How Professionals Handicap Games

Some people bet for fun, but we all want to win. If you glance over the lines and place a bet, you’ll obviously have a chance to win. This amateur strategy can get your heart racing, but it won’t result in as many wins as a professional handicapper. Have you ever wondered how professionals handicap games?


Professionals who handicap games go above and beyond in their pregame research to win. Consistently winning on sports is never easy, but handicapping gives pros the best shot.

What is Handicapping?

Handicapping means looking into as many statistics as possible on the game to make the best choice possible. This isn’t a 10-minute process, and it takes time to learn the ins and outs of the process. Here’s what statistics handicappers look for in a contest.

How Professionals Handicap Games – The Basics

Professional handicappers go deep into statistical research, but they don’t skip out on the basics. The first thing they’ll look at is the injury list and who is active for a game. They know everyone on the field so they can evaluate if an injury will truly hurt a team.

In football, an average bettor may not think an injury to an offensive lineman would make a difference. A pro knows that this could make or break an offense and will make a decision accordingly.


Home-Field Advantage and Previous Schedule

In the COVID-19 era, this isn’t as important for professional handicappers, but it’s still worth checking out. It is definitely considered when looking at how professionals handicap games. The home-field advantage has a huge impact on opposing teams’ success. They take this into consideration and also look at a team’s previous road results to see how they handle noise.

An average bettor typically won’t make or break a pick off the home field, but this can lead to losses.


Weather is important in outdoor games like football. If a team relies on the pass, and it’s going to rain, this draws a red flag. Handicappers always look at the forecast before locking in a wager. 


Matchups are where handicappers get into advanced analytics. A professional handicapper will look at every one-on-one contest on the field and compare statistics of the players. This will help them project who will be successful during the game.

After comparing each individual matchup, they’ll then have to combine them to see which complete unit has the advantage. This can help bettors choose all types of wagers from the moneyline to the various props offered by top sportsbooks

This is a tedious process, but it’s necessary for long-term success with sports betting.


This is one area of handicapping that takes years to learn. There are no big analytics to judge this category.

Past records, rivals, and trap games need to be looked at to make a decision here. These factors are tough to judge but can make or break bettors.

Best Lines

Pro handicappers look outside of the game as well. They shop for the best betting lines with multiple sportsbooks. They’ll register multiple accounts and constantly check lines before locking in a wager.

Professional handicapping is a lot of work, but it’s the best way to make money on sports. Take the time to learn, and you’ll see your wins rise over time.