Is Buying Sports Picks Worth It in 2023? (Tout Services)

If you’re a sports gambler, you’ve seen plenty of ads offering sports picks. But is buying sports picks worth it?

I’ve been betting on sports for decades and have a lot of experience with sports pick sellers.

Here’s what I can share with you about buying sports picks from y experience.

Buying sports picks isn’t worth it. And worse, most sports picks services are scams.

This post explains how sports pick sellers work and how they make money. It also explains the best alternatives to buying sports picks.

How Sports Pick Selling Works

Sports pick sellers offer different ways to buy picks. The three most common ways pick sellers work are offering:

  1. Weekly or monthly fees.
  2. Game by game fees.
  3. A percentage of winnings as a fee.

Weekly fees are the main model; they’re the most profitable. See the example later in this post to see just how profitable weekly pick sales are.

Selling picks by the game can be profitable, but many sellers doing this eventually try to get you on a weekly or monthly subscription model.

Charging a percentage of winning isn’t as common as the other fee schedules. And a percentage of winnings sounds like a good deal. But you still lose on the bets you don’t win, and the percentage you pay on winning bets cuts into your overall profits.

How Much You Have to Make to Make Buying Sports Picks Profitable

You’re trying to learn how to beat the sportsbooks, so buying picks looks interesting. This post explains every reason why buying sports picks is a bad idea before you finish this post. Everything starts with making money, though.

When you buy a sports pick, you want to use it to make money. When you determine how much money you make betting on sports, you must use every bet, win or lose.

Every time you send money on a sports pick it reduces your overall profitability.

So, if you buy sports picks, you must win more often than when you don’t buy sports picks to make more money.

Here’s an example:

You usually bet $110 to win $100 on point spreads. And you can buy sports picks for $10 a game. (I’m using a low cost of $10 to show how much buying picks hurts your profit. But many sports pick services charge more than $10.)

Throughout the season, you buy 100 sports picks and bet on 100 games. The sports picks help you win 55% of your bets, which would usually make you profitable.

But look at the overall numbers.

100 sports picks cost $1,000. Your total cost of placing 100 bets comes to $11,000. When you win you receive $210. So on the 55 games, you win you get back a total of $11,550.

But between the cost of the picks and the vig, you still lose $450 overall.

You must win 58% of your bets to make a small profit. And if you pay more than $10 per pick, you have to win at an even higher rate.

Are Sports Pick Selling and Tout Services the Same?

People who sell sports picks are also called touts. So a tout service is the same thing as a sports pick selling service.

While I’ve heard some gamblers call a service with many different sports experts offering picks a tout service, it doesn’t matter if one person sells picks or a group of so-called experts sells picks. A tout service and sports pick selling service is the same thing.

How Sports Pick Sellers Make Money and Why It Matters

If you had to explain how sports pick sellers make money, you’d probably say that they take money and provide pick advice. While that might be true on the surface, you can learn a lot about the sports pick selling business by seeing an example.

The First Week

A sports pick seller signs 2,048 people up for weekly picks. Sports picks have a wide range in cost, but for this example, I’m using a low weekly cost of $20.

The first week the seller collects $40,960. The seller picks a random game and sends one side of the game to half of the customers and the other side of the game to the other half. Half the customers win and are happy to pay for the picks the next week.

And most of the customers understand that nobody picks winners 100% of the time, so even the customers on the losing side are likely to stick with the service for the second week.

The Second Week

But even if every losing customer quits, the seller still collects $20,480 the second week. The second week the seller picks a random game and sends half the customers one side of the game and the other half the other side of the game.

After two weeks, 512 customers have won two weeks in a row. And if only these customers stay with the service, the seller collects $10,240 the third week. Again, half get one side of a game and the other half get the other side.

The Third Week

Now, 256 customers have won three weeks in a row. These customers probably think the seller knows how to win. The seller collects $5,120 from these customers for the fourth week.

The Fourth Week

After the fourth week, 128 customers have won four weeks in a row. At this point, the seller offers a higher priced package to the 128 winners and they’re likely to buy the higher priced package because the seller doesn’t seem to be able to lose.

Plus, instead of just losing the customers that get the losing side of games, the seller offers a free week of picks. Half of the people getting the free pick win and are likely to pay again the following week.

I’m not claiming that every sport pick selling service works this way. But it shows how a sports pick seller doesn’t have to do anything except sell random picks to make a lot of money.

Can Sports Pick Sellers Make More Money Betting Their Picks Than Selling Them?

I don’t know how many times I’ve read that if sports pick seller was so good at picking winners they could make more money betting their picks than selling them. But from the numbers in the last section, you can see that this might not be true.

A big problem winning sports bettors run into comes with being able to get big bets in action. Sportsbooks don’t like taking huge bets from winning gamblers.

If a winning sports bettor could get millions in play, they can make a lot of money. But as you just saw, you can make a lot of money selling picks with no risk. So don’t assume a sports pick seller can make more money betting picks than selling them, even if the seller can handicap games.

The Best Alternative to Buying Sports Picks

Learning how to handicap and evaluate sporting events helps you make more profit than buying sports picks. Even if you find a sports pick seller that’s honest, the odds are good that you can learn how to pick games just as well as they do.

And as you learned in a previous section, a crooked pick seller doesn’t have to handicap games to make a lot of money.

If you can learn how to handicap games well enough to win at least 53% of your point spread bets, you can make money. Every sports gambler starts at a 50% average win rate on point spread wagers.

When you make a point spread bet, you either win or lose. Because of the way point spreads work, you can randomly pick teams and win an average of 50% of your games.

But you don’t break even winning 50% of your bets. The vig on the bets costs money on the games you lose. So you have to win 53% of your point spread bets to make money.

Here’s an example:

You bet on 100 games, wagering $77 to win $70 on each game. If you win 50 games and lose 50 games, you lose $350. But if you win 53 games (53%) you win $91.

Learning how to handicap games with a goal of winning at least 53% of your point spread bets is better than buying sports picks. And with enough study and work, you can learn effective handicapping.

Your long-term results are better picking random point spread games than paying for sports picks. And if you can learn how to handicap well enough to push your winning percentage up a few percentage points, you can make a profit without paying extra for picks.


I know it might be tempting to buy sports picks. But buying sports picks is never worth it. Even if you find a decent seller, the price you pay cuts into your profit.

Instead of buying sports picks, invest in improving your handicapping skills.

You only have to learn how to improve from winning 50% of your point spread wagers to 53% to make a profit. And with a little bit of work, you can learn how to do this.

Avoid buying sports picks so a crooked seller doesn’t take advantage of you. And just because a pick seller looks successful or claims to be winning, doesn’t mean it’s worth it. And now you know how the dirty business really works.

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