round robin bets
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What Is a Round Robin Bet?

Parlays are a guilty pleasure of any bettor who is chasing that one-in-a-lifetime payout that’ll change everything. But we’re not here to talk about the multi-fold parlays with 10000-1 payouts. Instead, we’ll talk about a Round Robin bet.

A Round Robin bet, while similar to a traditional parlay bet, isn’t quite the same, and it won’t reach the same exponential returns as your typical multiple wager. Still, it has its uses, mainly in helping to reduce variance when betting on multiples/parlays.

But does it work as advertised, and should you use Round Robin bets?

What Is A Round Robin Bet?

A Round Robin bet is a wager that is very similar to a parlay, with one major difference – it doesn’t offer the same high exponential returns. Moreover, the approach to building a Round Robin bet is a bit different.

When creating a Round Robin bet, you’re not placing a bet on a series of bets in one parlay, but instead creating permutations of the same bets and placing a bet on all of them as smaller parlays.

Let’s look at an example of five Premier League bets.

  • Tottenham to defeat Brentford (1.83)
  • Fulham vs Crystal Palace Over 2.5 goals (2.00)
  • Wolverhampton vs Everton Under 2.5 goals (1.72)
  • Arsenal (-1.5) vs Nottm Forest (2.10)
  • Liverpool vs Aston Villa Draw (4.75)

As a five-leg parlay, these bets would pay at 63.17, meaning a €10 bet would return €631.7.

round robin betting

However, instead of placing a five-fold bet on all five games, we can instead place a Round Robin bet, which allows us to wager on permutations of all five games by twos, three, and fours. With that, we can get paid for each two-fold, each three-fold, and each four-fold combination that hits.

That adds up to 10 (two folds), 10 (three-folds), and an additional five (four-folds) for a total of 25 combinations.

Let’s assume that we’re betting three-folds, which creates ten possible permutations.

Permutation3-FoldsOddsPayout (€10)
1Tottenham to defeat Brentford
Fulham vs Crystal Palace Over 2.5 goals
Wolverhampton vs Everton Under 2.5 goals
6.30€63
2Tottenham to defeat Brentford
Fulham vs Crystal Palace Over 2.5 goals
Arsenal (-1.5) vs Nottm Forest
7.69€76.9
3Tottenham to defeat Brentford
Fulham vs Crystal Palace Over 2.5 goals
Liverpool vs Aston Villa Draw
17.39€173.9
4Tottenham to defeat Brentford
Wolverhampton vs Everton Under 2.5 goals
Arsenal (-1.5) vs Nottm Forest
6.61€66.1
5Tottenham to defeat Brentford
Wolverhampton vs Everton Under 2.5 goals
Liverpool vs Aston Villa Draw
14.95€149.5
6Tottenham to defeat Brentford
Arsenal (-1.5) vs Nottm Forest
Liverpool vs Aston Villa Draw
18.25€182.5
7Fulham vs Crystal Palace Over 2.5 goals
Wolverhampton vs Everton Under 2.5 goals
Arsenal (-1.5) vs Nottm Forest
7.22€72.2
8Fulham vs Crystal Palace Over 2.5 goals
Wolverhampton vs Everton Under 2.5 goals
Liverpool vs Aston Villa Draw
16.34€163.4
9Fulham vs Crystal Palace Over 2.5 goals
Arsenal (-1.5) vs Nottm Forest
Liverpool vs Aston Villa Draw
19.95€199.5
10Wolverhampton vs Everton Under 2.5 goals
Arsenal (-1.5) vs Nottm Forest
Liverpool vs Aston Villa Draw
17.16€171.6

Round Robin Payouts

Now that we have an example ready, we can talk about how payout works and the main drawback of Round Robin bets.

  • If we hit all 10 permutations, we would make €1318.60
  • If Tottenham doesn’t beat Brentford, we will get only €606.7
  • If our bets on Tottenham and Liverpool vs Aston Villa both miss, we would earn just €72.2

This example makes it very clear what is the main drawback of Round Robin bets.

While we’re risking just €10 if we were to place a five-fold parlay, opting to place a three-fold Round Robin bet on five selections would cost us €100.

So if we don’t hit a single bet, a simple five-fold would cost us just €10, and a Round Robin bet would cost us x10 as much. Still, despite risking more money, Round Robin bets have their advantage, mainly in helping to reduce variance.

Round Robin Bets & Variance

The example above doesn’t help to make a good case for Round Robin bets, but we have to touch on one important factor – VARIANCE.

Variance is a good excuse for a bettor to use when he misses several bets in a row, but it’s also one of the biggest enemies for punters who have to deal with it on a daily basis. No matter how good you are at predicting results, a variance will find a way to screw you.

But I’m not trying to talk about variance here – this is more of making a point about how variance is the main reason why parlays are so hard to hit.

Let’s put it this way.

In a five-fold parlay, there is just one scenario where you’ll hit your bet (if all five selections hit), but 31 ways you can lose. Either you lose just the first game on a parlay, the second, or third, lose the first two, the first and last, and so on.

However, if you place a three-fold parlay, you have a 12.5% chance of winning, which is much better than a 3.23% in a five-fold parlay**.

**The percentages are correct, assuming all bets are even odds.

So by placing a three-fold parlay instead of a five-fold multiple, your chance of winning increases by x4, granted it comes at the cost of lower odds and lower potential payout. In other words, you’re moving away from the all-or-nothing approach by dividing the bet into several smaller bets in hopes of more frequent payouts.

Should You Use Round Robin Bets?

Now that we know how Round Robin bets work, it’s time to answer the question – should you use Round Robin bets?

Sportsbooks don’t really mind bettors using Round Robin bets because while Round Robin bets will reduce variance for the punter, they keep the house edge. That said, Round Robin bets are still beneficial because they reduce variance – assuming you don’t want it.

The smaller the permutations, the higher the chance of the bet hitting and, therefore, the higher the chance that you’ll earn a profit from your parlay bet.

Some bettors just like or want variance, and that’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with placing a 10-fold bet and hoping that it will return a massive payout. It’s a guilty pleasure of any bettor, and as long as you don’t risk too much of your bankroll there’s nothing wrong with having some fun.

Are Parlay Bets Bad?

We’ve all heard before how “betting experts” are against parlay bets and instead advise punters to only bet singles. But that’s just plain wrong.

Parlays

If you find five value bets, you can bet them as singles, but what’s stopping you from combining them into a parlay? Five rights can’t make a wrong, so combining five +EV bets into one still results in one +EV bet.

This again leads us to the discussion of variance, which is the main reason why some may advise against parlay bets. But as we’ve learned, we can fight against variance with Round Robin bets.

So you’re in a situation where you have several +EV bets, it’s fine to make a parlay. However, you should preferably look to go for the lowest number of legs in a parlay (3-fold or 2-fold), to limit variance a little.

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