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Round Robin for sports betting

Jan 20, 2009 5:09 PM

Even though the football season is nearly over, there’s plenty of betting action with the upcoming Super Bowl and basketball entering the heart of its season.

That means bettors will continue to weigh decisions whether to make straight bets or parlays. But there’s a third alternative that has gone virtually ignored in recent years, the round robin.

The round robin falls in between the straight bet and the parlay, and can be compared to a keno ticket, in which you can win without hitting all of your numbers.

Historically, round-robin bets have been around for years, but lost their appeal with the increased popularity of parlay cards. However, they are a viable betting alternative that can maximize your winnings while protecting your bankroll.

Learning from Keno

You can make a round-robin bet in any number of combinations and amounts, so let’s look at one simple example of how to get more out of your $100 bet without too much risk. And even though it won’t pay as much as a 4-team parlay, you can stumble through a 3-1 record and still make a profit.

Instead of making a $25 straight bet on each of your four teams (or totals), ask the ticket writer for "a four-team round-robin, in groups of two and three teams at $10 each."

What you are actually doing is taking the four teams and grouping them into four groups of three teams (four 3-team parlays), and six groups of two teams (six 2-team parlays).

At most casinos, the groups of three teams pay at odds of 6-1, while the two-team combos are worth 13-5. Thus, your four teams are now spread among 10 different betting propositions or groups (just like "way" bets in keno).

The Payoff

Should you win all four college games, your four 3-team parlays will pay $70 each ($60 profit, plus your original $10 bet). Since there are four combinations, you win the $60 four times, for a net return of $240.

But there’s more. You also win all six 2-team parlays. On a $10 wager, you will net $26 six times for an additional $156 return, which raises your net winnings to $396.

Or course, it’s not the $1,000 windfall you would have enjoyed with a four-team parlay, but you took less of a chance and the payoff came accordingly.

Winning for Losing

Now here’s the good news: you still make money even if one of your teams lose and your card goes 3-1.

If you had bet a 4-team parlay, your 3-1 record would have cost you your entire $100. And if you simply made straight bets of $25 each, your net return would have been about $44.

If your four teams had gone 2-2, you would have essentially broken even (minus the juice) on straight bets, but lost most of your bet with a round-robin play.

The accompanying chart recaps the various outcomes for the three wagering possibilities.