Twitter, which is getting more and more popular every day, can be useful as a sports handicapping tool. It used to be that it was just a fringe website used by gossips. Now everyone is on it, and there is an incredible amount of valuable information out there. For handicappers it can be a real goldmine, and if you use it effectively it can give you a real edge. I have a Twitter account set up just to follow people useful to my sports handicapping, and it frequently produces valuable information that I may not have seen at all, and certainly wouldn’t have seen as quickly.
There is a dark side to Twitter, though. A lot of people don’t feel a lot of responsibility to make sure what they are Tweeting is true, so rumors based on bad information – or ones that were just plain made up – can spread very quickly. Before trusting anything on Twitter, then, sports handicappers need to make sure that it comes from a trustworthy source. If it is a significant piece of information that will have a big impact on a betting decision then you should probably also confirm it independently before you act on it. You need to be cautious, but after a while you can get a good sense of what is worth listening to and what is just noise.
In my handicapping Twitter account there are five distinct groups of people I follow. Each type of Tweet offers a different kind of insight and can be valuable in different ways. If you don’t use Twitter as a sports handicapper now then pick a group to start with, find some people in that group to follow, and see what you can learn. It won’t be a waste of time:
Athletes – There are a lot of athletes that Tweet a lot. Many of them are a waste of time – they tell jokes, talk about what they are doing at every minute and just try to get noticed. There are a whole lot of guys, though, who provide thoughtful, well reasoned insights into themselves and their teams. Following athletes can be a very good way to get a sense of how a player or a team is feeling after a big win or a big loss. You can often get a read on how good the chemistry is on a team. You can also get a sense of how healthy a player is – a crucial bot of information if he is a key player. It takes a lot of trial and error to separate the time wasters from the valuable contributors, but they are out there and for the smart sports bettor they are certainly worth finding.
Respected journalists – If there are journalists that you find valuable to read when they write columns then you should absolutely follow them on Twitter if they are active. Journalists who are good Twitter users will share a lot of information on Twitter that never makes it into columns. They’ll also tip you off to developments right as they are happening, and they will provide quick analysis of events so you can tell what is important and what may not be. They will also typically tell you when they have posted a new column so you can keep up on what they have to say as soon as they post it. If you follow too many journalists then you can get overwhelmed with information, but by selecting a few you like and trust in each sport you follow you can quickly have a much better grasp of what is going on and how that may affect your sports picks.
Official broadcasters or teams – This is the best source there is for late breaking developments that can impact a bet. For example, the official broadcaster or the team is a brilliant source for late pitching changes or other player scratches that can make a baseball bet that once looked good now look like one you want to get out of. They’ll also be a good source for early information about player movement or staff hirings and firings.
Hardcore fans – Most teams have a few fans who are extremely committed to those teams. They may be the fans you find running forums or websites committed to the teams, or writing articles about them for websites. These fans will usually be very dialed in to every move the team is making, and can identify things that are significant about the team that you would never have found if you had looked at the team from the more distant position of an outside observer. You can’t follow every hardcore fan for every team, but for the teams or the leagues that you are particularly interested in betting on it can definitely be worth searching out a few who fit the bill and help you in making winning sports picks.
Other handicappers – There aren’t a lot of sports handicappers out there who use Twitter particularly effectively, but there are some. Following a handicapper you respect on Twitter may provide some insights that you wouldn’t have thought of yourself. It may also be a good way to hear about important industry developments that might affect you. If you are a social person then following these handicappers on Twitter can be a good first step in developing a relationship with them that can help you learn and grow as a sports handicapper.