Rugby betting has its own nuances that set it apart from other sports wagering. There is no point trying to compare what you do for example in horse racing or soccer betting to what you are planning to do with rugby.
But that just makes it all the more exciting to figure out from a betting perspective. Here we take a look at the ins and out of rugby betting.
How to bet on Rugby
What are the things to look for in rugby betting? It’s not just a case of picking a team to win a match and having done with it. Rugby betting is more nuanced than that. You have to take the value of odds into consideration. A lot of punters would turn a blind-eye to backing a heavy odds-on favourite at 1/33 to win a rugby match, for example.
As with any betting, a deeper assessment is needed. With big rugby matches, you are probably looking at a bookmaker offering well over 40 markets to consider. But if you stop and study some factors like head to head, schedule (to see how busy a team has been) and scour team news for things like injuries to star players, opportunities can open up.
Considering a few rugby markets only to focus on, instead of trying to spread yourself too thinly, creates the ability to spot your opportunities in them.
- Rugby betting needs a creative approach due to heavy odds-on favourites
- Points markets like handicaps offer a bigger skill challenge
- Focus on a few markets only to be able to spot opportunities
The nuances of rugby betting results
The drawn outcome in a match rarely happens in rugby, which is natural because of the points variances. Two penalty kicks, for example, beats all the work done in touching down for an unconverted try. But why are favourites so strong in rugby? In a soccer match, an underdog can easily score a deflected fluke goal and cause an upset against a stronger team. That one lucky moment could be enough to win a match.
But in rugby, it’s hard to just get one lucky break and hold out for a win. It’s much harder for underdog rugby teams to consistently put points on the board as well defend them against better teams across the course of 80 minutes. Particularly with the way that the points-system works in a match. So that creates a void where heavy-favourites in matches are created. So rugby betting needs a bit of a creative approach.
Types of Rugby Bets
Let’s kick it off with the match outright, which in any sport is always a good option for beginners. You just look at a fixture and select who you think will be victorious. But with rugby betting, it is not as simple as that because of favourites with little market value winning often.
This is an inherent issue with rugby betting. The balance between an odds-on favourite and the odds-against team in a rugby match outright, when say compared to a tennis match or a soccer match, is generally a lot wider. So experienced rugby punters will likely get to a point where other rugby betting options start to take precedence over rugby match outrights.
It’s not a bad place for beginners to start, maybe looking for those opportunities when the odds-gap between the teams isn’t massive.
Half Time/Full Time
A way to split up a match by adding an extra contingency is the Half Time/Full-Time bet. What this does is just add one extra cog in your bet’s machine. Ultimately if you have selected a match-winner, but they are heavy odds-on favourites, then better odds would be available in backing them in a Half Time/Full-Time bet.
Essentially your bet is riding on the one main outcome of your selection winning the match (Full Time). But in splitting down to the HT/FT you are suddenly introducing extra variables on them getting the win. The favourites could be winning, losing or drawing at half time and it is that extra variable that will mean better odds availability as opposed to the match outright.
A HT/FT bet means that you make the correct prediction of how the game is standing at Half Time and at Full Time. In a New Zealand v Australia match, you could, for example, call an Australia/New Zealand HT/FT, backing the Australians to come out fast and hard in the first 40 minutes, but for the All Blacks to eventually prevail.
The straight forward alternative would be New Zealand/New Zealand HT/FT. That doesn’t mean that they have to win both halves, which is a totally different bet. New Zealand could be 40-0 ahead at half time, but only end up winning 40-35 at the final whistle. So even though the Kiwis lost the second half, they had still been winning at both half time and full time. It is a good option for seeking extra value on a favourite to win a fixture.
Bettors may well find that the handicap options in rugby betting are a lot more appealing. A handicap is where the team favoured to win a fixture will start with a virtual points handicap to overcome. For example, if South Africa were a -15 handicap to beat Italy, from a betting perspective they would kick off the game fifteen points behind Italy. Handicap betting adds a whole new skill challenge.
It means that for the handicap bet to win, the Springboks would have to win by at least sixteen points to have the wager be successful. Alternatively, Italy could be backed to not lose by more than 15 points with a +15 handicap. The handicap will allow a bettor to still basically take the same option on a match outright, but with a contingency. They have to win or lose, with a certain parameter.
One of the great things about rugby handicap betting is the punter has control of just what the handicap line is that they want to take. The bigger the winning handicap that you set for a favourite, then the bigger the odds-against will be. This all then goes back to researching stats to try and make an educated proposition.
This is a very accessible market for rugby betting beginners. With a winning margin bet, you select what kind of points range that a team will be victorious by. So you could set a winning margin of 1 to 6 points on a team if you think that it’s only going to be a tight victory.
It doesn’t matter what the scores are, it could be a 5-0 victory or a 21-20 victory for your backed team and the bet would win because it fell within the range. When you look at the winning margins for a rugby match, you will find a variety of options available. It will be down to your own perception to get the balance between a realistic outcome and value.
Try Scorer Markets
This is another of the main rugby betting area but it’s a tough one. In soccer betting you have one or two strikers kicking off for a certain team. They are in the team to score goals. They are the attackers and are generally more likely to hit the back of the net, as opposed to a defender who rarely ventures outside of his own half.
It’s a little different with rugby. It’s just as common to have a marauding hooker push his way over the try line as it is for a winger to beat a couple of defenders on the outside. From a try-scoring perspective, rugby is a far more balanced team game than a lot of other sports. In the NFL you have your wide receivers who are most likely to score and basketball their power forwards for example.
So try scorer markets in rugby, such as the First Try Scorer, Last Try Scorer or Anytime Try Scorer are a lot more difficult to pinpoint. Of course, you can study form and see that a team’s winger is the top-scorer in the league for the season and it would make sense to consider him. But also look at how a team plays.
If they like to dominate with the pack and it’s a wet rainy day when the ball is likely to be kept in the forwards, then how many finishing chances will a winger get in a game? Of the main try scorer markets in rugby, the anytime try scorer will give you the most flexibility. The others, while they are appealing to beginners because of the big prices, are incredibly hard ones to get right.
Major Rugby Tournaments and Competitions
Here is a list of some of the top rugby tournaments and competitions from around the world to focus on for your betting.
- Rugby World Cup
- Six Nations
- The Rugby Championship
- Rugby Europe International Championship
- English Premiership
- European Champions Cup
- Super Rugby Australia
Rugby Betting - In Summary
Rugby is a very favourite-dominated sport, which makes it one of those unusual sports where regular match outright odds offers little value. Especially when a stronger team is on home soil. But it just means that the value lies elsewhere and that means that statistics become your friend. Rugby betting should be fun and getting the balance of analysis and markets right is the challenge.
Points margins are probably the biggest aspect to focus towards when it comes to rugby betting. That can only be done when stats have been looked at. As a very basic example, if a team is consistently winning matches by single-digit figures, you could class that as a trend to consider for their next match.