Wat is Statistical Handicapping?

Posted by Alex Murphy on June 20, 2015 in

One of the most popular methods of sports betting on sports is with the use of statistics to help predict the future outcomes of games. This has been a very popular method, especially with number crunchers, because it allows them to use a team’s statistics from previous games, up to that point, to predict the outcome of a game, without the use of other handicapping methods like trends, or emotions. Making it a handicapping method based on performance alone.

There are some statistics that are very useful in helping to determine the outcome of games, and other statistics that aren’t so useful, which you should know before you decide to make a bet based on statistics. For example, in the NFL, the turnover ratio is a big factor when it comes to winning and losing games, and at the same time, it is an intriguing statistic when it comes to predicting the outcome of games.




If you consider the fact that the team that turns the ball over the most in a game, will cover the point spread 20-25 percent of the time, which makes it look like a good indicator, when it comes to predicting the outcome of a football game. The problem with that statistic, is the fact that turnovers are very unpredictable in the NFL, and you actually have a better chance of covering the point spread by taking a team with a negative turnover ratio than one with a positive turnover ratio.

This example illustrates the difference between a statistical indicator and a statistical relationship. While there is a significant relationship between turnovers and winning percentage, it can also be a deceiving in terms of predicting the future outcomes of games, making it a statistic to avoid when trying to bet on football games.

When it comes to finding a statistic that can predict the future outcomes of football games more accurately, rushing the football is a good indicator of point spread success. When it comes to football, the team that controls the game, tends to win the game, which is why the rushing statistic is important. Teams that run the ball successfully in football, are more likely to win the game, and cover the spread, which makes rushing statistics good indicators of the outcome of games.




Another thing that you have to keep in mind when using the rushing statistic to place bets on NFL games, is that the statistic can also be misleading. Sometimes, teams get a lot of rushing yards, as a result of having big leads. Once a team has a big lead, they try to milk the clock, and the best way to do so, is by running the ball a lot. This often leads to the team finishing the game with a lot of rushing yards, while forcing the opposing team to throw the ball more, which results in fewer yards for them.

If the total rushing yards that a team averages per game isn’t due to a big lead, but to their rushing attack, it means that the team has a very good rushing attack. Generally, teams that average more rushing yards than their opponents are usually the better team, and they are more likely to win and cover the spread.

One sport where statistical betting is the most popular, is baseball, which makes a lot of sense. Of all the major sports, baseball is the one sport that most statistics can be easily tabulated, and used to predict the future outcomes of games.




For example, in baseball, starting pitchers make a very big difference in games, so their statistics are very important when it comes to placing bets. The major statistic to look for in a pitcher is their ERA, which is their earned run average, or simply the amount of runs they allow per game. The lower a pitcher’s ERA, the better he is, and the higher the ERA, the more you should avoid the player.

The pitcher’s ERA is only half of the equation, because you can have a pitcher that shuts down opposing batters, but can’t get any run support from his teammates. To help you predict the outcome of a baseball game using statistics, you also have to consider the team’s batting average in their most recent games, how they have fared against the opposing pitchers in the past, and the amount of runs that they score when the pitcher that you like is starting the game.

As previously mentioned, the statistical method, strictly uses past statistics to predict the future outcomes of games, while it is a very effective method, there are certain things that statistics alone can’t predict, which is why it is a good idea to use it with other handicapping methods.