A round robin is a wager where selections are placed into all possible parlay combos. For example, 3-selections of A, B and C placed into a 2-team round robin results in three unique 2-team parlays of A&B, A&C, and B&C. When placing round robins online the software of the betting sites automatically does all the work calculating the combos and will show how much stands to be at risk prior to you confirming the bet.
Betting Round Robins Online
The image below shows the round robin option on the menu of three different US sportsbooks. Each has their own unique rules. www.topbet.eu has by far the best interface and also allows up to 8-selections for all combos. With 9, 10, 11 or 12 selections you can still bet the higher combos as well. If your preference is adding a lot of teams, for example 12 selections bet in round robins of 9, then this is by far the best site. At Bovada it is only possible to make 8 selections max and to do combos up to 6 teams. At BetOnline up to 8 selections can be made and all combos are available.
Round robin betting menus at Topbet, Bovada and BetOnline
Round Robin Strategy
Round Robin wagers have a place for both recreational players and for professional sports bettors. For the recreational player who deposits excess money with the goal of either hit big or bust, this is a great way to reduce volatility while still having a chance at a nice score. For the professional it is about optimal bankroll growth and risk of ruin. Handicappers who are picking off many early lines might end up with 23 different pending bets. This means their bankroll size is often theoretical as opposed to fixed. While outside the scope of this article, statistical minded sports bettors should query: Kelly Criterion Simultaneous Events in an internet search engine if this concept is foreign to you. I will cover two more simple strategies for the casual bettor in the remainder of this article.
Arbing out a Free Play
With online sportsbooks there are two types of bonuses, cash bonuses and free play bonuses. If you bet $220 to win $200 with a cash bonus and win you are returned $420 ($220 stake + $200 win). When you bet $220 to win $200 with a free play bonus and win you are returned just $200. This is because the bonus was free play and once you stake it win or lose that free play is used up. This is why parlay betting is advised for free plays.
The reason two team parlays pay 2.64 to 1 is as follows. Make a bet $110 to win $100, and if you win you get back $210 ($110 stake + $100 win). Then bet all $210 on another -110 line and this is $210 to win $190.91. If you win you now have $400.91 of which $110 was your stake so your winning are $110 risked to win ($400.91-$110=) $290.91. Notice $290.91/$110=2.64. You can get the same for $110 either making a 2-team parlay bet or rolling the bet forward yourself. The part I’m trying to point out clearly here is a parlay allows you to bet the same stake multiple times. This is why when using free play bonuses parlay wagers when allowed are a better bet.
One of the best ways to bonus whore is to sign up at a few online sportsbooks at the same time that offer a free play bonus and allow free play bets to be used on parlays. Then pick three games and round robin every single possible outcome in 3-team parlays. So using three games of A vs. B, C vs. D, and E vs. F there are 8 3-team parlays possible. These are ACE-ADE-ACF-ADF-BCE-BDE-BCF-BDF. As 3-team parlays pay 6/1 you make 8 bets and get back 6. You’ve now converted your free play balances into 75% its size in cash. If instead you just bet free plays straight on point spreads your expectation is converting 45.45% of your free play to cash. Doing it the way I just suggested you are guaranteed 75%.
To warn about the above: first make sure the websites bonus terms accept parlay wagers when using free play credits. Also do not bet any more than 3 of the 8 parlays at the same website as most have a bonus abuse or non-recreational player clause in their terms and conditions. Doing just three of the combos at the same site should be fine.
Round Robin Teasers
If you bet teasers note Online Gambling has published some of the best teaser betting strategy found online. If you can find 3-team +180 teasers then it never makes sense to bet 4-team or 5-team teasers. This is a situation when using round robin teasers makes sense. The software of online sportsbooks only supports round robin for parlays. When making teaser bets you’ll need to work out the combinations and manually bet them one at a time.
Editor’s note: This concludes our article on round robin betting. If you are interested in information about betting specific sports or information on other wager types I suggest visiting our sports betting home page. As always we wish you the best of luck with all your bets this season and beyond.