Even after yesterday's Black Tuesday thrashing 2-5 result on some minor games picks I'm still floating around 50% for the year picking NCAA Men's Basketball games. I got there due to a pretty hot streak near the end of the Conference tournaments (I really don't pay much attention to in-season games, much like the NBA where there's too much a chance of indifference). During the recent college football season I went 87-40 straight up, and 62-63-1 against the spread. Those ATS numbers included several Michigan games on which I would not have bet. (I never bet Michigan, Oklahoma State or San Francisco in the NFL & Arsenal in the BPL) If you strip out the Michigan and Oklahoma State I was actually closer to 54-55%.
Given that even the best handicappers clock in at around 56% over time I'd be looking at paying several hundred dollars for a 1% advantage. I fear that a lot of sports gamblers don't take this kind of analytical look at their results and pay large amounts for what is sure to be a minimal payoff.
All that said, I don't begrudge the handicappers and services there money either. Most work hard and some are honest, the best ones however offer free advice as well as paid subscriptions, and I'm not just referring to advice on how to lay.
For me, I'm constantly looking at lines, even though I'm not actively betting. Unlike most sports gamblers I don't utilize the offshore, online betting services and I only bet during times when it's 100% legal, say, when I visit Las Vegas. This might seem overly conservative to some but in my current job it's incumbent on me to be in compliance. That's why I'm up at 5AM banging out a blog post on sports gambling after I looked at lines. (Delayed publishing on blogs is a great thing)
I love the game. Action is a fun thing so I will continue to follow the industry and lay bets down when I can. Whether or not that makes this blog of any interest to you? Well, I hope to include enough other content to whet your appetite to make you a consistent reader.
During these other times I track what I would have "won" just to see how it would go. I'll never make the cross-over to gambling professionally because I would hate the grind, but I have the upmost respect for those who do.
I say all of that to (finally) come to this point:
If, like most, you're a recreational gambler then I believe you're wasting money purchasing packages from a gambling service. I liken it to a very large royalty that takes away from your income stream. If you're a frequent gambler then I can see a need for a service because your income, if bet correctly, will be sufficient enough to eventually render the package price moot.
If you consider yourself a professional gambler and are subscribing to a service I question your sanity. If you're subscribing to a service and then submitting them as your own picks? (this happens, believe me) then I question your integrity.
For the remaining 99% of you who just go to Vegas to have a little fun?
You're going to lose enough money anyway. And no, you won't make back those losses in free drinks and comps. Trust me.