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Is It Important to Reinvent the Wheel? Part 2: Adapting a System

In the world of sports betting, you will encounter several common attitudes towards betting systems:

  • Who needs a system?  Go with your gut.
  • You need a system, but if you want to prove you are a real expert, you need to create one yourself.
  • Why reinvent the wheel?  You need a system, but you may as well just borrow one from someone else.


In regards to the first attitude (who needs a system?), all I can say is that without some kind of betting method, you will lose.  It is very hard to pull in steady profits in sports betting even with a system.  Without one, you’ll get nowhere.


In Is It Important to Reinvent the Wheel? Part 1: The IKEA Effect, I talked about the psychology behind the second attitude.  Many people believe that you do need to reinvent the wheel to prove you have the skill it takes to succeed at sports betting. 

This is likely due at least in part to a cognitive bias called the “IKEA Effect” where people value objects that require full or partial assembly over those which come fully established.  While the experiments that demonstrated the IKEA Effect involved furniture products, the same principle could easily apply to betting systems.


But a betting system is not necessarily more valuable just because you built it from the ground up.  In most walks of life, we praise creativity, but we also recognise that sometimes we need to stand on the shoulders of giants to build on their success.  Creative skill is not the only skill which has value in sports betting.  You may not excel creatively with systems, but you could be very skilled at recognising someone else’s solid work and applying it to your own betting problems.

But just because you found a working system someone else invented, that does not mean that it is ready to go as it is—or that you are.


Why Systems Need Adapting and Testing

I am all for not reinventing the wheel if you can get away with it.  Learning how to bet is an extremely complex and time-consuming process even when you are leaning on someone else’s hard work.  There is no reason to waste months or years going back to square one to do it all yourself.

You do need to adapt any system that you find to your needs, however.  Depending on the system and your situation, the adaptations you need to make could be minor or they could be major.  You also must test the system to make sure that it is going to work for you before you think of putting real money on the line.


Why might you need to make some changes to an existing profitable system before you use it?  Here are a few reasons:

  • You might be adapting a system from one sport to another.  For example, maybe the system was designed for rugby league and you want to use it or rugby union.  Or maybe it was developed for professional basketball, but you want to wager on college basketball.
  • You could be updating a system which was developed a number of years ago.  Maybe there have been some updates and changes to rules and penalties in the sport since then.  You may need to tweak the system to allow for those changes.
  • The system may simply not be as good as it could be.  It may deliver reasonably good results, but you happen to know how to make it better.  If you do, obviously you should.
  • The system may not be a good fit for some aspect of your personality or schedule.  Maybe it requires you to bet in-play, but you don’t want to/can’t be awake at that time/have to go to work.  Or perhaps you like to manage your money a certain way, and the system you are thinking of using calls for a different approach to bet sizing that you don’t want to use. 


In short, just because a system is profitable as is for someone else, that does not mean it will be for you.


Here are some reasons you need to test any system you are going to use even if you only make minor adjustments to it:

  • You need to make sure you really understand the system: why it works, how it works, and how to use it.  You may be leaning on someone else’s creative expertise, but you still need to become an expert in how to apply that creativity.
  • You do not yet know how you will react to the system when it is in use.  Will you have time to do all the handicapping you need to do?  Will you be able to handle any calculations you need to make?  Will you feel rushed?  Will you feel bored? 


Basically, you need to look for pitfalls without putting real money at risk.  Once you have found the potential pitfalls, you can fill them in.  You may not need to reinvent the wheel to become a successful punter, but you do need to pave the road to success!


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