A sports betting handicapper is someone who studies and wagers on sporting events.
This definition can refer to almost anyone who bets on sports, assuming that person takes time to find an edge against the sportsbooks with the goal of turning a profit.
Handicapping is all about finding an edge, and that's often done through research. Whether that's looking at injuries, records or against the spread data, it doesn't matter.
Given that the definition fits a wide range of people, handicapping can be separated by casual bettors and pro bettors.
Casual handicappers look at a few easy-to-obtain numbers like home/away records and pick a side from that information. These handicappers often have a general sense of direction before putting in research and the information obtained will then be focused on supporting whoever the original bets were on.
Professional handicappers have no biases and are all about numbers. In addition to home/away records, they'll look at underlying advanced stats and maybe even have their own power rankings for the entire league to create spreads themselves. While some pro handicappers can turn a positive, it's not a given they will. There's always the chance a handicapper researches the wrong numbers that don't matter in the final result.
Sports betting handicappers cover a wide range of people, but if you dig down into specifics, you can separate them into groups.
A tout and a handicapper are often confused for one another, however, they can have specific differences. While a tout is always someone who sells picks, a handicapper doesn't necessarily have to sell picks.