Round robin is bet worth chirping for
For sports bettors, especially those on a limited bankroll, the parlay has become a staple, giving the bettor a chance to win a large amount by risking a relatively small amount.
Of course, the downside is that there’s no margin for error: one loss – freakish or otherwise – torpedoes the entire bet and all the "good" handicapping that went into it.
Individual straight bets are less risky, but the payoffs are marginal, and not the stuff dreams are made of.
The round robin bet falls in between, and can be compared to a keno ticket, in which you can win without hitting all of your numbers.
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 using, say, $100 as the amount you wish to wager, and that you’re looking at four teams (or a combination of four sides and totals).
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 nice profit.
Instead of making a $25 bet on each of your four teams, 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).
Should you win all four 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 (at odds of 10-1), 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.
Here’s how it works. Among the groups of 3-teamers, you will win one of them. And among the 2-team parlays, you will win three of the six propositions.
Thus, you will collect $70 on the single 3-teamer, and $36 three times on the 2-teamers. But this is the gross return, so subtract your original $100 bet for a net profit of $78. It’s not the lottery, but I’ll take a 78 percent increase in my bankroll any day!
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 above chart recaps the various outcomes for the three wagering possibilities.
4-Team Round Str.
Record Parlay Robin Bets
4-0 $1000 $396 $91
3-1 -100 78 44
2-2 -100 -64 -4
1-3 -100 -100 -52
0-4 -100 -100 -100
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