Round robin betting is a bet type that allows you to combine multiple parlays into a single wager. It’s not a common nor an easy market to understand, but it allows you to spread the risk of being able to lose one (or more) legs of the parlay and still generate a return.
In this article, we’re going to look at how round robin betting works and explain the features of the bet. To do this we’ve included a series of bet examples, strategies, and explanations of how they work across a series of sports.
What is Round Robin Betting?
As stated above, round robin betting is a type of betting strategy that involves placing multiple parlay bets on a group of teams or individuals. It combines various combinations of bets within a single wager. The purpose of round robin betting is to increase the chances of winning while spreading the risk across different outcomes.
It’s easier to work through the process of the bet to allow you to get a better understanding of what is round robin betting. Here’s how round robin betting works:
Selection of Teams
First, you need to select a group of teams or individuals that you want to bet on. These could be teams participating in a sports event, such as football or basketball, or individual players in a tennis tournament.
Determining Bet Size
Decide how much you want to bet on each individual parlay within the round robin. This will determine the total amount you will be risking.
In a round robin bet, you create multiple two-team or three-team parlays using the selected teams. Each parlay consists of a combination of teams from your original selection. For example, if you have selected teams A, B, C, and D, your parlays could include AB, AC, AD, BC, BD, and CD.
Parlays will extend to include the number of picks that you chose. So, in the example above, your bets would be:
- A + B
- A + C
- A + D
- B + C
- B + D
- C + D
- A + B + C
- A + B + D
- B + C + D
- A + C + D
- A + B + C + D
With four picks you create 11 parlays, but as you add more picks, the number of combinations grows exponentially. An 11 team round robin bet would create 2,036 parlay combinations.
Once you have created the parlays, you place individual bets on each parlay. The number of bets will depend on the number of parlays you created. For instance, if you have six parlays, you will place six separate bets.
Bets are placed per “line”, which means the stake you enter is per line. So, if there were six bets in your round robin, then you place 6 bets. Assuming $10 per bet, the total stake would be $60.
If all the teams in a particular parlay win, that parlay is considered a winning bet. The payout for each winning parlay is determined by the odds associated with each team or individual in that parlay. You can calculate the potential payout by multiplying the odds of each team in the parlay.
It’s best to convert to decimal odds for this as it means you simply multiply the odds by each other. Alternatively, there are dozens of good round robin betting calculators that you can use for free to see possible returns based on the odds for each pick.
Risk and Reward
Round robin betting allows you to spread the risk across different outcomes. Even if one or more teams in your selection lose, you still have the chance to win some parlays if other teams perform well.
Round Robin Betting Example
We’re going to run you through a real-world example of how a round robin bet will work. To do this, we’ve used one of the best betting sites in the industry, FanDuel.
A key point to note about FanDuel (and there are multiple others who adopt this format) is that they give you the option to bet only on the combinations that you choose. For example, if you’ve 4 legs in your bet, then you can choose to bet on 6x double combinations (referred to as “By 2’s”) or you can bet on 6x treble combinations (referred to as “By 3’s). This will make more sense as we work through it.
We’re going to look at a series of upcoming MLB games and for our round robin bet, we will include 4 selections in the bet. These are:
- Seattle Mariners v Chicago White Sox = Under 7.5 runs
- Cleveland Guardians v Arizona Diamondbacks = Guardians -1.5 (spread)
- Tampa Bay Rays v San Diego Padres = Padres to win (moneyline)
- New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox = Yankees to win (moneyline)
The single odds for each of these outcomes can be seen in the image above.
At this point we have two options as to the type of round robin bet that we want to place. We can choose a combination of doubles, a combination of trebles, or a straight-up 4-game parlay. We can also choose to bet on all three if we desire to cover a huge range of bets.
As you can see from the image above, if we were to place a $10 bet on the By 2’s x 6 wager and all teams won, then we would be set to win $195.31. The amount that would be returned if one or more bets lost, would be reduced accordingly.
If we were to bet on the By 3’s market, then we would win $307.43 for a $10 bet, assuming all four teams won. For this bet, we can only afford for one team to lose to even have any return, as these are 3-leg bets.
Finally, we can place a 4-leg parlay, which is a single bet. For this to win, we need all four bets to be successful. If just a single leg loses, the whole bet loses.
It’s worth noting that you bet per line with round robin. So, a $10 wager on 6 x By 2 bets, would be $60 in total. If you were betting $10 per line on the By 2’s, By 3’s, and 4-leg parlay in the example above, your total stake would be $110 (6 + 4 + 1) x $10.
How to Calculate Round Robin Odds
Calculating the odds for a round robin bet is complicated. As stated earlier, you can use a betting calculating for this, but having a grasp of the basics is also important. Again, converting to decimal odds makes it a lot easier.
Suppose you want to place a round robin bet on three football teams: Team A, Team B, and Team C. The odds for each team to win their respective games are as follows:
- Team A: -150 (decimal odds: 1.67)
- Team B: +200 (decimal odds: 3.00)
- Team C: -120 (decimal odds: 1.83)
Let’s create the possible two-team parlays: AB, AC, and BC.
- AB Parlay:
- Odds of Team A winning: -150 (1.67)
- Odds of Team B winning: +200 (3.00)
- Multiply the odds: 1.67 * 3.00 = 5.01 (decimal odds)
- AC Parlay:
- Odds of Team A winning: -150 (1.67)
- Odds of Team C winning: -120 (1.83)
- Multiply the odds: 1.67 * 1.83 = 3.06 (decimal odds)
- BC Parlay:
- Odds of Team B winning: +200 (3.00)
- Odds of Team C winning: -120 (1.83)
- Multiply the odds: 3.00 * 1.83 = 5.49 (decimal odds)
Now, you can calculate the potential payout for each parlay by multiplying the stake by the decimal odds. Let’s assume you bet $10 on each parlay:
- AB Parlay:
- Potential payout: $10 * 5.01 = $50.10
- AC Parlay:
- Potential payout: $10 * 3.06 = $30.60
- BC Parlay:
- Potential payout: $10 * 5.49 = $54.90
- ABC Parlay:
- Potential payout: $10 * 13.56 (5.01 + 3.06 + 5.49) = $135.60
Let’s look at the potential returns for a combination of winners and losers from this bet. What we know at this point is that the total stake across the four bets is $40, this won’t change regardless of the results.
- All three teams win = $50.10 + $30.60 + $54.90 + $135.60 = $271.20 – $40 stake = $231.20 profit
- Team A loses = $54.90 – $40 stake = $14.90 profit
- Team B loses = $30.60 – $40 stake = $9.50 loss
- Team C loses = $50.10 – $40 stake = $10.10 profit
As you can see, certain teams and combinations winning or losing will affect the profit at the end of the bet. There are two scenarios in the example above where teams can lose and we still make a profit, whereas, if Team B were to lose, then we make a loss.
This highlights the skill and strategy that needs to be used with these bet types to profit long term. They can be great ways to not only maximize profits, but if the wrong team loses, they can be tough on your bottom line.
How to Place a Round Robin Bet
The process of placing a round robin bet will vary from site to site. In this section, we’ve used the sportsbook FanDuel, which is one of our top-ranked betting sites, to highlight how you go about placing a round robin bet.
- Head to the sportsbook and click on the green “Join now” button to create an account. This process should take a couple of minutes and once complete, head back and log in.
- Use the sportsbook to navigate sports and betting markets.
- Click on the odds to add a selection to your bet slip. Just add all the bets as singles to start with as you choose the bets that you want to include.
- Once your picks are made, at the bottom of the bet lips will be a button that says “Round Robin”. Click this.
- You can now choose between the types of bets you want to place. You get the option of By 2’s, By 3’s, By 4’s, and so on, depending on how many picks are in your bet slip. You will also have the option of the full parlay bet that includes all results.
- Choose the amount you want to wager. This is the sum per line. So, if you have 10 wagers at $10 each, the total bet would be $100.
- Accept the odds and place your bet. You can keep track of live bets within your account section.
Round Robin Betting Strategies
Round robin betting is not easy. You only have to have the wrong pick lose and it can wipe out profit on all bets. However, there are times when this bet type can yield huge rewards and we’ve included some round robin strategies that will allow you to advantage of that.
- Full Coverage Strategy – In this strategy, you include all possible combinations of parlays with your selected teams. For example, if you have four teams (A, B, C, D), you will create six two-team parlays (AB, AC, AD, BC, BD, CD), and four three-team parlays (ABC, ABD, ACD, BCD). This strategy offers the highest coverage but requires a larger stake since you’re betting on all possible combinations.
- Limited Coverage Strategy – With this strategy, you choose a subset of combinations rather than including all possible parlays. It allows you to reduce your stake while still maintaining decent coverage. For example, instead of including all possible combinations for four teams, you might select only the three strongest combinations that you believe have the highest chances of winning.
- Risk-Reward Balance – This strategy involves adjusting the number of teams in each parlay to strike a balance between risk and reward. For example, you could create a mix of two-team and three-team parlays. Two-team parlays offer higher chances of winning but lower payouts, while three-team parlays have higher payouts but are riskier. By finding the right balance, you can manage risk while aiming for significant payouts.
- Focus on Favorites – Prioritize the strongest teams or individuals with the lowest odds in your parlays. By focusing on the favorites, you increase your chances of winning individual parlays. However, keep in mind that the payouts may be lower due to the lower odds associated with the favorites.
- Diversified Markets/Sports – Instead of placing all your bets on a single sport, event or market, you diversify your round robin bets across different sports or events. This spreads the risk and gives you the opportunity to take advantage of multiple betting opportunities. By selecting teams or individuals from various sports, you can potentially offset losses in one sport with wins in another.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Round Robin Betting
We’ve stated multiple times that round robin betting is tough and there are times when you need to avoid these bets altogether. That being said, a successful group of picks can yield huge rewards in a bet format like no other.
Below we’ve listed some advantages and disadvantages of using a round robin bet.
- Increased Chances of Winning – Round robin bets provide multiple opportunities to win, even if one or more teams in your selection lose. By creating various combinations of parlays, you increase your chances of hitting at least one winning parlay.
- Risk Distribution – Spread your risk across different outcomes. If one or two teams in a parlay lose, you can still have winning parlays if the remaining teams perform well. This helps mitigate potential losses and provides a level of insurance against individual team failures.
- Flexibility – Round robin bets offer flexibility in terms of the number of teams you can include and the types of parlays you can create. You can adjust the number of teams and the size of parlays based on your preferences and risk tolerance.
- Potential for Higher Payouts – Depending on the odds associated with your selected teams, these bets have the potential to yield higher payouts compared to single bets. If all the teams in a winning parlay perform as expected, the combined odds can result in a significant payout.
- Expensive – Round robin bets require a larger stake compared to single bets since you are placing multiple bets. This means you need to allocate a higher amount of funds to cover all the individual bets within the round robin.
- Lower Profit Margins – While round robin bets offer the potential for higher payouts, the profit margins can be lower compared to single bets or straight parlays. This is due to the increased stake and the fact that you are splitting your wager across multiple parlays.
- Complexity – These bets can be more complex to understand and calculate compared to single bets. You need to consider the odds, potential payouts, and the various combinations of parlays. This complexity can be overwhelming for novice bettors or those who prefer simpler betting strategies.
- Higher Variance – Due to the multiple combinations and outcomes involved, round robin bets can have higher variance. It’s possible to experience both winning and losing streaks, and the results can be unpredictable. This requires disciplined bankroll management and the ability to handle fluctuations in your betting outcomes.
Examples of Round Robin Bets with Different Sports
Round robin bets can vary based on the sport you’re betting on. In this section, we’ve included some examples linked to various popular US-based sports.
Here’s an example of an NFL round robin bet to help illustrate how it works. Let’s assume you want to place a round robin bet on three NFL games with the following teams and odds:
Game 1: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Baltimore Ravens
- Kansas City Chiefs: -120 (1.83 decimal odds)
- Baltimore Ravens: +150 (2.50 decimal odds)
Game 2: Green Bay Packers vs. San Francisco 49ers
- Green Bay Packers: -140 (1.71 decimal odds)
- San Francisco 49ers: +120 (2.20 decimal odds)
Game 3: New England Patriots vs. Buffalo Bills
- New England Patriots: +110 (2.10 decimal odds)
- Buffalo Bills: -130 (1.77 decimal odds)
Now, let’s create the possible two-team parlays:
- Kansas City Chiefs and Green Bay Packers (KC + GB)
- Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots (KC + NE)
- Baltimore Ravens and Green Bay Packers (BAL + GB)
- Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots (BAL + NE)
- Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots (GB + NE)
- Kansas City Chiefs, Baltimore Ravens, and Green Bay Packers (KC + BAL + GB)
- Kansas City Chiefs, Baltimore Ravens, and New England Patriots (KC + BAL + NE)
- Kansas City Chiefs, Green Bay Packers, and New England Patriots (KC + GB + NE)
- Baltimore Ravens, Green Bay Packers, and New England Patriots (BAL + GB + NE)
We’re going to bet $10 on each parlay within the round robin. Now, we can calculate the potential payouts for each winning parlay:
- KC + GB Parlay:
- Potential payout: $10 * (1.83 * 1.71) = $31.35
- KC + NE Parlay:
- Potential payout: $10 * (1.83 * 2.10) = $38.43
- BAL + GB Parlay:
- Potential payout: $10 * (2.50 * 1.71) = $42.75
- BAL + NE Parlay:
- Potential payout: $10 * (2.50 * 2.10) = $52.50
- GB + NE Parlay:
- Potential payout: $10 * (1.71 * 2.10) = $35.91
- KC + BAL + GB Parlay:
- Potential payout: $10 * (1.83 * 2.50 * 1.71) = $78.29
- KC + BAL + NE Parlay:
- Potential payout: $10 * (1.83 * 2.50 * 2.10) = $97.65
- KC + GB + NE Parlay:
- Potential payout: $10 * (1.83 * 1.71 * 2.10) = $67.83
- BAL + GB + NE Parlay:
- Potential payout: $10 * (2.50 * 1.71 * 2.10) = $89.18
Remember, these calculations represent the potential payouts if all the teams in a particular parlay win. If any team loses, the parlay bet is considered a loss.
A key thing to note with this bet is that we’ve included a double result from the same game in the Chiefs and Ravens. This is one of the features of this bet type and can help cover exposure within these bets.
This is an example of an NBA round robin. We’ve chosen three games and four possible results from those games. Odds and payouts for each bet, based on doubles and trebles, are included.
Game 1: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Brooklyn Nets
- Los Angeles Lakers: -150 (1.67 decimal odds)
- Brooklyn Nets: +130 (2.30 decimal odds)
Game 2: Golden State Warriors vs. Phoenix Suns
- Golden State Warriors: +160 (2.60 decimal odds)
- Phoenix Suns: -180 (1.56 decimal odds)
Game 3: Boston Celtics vs. Miami Heat
- Boston Celtics: -110 (1.91 decimal odds)
- Miami Heat: -110 (1.91 decimal odds)
Now, let’s create the possible two-team parlays:
- Lakers and Warriors (LAL + GSW)
- Lakers and Celtics (LAL + BOS)
- Nets and Warriors (BKN + GSW)
- Nets and Celtics (BKN + BOS)
- Warriors and Celtics (GSW + BOS)
- Lakers, Nets, and Warriors (LAL + BKN + GSW)
- Lakers, Nets, and Celtics (LAL + BKN + BOS)
- Lakers, Warriors, and Celtics (LAL + GSW + BOS)
- Nets, Warriors, and Celtics (BKN + GSW + BOS)
Let’s assume you want to bet $20 on each selection. From this, we can look at the payout for each of these bets. Remember that, if just one of these picks loses, then the profit margin is slashed.
- LAL + GSW Parlay:
- Potential payout: $20 * (1.67 * 2.60) = $86.48
- LAL + BOS Parlay:
- Potential payout: $20 * (1.67 * 1.91) = $63.94
- BKN + GSW Parlay:
- Potential payout: $20 * (2.30 * 2.60) = $119.60
- BKN + BOS Parlay:
- Potential payout: $20 * (2.30 * 1.91) = $87.82
- GSW + BOS Parlay:
- Potential payout: $20 * (2.60 * 1.91) = $98.56
- LAL + BKN + GSW Parlay:
- Potential payout: $20 * (1.67 * 2.30 * 2.60) = $233.04
- LAL + BKN + BOS Parlay:
- Potential payout: $20 * (1.67 * 2.30 * 1.91) = $170.17
- LAL + GSW + BOS Parlay:
- Potential payout: $20 * (1.67 * 2.60 * 1.91) = $191.94
- BKN + GSW + BOS Parlay:
- Potential payout: $20 * (2.30 * 2.60 * 1.91) = $282.08
For horse racing, we’ve taken on three races that take place across the US. This sport is unique in that the odds are much higher than the likes of the NBA or NFL. As a result, returns are potentially massive, but the likelihood of bets winning decreases to the same extent.
Race 1: Kentucky Derby
- Horse A: +500 (Decimal odds: 6.00)
- Horse B: +700 (Decimal odds: 8.00)
- Horse C: +1000 (Decimal odds: 11.00)
Race 2: Preakness Stakes
- Horse D: +600 (Decimal odds: 7.00)
- Horse E: +800 (Decimal odds: 9.00)
- Horse F: +1200 (Decimal odds: 13.00)
Race 3: Belmont Stakes
- Horse G: +400 (Decimal odds: 5.00)
- Horse H: +900 (Decimal odds: 10.00)
- Horse I: +1500 (Decimal odds: 16.00)
Like our other examples, we’re going to assume that we’ve wagered $10 on each line for this bet and converted to decimal odds:
- A + D Parlay:
- Potential payout: $10 * (6.00 * 7.00 + 100) = $770.00
- A + G Parlay:
- Potential payout: $10 * (6.00 * 5.00 + 100) = $530.00
- B + D Parlay:
- Potential payout: $10 * (8.00 * 7.00 + 100) = $810.00
- B + G Parlay:
- Potential payout: $10 * (8.00 * 5.00 + 100) = $580.00
- C + D Parlay:
- Potential payout: $10 * (11.00 * 7.00 + 100) = $880.00
- C + G Parlay:
- Potential payout: $10 * (11.00 * 5.00 + 100) = $660.00
- A + D + G Parlay:
- Potential payout: $10 * (6.00 * 7.00 * 5.00 + 200) = $2,160.00
- B + D + G Parlay:
- Potential payout: $10 * (8.00 * 7.00 * 5.00 + 200) = $2,660.00
- C + D + G Parlay:
- Potential payout: $10 * (11.00 * 7.00 * 5.00 + 200) = $3,720.00
You can see that the payouts are potentially huge with horse racing. However, the likelihood of picking winners from three races is slim, as outlined by the odds. This is the epitome of risk-reward.
Alternatives for Round Robin
There are four alternatives to round robin betting that are Trixie, Patent, Canadian, and Yankee. Whilst they seem similar bets, they each differ slightly, and we’ve outlined how below.
A Trixie is a multiple bet consisting of three selections. It includes three double bets and one treble bet, making a total of four bets. This means that if you have three selections in a Trixie, you will have three separate double bets and one treble bet.
A Patent consists of three selections as well, but it includes seven separate bets. It comprises three single bets, three double bets, and one treble bet. With a Patent, you are covering all possible combinations of your three selections.
A Yankee involves four selections. It consists of eleven separate bets, including six doubles, four trebles, and one fourfold accumulator. With a Yankee, you are covering multiple combinations of your four selections.
Canadian (also known as a Super Yankee)
A Canadian includes five selections and consists of 26 separate bets, including ten doubles, ten trebles, five fourfold accumulators, and one fivefold accumulator.
How are round robin bets calculated?
What do By 2’s and By 3’s mean for round robins?
Are round robin bets worth it?