The Handicapper USA is a relatively new horse racing tipster service which is being operated by Premium Sports Tipsters. As the name of the service indicates, it is based around betting on horse racing in the US.
Introduction to The Handicapper USA
2020 has been a bloody naff year. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t things that we can learn from and take away from it all. One thing that really stands out to me is just how many eggs we typically end up having in one basket or another. Now, in some respects, this wasn’t news to me. I’ve always maintained that if you want to make money following tipsters in the long term, you need to build up a diverse portfolio. But the complete shutdown of football across Europe and horse racing here in the UK made me realise how much I have overlooked.
Now I know all of that might not sound like it has anything to do with anything, but it isn’t a coincidence to me that Premium Sports Tipsters launched The Handicapper USA back in March of this year. Specifically, about the time that we were faced with that lack of UK horse racing. And here we are, some 9 months later, and the service is still going. Keeping a service operational for that length of time is no easy feat, so, this must be a winner, right?
Well, there is a much broader picture that needs to be painted here. One that moves away from the headlining claim that you can expect to see massive returns in 6 weeks. Because whilst Premium Sports Tipsters definitely know what angle to go with in terms of selling a service, actually getting it to perform consistently to any standard is a massively different kettle of fish. And it is here where The Handicapper USA starts to lose out on points in my opinion.
What Does The Handicapper USA Offer?
The offering for The Handicapper USA is actually quite a simple and straight forward thing. Something that I really don’t see as a negative. At the end of the day, Premium Sports Tipsters are providing horse racing tips. There is no need for things to be any more complicated than they have to be. In fact, in my experience, the more “moving parts” you add to the puzzle, the more likely it is to end up failing in the long term.
Now, the single most important element of all of this is that you are betting on racing in the US. I mean, it’s right there in the name of The Handicapper USA. And this is important because whilst the service is fundamentally quite a straight forward thing, betting on horses across the pond does have some quite important knock on effects on how things are done.
First things first, as you would probably expect, whilst The Handicapper USA is a daily tipster service the timing is much different. This typically means getting your selections in the evening here in the UK, with a view to backing races that are later in the day in the US. Firstly, this is a boon for those of you who work a 9-5 as you aren’t struggling to place bets during the week.
The other more important advantage (that Premium Sports Tipsters are more than happy to point out) is the fact that because you are betting early by US standards, you are able to get much better value in terms of your odds. And this really is key to everything, because as I will explore, if you aren’t getting this value then The Handicapper USA stalls before it even gets started.
Just touching on a few final points in terms of the logistics side of things, as you would expect, Premium Sports Tipsters send out selections directly via email. This contains all of the information that you need to get the bets placed, however, if you are able I would recommend using an odds comparison site. Not only is this in line with the wider spirit of The Handicapper USA, it is necessary to producing a profit.
In terms of the bets, there is a combination of win and each way bets advised. What I think is worth keeping in mind here though is that you seem plenty more of the former than the latter. Specifically, out of nearly 1,000 bets, just 35 have been on an each way basis. However, almost all of these have come after July suggesting that Premium Sports Tipsters have had some kind of switch around in the background (which really isn’t a bad thing).
Otherwise, things have been relatively consistent. The fact of the matter is that the proofing Premium Sports Tipsters provide shows that The Handicapper USA doesn’t really concern itself with higher odds selections. If truth be told, you will rarely end up betting on horses with odds that are in double digits, and even then, the highest example in the proofing seems to be 21.00 (which was back in may).
And on the topic of consistency, there are usually somewhere between 3 and 5 bets available on a given day. This makes for a very manageable service to follow. Especially when you consider the time you get to act on Premium Sports Tipsters’ tips for The Handicapper USA and the staking plan.
Which of course brings me to said staking plan. Keeping with that idea that you are ultimately dealing with a pretty straight forward tipster service in The Handicapper USA, all bets are advised to be backed to just 1 point. This means that realistically, you aren’t ever spreading your betting bank too thinly.
This is quite important because the strike rate for The Handicapper USA is a bit… Well, it’s pretty hit and miss if I’m honest. The average number of 35.57% doesn’t look too bad. But the unfortunate reality is that this is based off a range of 24.47% going all the way up to 62.22%. As such, I don’t really believe that you can call it representative of what to expect.
How Does The Handicapper USA Work?
At the centre of The Handicapper USA is a character referred to simply as “The SECRET SOURCE”. This individual, we are told, is a top USA racing handicapper with a career spanning three decades. Furthermore, we are told that he is well known within the industry, all of which adds a very strong air of legitimacy. As does the claim that said tipster makes his living from horse racing and has “proven to consistently make a profit over the long term”.
Elsewhere, we are told that this tipster who is behind The Handicapper USA has travelled to tracks across the US with his own “homemade speed ratings and track notes”. It is this that really starts to provide some insight into what is involved here. Don’t get me wrong, it is a long way from comprehensive, but it provides more insight than a lot of tipsters do.
The interesting thing is that I actually find myself believing Premium Sports Tipsters that The Handicapper USA is based on these premises. Whether or not the Secret Source is as real as is claimed… Well, I wouldn’t dream of claiming to know. But I do think that the results are somewhat consistent with a tipster service that is using speed ratings as a basis. Namely because this approach doesn’t tend to throw up surprises.
As a final note, it is worth keeping in mind that Premium Sports Tipsters do provide very comprehensive and up to date proofing. Whilst this isn’t necessarily insight into how the service works per se, it does mean that you can get a good idea of what you can expect from The Handicapper USA in the longer term. Something that is very important in determining if a service is for you or not.
What is the Initial Investment?
There are two options available if you want to sign up to The Handicapper USA, both of which (at least at the time of writing) come with introductory offers. The first subscription is a monthly affair (although it is billed every 28 days) which is priced at £19 for your first month and £38 per month thereafter.
Alternatively, and representing significantly better value, you can sign up to The Handicapper USA on a quarterly basis. This is actually billed every 3 months and is priced at £35 for your first quarter. Once this has elapsed, the cost rises to £70.
It is noteworthy that Premium Sports Tipsters don’t provide any kind of money back guarantee on their services (although we are helpfully told that you can cancel them whenever you want, like this is feature). I do however think that the trial pricing makes up for this to at least some degree.
What is the Rate of Return?
Now we come to the profit and loss, which is where The Handicapper USA really becomes quite interesting to me. Firstly, a few interesting and seemingly strong positives to note. Since launching in March, the service is yet to see a losing month (at least, to BOG) with an overall points profit of 215.17 points. However, it is also important to place into contact that between May and November, just 40.42 points generated.
Meanwhile, if you are looking at how The Handicapper USA has performed to SP… Well, you’d be 41.09 points in the red. With not a single winning month between May and November. That is a pretty significant contrast and highlights just how important it is to be able to get those decent value early odds.
Conclusion for The Handicapper USA
It’s clear to me wherein the appeal of The Handicapper USA lies. As I said way back at the start of this review, I really do feel like Covid 19 has made me rethink my approach to the old “eggs in the basket” scenario. And in theory, something like this is a brilliant way of diversifying. But more than that, by focusing on the US, you have plenty of time to bet early and get decent odds. Which of course, is entirely necessary here.
And that really is where The Handicapper USA is a bit problematic to me. Because this isn’t just necessarily about getting the best odds. Far from it. If you look at the period between May and October, the most profitable month was August at just 7.51 points. Otherwise, you’re looking at around 3 or 4 points at best. Very literally, at best. Which demonstrates just how easy it could have been for this to operate at a loss.
Now don’t get me wrong, the results are potentially starting to turn around. November saw some 15 points of profit. Meanwhile December is currently showing a somewhat reasonable profit of (about)16 points. We are however still very early in December so I wouldn’t necessarily put too much weight behind this.
Around this time, I’d normally be inclined to say that this may be worth keeping on the back burner, that the results could be turned around, that maybe the tipster behind this are finding their form. And to some degree, all of this is true. But it’s hard to ignore the fact that Premium Sports Tipsters just want quite a lot of money for it.
Sure, it looks like there is value in that trial cost, but that is for something that is pretty unproven in terms of consistent profit. Which I know is a bit of a contentions statement for a service that hasn’t had a losing month. But firstly, those results are simply minimal. I just don’t see how you can put that much weight behind them. Secondly, there remains that important point of actually getting the odds for them to be profitable.
On top of all of that… Well, it just seems like you’re being asked to pay out quite a lot. Especially because (and this is just a bit of a pet peeve of mine) of that 28 day “monthly” pricing structure. If you’re going to bill 4 weekly, your pricing has to reflect that, and it doesn’t here. Especially considering the longer term results.
So, with all of that in mind, I just can’t being myself to recommend The Handicapper USA. In my mind, this was probably launched post Covid to keep something moving for Premium Sports Tipsters. I don’t necessarily begrudge them that because, at the end of the day, we’ve all had to do what is needed to make ends meet. But the fact is I’m still seeing this in my inbox. And looking at it for what it is now (rather than those blindingly good first few months), there just aren’t that many positives.