Parlays and Round Robin Bets: An Introduction

“two red-and-white dices” by Jonathan Petersson on Unsplash

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Sports gambling is a multi-billion dollar industry that can turn even the average sports fan’s interest up many notches. Various terminology is used throughout the gambling world, and with words such as money line, parlay, and round robin, it can get confusing very quickly. Two bets that can increase your earning potential but also your risk are parlays and round robins. With a base knowledge of these two bet types, a gambler is well on their way to becoming a more experienced player.

Parlay Bet:

One type of bet that can earn you a higher payout is a parlay bet. Simply put, a parlay bet is a combination of bets that must all be winners for the player to earn a payout. For example, if you place a bet on two spreads for two different games and they both hit, you will win a higher payout. For a player to earn their reward, both spreads must hit. If one of the two spreads isn’t a winner, the player loses their original bet. Parlay bets introduce a higher amount of risk, but the rewards are also much greater. When it comes to odds making in parlay bets, there are various things to consider.

In a typical parlay bet that involves average payouts of -105, -110, -115, there is generally a common formula that can be followed. These payouts are based around common over/under, and spreads that bookmakers set.

The parlay odds at most Las Vegas sportsbooks are:

2 teams 2.6 to 1
3 teams 6–1
4 teams 10–1
5 teams 20–1
6 teams 40–1
7 teams 80–1
8 teams 150–1

As you can see above, the higher the amount of teams that you parlay, the higher the payout gets. Take caution though as parlay bets are extremely hard to hit, and the idea of betting a small amount of money to win a lot draws in many parlay bettors. Most advanced sports handicappers create manageable parlays of two, three and four teams with great success. If you are looking to make money sports gambling, you are most likely better off placing these size parlays and avoiding larger ones.

While it is technically possible to hit very large parlays, such as the woman who won a 15 team spread bet, you will most likely be wasting your money.

Round Robin Bet:

Round Robin bets are a great way to create multiple parlays at once. Round Robins occur when the maximum amount of parlays are created from a selection of picks that you make. To gain a better understanding of Round Robins, see the example below.

Consider the three bets:

Pittsburgh Steelers +4

Minnesota Vikings -3

New York Jets +6.5

By placing a Round Robin bet with this bet slip, you will create three separate parlay bets.

Bet 1 (2.6/1 Payout):

Pittsburgh Steelers +4

Minnesota Vikings -3

Bet 2 (2.6/1 Payout):

Pittsburgh Steelers +4

New York Jets +6.5

Bet 3 (2.6/1 Payout):

Minnesota Vikings -3

New York Jets +6.5

In this case, if you bet $5, you will be wagering $15 total. In Round Robin betting, you are placing the same amount on each parlay that is created. In the case of wagering $5, you are actually placing this amount on each parlay; creating a total wagering amount of $15.

Round Robin bets are a very effective method of spreading out your risk, but are also a quick way to risk a lot of money. As with parlay bets, you can create greater round robins with more than the three teams shown. Note that if you pick four teams, for example, you will be creating either six two-team parlays, or four three-team parlays. The higher amount of teams you select, the greater the risk and wager needed to place the bet.

By understanding how parlay and round robin bets work, the average sports gambler can begin to enjoy sports in a whole new way. One last tip: Never gamble more money than what you are willing to lose.

Good luck, and happy gambling.


I enjoy sports, gambling, finance, and things that affect young people.

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