Round Robin Bets and How They Work

Figuring out how to put together a round robin bet can be difficult when factoring in the different odds and payouts each new bet brings. In addition, with round robin bets you will have more than one parlay to keep track of. In this article, we will discuss this type of bet along with the main information and tips for players using this strategy. 

What is a Round Robin Bet

Round Robin: a round robin bet is three or more different parlay bets that all include some variant of the same games as the others. The point of the round robin bets is if one of the games in your parlays loses, there is still a chance to win at least one parlay and make a profit. 

Every bettor does it once in awhile; makes a huge parlay bet with almost no chances of winning but a payout too irresistible to refuse. The problem with these types of bets arise due to the impracticality of making them regularly. Parlay bets, while fun, have many drawbacks that can make even the most experienced of bettors hesitant to make them. 

  • Higher chance of losing the entire stake
  • Have to wait longer until the payout is received
  • One loss, one mistake can ruin the entire parlay

Since regular parlay bets have such low odds, a player should never expect them to become a successful, long-term option of betting. This is where round-robin betting comes in as a sort of middle man between straight bets and parlays. We have already talked about parlay betting in a couple of previous articles.

We discussed some of the tips and strategies for making them as well as some pros and cons to using them. Round robin bets exist, however, as a specific strategy within parlay betting that has become known as a separate style of betting. 

This is a simple to understand, difficult to implement sector of parlay betting that looks to increase regular profits that you would get from straight betting, while at the same time minimizing the risk that is undertaken with regular parlays. 

Round Robin bet slip from 888sport

How to Make a Successful Round Robin Bet

The obvious difference between betting parlays and round robins is that in round robins there will be multiple parlay bets (at least three teams in each) instead of one and will most likely be much smaller than a regular parlay, although there is no limit to how many teams can be placed in a round-robin bet. 

The less obvious difference however is the advantage the strategy give players since each of the round-robin parlays that you make will directly correlate with the others. This is because you will use the same teams for all the different parlays. The team’s outcomes will not change between the round robins. 

For example, if you decide to bet on the spread for the New Orleans Saints +6.5, this exact same bet will appear in two of your round robins. If you choose to include three teams, you will have six round robin bets. If four teams, eight bets and so on. 

Let’s go through an example of putting a round robin bet together:

Say, you have chosen your three teams, you will take the Winnipeg Jets +1.5, the Chicago Blackhawks -1.5, and the New Orleans Saints +6.5. Since we have decided on three teams we will be making three round-robin bets. Each team will make two appearances. 

One of your round robin bets will include the New Orleans Saints +6.5 and the Winnipeg Jets +1.5. Another will include the Saints +6.5 and the Chicago Blackhawks -1.5. The final round robin bet will include the Blackhawks -1.5 and the Jets +1.5. As you can see here, if only one of the teams lose or fail to cover their spread, one of the round robins will win.

Round Robin Parlay 1Saints +6.5,Blackhawks -1.5
Round Robin Parlay 2Saints +6.5, Jets +1.5
Round Robin Parlay 3Blackhawks -1.5, Jets +1.5

Although one out of three will not seem like a big win, if you select sufficient odds you will still be making an overall profit, which is the key goal with any type of bet. Selecting sufficient odds is essential for making round robin bets.

The process for figuring out how much money you will make and how much you can get away with and still earn a profit is the next essential step for successful round robin betting. In this case, we will be trying to get away with losing one out of three games and hoping it will still add money to our bank. Let us take a look at how the math works out to make this possible.

In this example we will be spending $5 on each of our previously stated three bets. 

The odds for each of our round robins selections will be 3.65 (+265). So, if one of our round robin parlays wins, we will expect to make a profit of 18.24 (+1724). Now we already know that these round robins will be profitable for us because the profit of one round robin is way above $15, or the total amount we will stake on all three. 

The best news is that the formula works, so it does not matter how much money you stake. Putting $10 on each of the round robins and you will finish with a profit of $142.40 for losing only one game with a total stake of $30. 

Stake (Total Stake)PayoutProfit
$1 ($3)

$18.24

$17.24

$10 ($30)$182.40

$172.40

$15 ($45)

$273.60

$258.60

$20 ($60)

$364.80

$344.80

Of course in the first example, if you are to win all three of the games, you would walk away with a profit of $54.72. Lose two or more games and your entire stake will be gone. Of course you will still be taking a risk, but a significantly smaller one than a regular parlay with higher inflated payouts than straight bets.

The Limits to Round Robin Betting

Just as with parlay betting there is a certain limit to the number of teams you are including where it starts to become less profitable to make these bets instead of just making straight bets. With parlays the long term profit will likely be present in those that have only two or three teams. 

The problem is as you increase the total teams and the number of teams in each parlay you will soon start having to make a lot more bets due to the massive number of nominations available. The formula we used earlier will not apply with these new variables. We will have to use the new one which will not be on your side. 

Taking eight total teams and putting them into four-team parlays gives us a staggering 70 different combinations. Even if you are only wagering $10 on each of the round robins, you will have to immediately shell out $700 just for this one bet. Taking eight total teams and putting them into four-team parlays gives us a staggering 70 different combinations. Even if you are only wagering $10 on each of the round robins, you will have to immediately shell out $700 just for this one bet. 

The odds for each round robin (assuming that we are betting the standard NFL spread bets),would be at 13.31 (+1231), or a profit of $133.10 for each. The problem that we run into is that if one team loses now, we are already losing a significant number of round robins. 

Add in the fact that we are not expecting the remaining seven games all to hit (or else we would just make a parlay), so we can factor in a a few additional teams losing as well. Odds of -110  do only have a probability of 52.4%. If you lose one less at five, your entire bet will be lost. Going 4-4 would only see the player returning a fraction of their original stake.  

Round Robin Betting Conclusion

The main appeal of making a round robin bet is the fact that even if one of the teams you selected does not win your bet, you can still make money if the other two succeed. So basically, you are increasing your payout and at the same time essentially giving yourself a risk-free bet. 

Some sportsbooks will even offer software for the player to automatically put together round robin bets, due to their increasing popularity. They are a good strategic wager if you understand the main few points. Adding too many teams and round robins to your bet will eventually lead to the odds crushing you. Instead focus on key points.

  • Include the leagues and sports that you know and understand
  • Make sure the odds for the individual markets are enough to cover your stake
  • Limit the number of markets included in your round robin

Finding balance between the odds and the probability of an outcome is how players will make their money over long periods of time. Once you start putting them together in practice, you will naturally start to better understand how they work and different nuances about them that work for you. 

I would suggest that if you are a complete beginner that you start by focusing on straight wagers and maybe throw a parlay or two just for fun and experience. Doing this will give you a better understanding of both types of bets and will prepare you to move in to the ultimate middle ground between both for round robin betting.

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