The following online betting sites have been chosen as the best places to bet on rugby, based on the promotions, markets and odds they offer. All of the sites offer a free bet which can be used to bet on rugby betting markets.
Rugby Betting Guide
Rugby is one of those sports that at certain times of the year really blossoms. Unfortunately it doesn’t have the betting appeal or pulling power of say a tennis or football, but the sport does actually offer up a wide variety of betting markets from some exciting leagues around the world.
Some of the largest UK bookmakers will often fire up a host of specials around some of the higher profile tournaments. The likes of the Heineken Cup, English Premiership and some of the smaller cup competitions offer a good domestic base on their own. Couple that in with international tournaments such as the six nations, tri nations and World Cup; all combine to make rugby a sport worth betting on. One thing that rugby bettors will appreciate is the market availability of the sport. By this we mean that all the top bookmakers will have comprehensive betting markets for a host of games.
How To Bet On Rugby
One of the best features of betting on rugby is the ability to mix and match your bookmaker. This means you can shop around for not only the best odds, but also the best bonuses on offer. In this day and age every bookmaker will offer you some sort of welcome bonus or free bet when you register an account. For sites where you have already got an account you can keep an eye open for the latest betting promotions which may include money back specials or inflated odds on some of the rugby markets.
There are a wide variety of markets on which you can bet. We have included a list of some of the more common and obscure betting markets along with a short burst of information about each.
- Match betting – The most common market, simply choose which team you think will win.
- First scoring play – You can choose the first scoring play of the match. This can be either team and be between a try, drop goal, penalty or penalty try.
- Handicap betting – This market gives one team a virtual head start over their opponent. So one team might start 1 point up on their opponent and then this is taken into account at the final score.
- Team to score first – Choose which team will score the first points of the match. This can be via any format. Additionally to this market you can choose a team and the scoring method to enhance your odds somewhat.
- Race to 10 points – Select which team will reach 10 points first. If neither team manages to get to 10 points then the market will become void unless the option of neither team to score 10 points was a possible selection in that market.
- Double result – You can choose which team will be winning at half time then again at full time. The draw is also a factor which can be chosen for either result.
Rugby Betting Rules
Rugby is a sport with very few betting rules as such, but we have listed some of the more common ones below.
- Bets will be settled upon completion of the game. Any additional time over the allotted 80 minutes will be included for all bets.
- Where games get abandoned or postponed all bets will become void. This is unless the game is rescheduled and played within 1 week of the original date.
Domestic & International
One of the things that many punters overlook when betting on rugby is that there are two main types; domestic and international. It sounds blatantly obvious, but the part-time bettor tends to just look at the international fixtures rather than the domestic game, which we feel is a mistake.
It’s a similar mistake to concentrating on the Premier League and ignoring the likes of League 2 just because the Premier League has more exposure; but the value doesn’t always lie in the bigger games, in fact, the opposite can be said for most games.
International rugby is so saturated these days. There aren’t a huge range of games to choose from, with the Six Nations and Autumn international being a big part of it in the Northern Hemisphere, which is likely why the popularity from a betting point of view doesn’t compare to the likes of football and horse racing, with dozens of games or races held daily.
Concentrating on domestic rugby is going to provide a much wider range of value bets than international fixtures. You may have to compete with lower market coverage, but if you shop around at some of the bigger bookies, you’re still going to find a huge range of markets to bet on, more than enough to find the right bet.
You can expand your reach even further to include lower league domestic games and also international domestic games as well. Don’t forget, rugby is a global sport and whilst it doesn’t get the coverage that some other sports do, you’ll be surprised to see just how many games there actually are to pick from.
Following on from the information above, the European cup games are some of the most exciting that you’re going to find. It’s the best of the best taking each other on week in, week out, similar to that of the Champions League in football.
The games come thick and fast with both the Champions Cup and the Challenge Cup, and it’s with these games that we have found the highest number of markets to bet on, even surpassing the domestic games such as the Aviva Premiership.
Extended market coverage is a good thing as it offers us much more potential to find a winning bet. Too many punters concentrate solely on the match betting market, and whilst this is fine in theory, if you are looking for long term winners you need to broaden your horizons, especially in something as competitive as European rugby.
Our advice is to simply think outside the box for your bets. Try and get as much information on each team and then form a potential score line from your research. Once you have this, you can start to look at bets that fit with your prediction and see what odds looks to be good value.
For example, let’s say Harlequins were playing Toulon in the Champions Cup. Two strong teams in their respected leagues. In the lead up to the game, let’s say Harlequins are unbeaten in 5 games whilst Toulon have won 3 and lost 2 of their last 5. Straight away we’re probably looking at a Harlequins win.
The head to head form states that in the last 5 meetings Harlequins have won 4 and lost just 1 – another tick for a ‘Quins win.
Both teams average around 20 points per game, but ‘Quins home form has been nearer the 30 mark and Toulon’s away form has been nearer the 15 mark.
Just from this very small amount of research, a score line of 25 – 15 in favour of Harlequins probably wouldn’t be a bad bet. Knowing this, we can open up the markets to see what fits.
- Harlequins -7 on the handicap, 2.00
- Total points over 35, 2.10
- Winning margin; 6-10, 5.00
- Double result – Harlequins, Harlequins, 2.40
Just from these tiny bits of research which would take less than 5 minutes to do, we find 4 bets. All 4 bets are significantly better than the match result market of a simple Harlequins win, priced at 1.60.
The reason why we want to target the European games is that it could be argued that this is what all the teams who enter want to win. The domestic title is nice, but to be crowned Kings of Europe is that little bit better. As a punter, we can be assured that teams are not only fielding their strongest line up possible, but also likely giving that 5-10% more than they might reserve in a lower-profile domestic game.
Lack of Coverage is Good
You’ll often see rugby betting articles state that the coverage for the sport is poor. It’s true, in fact, we’ve mentioned it already. It doesn’t compete with the bigger sports, but they aren’t alone in this, it just comes down to the popularity of the sport.
However, you won’t see many state that the lack of coverage is actually a good thing for punters. Why? Simply because less people are invested in setting lines for the bookmakers, which means there is a wider disparity for what prices offer good and poor value.
Look at it this way. For football, a bookmaker might have 10, 20 or even more people all looking at stats for each game. They need to work through every market as thoroughly as possible, because so many people will be looking to take advantage when they get their lines wrong.
The number of people researching rugby betting will be much lower than that. The lack of markets to bet on in comparison is a sure-fire sign of this. Fewer people involved in the process means more room for human error.
This makes it so much more appealing from a punters perspective.
Just as a quick example, we saw from an upcoming game in the European Champions Cup between La Rochelle and Ulster a huge disparity in odds. Some bookies had priced La Rochelle as low as 1.67, with the best price being as high as 2.10.
To put that into some context, some bookies were offering odds for Ulster as low as 2.00, in a game that La Rochelle would be massive favourites to win based on ability and current form.
Whilst this does highlight the need to shop around for the best price, it’s also an indication that some bookies have got their pricing wrong. Bear in mind, this is one of the higher profile games of season as well, so just think how many fewer people will be working on the pricing when you target even lower league games.
Lack of coverage with any sport should be seen as an opportunity. With rugby, we think that it offers as good an opportunity as any, especially with so much information readily available online, allowing you to make much more informed decisions.
Sorry to harp on about lack of coverage, but we need to mention it again. When sports aren’t as padded out as the likes of football or tennis, they often gravitate towards the match betting market. So, we wanted to highlight a couple of markets that often get overlooked.
The first is handicap betting. This isn’t something new to sport, far from it, but we think that offers much better value than straight out match betting. The concept is simple in that you choose a points score to either add to or subtract from the full time score. Once this has been done, you get the handicap result.
So, if you backed a team at -20 points on the handicap market and they won 30-5, your bet would win. If they only won 30-15, then your bet would lose, as the new score would become 10-15 after adjustment.
The good thing about handicap betting with some of the bigger bookies is that you’re able to get a pretty decent spread. Usually in multiples of 6 points, with odds reflecting each. They are great for games that are likely going to be fairly one sided, with the match result odds offering little to no value.
Next up is the try scorer market. Rugby works really well for these types of bets and we’d have to sway you towards the anytime try scorer for best value. You can of course choose the first or last try scorer if you wish, but it becomes a lot tougher.
You simply need to check which players are in form for this and who are likely to grab a try at some point in the game. Making sure that player is starting the game is a massive factor. Generally, you want to be looking at the backs, but if you do flirt with the forward to pick up an elusive try then take on the back row forwards (No.8, x 2 flankers) as these are more dynamic players than the tight 5.