Is a Round Robin Bet a Good Bet?

If you’ve ever placed an exacta or trifecta box wager in horse racing, “round robin” bets are a similar concept.

In contrast to traditional multi-leg parlays, a round robin bet covers different outcomes by locking individual bets for different legs. The payouts are generally smaller, but the risk is also smaller and can be incorporated into a hedging strategy.

So, is a round robin a good bet?

Which sportsbooks offer round robins?

Most sportsbooks offer round robin bets. Sports betting is not legal in Massachusetts, but if that changes, potentially some of the best sportsbooks in Massachusetts to offer this type of wager would be BetMGM Online Sportsbook, FanDuel, Caesars Massachusetts and DraftKings Sportsbook Massachusetts.

FanDuel

  • Large, multi-leg parlays (up to 16 teams).
  • Flexibility in constructing parlays (including same-game parlays).
  • Low minimum bets.

DraftKings

  • Large parlays.
  • Extensive game/player props, including more obscure bets.
  • Low minimum bets.

BetMGM

  • Competitive odds on game lines and point totals for major sports.
  • Good selection of team/player props.
  • Flexibility in constructing round robins.

How does a round robin bet work?

A round robin bet is essentially a series of mini parlays within a larger multi-team parlay. Let’s say you want to make a four-leg parlay on teams A, B, C and D. If you chose to use these four teams in a round-robin bet, your betting slip would incorporate a series of two- and three-leg parlays using a combination of the four teams. Examples would include the following smaller parlays in addition to ABCD:

  • AB
  • BC
  • AD
  • ABC
  • ACD

Unlike a straight four-leg parlay (ABCD), one team losing doesn’t mean your bet is busted. If three of the four teams win, several two-leg parlays and one three-leg parlay would come through for you. Profitability of your bet depends on the odds of each team you selected.

How many ways can you make a round robin bet?

The limit for round-robin bets varies depending on your sportsbook of choice. While many books place the minimum at three and the maximum at 10, some allow even more flexibility. FanDuel Sportsbook Massachusetts allows as many as 16 legs for a round robin.

How does a round robin bet pay out?

Round robin bets begin to pay out immediately after games finish. Sportsbooks grade each wager within your round robin individually as soon as the outcome is final. If you bet on teams A, B, C and D, but teams A, B and C play earlier in the day, as soon as those first three games end, your bets will start getting graded.

How does a 3-pick, 4-pick, or 5-pick round robin work?

The number of “picks” refers to the number of round robin parlays (i.e., the number of teams involved in each bet). When thinking about round robins, remember that it is very similar to how you would create any parlay bet. Here are some examples of round robins:

3-pick round robin

  • Patriots (-200)
  • Rams (-150)
  • Packers (-150)

If you made a round robin bet on these three teams to win, it would lock in a series of two-leg parlay combinations for the teams and one three-leg parlay.

  • Patriot (-200) and Packers (-150)
  • Patriots (-200) and Rams (-150)
  • Rams (-150) and Packers (-150)

4-pick round robin

  • Patriots (-200)
  • Rams (-150)
  • Packers (-150)
  • Eagles (+120)

In this case, you could choose from a combination of two-leg or three-leg parlays for the four teams involved in this bet and a four-leg parlay. For example:

  • Patriots (-200) and Eagles (+120)
  • Rams (-150) and Eagles (+120)
  • Patriots (-200), Packers (-150) and Rams (-150)
  • Patriots (-200), Rams (-150) and Eagles (+120)

5-pick round robin

  • Patriots (-200)
  • Rams (-150)
  • Packers (-150)
  • Eagles (+120)
  • Giants (+200)

With five teams, you can construct any combination of two-leg, three-leg, and four-leg bets in addition to a five-leg parlay. For example:

  • Two-leg: Patriots (-200) and Packers (-150)
  • Three-leg: Rams -(150), Eagles (+120) and Giants (+200)
  • Four-leg: Patriots (-200), Rams (-150), Eagles (+120) and Giants (+200)

What is the point of a round robin bet?

You would make a round-robin bet for a similar reason you would make a multi-leg parlay bet — to get better odds and a larger potential payout. The more teams you incorporate in your round robin, the more three-, four- or five-leg parlays you can wager on.

Some people might prefer round robin bets to standard parlays because they offer more betting insurance. Every leg needs to be correct in a parlay, but a round robin can still win you some money even if one or multiple legs don’t hit.

Are round robins good bets? That depends on your betting strategy. If you like to hedge or bet a bit more conservatively, it is a safer way to experiment with parlay betting.

What sports work with round robins?

You can use round robins in almost any type of online sports betting, including NFL odds and NBA odds. If you can construct a parlay for it, you very likely can put it in a round robin.

Some sportsbooks may not allow you to place round robin bets on props or bet them during live games, but nearly all have round robin options for pregame spreads, moneylines and over/unders (totals) for almost every sport.

What does “number of ways” mean?

Number of ways” refers to the number of parlay legs you want to include. For instance, a “two way” bet means you are betting on all available two-leg parlays, and “three ways” means betting on all three-leg parlays.

Is a straight parlay better than a round robin?

Determining if you are better off with a straight parlay depends on your risk tolerance and the odds on the board. Parlays are riskier because there is no margin for error.

While you can still make some money back if one of your legs doesn’t hit in a round robin, it may not be profitable overall if all of your bets are on heavy favorites. If you incorporate one or more underdogs, the calculations change.

What are some other specific names for round robin bets?

There are names for each of the different levels of round robin betting. Here are the most common:

Trixie/patent: 3-pick round robin (four bets)

  • Four two-leg parlays

Yankee: 4-pick round robin (11 bets)

  • Six two-leg parlays
  • Four three-leg parlay
  • One four-leg parlay

Canadian: 5-pick round robin  (26 bets)

  • Ten two-leg parlays
  • Ten three-leg parlays
  • Five four-leg parlays
  • One five-leg parlay

Heinz: 6-pick round robin (57 bets)

  • 15 two-leg parlays
  • 20 three-leg parlays
  • 15 four-leg parlays
  • Six five-leg parlays
  • One six-leg parlay
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