Round Robin

Combining multiple smaller parlays made up of a group of teams or players, round robin bets enable you to multiply the potential return from a wager without needing every leg to win for the bet to succeed.

Round Robin Betting Guide
Published by NYSB Staff
Last Updated: 12. Jan 2024.

What is a Round Robin Bet?

A pimped-up parlay bet, a round robin bet is one where individual wagers are placed into groups to increase the chances of a win. 

A round robin bet removes the all-or-nothing nature of a regular parlay bet and can be a good betting strategy when following multiple events as you can still get a payout even if a leg fails.

A round robin bet is a bit like hosting your own mini tournament. Instead of each team or contestant playing each other, the picks form multiple parlays bundled together to include all possible outcome combinations.

How Do Round Robin Parlay Bets Work?

Round robin betting can seem confusing but breaking it down makes it all much clearer. At its simplest, a round robin must include a minimum of three different lines, but most of the best sportsbooks in New York will allow up to 10 or even 12 selections combined together.

Taking the three-team example, say you like the Giants, Bills and Jets when the NFL preseason gets underway. You could bet on each game that the trio feature in or combine them into a three-game parlay. 

If one of the teams doesn’t hit, a moneyline wager on them would fail, as would the parlay.

A round robin bet on that selection increases your chances by arranging the teams into smaller parlays like below. 

You might see this type of bet described as ‘by 2’s’ on the sportsbook which means it’s a series of two-team parlays.

  • Parlay 1 - Giants (+110) + Bills (-110)

  • Parlay 2 - Giants (+110) + Jets (+110)

  • Parlay 3 - Bills (-110) + Jets (+110)

Placing those selections as a three-leg parlay would land you odds of +742. That means a stake of $100 returns a few cents under $742 once the bookmaker takes off its juice.

Parlay odds don’t change for a round robin bet but the stake does. Round robins can become expensive the more selections you add. In the above example, a round robin bet would place a stake on each of the parlays. 

Placing $100 on each of them means a total outlay of $300. Should they all come off, our example would return $942.82 which is higher than the three-game parlay.

Round robins can be much bigger than the example described above. For example, if you pick five teams, the sportsbook’s software will combine the legs in this way:

  • 10 x two-team parlays

  • 10 x three-team parlays

  • 5 x four-team parlays

  • 1 x five team parlay

Round robins could effectively have endless combinations the more teams you add. A round robin with 11 different teams could have 2,036 different parlay permutations.

How to Place a Round Robin Bet

Different sportsbook websites and apps available in New York will handle round robins in slightly different ways, but they all do the hard work for you.

Placing a round robin bet is much the same as it is for a parlay. You add at least three selections to your bet slip and select the round robin bet type option.

Once you’ve added some lines, the book will ask you to select the number of different ways to construct each parlay. 

So, if it’s ‘by 2’s’ the bet will be made up of two-team parlays, ‘by 3’s’ of three-team combos and so on. 

How this looks is as follows should you like four teams:

For a two-event combination (‘by 2’s’):

For a three-event combination (‘by 3’s’):

  • Buffalo Sabres, New York Islanders, New York Rangers
  • Buffalo Sabres, New York Islanders, New Jersey Devils

  • New York Islanders, New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers

  • New Jersey Devils, Buffalo Sabres, New York Rangers

The bet slip will then display the total stake required and potential payout should the wager win.

Round Robin Betting Strategies

Round robins have a distinct advantage over standard parlays - they’re easier to hit. With a parlay wager, there’s no room for error - one losing leg and the whole bet is wiped out. 

As a betting strategy, some folk consider that parlays aren’t a good bet as the risk outweighs the potential reward.

For recreational bettors, round robins can be a better strategy than long-shot parlays and teasers. A four-team round robin will move your bankroll upwards if three of the legs are successful. 

Round robin wagers also offer the opportunity to hedge out and minimize losses.

A good strategy for round robin betting can be to take less competitive sports with high variance where the expected outcome is harder to predict. You can choose a good handful of long-shot picks and spread them throughout the round robin for a healthy profit if a few come off. 

Another sound basic strategy for round robins is to limit the selections to two teams to reduce the risk that comes with adding three, four etc. to each parlay.

Are Round Robin Bets Worth It?

The main issue with round robin bets is the higher level of investment required. If you take a six-team round robin and combine it into two and three-game parlays, you’d have 35 individual lines on your bet. 

Say you put $5 on each then the overall stake becomes $175. You don’t need to wager that much of course and you can even opt for just one dollar on each line, though the potential profits drop.

There are times when a parlay might be a better option than a round robin but much depends on your own judgment. 

If we take a points spread bet with typical odds of -110 and three teams included, the payout on a parlay would be roughly $600 on a wager of $100. 

A three-team round robin would cost £300 but return a maximum of $1,100. In that case, the parlay pays a higher multiplier than the round robin. 

However, if just one leg loses, the whole parlay fails. In the round robin scenario with a single line that doesn’t hit, you would still earn $528.

Other Names for Round Robin

Round robins become a tad more confusing for those new to them when we start to introduce the various names for them that have entered sports betting lingo

You might see round robin-type bets tagged as a few things depending on the sportsbook you’re using. A round robin can even mean something different in other parts of the world.

Trixie & Patent

Borrowed from horse racing, a Trixie comprises a total of four bets with three two-team parlays and a single three-team line. You might see a Trixie listed as ‘4x’. Trixies can be good wagers when selecting a few picks that are priced at short odds and wouldn’t return much profit when placed as single bets.

A Patent on the other hand has the three two-team combinations and the one three-team parlay with four single lines also included. 

If you have a good feeling about three teams then a Patent might make sense due to the higher odds on the multiple bet. It also offers more cover than a parlay as you’ll at least get something returned if just one of your chosen selections is successful.

Yankee & Canadian

A Yankee bet takes our four selections and combines them in 11 ways. A Yankee comprises six doubles, four trebles and one four-fold. Because there are 11 separate lines, your stake is multiplied by that number. 

A Yankee can be a good bet when you strongly fancy at least two selections that ordinarily wouldn't return much profit when wagering on them as singles.

A Canadian bet has five events all rolled up into 26 different arrangements. Also known as a Super Yankee, this type of bet has ten doubles, ten trebles, five four-leg parlays and a single five-fold. 

Two or more of the selections need to be successful for a Canadian bet to have a return. Canadian wagers can deliver attractive profits though the stake will be multiplied by 26 so they can require a hefty investment.

Round Robin Bets FAQ

What is needed to win a round robin bet depends on how many selections you have chosen and in what combinations. A round robin bet will pay out a figure that combines the total winnings of each parlay in the whole wager.

A 6-team round robin could have 57 parlay options. Also known as a Heinz (57 varieties - get it?), this format would have 15 doubles, 20 three-leg parlays, 15 four-leg parlays, 6 five-leg parlays and a six-fold.

A 4-team round robin could have different options. If you opt to go ‘by 2's’ it would be six parlay bets with 2 legs each or ‘by 3's’ comprises four parlay bets with three legs each.

If you pick five teams for a round robin, you can create 10 two-team parlays, 10 three-team parlays, 5 four-fold parlays and 1 five-team parlay. This type of round robin is also known as a Canadian.

A round robin bet returns the total winnings from each individual parlay that make up the overall round robin wager.

A round robin bet will cost the stake of each of the lines that comprise the wager added together. You’ll often find books will display the multiplier next to the round robin option. So it might have ‘4x’ next to a Trixie or ‘26x’ alongside a Canadian.

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