By Dennis Ranahan
The cost of a sports service is much more tied to point spread results than the price for the information. That being said, it certainly is most beneficial when solid information is delivered reliably for a fixed price.
One method that gamblers find attractive is a net winner program, where they only pay for the picks when they win. This method is mostly offered by boiler room operations that rely on new business to pickpocket successful clients. Subscriber gains are gouged by exorbitant fees from the service offering the point spread plays, some reported to cost as much as 50% of profits.
The reason the bettors lose in this business model is that they share profits while riding the crest of a winning run, but are left holding the bag when suffering through losing streaks. They also absorb all the actual financial risk. Hence the need for these operations is to focus on attracting new subscribers while losing dissatisfied customers in a commonly short period of time.
Many sports handicapping services will offer a dirt cheap opportunity for their first game, and if it wins begin a barrage of sales pitches that an even better play than the one that just won is now available and it only costs … something significantly more than the introductory game. When, and if, wins pile up the information made available is always promoted as better and therefore more costly.
When the good times end, and three, four or five straight wins are blunted by three wins in the next eleven selections, the dissatisfied customer is left with the debt incurred at the book and with the service holding significant fees for costing him or her money.
As in any financial endeavor, it is best to fix costs that can be and lock them in at an attractive rate. If one was so fortunate as to find a source that truly did offer an edge over the prevailing point spreads the cost is often prohibitive. I knew some friends in college who found such a source in the 1970’s, and while none of them could afford the $2000 annual fee for the NFL season, five of them got together and gained the picks for a much more affordable $400 each.