Sports Handicapping Methodology

Apr 4, 2010

ist1_2556778_financial_world_australia_new_zealandAs a professional sports handicapper, I am frequently asked by clients to explain my handicapping methodology and how I research and analyze each particular sporting event.  While every handicapper has his or her own unique handicapping paradigm, I have earned 18 distinguished awards from The Sports Monitor of Oklahoma by utilizing the following methodology:


Approximately one-third (1/3) of my handicapping consists of fundamental research and analysis.  Fundamental handicapping involves analyzing the personnel on both teams and determining which side has the advantage in each particular position.  For example, during the 2010 NFL Playoffs, I emphasized the fact that the New Orleans Saints’ secondary was grossly underrated once top cornerback Jabari Greer returned from injury.  In fact, with Greer on the field, the Saints allowed 5.6 yards per pass play to a group of quarterbacks who averaged 6.0 yards per pass play, which means that the Saints were 0.4 yards per pass play better than average defensively.  In short, fundamental handicapping consists of studying the key positions on each team (i.e. offensive line vs. defensive line) to determine which side as the decided advantage entering the game.


Approximately one-third (1/3) of my handicapping consists of technical analysis, which is a purely objective approach to handicapping a game.  Over the years, I have developed an extremely large database that tells me how teams perform in particular situations.  For example, when handicapping the 2010 NCAA Tournament, I knew that Final Four teams with a greater win percentage were 8-2 ATS over the last five years, while teams playing at favorable in-state sites were a solid 111-75-3 (60%) since 1985, including 10-2 ATS when not installed as an underdog of more than four points.  I also knew that teams playing on a neutral court who had held their previous two opponents to sixty points or less were a 69% winning proposition if they returned five starters from the previous season.  Technical analysis is a critical component to my handicapping methodology as it allows me to analyze games and individual teams from an objective standpoint.


Approximately one-third (1/3) of my handicapping paradigm involves situational analysis, which studies  how teams perform in specific ‘letdown’ or ‘look-ahead’ situations.  For example, situational handicapping looks at how college football teams perform after upsetting a Top 10 opponent (a classic letdown spot), or how college basketball teams perform when facing a ranked opponent in their next game, provided they are playing an unranked opponent first (a classic look-ahead spot).   In short, situational analysis takes into account the emotional element to sports handicapping, such as revenge, letdown and look-ahead moments.  Situational analysis also takes into account distractions such as arrests or the firing of a head coach.

There you have it – my three keys to successful handicapping.