Should You Buy Our Picks?
Earlier today, an article written by Jeff Ma was published by ESPN that highlighted many of the issues with the pick-selling or “tout” industry. It was well-written and addresses many of the issues we frequently hear from prospective members when deciding whether to sign up. In an exercise of full transparency, we wanted to let you know exactly how we handle these areas of concern.
Context of stats
We do not create a write-up for any of our Best Bet picks. When we release our picks, subscribers are given the date, team, and current line. If you dig through our site, you can find matchup trends and recent ATS trends, but this is largely due to customer demand and we do not utilize this data when making our own picks.
This is the process of stating “We are 8-2 in our last 10 picks!” and things of that nature. We deal with this rather simply. We post every pick (win or lose) that we have made on one page found here.
Sports aren’t stable over time
We are constantly changing our models and methods to keep up with the market and any variables that may have affected it. In baseball we have moved away from betting on totals and have focused instead on moneyline plays. In football, we have done the opposite and have been sending out more total plays than in past years. Ma is 100% correct when he states that sports are not stable and that you must adapt in order to remain profitable.
What number do you use to grade?
When we release a play, we use the best available line from the following books: CRIS, 5Dimes, BetOnline, Sportsbook.com, BetUS, and Bovada. These books are all available to players in the United States and provide a good mix of sharp and square books.
Giving our methodology
This is where we fall short of Ma’s wish. While we do provide many articles on this blog that outline various systems and methods we find useful, we never fully disclose why we make the final decisions that determine our Best Bet picks.
Once the article was released, there were many reactions from the sports betting community including this one:
@groovinmahoovin It fails to cite a core problem with recreational bettors buying picks: the cost of picks relative to bet size. @jeffma
— WagerMinds (@WagerMinds) October 29, 2014
This is a fault of ours as well. We display our pick records and units won, but do not factor in the cost of the service itself. To rectify this issue we analyzed our pick performance over the past six months to determine the break-even points for bettors — i.e. how much money should be bet on each game to justify a subscription? The results are reflected in the table below.
|Paying $249/month||Buying 6-month package||Buying 1-year package|
If you are paying $249 per month for our Pro service, you need to bet $28.17 on each bet in order to break even. This fits our goal of allowing novice bettors to use our picks and information and still turn a profit. However, many of those units won include MLB picks, which many of our members do not like to bet (for some crazy reason). If we only look at football wagers this season, the break-even bet is $35.25 which is still largely within the budget of most novice bettors.
If you have any questions about our service or any issues with anything said on this post, please contact us directly at email@example.com and we will reply as quickly as possible.
Brad10/30/2014 at 3:15 pm
1. I for one could care less if you reveal your reasoning on selections. Just win, baby!
2. Your graph on how much a client should bet in order to cover his fees is meaningless and is guilty of Ma’s rule number 2; selection bias. Let’s see that graph cover the last five or ten years of your best bet selections. Then it will actually mean something.
Travis10/30/2014 at 3:24 pm
Fair response. I will look into the break-even points for longer time periods.
Toni10/31/2014 at 4:35 pm
This article assumes it is possible for anyone to bet every game for the line you publish. Many times ive seen the line has moved only minutes ( sometimes less then 1 min ) after plays were released.
If you miss a play by a few hours a line has often moved significantly. Esp over/unders seem very volatile.
If you advertise these breakeven numbers you should make it easier for customers to actually bet these games. Especially NCAAF where a lot of plays are released at once and lines move alot in this sport, if you miss the exact release point one can never bet these lines.
How about sending out a messege 1 hour ahead before releasing a play?
David Solar11/01/2014 at 4:48 pm
We realize that often times the lines will move after we send out plays which is why we recommend having access to three sportsbooks: one sharp (like CRIS or the Greek), one square (like Bovada, Sports Interaction or Sportsbook.com) and one reduced juice (like 5Dimes or Pinnacle). This will almost always ensure that you’re able to get the best number possible.
Also, you have to take into consideration the times where the line will move against us and subscribers will actually get a better number than we do. This isn’t a frequent occurrence, but it does happen.
Finally, sending out a message one hour before releasing a play could be difficult. Typically our Best Bets and Contrarian plays for daily sports (basketball, baseball, hockey) are sent out at least 90 minutes before game time so customers have sufficient time to place their bet. However, sometimes a game will not fit our criteria until the last minute so it’s tough to give advance notice.
Kevin11/01/2014 at 9:30 am
While I consider Jeff Ma a genius he has become overly cynical about handicapper services. The best fund managers in the world made their money by having other people “Buy” their stock picks. I surely don’t think that made Bill Gross, Peter Lynch, or Joel Greenblatt a “Tout” of stock picks.
Charles05/19/2016 at 11:56 am
I had your picks for a full year and did not profit on $100 per play after subscription fees.