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Singing the praises of the round robin

Dec 2, 2002 10:25 PM

   Since we’re in the heart of the football season, there is plenty of betting action on parlays, teasers, cards and whatever else the book will throw at the bettors.

   Years ago, a popular bet was the “round robin,” but in today’s betting landscape, it is rarely used. Here’s a description and how it compares to parlay and straight bets.

   The parlay, say, a 4-teamer, allows for the big score, with odds of 10-1 or higher. But one mishap ”” a late fumble or punt return ”” could torpedo an otherwise perfect day and sink your bet.

   Straight bets are less risky, but at 11-10 odds they will net you only about  $90 (based on a $100 risk) not the stuff dreams are made of.

   The round robin falls in between, 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 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 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).

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 Âí­return, 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.

   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 accompanying chart recaps the Âí­various outcomes for the three wagering possibilities.


   4-Team   Round-   Straight

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