Rugby League vs Rugby Union

Best Rugby Betting Sites

When seeking the best rugby online betting sites, it’s important to find sports betting sites that offers multiple software options, a variety of wagering types, large and varied bonuses, several methods of customer support and diverse real money banking options. In addition, high quality gambling sites and rugby sports betting sites offer rugby statistics sheets, betting strategy, and tips that help you make informed rugby bets.

Rugby is a sport that, in general, isn’t considered among the most popular when it comes to betting. Soccer, horse racing and US sports are generally among the most gambled on sports. That’s not to say that people don’t bet on rugby matches. If you are a fan of rugby and new to betting on sports, then rugby may be the game for you. One of the main reasons for this is that there aren’t as many betting markets to choose from. This may sound unappealing at first, but like anything getting to grips with the basics is very important. In this article I will take you through the various betting markets available and what you need to consider before choosing your bet. Please note that this is a guide for those new to sports betting and is mainly concerned with match betting.

Bet Types At Rugby Online Betting Sites

The best rugby sports betting sites provide real money punters with a number of wager types, allowing you to place the most lucrative and interesting bets. Some of these wager types to look for include straight bets, if bets, props, teasers, pleasers and parlays. Many of the best rugby gambling sites also provide bettors with futures bets, which allow you to wager on major rugby events a year or more in advance. In addition, the best rugby gambling sites allow for wagering on events in both rugby league and rugby union.

Most Common Ways To Bet On Rugby

Match Betting

Match betting is, as it is with most sports, the most basic and popular bet with gamblers. While the odds available in match betting are not the most rewarding, they are often safer than the other markets on offer. It is seen time and time again that in rugby the underdogs do not win as often as they do in other team sports. The bigger teams are far more consistent and possess greater resources. Weaknesses, particularly in weaker team‘s defence, are far more easily exposed and exploited by better teams, than for example in soccer.

Another reason that match betting is such a popular market in rugby betting is due to the rarity of draws. For example, in the Pro12 league during the 2012-2013 season there were 135 matches played, only 3 of them ended with both teams level. It’s a common occurrence in rugby that games will have an overwhelming favourite, in these cases bookmakers will only offer what is known as a handicap market, which I will discuss below.

Handicap Betting

Handicap betting is another popular betting market, particularly due to its use in matches consisting of a strong favourite playing against a team that is considered to have very little chance of winning. Essentially in handicap betting, one team (the underdog) is given what is known as a ‘head start’ in terms of the number points scored. The odds offered are then altered to accommodate for these changes.

This may be difficult to understand at first and so the difference between a normal match bet and handicap bet is outlined in the example below:

Match Betting:
Western Force @ 2.60 vs Waratahs @ 1.50

Handicap Betting:
Western Force (+5.0) @ 1.90 vs Waratahs (-5.0) @ 1.90

The numbers above may seem difficult to understand to anyone new to betting, however they are easily explained. For the purpose of the example I have used decimal odds as I feel most people understand them. In the case of the normal match bet, if you were to place €10 on Waratahs to win, your potential returns would be €15.

Some gamblers may feel these odds are too low and decide that Waratahs will win by a considerable margin, this is where handicap markets are useful. For example, you can place €10 on the Waratahs to win while starting with a points deficit of 5 points. Simply put, Waratahs would need to win by 6 or more points.

As we can see, if the final result was Western Force 18 – 27 Waratahs, you would win because even if we were to take the 5 points from the total, Waratahs would still have scored more points. On the other hand if the result of this match was Western Force 18 – 21 Waratahs you would lose the bet as, even though you selected the correct winner, they did not win by a sufficient

Note that in the case of the second result (18-21), if you had bet on Western Force (+5.0) you would have won, betting on the underdog in such a manner is popular in games where the underdog may have been underestimated by bookmakers.

First/Last Try Scorer

This market is popular among gamblers due to its high reward on payouts. Generally backs and especially the wingers are the favourites to score the first try in rugby matches. However you must remember that with 30 players on the pitch at the beginning of a match the first try can come from anywhere and so you must be diligent in making your selection in this market. There have also been numerous forwards, who were known for their try-scoring prowess, even though overall that might be a rarity.

A similar market is that of the last try scorer. There is an even greater risk in this bet as it is sometimes difficult to know who will be on the pitch towards the end of a game. Outside backs (i.e. wingers and fullbacks) are rarely substituted unless they are injured and also count among the most likely try-scorers to begin with. Scrum-halves and front rowers on the other hand are almost always substituted in the second half of a rugby match. Therefore betting on them as the last try-scorer is not advisable.

Alternatively, you can opt to bet on there being no try scorer in a match, although it is rare, in difficult and scrappy games it is known to happen, particularly if the weather conditions are poor. Once the ball gets very slippery making handling difficult and the pitch very deep, defences almost always get the upper hand, and games tend to be more low scoring.

You can also bet on which team will score first. This market is slightly less rewarding than selecting an individual try scorer and usually corresponds with whoever is favourite for a particular match.

Total Points

Not the most popular market available, but one that is utilised nonetheless. Betting on how many points are scored in a match by both teams. Personally I tend to avoid this market due to the difficulty of predicting how many points will be scored. If you are keen on placing a bet like this I would recommend gambling on games where not many points are expected to be scored, this leaves less room for error. Matches in poor conditions are as already mentioned more often than not low scoring. Also there is a significant difference in terms of style of play between the northern and southern hemisphere. Games involving Australian or New Zealand teams almost always turn out to be higher scoring games.

First Scoring Play

This bet is simple and can be relatively easy to predict with the right research. Essentially you select what type of score the first points of the match will comprise of. It can be a try, penalty or drop-goal. Researching a team’s style of play and strengths can be a good indication of what type of score is likely to be chosen by a team looking to get there first points on the board. Sometimes teams need to achieve a four try bonus point, in order to either not get relegated or qualify for the play offs. In those kind of matches teams will turn down opportunities to go for goal and try to score tries instead. Also these matches often turn out to be higher scoring, as teams risk more in their plays.


Research is so important to betting on any sport. I personally feel that it is even more important in rugby than in many other sports. Rugby is such a stringent game with a strict set of rules and team styles that are not as flexible as in other team sports. This eliminates the variables that sometimes cause bets to be lost. Poor refereeing decisions occur much more frequently in soccer than they do in rugby. Some teams for example have issues coping with a rush defence and are more likely to loose against teams employing that tactic. Other teams are historically very strong at home and therefore often upset bigger teams with their own public behind them. It is for reasons such as these that research is so important in betting on rugby matches.

Be wary of injuries. Rugby naturally has a higher number of casualties due to it being a high impact sport. Make sure you know who is playing and more importantly who isn’t. The starting line up and bench composition has to be published at least 24 hours in advance in rugby. That gives you a good opportunity to make some more research and adapt your strategy to the corresponding line ups. Teams missing their best players are noticeably weaker than when they are at full strength. Make sure you know the fly-halves. Fly halves are the players that can win a game almost single handedly, particularly in scrappy games with little or no flow in them. If a team is missing their first choice kicker, that can have a huge impact over the outcome of a game. Make sure you check whether the first choice kicker is going to play, and if not, whether the replacement is nearly as good.

Overall, in your research you need to familiarise yourself with team styles, players and form. As previously mentioned rugby is a sport that doesn’t spring too many surprises, even though huge upsets like the 50/1 underdog Japan beating South Africa at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

But generally rugby is a little easier to predict and anticipate results. I hope you found this article useful and I wish you luck with your betting.

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