Rugby Betting Guide

Betting on rugby, be it rugby league (13 players) or union (15) is great fun and adds even more excitement to this fast-paced, powerful and often thrilling sport. Whichever version of the game you prefer, betting on it is basically the same and with both hugely popular in the UK and in many other countries around the world the bookmakers listed below make sure there is no shortage of different markets on which to bet.

Popular Rugby Betting Markets

As with many sports the most popular betting markets are also the simplest to understand. Here we take a look at five great bets for beginners and more experienced rugby bettors to get their teeth into and hopefully make a profit from.

  • Match Odds – By far the most popular bet is simply to pick which side you think will win a given game. The draw is also an option and is generally priced around the 16/1 to 25/1 mark, indicating how unlikely it is.
  • Tournament Outright – There are plenty of tournaments to bet on in rugby, whether it is league, union, international or club. If you reckon you know who’s going to win the league or any of the cups then this is the market for you.
  • Handicap Betting – Handicap betting is hugely popular in rugby as there is often a very strong favourite so this allows the odds to be evened out slightly. The favourites are quoted minus a certain number of points, with the outsiders given a head start of that same amount. The odds for both sides are then usually just under evens. The handicap can be given in whole points, for example +4 and -4, in which case the draw is also offered, or as a half-point value, such as -4.5 and +4.5.
  • Total Points – Betting on the total number of points in the game is a popular bet and because you can cheer both teams on right until the final whistle it’s also very good fun. The bet involves wagering the total will be over or under a specified total, usually expressed in half-points to avoid the tie. The weather can have a big impact on this market so check the forecast!
  • Winning Margin – This allows you to pick which side will win and by how many points. The options are split into bands, usually of five or ten points, so for instance you may back England to win by 6-10 points or, at shorter odds, by 1-10 points.

Major Tournaments

  • World Cup – Both league and union play a World Cup and this is the pinnacle of the international game, with the union version being played every four years and the less prestigious league World Cup being played at varying intervals of around three to five years.
  • The Six Nations – This annual event sees Scotland, Ireland, England, Wales, France and Italy play each other in rugby union and is a massive competition.
  • Four Nations – Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain and a changing fourth side contest this at varying intervals in the league format of the game.
  • Premiership – The top tier of domestic, English rugby union runs from September to May and offers great betting opportunities almost every week with many games televised.
  • The Heineken Cup – Rugby union’s equivalent of football’s Champions League (though different in structure), this sees the best club sides from the Six Nations teams compete against each other.
  • Super League – The highest level of domestic rugby league in Britain (although one French side also competes in the 2012-13 season) is played between February and October.
  • The Challenge Cup – Rugby league’s version of the FA Cup has been going since 1896 and with almost 100 teams entering there are plenty of great matches to bet on.