From Marc Lawrence's 2004 Playbook Yearbook

What are free picks really worth?

By RJ Bell |

Free sports picks are EVERYWHERE - making it important for today's player to know how best to use them.

The ideal approach to free football picks, basketball picks or baseball picks is not always simple: Up until now, many of you have probably been overlooking valuable information some free picks provide; while others have been relying upon worthless opinions no better than a coin flip. As operator of the biggest daily free pick email on the Internet, I am in a prime position to offer Playbook readers helpful guidance. Read on to discover the secrets to fully taking advantage of free picks while avoiding the dangerous pitfalls.

The Internet allows ANYONE with a computer to promote a website; and the easiest way for these unknowns to get attention is to give picks away for free. How good are these picks? Your guess is as good as mine . . . What I can tell you is that only the VERY BEST handicappers win over the long term - so it logically follows that only a tiny minority of these unproven unknowns would win for you.

Is there a way to identify the select few who are the winners? No, not any practical way, since I would strongly discourage trusting undocumented records posted at unknown sites; and tracking all the picks personally over the long-term would take more time than most players are able to commit.

You may have come across sites that provide free picks from a large group of unknowns (sometimes dozens per page). In theory this is an appealing approach, but appearances can be deceiving. More times than you'd expect the REAL PURPOSE of such sites is to cast a positive light (with little regard for the truth) upon favored services (favored either because the site owner has a secret financial interest or due to other undisclosed relationships). The end result is a scam. So once again in these cases a player can only be sure of results he sees with his own eyes.

So, what exactly is the value free picks offer? Keep in mind that free picks show rather than tell - that is their fundamental advantage. It's easy (and unverifiable) for a service to TELL you how much they're winning; by providing a free pick a handicapper is actually SHOWING you a sample of what he can do. And, since what's being provided is free, there's no risk; your only cost is the time it takes to view the picks & follow the results.

Having access to free picks also allows you to discover which handicapper's approach best fits with your own. The level of insight delivered by a capper's analysis can tell you a lot about his potential. Short-term win streaks tell you who's hot. Long-term win streaks strengthen the possibility that the capper is a genuine winner (one of our handicappers has won nearly 60% of his last 200 free picks!)

So, though free picks are not really free since they require your time, they offer a great opportunity to find out more (with the least possible commitment) about handicappers who deserve your attention.

Looking toward the future, I believe a player's best bet is seeking out a TRUSTWORTHY source that delivers free picks from multiple handicappers. Once that site has earned your trust you no longer need to personally track every play to believe the posted results (less work! more creditable info!); in addition, the site operator likely has insider knowledge of many handicappers, and can act as a talent scout when deciding whose picks to provide. And finally, an established, highly popular site will motivate handicappers to provide higher quality free picks.

How do you grow into trusting such a site? Like any other business decision, consider its reputation, the level of professionalism displayed, and the caliber of handicappers the site associates with. Happy hunting and, as always, good luck with your online sports gambling and sports betting endeavors.

Ring the cash register in your head!
RJ Bell - President
Delivers help from world-famous handicappers