Round Robin Bets Explained: The Conservative Parlay

What is a Round Robin bet?

A round robin bet is a series of parlay bets that contain every combination of teams in the parlay.

Round robin bets must consist of at least three teams (or bets).

The parlay can be broken up into individual parlays that include every team in your original parlay. Round robin betting is typically used in sports betting and is a way to decrease your risk compared to a traditional parlay.

Visually, here is how a round robin bet breaks down (by parlay size) compared to a traditional parlay using a 5 leg parlay as an example:

Round Robin example breakdown

Round Robin Strategy: Why You Need It In Your Arsenal

Round robin betting can seem intimidating at first, but once you take some time to understand it, they can be a powerful sports betting tool for you.

Round Robin vs. Parlay: Which one is better?

Round robin betting is a good bet if you have any of the following priorities:

  1. You want to bet a parlay but with less risk and thus smaller payouts
  2. You want to maintain interest in the teams in your parlays even if one of them loses (entertainment value)
  3. You have a bonus at a sportsbook that requires you to bet a certain amount before you can claim it
Round Robin potential profit compared to parlay
Parlays have big profit potential, but low win probability. Profit according to the example above.

A straight parlay is advantageous for a few reasons:

  1. It is simple and easier to understand your potential payout
  2. There is higher risk and higher reward
  3. You don’t need to wager as much money to get a big payoff

Round robin betting and parlay bets are similar in that a round robin is simply a group of (smaller) parlays.

Round Robin win probability comparison against a parlay
Parlays have the lowest win probability. Numbers are using the example above.

Round Robin Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Less risk than a traditional parlay
  • Keeps your interest even if one of your teams loses
  • Good for burning through sportsbook bonus requirements

Cons

  • Conceptually confusing
  • Hard to understand your potential payout
  • Won’t have the same payoff as a traditional parlay

Round Robin Bet Examples You Can Understand

Let’s say you have a four team NFL parlay bet that you want to bet $5 on as a round robin:

  • New York Giants -110
  • New England Patriots -110
  • Dallas Cowboys -110
  • Green Bay Packers -110

Using our parlay calculator, we can see that this 4 team parlay would pay out 13.28x your wager amount, or +1228 in American odds. A $5 bet would profit $61.42 if all four teams won.

Where Parlays and Round Robins Differ

In sports betting, a round robin bet differs from a traditional parlay by taking those four bets and breaking them into smaller parlays.

Taking the four team NFL example above, if we bet these teams in a round robin “by 2’s” (meaning a series of two team parlay bets), it would result in making six 2 leg parlay bets:

Team 1 / Team 2 / Parlay odds

  • New York Giants -110 / New England Patriots -110 / +264
  • New York Giants -110 / Dallas Cowboys -110 / +264
  • New York Giants -110 / Green Bay Packers -110 / +264
  • New England Patriots -110 / Dallas Cowboys -110 / +264
  • New England Patriots -110 / Green Bay Packers -110 / +264
  • Dallas Cowboys -110 / Green Bay Packers -110 / +264

A round robin creates smaller parlay combinations and thus better odds of winning compared to a traditional four team parlay where each individual bet has to win.

Round robin bets keep the entertainment value alive if one of your parlay teams loses. Sports betting can be frustrating, so round robin betting can be a good balance of entertainment value and risk/return.

Round Robin Results You Can Understand

Continuing with our NFL round robin example, let’s say we see the following results:

  • New York Giants -110 | WIN
  • New England Patriots -110 | WIN
  • Dallas Cowboys -110 | WIN
  • Green Bay Packers -110 | LOSS

If this were bet as a traditional four team parlay, the bet would be graded as a loss since the Green Bay Packers lost.

If we were to bet this as a round robin by 2’s, we would see the following results:

  • New York Giants -110 / New England Patriots -110 / +264
  • New York Giants -110 / Dallas Cowboys -110 / +264
  • New York Giants -110 / Green Bay Packers -110 / +264
  • New England Patriots -110 / Dallas Cowboys -110 / +264
  • New England Patriots -110 / Green Bay Packers -110 / +264
  • Dallas Cowboys -110 / Green Bay Packers -110 / +264

As you can see, the round robin would have seen three parlay bets win, and three parlay bets lose.

If we would have wagered $5 on each of the six parlays, then we would have won $39.66 (three winning parlays profit $13.22 at +264 odds and a $5 wager) and lost $15 on the losing bets ($5 wager X three lost parlays).

This works out to a net profit of $24.66 ($39.66 – $15) on $30 wagered for getting three out of the four teams in your original parlay correct. A traditional four leg parlay would have lost your original bet of $5 for a profit of -$5.

What Happens When You Win All Bets in a Round Robin

Oh, what could have been.

Continuing on with our NFL 4 team round robin example, let’s say the Packers did win and thus each team in your parlay won. If you were to bet it as a round robin by 2’s, your profit would have been $52.88 on $30 wagered in total.

If you would have instead bet it as a 4 team parlay (wagering $30), your profit would have been a whopping $368.50.

Parlays have big payouts if you actually win one.

Here you can see the trade-offs between risk and reward.

Hedging some of the risk through a round robin makes you more likely to profit, however it prevents you from the massive payouts that parlays can provide. While round robins are more conservative, a parlay can be exciting if you are lucky enough to win one.

Weigh each side and decide which type of bet is right for you.

How to Place a Round Robin Bet: Easier than You Would Think

To place a round robin bet, simply place each individual wager onto your bet slip.

Most sportsbook bet slips (both online and app) have 3 tabs: Standard, Teaser, and Round Robin:

Bet Slip Options

Below, I have placed 5 moneyline bets onto my bet slip at FanDuel Sportsbook and selected the Round Robin tab:

Round Robin Bet Options

Singles x5 wagers: This means you would bet each bet (5 separate wagers) on your bet slip. This is not a parlay at all, and the odds shown are simply the effective odds if you won all your bets.

By 2’s x10 wagers: This represents every combination of the 5 teams on your bet slip as 2 team parlays. This works out to 10 total wagers.

By 3’s x10 wagers: This is the same as above, except combinations of 3 team parlays instead of 2. 10 total wagers will be placed.

By 4’s x5 wagers: This means you would be placing 5 separate 4 team parlay wagers.

5 Team Parlay: Your traditional parlay where all teams n the parlay must win.

The odds shown in the screenshot represent what your effective odds would be if you won all of your bets. That is why the all of the round robin bets (“by 2’s”, “by 3’s”, “by 4’s”) have higher odds than just a single 5 team parlay.

Round Robin Bet Terminology You Need To Know

Parlay Size

Definition: The number of teams you are breaking your smaller parlays into.

Example: A 5 team parlay by 2’s would create 10 smaller parlay bets

Also Known As: “By X’s” (where X is your number), “Parlay Size”, “X Pick Round Robin”

Full Cover

Definition: A wager that comprises all possible combinations of parlays for the bets selected

Example: If you had 3 bets in your bet slip, a full cover bet would be 4 total bets (3 two team parlays and 1 three team parlay)

Trixie Bet

Definition: A type of full cover bet when you have exactly three bets in your bet slip. A Trixie would be every parlay combination of these three bets (4 separate bets placed).

Yankee Bet

Definition: A type of full cover bet when you have exactly four bets in your bet slip. A Yankee would be all parlay combinations of these four teams (11 separate bets placed).