Handicapping Rugby Matches
In this article we’re going to cover the basics of rugby handicap betting, and provide experienced punters some tips for finding value.
Handicap betting is popular in a number of sports, and the concept is essentially the same for rugby. Favoured teams have to give up points to the weaker team, therefore evening out the odds for punters. This makes a rugby match more exciting to watch, and more competitive for betting.
In money line bets, no points are given or taken from either team, which means that favoured teams might offer terrible odds. Most people don’t like to risk £5 to win £1, and handicapping removes that risk. Instead, underdogs can lose a match, and bets on them can still win.
Here’s an example of how it works:
- Team A: +9.5 (10/11)
- Team B: -9.5 (10/11)
In this match, team A can lose the game by 9 points and bets on them would still win. This is because they’ve been given a 9.5 handicap. So, an actual game score of 39 – 30 would become 39 – 39.5. For bets on team B to win, they would have to win the game by 10 or more points.
Punters can also choose to bet on the handicap with a tie. Most UK betting sites offer odds on this bet at 16/1, although some variation will be found.
Useful Tips and Strategies
As most experienced punters are already aware, there are betting trends that we can often rely on. However, some of these trends can quickly go into the trash bin when one important aspect of a match is forgotten.
Time Zones for International Matches
One thing that a lot of punters forget to check is the time zone differences for international events or matches. Since rugby is played all over the world and international events are so common, this missed step can cost punters a lot of extra value. Let’s say there’s a big match taking place tomorrow, a couple hours after you wake up. You like team X at their current odds of +3 (10/11), so you drop 50 pounds on them and head off to bed. Eight hours later you wake up and notice the odds are now +4.5 (10/11). What happened between the time you put your head on the pillow and the time your wife got a steak & kidney pie thrown at her? Did you check the time zones and consider where the game is being played?
The scenario works like this. You went to bed at the same time as everyone else in your country – the same time that everyone in the host country woke up. The game is set for prime-time in their country, giving them about 10 hours to bet before the match begins. They’ve been betting on their home team like mad ever since you went to bed, and now your team is getting 1.5 points more than you locked in. If you had been thinking about this ahead of time, you could’ve waited until you woke up, knowing the home fans would create greater odds for your team while you were sleeping.
Now let’s turn the tables and assume you live in the host country. If you’re paying attention to the time zones, you already know when the heaviest betting action for the opposing team will end. You also know that your countrymen are about to pound the bookmakers with a lot of action. Instead of waiting closer to game time when the odds have gone against you, you can bet first-thing when you wake up and lock in the best odds.
For international matches, always consider time zones and how they could affect the odds heading towards game time.
My Favourite Way to Find Value
There are a lot of factors that can go into calculating the value of two opposing rugby teams. Experienced punters that bet on rugby look at a variety of stats which can include previous matchups, player injuries, weather, home field advantage, and so on. Most professional punters want to bet on as many games as they can find time to dissect, but there’s a better way to calculate value which pays off in profits and in time saved. I’m going to tell you my favourite way to find value, and it’s so easy.
Instead of spending every waking moment studying, I prefer to have a life. Of course that also requires that I have enough money to do something when I’m not pouring over stats. Here’s how I learned this valuable lesson.
Many years ago on a trip to Las Vegas, I met a successful punter late on a Sunday evening. He was an American punter who had been sitting a few seats to the left of me for several hours while he watched all the NFL games. We nodded at each other a few times as we came & went to the toilet, and it became clear to me that he was a friendly kind of guy.
Meanwhile, I spent the day scrapping through a notebook full of scribbles & stats I had jotted down over a week’s worth of research, along with a local betting rag full of stats. I don’t remember the exact number of bets I had lost that day (selective memory for sure), but it was all of them. I was betting on football (soccer) matches, and couldn’t win a coin flip to save my life.
At one point, in obvious frustration, I grabbed my notebook and degenerates rag, got up, and started to walk out. As I went to leave, I heard “bad day?” behind me. I turned around and said “the worst”. This led to a long conversation about all sorts of things, but the one thing I have always kept with me was one piece of advice he gave me. “Stop betting on everything”.
Do you want to make more money when you bet on rugby matches? Stop betting on everything.
Instead of putting 2 hours of research into a match and moving onto the next one, put three hours into one match, and save the other hour for yourself. You’ll gain an extra hour of knowledge for the matchups you’re betting on, making your predictions more accurate. When you’re more accurate, you win a higher percentage of your wagers. When you’re winning more money, more consistently, you can wager larger amounts on the matches you’re betting on, and turn that into more profit as well.
What’s even better is that you also get to reclaim an extra hour of your life on every bet you place! The kids will remember who you are, the wife will stop sleeping with the neighbor (or at least she’ll put more effort into lying), and you might even have time to jog off the belly you’ve been diligently working on.
Like the saying goes ‘work smarter, not harder’.