How to Start Your Own Tout Service (And Why You Shouldn’t)

Man on a Laptop Next to a Betting Odds Screenshot

Most of my writing is centered around how to make profit as a sports bettor. Professionals and some advanced recreational sports bettors can make a profit, but this is an incredibly difficult task.

Learning how to outsmart the bookmakers isn’t the sole path to riches in the sports betting game. In fact, the bookmakers are raking in the bags full of cash regularly. Perhaps you should consider launching a sportsbook of your own.

Of course, the legal roadblocks may quickly derail these plans.

Starting a Tout Service

There’s another avenue to making a ton of money in the sports betting industry. What if you could sell your picks and give sports betting advice to others?

I have compiled a ton of data and present this guide to starting your own tout service. The profit margins for a tout service can be tremendous. For most bettors, it offers a much higher chance of making money than actually betting on games.

If you can lure 100 gamblers into paying you $50 for picks every month, you can make $60k a year. Or you could find 500 gamblers to pay $10 and make the same.

I use those numbers because $60k is a livable income for many Americans. It is substantially better than the vast majority of sports bettors ever do just by betting on games.

If you can properly market yourself, you have a legitimate shot at making some real money.

Business Models for Tout Services

The first step to launching your own tout service is deciding which model you wish to use to sell your picks. There are three standard models for this:

  1. Subscription – The subscription model sets your customers up weekly or monthly to pay a set fee. In exchange, the customer receives a certain amount of picks each cycle. The subscription model does an excellent job of establishing recurring cash flow. After you gain a new client, you just have to keep them happy enough to not leave.
  2. Package – A package setup is similar to a subscription. You sell more than one pick per transaction. Typically, it’s for a one-time fee as opposed to recurring billing. Usually, picks are packaged for a week of NFL games or a day of MLB action.
  3. Individual – This is relatively straightforward. You sell a pick for a specific game. This may be the week’s unique game like Monday Night Football or the NBA game of the night.

Most touts offer more than one particular model. You may even choose to use a combination of different models. There are other ways of selling picks as well; these are simply the most popular.

People Having Drinks at a Sports Bar

One model won’t necessarily earn more money than another. After you grow your customer base, you may expand your offerings accordingly. The model you select is at your sole discretion and mainly depends on what you hope to accomplish. I would start with one model then grow from there.

The subscription model is the most attractive to me. It allows you to somewhat accurately predict your monthly income. It reduces your marketing expenditures because you only have to acquire new clients one time.

Marketing Strategy for Tout Services

The single most crucial factor in your profitability is that selling picks is not your ability to pick winners. The most vital aspect of your business is how well you can market your services and gain new customers.

You can successfully grow your business in several ways. I suggest you choose one or two from my list below to start:

  • Social Media – If you want to reach new customers, you will have to dive headfirst into social media. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are all a must-have if you want your new business to gain traction and legitimacy.
  • Radio – You may not think radio is a hotbed of potential new customers, but many sports bettors stay tuned in. If you can get spots on your local sports radio stations, the investment return may be insane. This is especially true if you purchase air time during the radio broadcast of significant games.
  • Television – Sports bettors spend a lot of time in front of the TV. TV stations are sometimes hesitant to run gambling-related advertisements. Be prepared to run into some opposition when hunting for ad space.

Gaining new customers will be paramount to your success or failure. Suppose you can figure out a way to acquire new business for less than what they are paying for your service. In that case, you can grow into a profitable business.

However, if you are continually looking for new customers to stay afloat, it will get expensive and frustrating. Maximize each acquisition’s value by increasing the total dollars spent by new customers on their first purchase.

Delivery of Your Sports Picks

Once you’ve got your customers, you need to decide how to deliver your picks. You have options, and thanks to technology, the process is incredibly easy:

  • Email – This is the most popular choice among up and coming pick services. You’ll likely be getting the customer’s email address when they register, then you simply add them to the list. The best thing about email is that it’s free.
  • Website – You could go the extra mile and develop a private area for your website. Customers simply log in and have their picks available to them at their convenience.

If you aren’t advanced enough to build your own website, I suggest starting with email. It is simple enough for anybody to use, and you won’t have to pay somebody to work on your website at over $100 an hour.

Do You Need to Be Over 75% at Picking Games?

Most people would assume that to sell your picks, you have to be good at actually picking. Sure, it helps to be a pro sports bettor, but the truth of the matter is that if you can sell yourself well enough. It doesn’t matter.

If you are regularly beating the sportsbooks, that’s great. But nobody is using your service just because of that. Nobody is out there selling picks and claiming they don’t win every week.

You’ll find all sorts of ridiculous claims from pick services. Frequently, it just comes off as a shady sales pitch. And when you understand how sleazy some tout services genuinely are, you’re likely never going to use one again.

If you can do a good enough marketing job, you can just toss a coin to make your picks for you. Or, and I know that this happens often, you could give half of your customers one side of an event and the other half the opposing pick for the game.

Orleans Las Vegas Sportsbook

Many businesses operate under these infuriating parameters, and they make a good profit. Imagine doing this over time; after one month, you’ll have 25% of your customers winning 75%. Another, 25% will be a 50% winner. The third 1/4 will be at 25%, and you’ll have another 25% that haven’t won a single game.

There will obviously be some attrition, but you simply offer those customers a considerable percentage of their next monthly subscription. Many will return.

In no way do I condone this business model. I was merely showing you some examples of what sketchy tout services have done in the past. I’d hope that you see the fundamental flaws in the character of those who operate in this fashion.

You Don’t Have to Be a Liar to Be Successful

The above is a prime example of not only a dishonest business but, by my account, a thief. The customer is receiving no real value for their money.

In some instances, the shade factor actually increases. Some pick services will run that same scam with the caveat of offering a money-back guarantee. Of course, in place of your money back, you’re given more picks.

You definitely do not have to be underhanded to run a successful pick service. Most sports bettors aren’t going to believe 90% of what you claim, so why lie?

Set up and run a legitimate business. Acquire the right type of customers and work your tail off to keep them happy. Nothing will sink a pick service faster than always having to hunt for new customers. If you are picking with a decent amount of success, it should be reasonably easy to make money.

Which brings me to my next point.

Why This Is All a Tremendous Waste If You’re Good

If you are picking games at a 53% rate or better, what are you doing wasting time selling picks?

With numbers that rival Billy Walters, you should be dedicating 100% of your time and effort to placing the bets for yourself. And hiring others to place bets for you as well.

You’re guaranteed to make money, and the more you can put into play, the more you get back. It’s like having a license to print money.

Stop wasting time and get to making the real money!


If you still have your sights set on starting your own tout service, I’m not here to stop you. I do sincerely hope you’re one of the good ones. This guide should give you a decent start in your new endeavor.

If you want to make serious money, I recommend you learn to pick games at over 54% and spend your riches wisely or not. In fact, spending it foolishly sounds like more fun, and you’ll have a hard time spending it all anyway.