How difficult is it to show a profit if you pay for picks? Listening to the picks seller you’d come to the conclusion that it’s really not all that difficult. Ranges in cost can vary wildly. From picks as low as $1 per play to subscription services costing thousands of dollars with hi-end program names like the Inner Circle, Private Players Club or Elite All-Access. Often, the better the handicapper claims to be, the higher the cost. It’s a proven marketing strategy that the bigger the price tag for a product or service the more quality that product or service is assumed to be by the consumer. Just pony up, start betting and soon you’ll be stacking the cash.

Most understand that it’s far from that simple. The overstated win rates and embellished success stories rightfully turn some off. Then there are those that just want to believe so badly that their common sense goes right out the window along with all semblance of due diligence. It’s the essence of any well-constructed con. Target the needy and/or greedy and convince them

that through the conman, they’ll achieve what they so desperately desire.

The touts claims of recent winning runs and lofty win percentages are mostly unverified, short sample outtakes. That fact goes right over the head of the customer who is blinded by the prospect of that win streak that could be just around the corner for them if they just take the plunge.

A tout that participates on one of the sports betting websites recently provided the following example of why using a service is so beneficial to the player.

>>Tout wrote:

>>play on your own 1000 a game, go 77-81. lose 12,100. pay a tout 1000 tout goes 87-76. 1000 a game. +3700 -1000 tout +2700. You save 14,800 and handicapping time.<<
This happens to be a handicapper who I think is actually fairly decent and at least somewhat realistic on a lot of points that other touts often are not. Using their numbers to explore the viability of a service may not be what they envisioned but it helps illustrate what a difference that extra expense can make, even if you're getting paid advice from a winning handicapper.
In his example of the tout going 87-76 (53.3% on 163 plays) with 1K units the net would actually be $3400, not $3700. Doesn't matter. The number of plays and win percentage are what's important. With that you can calculate how much you stand to win or lose based on your bet size, the number of picks received and the service cost.
163 plays at a win rate of 53.3% and a cost of $1000 is $6.13 per play.
If your player bets $100 a game they lay 116.13/93.87.
A win rate of 55.3% is required to break even.
This bettor would finish +340 on his bets and -$1000 for tout = -$660.
Using these numbers a $100 bettor can not afford to use the service.
163 plays at a win rate of 53.3% and a cost of $1000 is $6.13 per play.
If your player bets $200 a game they lay 226.13/193.87.
A win rate of 53.8% is required to break even.
This bettor would finish +680 on his bets and -$1000 for tout = -$320
Using these numbers a $200 bettor can not afford to use the service.
163 plays at a win rate of 53.3% and a cost of $1000 is $6.13 per play.
If your player bets $300 a game they lay 336.13/293.87.
A win rate of 53.35% is required to break even.
This bettor would finish +1020 on his bets and -$1000 for tout = +$20
Using these numbers a $300 bettor would profit 0.066 of a unit, less
than the vig charged on one bet. Since this accomplishes nothing we'll
call $300 per bet the break-even point for using this touts service.
163 plays at a win rate of 53.3% and a cost of $1000 is $6.13 per play.
If your player bets $400 a game they lay 446.13/393.87.
A win rate of 53.1% is required to break even.
This bettor would finish +1360 on his bets and -$1000 for tout = +360
Using these numbers a $400 bettor would profit 0.9 units for the season.
163 plays at a win rate of 53.3% and a cost of $1000 is $6.13 per play.
If your player bets $500 a game they lay 556.13/493.87.
A win rate of 53% is required to break even.
This bettor would finish +1700 on his bets and -$1000 for tout = +700
Using these numbers a $500 bettor would profit 1.4 units for the season.
Given those variables you'd have to bet a minimum of $500 units and be able to attain the quoted numbers on average to make the service worthwhile. If the tout wins at a higher rate then things improve. If he performs worse, then it gets ugly fast. Examining all results at win pcts from 47%-55% will sober you right up. Touts using unobtainable lines that just can't be matched is a whole other issue that can carry a significant cost depending on how much worse you do on average than the quoted line. Clearly an important variable and one that would be hard to account for. Safest course of action is to ignore any tout that uses unobtainable lines or cites a ridiculous win percentage.

163 plays at $6.13 a play is about as cheap as it comes on a per pick basis. Touts that sell by the week, day or by the pick are far more expensive and would obviously require very high win pcts just to break even. Every tout would look affordable if they hit 62%. They’d also be able to do exceedingly well betting for themselves and would most likely have significantly less interest in touting.

Making quotes on what a player would “save” assumes they’d bet the same number of games for the same amount on their own. It also assumes a certain win rate. There’s no way to actually know what a tout-less player would have done so it’s not really worth discussing. It does serve as an effective selling point that can not be verified which is the trademark of the typical tout sales pitch.

It’s similar to the quoted win percentage which most often can not be verified unless you allow someone like ComputrBob access to the plays for honest, accurate tracking. Have said this repeatedly – If you are familiar with ComputrBobs history yet claim you don’t trust being tracked that way then there’s no way I’d trust that tout. Period.

In Part III I’m going to compile figures for all realistic win percentages and use tout service costs found at SportsMemo, PreGame and all the other popular tout sites along with attempting to address the quoted lines issue. Seriously doubt we’ll find a more affordable service then the one shown here but you never know.