Should You Ever Pay for NFL Picks?

It can be tough to beat NFL oddsmakers consistently. Sure, you might have some good weeks. But there also may be some weeks where you can’t get anything right. When that happens, it’s not uncommon to wind up searching for NFL picks online.

Is it ever worth it to pay for NFL picks against the spread from someone who specializes in NFL betting lines? Naturally, that opens up the doors to a whole host of other questions, including:

  • Is there an NFL expert who can really guarantee a profit?
  • Do you get better advice from paid NFL picks than free NFL picks?
  • Are there any truly great NFL touts out there?
  • Is it really worth it to pay for NFL picks?
  • Who should I choose and what kind of investment am I looking at?

The good news is you’ve come to the right place for answers. We’ll cover the answers to those questions and many more right here. By the time you’re through, you should be clear on whether paying for NFL picks is right for you.

What do you mean “buy” NFL picks?

If you’ve spent any amount of time engaging with NFL betting content on the web or social media, there’s a good chance you’ve come across ads for “expert NFL picks” or “NFL picks against the spread.” Yep, there are lots of places you can go if you’re in the market to buy NFL picks.

Buying picks means you are exchanging money for NFL winner selections. This could be for a single game, a range of games or an entire weekly NFL slate, for example. Pick sellers could simply be individuals hawking their wares, or it could be a company that specializes in betting advice or picks against the spread.

The advice you’ll find will range from specific bets at certain numbers to breakdowns of each game which are then graded in terms of the opportunity. There are also plenty of variations in between. At the end of the day, you’re essentially trading your dollars for the NFL research and advice of others in hopes of turning a profit.

What is an NFL tout or handicapper?

An NFL tout is generally a person who specializes in providing betting picks and information on pro football games. They could also be a betting expert who focuses on several sports, including the NFL.

Touts can run the gamut from those who are only well-known in the industry itself to those who have a national presence while not necessarily providing picks for sale. Among those in the latter category is Steve Fezzik, a prominent professional bettor. Fezzik rose to prominence after he won the WestGate Las Vegas SuperContest in back-to-back years a little over a decade ago.

colin cowherd nfl picks

For that contest, bettors are tasked with picking a certain number of NFL games against the spread per week. The one who performs the best for the season as a whole wins the top prize.

On the national front, Fox Sports personality Colin Cowherd has a knack for drawing attention. He also makes public declarations on what’s going to happen in the NFL, so he’s technically a tout who provides advice.

The difference between the two is this: Fezzik provides his picks for sale. Cowherd’s are free of charge, but you have to watch him on various media or follow him on social media or the internet to get his advice.

For Fezzik, the benefit is financial. The same holds true for Cowherd, as the more viewers and attention he attracts translates into the same for Fox, which is a win-win for both parties. As for those relying on the information of Fezzik, Cowherd or any other tout, the hope is the picks they receive will lead them to profitability over the course of the NFL season.

What is an NFL picks service?

As the list of online sportsbooks in the US continues to grow, so too does the amount of betting information available to consumers. Included on that list are picks for NFL games, which can go way beyond just a lone person offering their skills for hire.

There are companies that specialize in providing picks for sale, and others that include it among their list of services. Examples would be Sportsline and WagerTalk, two companies that take different approaches to selling picks.

Sportsline is a subscription-based service which provides advice for betting and fantasy sports. As part of the service, subscribers have access to premium picks. Wager Talk provides some of its information free of charge, but is also affiliated with a number of pro handicappers who sell their picks on an individual or package basis.

The NFL picks industry has grown at an impressive rate in the current environment and we can expect that trend to continue. There is quite a hunger for NFL betting intel, and that will only continue as more states legalize betting.

There’s no magic answer as to which is better between an individual selling picks or a service that does so. It all comes down to the overall value of the picks, as well as things such as cost, customer service and ease of access.

Should a tout be NFL exclusive or can they also do other sports?

The NFL is the biggest game in town when it comes to sports betting. There are a number of handicappers who specialize in this area as a result. However, the season is also relatively short. Including the preseason, the NFL campaign runs from August through the Super Bowl in early February.

For college football bowl betting, here's how to bet on the National Championship game.As such, there are touts who spread their wings and focus on other sports as well. For example, some may follow and provide picks for college football betting, which follows a similar calendar to the NFL. Or they may shift over to betting on college basketball once the Super Bowl is in the books.

The sports betting calendar is vast and packed year-round, so touts that provide picks on a full-time basis tend to cover multiple markets. That said, there is a camp of touts who follow the NFL exclusively and pursue other endeavors with their remaining time.

So which of the two approaches is best for the end user of the picks? Unfortunately, there’s no clear-cut answer to that as it ultimately comes down to the track record of the tout in terms of pick success and profitability generated.

In both areas — NFL-exclusive and multi-sport — there are touts who are at the top of their game and have built up quite a positive reputation as a result. Behind them is another group that does solid work and might be able to move into the upper echelon eventually.

After those two groups, there’s quite the mishmash. There are touts who aren’t very good at what they do, others who aren’t exactly reputable, new folks looking to jump on the gravy train and plenty who provide mixed results that don’t amount to all that much.

Ultimately, it all comes down to the track record of the tout. For a tiebreaker, those whose sole focus is on NFL picks could be a good choice for users looking to do the same. The folks who are looking for picks in multiple sports may be better served by a tout or service that provides that.

Should I consider paying for NFL picks?

To find the answer to this question, it helps to figure out what kind of bettor you are or plan to be. If you’re a casual bettor who only bets on one big national game per week, paying for picks may not be worth it in the long run.

If your goals with NFL betting are much greater than that, then it’s certainly worth taking the time considering whether it’s right for you. To do so, it can be helpful to ask yourself a few questions.

  • What is my budget for sports betting and how much do I plan on betting per game or week?
  • Do I have a good handle on everything I need to know about betting – odds, wager types, etc.?
  • How comfortable am I with handicapping games and doing research?
  • Can I devote a certain amount of time per week towards researching opportunities and picking the ones I feel most comfortable with?

After honestly answering those questions, you’ll begin to have a better feel for which direction you want to go. For example, if your time is limited and you’re not exactly a fan of research or diving into betting analytics tools, then leaning on the picks of others may be best for you.

If you feel comfortable betting and handicapping and have been making progress, you may want to work towards perfecting your own system. As with many big decisions, a valid case can be made on both sides of the argument.

  • Pros for Using a Tout: Save time, cut and dry weekly results and no second-guessing picks.
  • Cons for Using a Tout: Expense, relying on the research of others and buyer’s remorse when things don’t work out.

Last but not least, you have to make sure you are comfortable with what you would be spending on picks and that you can justify the expense. Quite simply, if the results don’t cover the amount you spend on picks, you’re losing money.

While losing weeks are inevitable regardless of whether or not you pay for picks, have realistic goals in place for what you should be making per week. If it turns out that the cost of the picks isn’t being covered, then you may want to reassess things.

Are NFL experts who sell picks licensed?

While there has been plenty of chatter through the years about regulating the picks industry, the reality is this: There’s just not much of a barrier to entry. We need to look no further than the inordinate amount of social media accounts offering picks for sale for confirmation.

legal us sports bettingSince there’s no simple way to determine who is legit or not with a simple glance at certification or documentation, it’s on the end user to do their own due diligence. We’ll cover some warning signs to watch out for before plunking down your hard-earned cash in a bit.

For now, there’s a pearl of wisdom that has been handed down from generation to generation which still rings true:

  • If it sounds too good to be true, then there’s a really good chance that it is.

What should I look for in an NFL handicapper?

When shopping for anything, you can make an impulse purchase or spend some time doing research to find the product that works best for you. If you’re in the market for NFL picks against the spread, the latter approach is the wiser path to take. Here are some of the things you’ll want to look out for.

  • Trusted presence: This applies to both social media and the internet. While the former leans more towards the casual, trust your instincts and overall impression. For the web, a site that’s clean and devoid of clutter is a good sign, while those that are packed with tons of ads or freeze your computer are the opposite.
  • Verifiable results: If you’re paying for picks, then the person or service providing them should be able to provide users with demonstrable and verifiable results. When a tout can’t do that, becomes difficult when pressed for information or provides wildly unrealistic claims, consider it a huge red flag.
  • Honesty and transparency: Even the top touts are going to have bad weeks here and there. Those who are completely honest and transparent about that could be among those who fall into the trustworthy group. Additionally, spend some time gaining a sense of how the tout is viewed by the industry as a whole.

If you’re looking to make any kind of purchase, the proverbial red flags or things that rub you the wrong way could sway your purchasing decisions. That should apply when you’re shopping for NFL picks as well.

What claims should I be wary of from an NFL “expert”?

While it would be awesome if we lived in a world in which everyone operated above board and held the interests of others in high regard, the reality is vastly different. There are plenty of folks who hold those principles close to the vest. Unfortunately, there are others who do not.

Thankfully, we as consumers can take the time to properly vet those things — hopefully before we spend some cash with those who are less than reputable. When researching NFL experts, both the real ones and those of the so-called variety, here are a few things to watch out for.

  • Unrealistic claims: If you’re putting money at risk in a quest to earn more, there will be some losses along the way. If you come across a handicapper who claims they “never lose” or are hawking “guaranteed picks,” then the old adage of too good to be true comes into play.
  • Touts who play both sides: Sadly, this is a thing. There are handicappers who will provide one side of a game to half of their customers, and the other side to the rest. The thinking is they’ll wind up with at least some happy customers along the way. Thankfully, due diligence can help point out those who conduct business in this shady fashion.
  • Poor communication: If you can’t get any answers or the ones that you receive are less than straight, then there’s a big problem. A reputable tout will be able to clearly state their positions, answer questions and provide clarity where needed. If they struggle on this front, there’s likely a reason for that.

Overall, you should be leaning on your instincts while also taking the time to research those who sell picks. If you find yourself turned off or uncover reviews or details that rub you the wrong way, keep shopping.

Should you trust a “lock” pick from an NFL “expert?”

If you’ve been around NFL circles long enough, then you’ve undoubtedly heard phrases such as “lock of the week” or “pick of the year.” This can come across in many forms: NFL-related broadcasts, social media claims, ads on the internet and so on.

NFL Betting OnlineWhile it’s awesome to have confidence in your decisions when it comes to picking NFL games, the bottom line is this:

  • When players step on the field of play, there are no guarantees on what the outcome will be.

This is true regardless of how strong a tout or handicapper may be. Games can break differently than the script suggests. Players get injured. Coaches make terrible decisions. Refs make bad calls that change the outcome of the game.

There’s no way to state with 100% certainty that XYZ will happen in any NFL game. So always view “lock” picks with an air of skepticism and trust your own confidence level with the quality of the advice.

To be clear, not everyone who claims they have a “lock” has bad intentions. There are some solid cappers out there who post winning records year after year. When someone with an excellent track record has a high level of confidence in a result, it’s worth listening.

Is any NFL expert more profitable than another?

In any industry, there are those who are the best, a middle tier and those at the back of the pack. When it comes to NFL picks, the same holds true but the information isn’t always simple to glean.

The larger services and reputable cappers who sell their picks individually make their track records a selling point. As a result, you can quickly see things such as their overall won-loss performance and details on returns per bet type.

Not everyone provides that level of transparency, so it can be tough to say for certain which are the best of the best on the returns front. Luckily, there are sites out there that track the records of experts.

Included in this category is BettingPros, which holds an annual accuracy competition that NFL experts can join in. It’s a varied list that includes media personalities, free content writers and even some who offer picks for sale.

Readers can follow along with the results and track who is performing the best in terms of overall winning percentage, record by bet type and units won. Looking back to 2019, Matt MacCoy of The Next Big Thing was tops in units won, while Mike Spector was first in overall winning percentage for those who provided lots of picks.

There are also a number of major handicapping contests through the season, such as the Westgate SuperContest, for which users can track results. Some of those who enter these contests also provide picks for sale. For the record, a user known as “It aint Breezy” took down the top spot in 2019 with a record of 58-25-2.

When shopping for NFL picks, remember that you should be able to see verifiable results without issue, preferably from a few seasons. If the tout or service you’re looking to buy from can’t provide that info, then the overall track record may not be all that great.

Do most NFL experts win more or lose more?

For a simple answer, the sheer number of NFL experts — or those that claim to be — suggests that much less than most are long-term profitable. Quite simply, it’s tough to beat the NFL betting lines consistently.

If you’re only betting the point spread at average odds of -110, then you need to hit about 52.5% of your picks to cover the vig. When you’re able to boost the winning percentage over that number, then you’re turning a profit.

For seasoned handicappers and pro sports bettors, an NFL season in which they win at a 56% clip while betting a solid amount of money would mean a good campaign. Let that sink in for a second.

Folks who do it for a living would be happy with hitting that number, while those who knocked it out of the park and hit 60% of their against the spread bets would be crushing it. That makes it really tough to take anyone who claims “90% winners” seriously.

While doing your due diligence on individual touts and services, look for those who post consistent winning percentages on a long-term basis. We can all have good or bad runs, but those who stay consistent may be on to something.

Paid Picks vs. Free Picks

Betting advice has been a niche industry for some time now, but it has grown by leaps and bounds in the evolving legal sports betting environment. You’ll find picks in lots of places these days, and many of them are completely free.

football on football fieldSome that fall into this category come from mainstream sports outlets which now include betting as part of their overall content strategy. There are also some paid touts and services which provide some picks for free as an enticement to attract users to subscribe.

In short, you don’t need to pay for NFL picks to find the opinions of others. Naturally, not all of those who provide picks for free track their records, but there are some who actually do. If you find enough of them with positive results, then you can lean on them while using what’s known as a “wisdom of the crowds” approach.

Let’s say that you have five free sources who provide solid advice and have the results to back it up. You can gather the opinions for a game or an entire slate and use the majority rule. When there’s a strong consensus on certain games, you can lean in that direction for your wagers.

Of course, it’s important to remember there are no guarantees when it comes to betting. Free picks can be right or wrong, and the same holds true for paid advice. At the end of the day, you should err to the side you’re more comfortable with, as well as the one that works best for your budget and betting volume.

Is it worth it for a casual bettor to buy NFL picks?

To answer this question, you have to define the exact type of bettor you currently are or hope to be. If you’re the type to bet $50 on a big game from time to time, then paying for picks may not be justifiable in the long run. It’s possible you could still turn a profit with paid picks, but you’ll likely be better off relying on trusted free resources.

If you scale up your betting amounts or volume of games, then it could be a different story. If you’re betting on five games per NFL week at the same amount or bumping up the bets to $100 per game, then it’s worth exploring paying for picks more closely.

Let’s run through some quick math to show how it works, starting with the $50 single-game bettor. A winning spread bet at odds of -110 would return a total of $95.45 — the stake of your bet plus a profit of $45.45. That’s a 90.9% return for your efforts, which is pretty solid. Now let’s say you paid $20 for that winning pick. We have to take that amount out of our profit, so we made $25.45, or a total of 50.9%. Just like that, our returns have dropped dramatically.

Now let’s look at a $100 bettor who plans to wager on five games per week. The bettor finds a package that sells for $25 and provides what he’s looking for. If the week is a winning one, such as 3-2, is there a profit that’s worth it?

Here’s the math: Winning $100 bets at odds of -110 return a total of $190.90. For three winners, that’s a return of $572.70. The total wager amount for all five bets was $500, so that’s $72.70 coming back, or 14.5%. If we subtract out the $25 for picks, the profit is now $47.70, or 9.5%. While the returns are less on a percentage basis in comparison to successful single-game bets, the dollars returned rises with the amount wagered.

Additionally, remember the point about no guarantees. The single-game bet could go either way, but a solid service or tout should be able to pull out a record of 3-2 on average over the course of an NFL season. A case can be made for buying picks at almost any level of betting, but remember to be mindful of the cost per pick or total amount of the subscription. When all is said and done, profits are the name of the game.

Regular-Season Picks vs. Playoff Picks

Betting interest is incredibly high throughout the NFL regular season, but it hits new levels when it’s time to start betting on the NFL playoffs. Viewership numbers bear that out as even more casual fans pay attention and the stakes ramp up.

The same holds true when it comes to betting. While each NFL game attracts tons of betting interest, the amounts jump substantially on a per-game fashion come playoff time.

So does that mean the quality of the picks you get go up as well? Not necessarily. Once again, it comes down to the overall track record of the handicapper in question.

That said, do your best to verify how they’ve performed in postseasons past. While handicapping is handicapping, some touts will just do a better job with postseason games in comparison to their peers.

super bowl picksShould I pay for picks for the NFL playoffs and Super Bowl?

As with the rest of the NFL season, you’ll have little trouble finding picks for sale when the playoffs and Super Bowl betting time rolls around. Should you lean towards paying for advice when the most important time of the NFL year is on tap? To get the answer to that, begin by asking yourself the following:

  • How much am I planning to bet on the NFL Playoffs and Super Bowl?
  • Is there a reputable resource for me to lean on that has a track record of success in the postseason?
  • Can I break down the games myself — or find trusted free resources — and live with the results?

Just like considering paying for NFL picks during the season, it should come down to your personal comfort level, the amounts you plan on betting and how confident you feel with the source you plan on paying for advice.

At certain dollar amounts and with a reputable and trusted pro to lean on, the expense can be worth it. However, a lower wagering budget may not justify it all. And remember that sources who don’t check off all of the boxes should be shied away from.

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