A round robin parlay is a type of bet that takes your selections and breaks them up into individual parlays. Learn how to bet and calculate a round robin.

What Is the Difference Between Round Robin Bet and a Parlay?

If you’ve been betting for a little while, you’re probably familiar with what a parlay is. However, what’s a round robin bet? If you’re completely new to sports betting, you might want to take a step back and read about parlays to get up to speed. If you’re good with the sports betting 101 stuff, in this article, we’ll take a closer look at what might be considered the 102 level and elaborate on round robin parlay bets and why they’re a useful tool to use.

What Is A Round-Robin Parlay?

A round robin parlay is a type of bet that takes your selections and breaks them up into individual parlays. To understand, it’s best to compare a round robin to a regular parlay. Let’s use five teams, for example.

In a regular five-game parlay, you’ll need all five of your picks to win. If any of them lose, you end up losing the entire parlay. If you win, you’ll get a big payout.

In a round robin parlay with five selections, you are going to play all of the permutations of those games in parlays. In other words, you’ll play two-game parlays, three-game parlays, four-game plays and one five-game parlay. Every single permutation will be covered.

So that explains whats a round robin parlay and now that that’s clear, we’ll get into the pros and cons of using this bet type.

What’s The Benefit Of A Round Robin Parlay?

Of course, the natural follow up is why bother with a round robin parlay? Although it sounds complicated, it actually makes sense in certain situations.

The biggest pitfall with parlays is that they’re risky. If any one of your games loses, your entire bet goes down. If you read our full article on parlays, you know that the odds are not in your favor and the payout is not always equal to the risk. So, what we’re doing with a round robin parlay is mitigating the risk (hedging).

When you play a round robin parlay, you’re actually putting yourself in position to win even if you end up losing one or two of your selections (depending on how big your parlay is). That’s the benefit of a round robin parlay: you’ll win in a couple of those situations where you would have otherwise fully lost with a parlay. With a round robin, you end up getting some money back and possibly even being probable.

Looking Under The Hood Of A Round Robin Parlay

While it’s easy to envision whats a round robin bet after you understand what it is, it’s often quite confusing if you don’t see the picture just yet. We’ll illustrate with an example.

Scenario 1: 5-Game Parlay

  1. New England Patriots
  2. Green Bay Packers
  3. Seattle Seahawks
  4. Dallas Cowboys
  5. Kansas City Chiefs

Let’s say you’re placing a $100 bet here and all of these lines are at -110. At a sportsbook like Bovada $100 bet would pay out $2,435.91.

Scenario 2: 5-Game Round Robin Parlay

  1. New England Patriots
  2. Green Bay Packers
  3. Seattle Seahawks
  4. Dallas Cowboys
  5. Kansas City Chiefs

In this scenario, you’re going to have 10 two-game parlays. Those 10 two-game parlays will be every two-game permutation of what’s above. In this case, they’ll be:

  • Patriots-Packers
  • Patriots-Seahawks
  • Patriots-Cowboys
  • Patriots-Chiefs
  • Packers-Seahawks
  • Packers-Cowboys
  • Packers-Chiefs
  • Seahawks-Cowboys
  • Seahawks-Chiefs
  • Cowboys-Chiefs

You’ll also have 10 three-game parlays, which will be:

  • Patriots-Packers-Seahawks
  • Patriots-Packers-Cowboys
  • Patriots-Packers-Chiefs
  • Patriots-Seahawks-Cowboys
  • Patriots-Seahawks-Chiefs
  • Patriots-Cowboys-Chiefs
  • Packers-Seahawks-Cowboys
  • Packers-Seahawks-Chiefs
  • Packers-Cowboys-Chiefs
  • Seahawks-Cowboys-Chiefs

We’ll save you the rest of the listings but in short, you’d have every permutation of a four-game parlay (five in this case) and then your five-game parlay as well.

You can find a round robin calculator online but any sportsbook will do the math for you. In this particular case, here’s what you’d win at any online betting site if you correctly predicted all five games in your parlays:

All Five Games Won

  • Regular Parlay Payout: $2,435.91
  • Round Robin Parlay Payout: $671.24

When Do Round Robins Make More Sense Than Regular Parlays?

Now we know that beyond all five games being won, you would lose in every other scenario with a regular parlay. In other words, if you went 4-1, you collect $0. If you go 3-2, you collect $0. And if you only win one or two games, you obviously lose your entire parlay. So that begs the question how do you win a round robin bet and when does it make sense?

Well, with a round robin parlay, you’re still going to win some money back in most of the scenarios. The reason is because if you go 4-1, you’ll lose the five-game parlay in the round robin but you’re also going to win the majority of your two-game parlays because the one losing team win only knock out a few of those permutations. The same goes for your three-game parlays and some of your four-game parlays. This also rings true if you win three out of five: you’ll still end up being profitable.

Is Round Robin a Good Bet?

If you only win two games or only win a single game, you won’t be profitable with a round robin but at least you’ll get some money back (you won’t lose your entire bet). That’s a better case than playing a regular parlay where you won’t get anything back.

When Do Regular Parlays Make More Sense Than Round Robin Parlays?

Now that you see the numbers, it’s quite clear that there is a scenario where round robin sports betting bets makes less sense than a regular parlay: when you win all five games. Of course, it would be ideal to win all of your bets but with a round robin, you’d win significantly less if you hit all five games compared to what you’d win if you hit all five games in a regular parlay.

Taking a look back at the example above, the difference payout for a five-game parlay would be $2435.91 compared to $671.24 in a round robin parlay. That’s a difference of $1764.67, so a regular parlay in this case would have paid just over 3.5 times more.

How Do The Bets Work In A Round Robin Parlay?

One aspect that needs to be cleared up with round robins is how you place your stake. Remember, you’re going from placing just one bet (on a five-game parlay) where it’s clear that you’re wagering one amount. As per our example above, at BetOnline you might wager $100 on that parlay.

If you’re wondering how much a round robin bet costs, you have to be careful as you can list the amount you want to bet on each leg or the total amount. If you bet $100 on the entirety of the round robin parlay, then sportsbook will then calculate how many different parlays there will be and then divide that by the amount you want to wager. In other words, if you’re planning to bet $100 and there are 25 different parlays (two-game parlays, three-game parlays, etc.) then you’ll be betting $4 on each of them. However, if you’re not careful, it might think you’re betting $100 on each of them, which would make this a $2500 bet.

You Don’t Have To Play Every Permutation

Now that you know how a round robin bet works, we’ll leave you with one last note. When it comes to round robin parlays you don’t have to play every permutation. What that means is you’ll be able to select the levels. Going back to our five-game round robin parlay example, if you want to play all of the two-game variations, three-game variations and four-game variations, but cut out the five-game parlay, you can do that. Or if you want to bet the three-game, four-game and five-game permutations, but skip the two-game parlays, you can do that as well. You aren’t married to betting every single level. However, you can’t pick and choose inside the level.