Heads Up; Sports Handicapping Need to Know

Before you reach into your pocket to yank out your wallet to place your next sports bet, you may want to pause for a moment and reflect on how handicapping works and how you can best use it to your profit.

First up, a quick definition. What does Handicapping actually mean anyway? After all, you don’t want to be one of those sports bettors who think they know what it means only to learn later on that your definition is not quite right. With that in mind, understand that Handicapping is nothing more than an attempt by the sportsbook to balance the equation.

It works by assigning a point or other similar marker to different contestants based on their relative advantages or disadvantages. For example, most often the player who has been around a while and has gained more experience than a rookie will be de-rated or disadvantaged. What the sportsbook is attempting to do here is to rate or derate the players, the team, etc. so that after the points are added or taken away, each would then show an equal chance of winning.

Is your head spinning yet? Relax it’s no big deal. It just looks complicated when you try to lay it out as above. How about a real world example so this makes more sense? Suppose you log into your favorite online sportsbook. You quickly find the game you are interested in placing a wager upon. On the display for that game you see it laid out something like this: Team SK +6.5 -110 Team TR -6.5 -110

What does that mean? That display you are looking at is telling you in no uncertain terms that your sportsbook sees Team TR as the overall favorite. In this case, Team TR is actually favored by 6.5 points. Translation: like the proverbial coin toss over many repititions, the 6.5 point favorite simply is the math that says if the game was repeated many times, on average, Team TR would end up winning by 6.5 points. Now don’t fall into the beginner’s trap here.

Remember, this is all based on statistics. Hey, you do know what they say about statistics right? Something like there are lies, damned lies, and then there are statistics. Anyway, you have to work with something, so you use what you got. Moving on, the whole point is to understand that the number, the 6.5 up above is the handicap for that game.

Bottom line is this: handicapping is a key part of sports betting and now you have a better understanding of what it is all about.

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