Sports Betting 101: What Is A Round Robin Bet & How Does It Work?

Sports Betting 101: What Is A Round Robin Bet & How Does It Work?

A round robin bet is a type of wager where you place multiple parlay bets at the same time. The main benefit is that there is more flexibility than with a traditional parlay; not all of your selections have to win in order for you to make a profit.

However, round robin bets are considered suboptimal wagers with high variance. It’s paramount you know what you’re doing and always exhibit proper bankroll management.

This article covers:

What Is A Round Robin Bet?

First, it’s important to understand what a parlay bet is. A parlay bet is a bet that combines two or more individual wagers into one. To win any money, each of the individual wagers must win.

A round robin bet is a combination of multiple parlays. A bettor essentially turns a parlay into a series of smaller parlays in a round robin, so you bet each possible combination individually.

What’s the benefit here? Well, how many times did only one team wreck your parlay? A round robin gives you a chance to win a smaller parlay with the other teams you originally picked.

When you place a wager on a three-team parlay, then your parlay is toast if Team A is a loser.

If you place a round robin bet using the same teams from your three-team parlay, then the leg with Team B and Team C will be a winner, even though Team A lost.

How Does A Round Robin Bet Work?

Round Robin Bet Example 1:

Let’s say you like three teams and want to put them in a parlay. Your parlay would look like this: TEAM A + TEAM B + TEAM C. You are betting that all three teams will win.

A three-team round robin bet creates three different two-team parlays (also known as a “2 Pick”) from the three teams you chose. Your 2 Pick round robin would look like this:

  1. TEAM A + TEAM B
  2. TEAM A + TEAM C
  3. TEAM B + TEAM C

So, a $10 round robin wager for a three-team parlay will cost you $40. That price includes $10 for the initial parlay, plus an additional $10 per combination for the 2 Pick ($10 x 3 combinations = $30).

If Team A is a loser, but Team B and Team C both win, then you can still cash the third parlay with Team B + Team C.

Round Robin Bet Example 2:

Let’s take a look at what a four-team parlay looks like in a round robin format: TEAM A + TEAM B + TEAM C + TEAM D.

For your four-team round robin, you have the option of betting a “2 Pick” (a bet on every possible combination of two teams from the group of teams you have selected) or “3 Pick” (a bet on every possible combination of three teams).

If you select Pick 2, then you will make six two-way parlays. A 4-team round robin parlay with a Pick 2 will look like this:

  1. TEAM A + TEAM B
  2. TEAM A + TEAM C
  3. TEAM A + TEAM D
  4. TEAM B + TEAM C
  5. TEAM B + TEAM D
  6. TEAM C + TEAM D

If you select a Pick 3, then you will make four three-way parlays. A 4-team round robin parlay with a Pick 3 will look like this:


A round robin bettor also has the option to wager on all combinations. In the above example, this would equal 11 total bets. The 11 bets would be comprised of the initial four-team parlay plus the six Pick 2 parlays and four Pick 3 parlays.

For a $10 round robin, the total investment is $110 (11 bets at $10 each). If one of your four teams loses, you would still win four out of 10 round robin bets.

As the number of teams in your parlays and round robins increase, both the potential reward and the risk go up. A seven-team parlay will give you the option for a round robin with various combinations from a Pick 2, Pick 3, Pick 4, Pick 5, or Pick 6.

Just a reminder, it takes a stout bankroll to afford a proper seven-team parlay round robin.

How Do You Win A Round Robin Bet?

A perfect round robin is when all the teams in your initial parlay win. When that happens, all of your round robin bets will cash.

If one of your teams from your three-team parlay losses, then your overall parlay will lose, but you can still win one of your three round robin bets. If Team A loses, then the round robin parlay with Team B and Team C will cash.

If one team from your four-team parlay loses, you will still win three out of six of your round robin Pick 2 bets. If you made a round robin Pick 3, then you will win one out of your four bets. If you bet all possible combinations, then you will cash four out of 10 round robin bets.

How To Make A Round Robin Bet

In most sportsbook apps, a round robin feature will appear if you generate a parlay with three or more teams.

At the bottom of the screen, or at the bottom your betting slip, you will see a round robin dropdown option.

DraftKings betting slip
Image credit: DraftKings

Depending how many teams are in your initial parlay, you will have the chance to generate round robin bets in a preferred combination.

  • A three-team parlay will give you an option for a 2 Pick round robin.
  • A four-team parlay will give you an option for a 2 Pick or 3 Pick round robin.
  • A five-team parlay will give you an option for a 2 Pick, 3 Pick, or 4 Pick round robin.

The more teams you have in your parlay, the more combinations you have to choose from.

Round Robin Betting Strategy

Parlays are risky by nature, and not considered smart bets over the long term. The same goes for round robin wagers.

That said, you can use a round robin bet to minimize your total losses. You will win something in return if all but one of your teams from your parlay loses.

If you like a lot of underdogs on a particular day, then consider a round robin as part of your overall strategy to bet combinations of underdogs in a money line parlay.

Make sure your round robin bets pay out at least +130 odds, which is considered the break-even point. If you’re betting several favorites, then the payouts will be lower than +130 odds, so avoid that potential round robin.

The most effective round robin is to pinpoint four underdogs in a 3 Pick round robin, so long as the odds are +130 or longer.

Obviously, if your parlay offers significantly long odds or contains a lot of teams, then your payout will be higher.

In the full coverage strategy, a bettor will generate a round robin with all possible combinations.

In a limited coverage strategy, a bettor will generate a round robin with a specific number of combinations. For a four-team parlay, this could entail just betting a 3 Pick combo and not a 2 Pick.

Round Robins are not limited to a specific sport. You can wager on multiple sports like a four-team parlay and subsequent round robin that includes teams from the NBA, NHL, and MLB.

Are Round Robins Good Bets?

Parlays are not the sharpest wagers because that’s how casinos and sportsbooks mint money (by offering odds that are less than what the actual math dictates).

Unsavvy bettors love parlays because the perceived high payout is very tempting, and you can win a lot on a small investment. Professional bettors view parlays as sucker bets because many amateur bettors do not know what they’re doing.

Round robin wagers are suboptimal bets over the long run, because you’re betting a series of parlays. They can be expensive to make, especially if you wager on all possible combinations. Their profit margin is much lower compared to a single bet or traditional parlay.

Moderation is the key to long-term happiness and survival in the gambling world, especially with sports betting. If you want to fire away at a round robin, make sure you know how to gamble responsibly. And good luck!

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