicap a game?

It’s time to learn everything you need to know about how to handicap sporting events and place more successful bets. We have all that information and more in our handicapping guide.

What Is Handicapping?

A sports handicapper is somebody who predicts the outcome of a game or event. They assign a "handicap" or points spread to the teams or competitors in order to level the playing field. This makes the betting more interesting. Handicappers are a huge part of what makes sports betting fun!

Handicapping is both an art and a science. The best handicappers learn how to analyze all kinds of things that may impact the game. They look at statistics, team performance, player injuries, and weather conditions. Then, they take that information and make predictions about the outcome of the game. Some handicappers (frequently called “cappers”) use specialized computer programs or algorithms to analyze data and make predictions. Ultimately, the goal is to predict the outcome of the game more accurately than the oddsmakers. Then you use that information to win big on their bets.

Why Is It Called Handicapping?

“Handicapping” might seem like a weird term for somebody who predicts the outcome of a sporting event. But when you look into the history of the term, it makes a lot of sense.

Handicapping in sports betting deals with practices that make the events themselves fairer. For example, handicapping in horse racing means that faster horses are sometimes given more weight to carry. Handicapping in golf means that weaker players are given tee positions closer to the hole. Handicapping in motorsports involves extra time mandates for pit stops. These practices are likely to make the race or game have a closer outcome. This makes the sports more competitive.

Today, the betting practice is called handicapping. This is because the point spread is meant to "handicap" the stronger team. The handicap gives bets placed on the weaker team a more even chance of winning.

Graphic Sports Betting

What Is The Difference Between A Handicapper And An Odds Maker?

Cappers and oddsmakers are two different roles within sports betting. It’s important to know the difference. Handicappers make predictions. They assign a point spread to level the playing field and make the betting more interesting. Handicappers typically work independently and aren’t employed by a sportsbook or casino.

Instead, the casinos and sportsbooks have their own bet predictors, the odds makers. Odds makers set the lines and odds for a variety of bets using their own predictions and market trends. Odds makers determine the point spreads, moneylines, and over/under for a game, race, or another event. Odds makers also take into account the potential bets that will be placed on a game. They adjust the odds accordingly to ensure a profit for the sportsbook. In other words, oddsmakers try to ensure the ‘house’ always wins. While a handicapper is looking to beat the house. If you want to place bets, ask a capper– not an odds maker!

How To Handicap Sporting Events

So now that you know what a handicapper is and what they do, you might be asking yourself: How can I get a piece of that action? Being a handicapper isn’t easy, but it is a ton of fun. It’s a challenging and rewarding career path if you have a passion for sports and an interest in betting. If you can’t accurately predict the outcome of the game, you won’t be making those killer bets!

The first step in getting good at handicapping is to gain a deep understanding of the sports you wish to handicap. You need to know everything- you need to eat, sleep, and breathe sports. You need to keep track of the teams, players, and coaches– as well as the overall state of the league. You also have to keep your eyes peeled for news and developments in the sport. You also need to keep track of the individual players’ strengths and weaknesses. You need to know about injuries and any developments that might affect the way they play.

Which Sport Should I Start With?

Today’s sports betting scene is extremely diverse and exciting. Thanks to online betting communities, it’s easier than ever to bet on whatever you want. You should start with a sport you’re familiar with and that you understand. If you’ve never watched a hockey game, don’t dive into capping NHL games! Instead, pick a sport that you really care about and understand.

Sports Betting Graphic

Know The Betting Market

Even if you’re the biggest sports fan in the world and can name every player in every league dating back to the dinosaur era, you can’t be a good handicapper if you don’t understand the betting market. You need to get familiar with the different types of bets. Know point spreads, moneylines, over/under, and how the odds are determined. It is also important to pay attention to the odds and line movements. These can provide valuable insight into how the market views the game.

There are four main types of bets that handicappers make predictions for: point spread, moneyline, over/under bets, and parlay bets.

  • A point spread is the number of points assigned by the odds maker to level the playing field between the two teams. The team that is favored to win is given a negative point spread. The underdog is given a positive point spread.
  • A moneyline bet is a bet on which team will win outright, regardless of the point spread.
  • An over/under bet is a bet on the total number of points that will be scored in the game.
  • A parlay bet is a combination of many bets.

Some handicappers also pick for prop bets. These bets have nothing to do with the game outcome. Instead they deal with events happening within the game. Sometimes they have nothing to do with the game itself. If you bet your buddy five bucks, will the singer flub the high note of the national anthem? That’s a prop bet!
You should also be familiar with the different sportsbooks and the types of bets they offer. Today that means being familiar with online sportsbooks like DraftKings, FanDuel, and Barstool Sportsbook. As well as sportsbooks attached to casinos like BetMGM, Caesar’s Sportsbook, and BetRivers.

Have All The Information

There’s a lot more to sports games than just player ability and rankings. A good handicapper takes all of that into consideration before making their picks. For example, let’s say you’re handicapping an MLB game, and it’s a home game for the Denver Rockies, played at Coors Field. Something you might not think about is that this stadium is a mile above sea level. The atmosphere is thinner; that means that balls travel 5-10% further.

Or maybe you’re betting on a football game being played in Buffalo in the winter, and a blizzard hits. Maybe you’re betting on college basketball. One team’s coach benched half the starting lineup right before the game started. (If you think that sounds crazy, this exact scenario happened at IU in 2022- these kinds of things can happen!)

The events surrounding sports events can be unpredictable. To accurately predict outcomes, cappers need to take these random events into account. A good handicapper bets like a brain surgeon. They’re precise, accurate, and take everything into account.

Make Your Predictions Systematically

Once you have all your information and you’ve analyzed it to the best of your ability, it’s time to make your predictions. Every handicapper has their own system. This can involve using a system or strategy for handicapping, such as analyzing statistics, looking at past performance, or using specialized computer programs or algorithms to analyze data. The key is to find a system that works for you and stick to it.

Handicappers have several potential systems that they can use for making their bets. Whatever system you go with as a capper, it’s important that you stick to it. But be flexible to readjust if your system stops working. You can also combine analytical systems to further narrow down your predictions.

Statistical Analysis

Most cappers use statistical analysis. This involves using a variety of statistics and metrics to analyze the performance of teams and players. Handicappers look at a wide range of statistics. They look at points scored, rebounds, assists, field goal percentage, and turnovers. Of course, this varies by sport!

By analyzing these statistics, handicappers can identify patterns and trends that help predict the outcome of a game. Some popular statistical methods include using player performance metrics like advanced stats and using historical data such as trends and head-to-head records.

Graphic for Sports Statistics

Technical Analysis

Technical analysis is another popular method used by handicappers. This method involves analyzing the movement of odds and lines to predict the outcome of a game. Handicappers will look at how the odds and lines have moved over time. They will use this information to make predictions. Technical analysis can help handicappers identify patterns and trends in the market, which can be used to make informed predictions.

Fundamental Analysis

Fundamental analysis is a method that involves analyzing the underlying factors that may affect the outcome of a game. Handicappers will look at factors such as team dynamics, coaching strategies, and player injuries. By analyzing these factors, handicappers can identify potential advantages and disadvantages that may affect the outcome of a game.

Fundamental analysis can be extremely useful for prop bets involving individual players or coaching decisions. This is because it involves closely watching team dynamics and player interactions.

Trend Analysis

Another system that is used by many handicappers is trend analysis. This involves identifying patterns in past performance and using that information to predict future performance. For example, a handicapper may notice that a team has a strong record in a particular type of game (e.g. home games, night games, or games against certain opponents). They will then use that information to make their picks.

While many handicappers make their predictions based on their own analysis, another system that is gaining popularity is the use of computer programs and algorithms to analyze data. These programs can process large amounts of data and identify patterns and trends that may be difficult for a human to spot. Handicappers who use this approach will often combine the data from these programs with their own analysis to make predictions.

Keep Records

It is also important to keep accurate records of your picks and bets. This will allow you to track your progress and identify patterns and trends. Making amazing picks for one game doesn’t mean nearly as much as making good picks for a lot of games. You should also be prepared to adjust your system as necessary based on your results.

Handicapper Networks

While it’s possible for a handicapper to work independently or have a small network of people who buy their picks, today’s online communities make it easier than ever for handicappers to connect with each other and people who want to use their information to make bets. Joining a sports betting network, like a sports betting Discord server, is a great way to make friends with other sports bettors. You can talk about handicapping and compare strategies, and learn from some of the best handicappers working today, like Meezy and LCapitan.

Whop.com is your ticket to access the best handicapping communities on the web. Check out our sports picks marketplace to learn more about sports handicapping today!