What Does Handle Mean in Sports Betting?

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LSU offensive lineman Will Campbell (66) faces off against Alabama linebacker Dallas Turner (15) during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 4, 2023, in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
(AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)
Chase Kiddy @chaseakiddy Dec 20, 2023, 12:31 PM

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.

Visit the sportsbook for updated odds, the best sports betting promos — including BetMGM’s welcome offer — and more.

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About the Author

Chase Kiddy

Read More @chaseakiddy

Chase Kiddy is a writer for BetMGM and co-host of The Lion's Edge, an NFL and college football podcast available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and everywhere else. He has also written for a number of print and online outlets, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Washington Post, Daily News-Record, and HERO Sports. His first novel, Cave Paintings, is in development.

Chase Kiddy is a writer for BetMGM and co-host of The Lion's Edge, an NFL and college football podcast available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and everywhere else. He has also written for a number of print and online outlets, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Washington Post, Daily News-Record, and HERO Sports. His first novel, Cave Paintings, is in development.