Rugby Betting Guide


Rugby is popular in many parts of the world, including some you may not expect, such as Canada, Argentina and Namibia. Of course, by rugby, we are talking about two separate sports really, with the 13-man Rugby League and the 15-man Rugby Union both equally enjoyable to watch, play and, of course, bet on. We will try to cover both sports as a whole, as there is little between them from a betting perspective, despite the huge differences in the games themselves.

Rugby league came after union in 1895, through a debate over player payments and in the UK the former is largely seen as the more working class game. Whilst both are enjoyed all over Britain, league is generally speaking more common in Northern England, with union proliferating in most other areas of the UK. Globally the 15-man code is more popular but with both played in numerous countries at international and club level there is always some rugby somewhere for fans (and punters) to enjoy.

How To Bet On Rugby

Most of the major rugby bets apply to both codes of the game and that is the case unless otherwise stated. The biggest games will have numerous betting options but below are the most popular bets that are available on most matches.

Rugby Bets

  • To win – Sometimes also called match odds or the 80 minute market, this is a simple bet on which team will win the game, with the option of a tie normally also given.
  • Handicap betting – Handicapping is very common in rugby betting, with the favourites giving up a points start to the underdog in order to even out the odds.
  • Half-time/full-time – Due to the physically demanding nature of the game big changes are not uncommon in the second half of matches and this bet allows you to back who you think will be ahead (or if it will be a draw) at half-time and also at full-time, combined in one bet.
  • Winning margin – Backing how many points a side will win by is another popular bet, especially in games with a strong favourite. So if you are sure a team will win you could back them, for example, to win by 6-10 points at much longer odds than backing the win alone.
  • Team/player to score the first try – You can bet on which team, or at bigger odds name which specific player, will score the first try. Often also available on the first points (by any method).
  • Total points – How many points will there be in a match? This normally comes in the form of under or over a half-point amount, for example over/under 36.5 points, thus avoiding a push.
  • Half with most points – Another self-explanatory one, simply which half with have the most points, with a draw offered and extra-time not counting.
  • Outright/tournament betting – A very popular bet and another one common to most sports, which team will win a given tournament, for example a league or cup, almost always with each-way betting available.

Rugby Betting Rules

There isn’t really anything to look out for when it comes to betting on rugby, other than the usual issues with postponements and abandonments that apply to most sports. In the unlikely event of this happening check the bookmaker’s individual rules. The only other issue is, again as with many sports, whether or not extra-time is included in your bets. As a general rule, unless otherwise stated it won’t be, although sometimes if the draw isn’t offered it will be with the understanding that extra-time will settle the bet. It’s also worth noting that penalty tries do not count in the “first tryscorer” market.

Rugby Betting Strategy

Betting on rugby is very much like betting on any sport, with the main key to longterm success being the sports betting triumvirate of research, study and knowledge. By knowing how a team are performing, what their record is in particular conditions or at certain grounds or against certain types of team you can analyse the odds and look for value. With handicap and winning margin betting so popular there is good scope to use this information to find bets where the odds are out of line, with the favourites often fancied to win by more points than they do simply due to the human psychology of betting.

The weather is also surprisingly significant in rugby betting, with wind, rain and a muddy pitch having a large impact, most noticeably on total points betting. If you are able to jump on a bet quickly after a change in the forecast you may get some outstanding value – for example if heavy rain is suddenly forecast the chance the game will be under the total points greatly increases.

Another good trick with rugby is to be aware that some teams tend to be much stronger in the second half. Some teams use the first half to soften the opposition up and aim to tire them out before coming on strong in the later stages of the game. This can open up some excellent opportunities on the half-time/full-time and also half with the most points markets.

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