Should I Pay for NFL Picks?

If you had the gift of being able to pick a winner at a profitable rate, would you start a business selling NFL picks? Most people wouldn’t.

You’d be profitable enough betting you wouldn’t need the money, and you wouldn’t want to give up any of that profitability by allowing others to flood the market with your picks. Still, there are hundreds of so-called experts and touts all over the internet and social media selling what they claim are surefire NFL picks every week.

With the spread of legal sports betting across the country since 2018, there’s even a growing number of sportswriters and broadcasters whose content is leaning more towards gambling every day, giving away free NFL picks throughout the season.

If you had NFL picks worth selling, you probably wouldn’t be selling them. Plus, there are enough NFL “experts” giving picks away it begs the question of whether the picks that are for sale have any value at all.

What do you mean “buy” NFL picks?

NFL touts sell information, usually in the form of the specific game picks with an explanation or game pick packages containing a series of the specific game picks with explanations.

Touts may also run subscription services where you pay a weekly, monthly, or annual fee for access to all their picks and reasoning. Either way, when you pay for picks from a tout, you’re not buying bets, just the information. Then, it’s up to you how you use it.

In other words, buying picks from an NFL tout is buying NFL betting advice from someone claiming to be an NFL expert or claiming to hold some kind of useful NFL betting information. If you want to make money off the picks you buy, you still have to bet them and hope they win.

What’s the difference between an NFL tout and an NFL betting expert?

Most NFL touts claim to be NFL betting experts, and while that may or may not be true, there is one clear difference between the two. Touts sell NFL picks while NFL betting experts are usually employed as either sportswriters or broadcasters and give away NFL picks for free.

Famous touts

There are thousands of touts out there, including some pro sports bettors that shy away from the spotlight and others who seek it out.

One of the most recognizable is “Vegas” Dave Oancea, a former pro sports bettor convicted in 2017 of providing Las Vegas sportsbooks with false information, including other people’s Social Security Numbers, and barred from Nevada sportsbooks.

Oancea claims to have won $2.5 million betting on the Kansas City Royals to win the 2015 World Series and $2.3 million betting on the Denver Broncos to win the 2016 Super Bowl. In his work as a sports betting consultant, Oancea now claims to have more than 10,000 happy clients who have won more than $20 million betting sports based on his advice.

Another well-known tout is Steve Fezzik, back-to-back winner of what was then the Las Vegas Hilton SuperContest and is now the Westgate Las Vegas Super Contest, widely considered the top NFL handicapping contest in the world. Fezzik is also a Chess Candidate Master and a Fellow in the Society Of Actuaries.

NFL betting experts in the media

The number of NFL betting experts working in the media and giving away free NFL picks continues to grow with the spread of legal sports betting across the country.

Among the most famous is Colin Cowherd, a sports broadcaster who began his career as sports director at a Las Vegas TV station, worked for ESPN for more than a decade, and now hosts The Herd with Colin Cowherd on Fox Sports Radio and Fox Sports 1.

Cowherd’s ‘Blazin’ 5′ NFL picks show segment sees him offer up his top five NFL picks on Fridays throughout the regular season. His picks went 45-33-2 in 2018 and 42-41-3 in 2019.

ESPN’s Matt Bowen has become another well-known NFL betting expert in the media. The former NFL player is now a lead NFL writer and analyst with ESPN and one of the hosts of the NFL Matchup chat show on the network.  His NFL picks are 849-480 all-time boasting a 63.9% winning percentage.

Options for NFL betting research

Sports betting is, and always has been, a war of information. When it comes to the NFL, you can either:

  • Get that information yourself by doing your research
  • Get it for free by consuming all the “expert” NFL betting content that’s now out there
  • Buy it from a tout promising to be the only one that has it

Perhaps you don’t have the time or resources to do your research. Maybe you don’t trust the NFL betting experts giving away NFL picks and aren’t all that impressed with their accuracy rates.  Perhaps you find the web, social media, direct message, TV, and radio marketing blitz employed by so many touts rather compelling. Maybe you’re becoming increasingly convinced that the promise of a get-rich-quick scheme via sports betting will be your American dream come true.

Just be aware that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Keep in mind that NFL betting experts and touts might promise a profit, but few, if any, will guarantee it.

And, read on to find out the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, about buying NFL picks.

How about NFL pick services?

NFL pick services are simply touting organizations. Most are either run by touts or employ individual touts or groups of touts to make picks.

NFL pick services are often subscription-based taking a weekly, monthly, or seasonal fee for access to NFL picks, the reasoning behind them, and various other NFL betting information.

Are touts exclusive to the NFL?

Some touts only offer NFL picks, but most consider themselves sports betting experts and offer advice and picks for all kinds of sports.

Should I consider using an NFL tout/picks?

The decision of whether to pay for NFL picks or develop your own is a personal one.

If you don’t have the time to do the kind of research it takes to successfully make your own there’s likely nothing wrong with paying for NFL picks, as long as you’re armed with all the facts.

Get proof of a tout’s track record and find people you trust to vouch for the tout before you even consider paying for anything. Don’t be swayed by touts who advertise various win streaks and winning weeks. Instead, get the entire track record and make sure it’s verifiable. Then, examine the tout’s pricing and do the math to figure out how much you have to bet to make paying for the picks worth it.

The truth is that most pro sports bettors enjoy only a small 3% or 4% edge. Even if a tout promises a 5% edge, better than most pros, you’d likely have to bet 20 times the cost of the pick at typical -110 odds just to break even.

Unless you’re betting big, paying for picks rarely makes much sense. You’re probably better off trailing an NFL expert on TV or radio with a decent track record or spending more time watching games, researching NFL teams, and studying the lines and odds.

Are touts licensed?

Other than various individual state departments of consumer affairs or consumer protections, and certain laws against false advertising, there isn’t much of anything holding touts accountable.

The sports betting community has to be its watchdog when it comes to touts who claim unbelievable win rates and back out of promised guarantees.

Nevada lawmakers were considering legislation in 2018 that would regulate touts. However, the Nevada Gaming Control Board claimed existing laws could handle consumer protection, and registering touts would lead to the touts claiming a kind of unintended legitimization through the process. The state wasn’t interested in giving any tout its official stamp of approval and everything referring to touts was eventually removed from the bill.

What should I look for in a trusted NFL handicapper?

If a tout’s win rate claims are legitimate, they should be able to provide verifiable proof and trusted references who can vouch for their track record. That means more than advertisements claiming recent win streaks. Instead, get the tout’s entire track record.

Don’t settle for anything less than information regarding their picks from the past two NFL seasons. This must include legitimate bet slips and you should be on the lookout for photoshopped bet slips.

Any tout not willing or able to provide proof of a winning track record should not be trusted. Start with the idea that no tout can be trusted until they prove undeniably they are a winner and you will avoid getting ripped off.

What claims should I be wary of?

In truth, pro NFL bettors live off very small edges. Most only enjoy win rates between 53% and 54%. Oddsmakers have become more sophisticated in setting lines and it’s hard to find an edge at all.

NFL touts promising anything more than the average win rate of most pro sports bettors are suspect. You’re going to want to make them provide verifiable proof of it. If the tout isn’t willing or able to, walk away.

But he said it was a lock?

There is no such thing as a sure thing.

Touts and NFL betting experts might call a pick a “lock” to express confidence in it and help advertise it. Unless they’re promising to pay out on losing bets, the lock won’t guarantee you a win.

If they’re being honest, most probably enjoy the same win rate on locks as any other picks. Otherwise, why wouldn’t they just stick to betting these locks exclusively?

How about a tout’s “free” picks or “guaranteed” picks?

A tout might use free NFL picks to try to get you to pay for future picks.

Getting a single game right should not be used as an indication this tout has a proven track record of success betting on the NFL. Only a proven track record of success betting on the NFL can do that. Use the free picks to bet all you want. But even if they won you should still get the tout to show you a verifiable proof of a winning track record before you buy anything.

The same can be said for any kind of guarantee. No matter what form a guarantee takes, it cannot be used as verifiable proof any tout is a winner.

Is it worth it for casual NFL bettors to buy picks?

Unless you’re betting on the NFL seriously, or perhaps trying to make a living off it, you’re probably not going to be in the market for NFL picks.

You may be tempted to buy picks instead of research to develop your own until you try it and realize you have to start betting pretty big to cover the cost. You’re probably better off using your betting system and betting within your means, even if your system is just blindly throwing darts at a board.

If you’re planning to go pro betting sports, you have to consider whether the cost of a tout’s NFL picks is worth it, or if that money is better off spent on actually betting instead.

The bottom line is that casual bettors who use a small portion of their disposable income to make a bet or two on Sundays have no business buying picks. More serious bettors might want to consider it, but even they will often find they’re better off doing their research to develop their picks and NFL betting strategy.

Regular season vs. playoff picks?

With fewer games to focus on, it might seem much easier for the touts to make picks in the playoffs.

However, oddsmakers have fewer games to focus on as well, making the lines infinitely more accurate. Touts claim to be experts in finding an edge in certain bets and the truth is there is simply more opportunity to do that in the regular season.

Should I pay for Super Bowl picks?

Let’s be clear: We don’t advocate paying for NFL picks.

Touts who claim to have inside information usually don’t and others boasting huge win rates can’t prove it.

The number of NFL betting experts working in the media and giving away free NFL picks is growing all the time. Follow the picks your favorites make if you don’t have the time or inclination to make your own NFL picks.

This goes for the NFL regular season, NFL Playoffs, and even the Super Bowl, where touts and NFL betting experts may never tell you this, but your guess is as good as theirs.