In online sports betting, the term handle refers to the total amount of money that has been wagered by all bettors. It’s generally used in reference to a specific game or futures market.
For example, BetMGM might release data that shows the handle breakdown for a hypothetical Monday Night Football game between the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants. In 2023, most football fans might expect the majority of moneyline handle to be behind Dallas.
BetMGM might also share the handle data for futures markets like the Super Bowl odds.
Handle vs. Tickets/Bets
There are important implications in play when bettors compare a sportsbook’s handle data to its raw betting data.
Here’s an example: Let’s say Alabama is a 13-point favorite over LSU in an upcoming SEC game. Sportsbook data might tell you that Alabama is drawing 41% of tickets but 68% of overall handle.
Such a discrepancy suggests that big-time money is being bet on Alabama in spite of a relatively low ticket count.
Bettors who believe in the superiority of following the money may find value in betting the Crimson Tide in such a scenario.