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Round Robin in Sports Betting: Definition, Examples, How To Bet

Round Robin in Sports Betting: Definition, Examples, How To Bet article feature image

Will Newton/Getty Images. Pictured: Derrick Henry

  • A round robin in sports betting is a series of smaller parlays made up from a larger list of teams you select.
  • The sportsbook will create the parlays automatically, so you can create dozens at once.
  • Learn about round robins and how to bet them below.

A round robin bet allows you to create a series of smaller parlays from a larger list of teams or players.

Maybe you’ve seen a round robin as an option at your sportsbook, but have never dipped your toes into the forbidden waters.

Well, you’re about to go on a wild ride.

Round Robin Bet Guide

Click the links to jump to each section.

  1. How Round Robins Works
  2. Round Robin Examples
  3. What Combos to Bet
  4. Is It a Good Bet?
  5. Nicknames for Round Robins

1. How Does a Round Robin Bet Work?

A round robin in sports betting is really just a series of smaller parlays created from a larger list of bets.

A round robin gets its name from a round robin tournament, in which every team plays every other team in its group. The idea is the same. Instead of playing each other, the teams form parlays together.

When you select multiple games to bet, your sportsbook will give you the option to create a series of smaller parlays made up of your selected games.

The more games you pick, the more parlay combinations you can create — thousands if you pick enough teams.

Every book will display round robin options a little differently, like FanDuel:


And here’s one from DraftKings:

If you pick three teams, the book’s software will automatically create three different two-team parlays.

If you pick five teams, you can create:

  • 10 two-team parlays
  • 10 three-team parlays
  • 5 four-team parlays
  • 1 five-team parlay

There’s an endless numbers of round robins you can create when you keep adding teams. An 11-team round robin has 2,036 parlay combinations.

2. Round Robin Example

The simplest round robin is choosing three teams to create three separate two-team parlays.

Say you like these three games on an NFL Sunday:

And you to decide to risk $10 on each parlay combination, giving you three parlays for a $30 total investment…

Parlay Risk To Win
1. Patriots -7.5, Ravens -6 $10 $26
2. Patriots -7.5, Raiders +4 $10 $26
3. Raiders +4, Ravens -6 $10 $26
  • 3-0: If all three teams cover the spread and you hit all three parlays, you’ll win $78 ($26 x 3).
  • 2-1: If just the Raiders and Patriots cover, you’ll win one parlay, taking home $6 (win $26, lose $20).
  • 1-2, 0-3: If one or zero teams cover, you lose all three parlays, and lose $30.

3. Which Parlays Combos Should You Take?

Round robins can be deceptive. They get expensive the more teams you put in.

For most bettors, picking five teams and betting half your wager on 10 two-team parlays and 10 three-team parlays is a good option for a big college football slate, or something like it.

4. Is a Round Robin a Good Bet?

Often, round robins are bad bets.

Rarely can you take a 2-1 effort betting NFL point spreads and turn it into a losing or break-even day, but a round robin can do that.

Round robins can also get very expensive — if you want to put $5 on a six-team round robin, using two-team and three-team parlays, you’re already at 35 parlays ($175 total). If you also want to bet the four- and five-team parlays off a list of six teams, you’re at $280.

You don’t have to bet $5 on each parlay — you can do $1, $2, whatever you want — but then your payouts will be smaller, of course.

I’ve always found the most effective and interesting way to utilize round robins is when spraying underdogs on the moneyline.

They’re not all going to win, but by tying the combinations together, you increase your likelihood of hitting a few of the parlays and getting those sweet multipliers. You’re diversifying your risk a bit.

There’s more variance in college football, so most Saturdays, I’ll pick anywhere from 5-8 underdogs I think can win outright and throw them in a series of round robins.

Here’s an example from Week 11 of the 2019 college football season.

I can pick many different combinations with six bets selected:

  • 15 two-team parlays
  • 20 three-team parlays
  • 15 four-team parlays
  • 6 five-team parlays

I put $5 on each of the 20 three-team parlays, and $5 on each of the 15 two-teamers.

That’s $175 total invested.

Three teams won, so I won four total parlays — three two-teamers, and one three-teamer — and ended up netting $136.34.

If Hawaii hadn’t made a field goal as time expired to squash San Jose State, 10 of the parlays would have cashed — six two-team parlays, and four three-team parlays. That would have resulted in a $989.68 payday ($1,014.68 in profit, minus $125 for the lost parlays).

That’s why round robins in this way can be fun and effective — you’re creating upside for yourself — but they’re also an easy way to lose money fast if you’re not careful.

5. Round Robin Nicknames: What Is a Trixie and a Patent?

Some sportsbooks will list round robin options with nicknames, which are borrowed from horse racing.

A Trixie is four total bets:

  • 3 two-team parlays
  • 1 three-team parlay

At DraftKings, it’s listed with “4x” next to it because you’re making four bets.

A Patent is the same thing as a Trixie, but you also get your three bets as single wagers. A Patent is listed with “7x” next to it because it’s seven total bets.

  • 3 two-team parlays
  • 1 three-team parlay
  • 4 single wagers

What About A Yankee and Canadian?

Some sportsbooks will give you the option to make a…

  • Yankee (11 bets)
  • Lucky 15
  • Canadian (26 bets)
  • Lucky 31
  • Heinz (57 bets)
  • Lucky 63
  • Super Heinz (120 bets)
  • Lucky 127

So what are these? They’re essentially every round robin combination, wrapped into one.

When you select five games for a round robin, you can make 26 different parlays — 10 2-teamers, 10 3-teamers, five 4-teamers and one 5-teamer. That’s a Canadian.

When you select six teams, you have 57 parlay options. That’s a Heinz.

You also have the option to add single bets to all the parlays (like a Trixie turning into a Patent). That’s when a Canadian becomes a Lucky 31, or a Heinz becomes a Lucky 63.

Next in Betting Education 101: A Middle

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