Match betting is one of the most popular markets for rugby betting. Regardless of whether you’re betting on rugby union or rugby league, this is where you are going to see the most betting action and where the bookmakers will face the most competition for prices.
This market is one of the simplest there is in that you just need to predict either a home win, an away win, or the draw. However, bear in mind that draws are very rare in rugby, especially when compared it to football, so you can almost look at this as a 2-way market with slightly better odds than a true 2 way market.
The simplicity here is key to why the bet is so popular.
There are actually a couple of connected markets to this one that we also want to include in this article though, so see below.
The first is that of the handicap and this one is probably more relevant to international matches, given that these games can often have a bit of a gulf in class between the two competing teams. The idea behind handicap betting is to even the game up and they do this in rugby by adding or subtracting points from one of the teams at the final whistle.
The bookmaker will set a handicap line and then you are able to choose whether you want to take on the favourite who will have a negative handicap and have points deducted, or if you want to back the underdog who will have points added to their final score for the purposes of the bet. Some bookies may even make this a 3-way market which then includes the tie bet as well.
Next up is 2-way betting. For this you get to choose just the home win or away win and the draw bet is removed. If the game ends as a draw, then this market will become void and your stake will be returned. It seems good value on the face of it, but you will get significantly lower odds here than in the 3-way market, so we think the 3-way market is the way forward given that there are so few draws.
Following this comes the winning margin bet. This is where you are looking to bet on the points gap between the two teams. For each team you usually get two picks, with a group of say 1-12 points and then a final pick of say 13+ points. You can choose this for both teams.
The final market that we want to include is that of half betting, so you bet on events during or the outcome of a particular half of the game. You can pretty much get all of the above markets here, so you can bet on the first half ending with the home side leading, use handicaps, etc.
Like all of our market guides, we’d like to include some strategy for this market that will hopefully allow your bets to become more profitable as you hone your skills and put them into practice.
In play betting
In play betting was made for sports like rugby and this should be a market that you look to target even if you are completely new to betting. You see, the points that are scored within a rugby match often come quite frequently, especially compared to sports like football.
You need to find teams that are gaining good yards in open play to get a feel of the potential momentum of that game. They call it the “gain line” which basically means that they are moving forward with a piece of possession to improve their territory on the field.
If you can find matches where teams are consistently getting over that gain line then more often than not these teams will eventually wear their opponents down. This allows them a greater number of scoring opportunities and that means they have a good chance to go on and win the game.
The weather is something that is overlooked massively when betting on rugby, but it actually plays a huge role in how a game might pan out. The first thing that you need to do is determine the usual playing style for each team that you are wanting to bet on.
Fast, expansive teams that like to pass the ball frequently are going to need relatively dry and still weather to be at their most effective. If it’s pouring down with rain and windy, this makes handling very tricky and if they were to play expansive rugby in these conditions it could leave them exposed.
If conditions are poor you are looking for teams that are strong ball carriers. They will often use the forwards to make yards on the field (gain line) and this will be much lower risk given the diverse weather. You can also link this to in play betting above as conditions become changeable throughout the game, taking advantage of value that might not be immediately apparent.
Create your own handicap
We’ve mentioned handicap betting already, but by creating your own handicap you will get a much better sense of the value from these types of bets. You need to do a bit of research for this and if you are totally new it might take you a little longer than most to find value.
You’re looking at current form, head to heads, and weather/pitch conditions as your foundations to create a handicap. Don’t forget to check out starting line ups as well. Rugby has long international periods within the domestic season so there will be periods where the star players for certain teams aren’t available as they are on international duty – how might this affect the game?
You need to work out a plausible score line for the match. Once you have this you can then compare this line to the handicappers and see if you think there is value here. It may be that you can find value from this in the match result in tight games, but when there is a clear favourite you would be better taking on the handicapper as this is going to offer more value.
Be wary of betting on the away team
The rugby points scoring system means that away team can accumulate bonus league points in a match, even if they don’t win it. They do this by scoring a certain amount of try’s and also by keeping losing margins under 7 match points.
What we have found is that some teams set up to try and get the bonus points away from home rather than go all out for the win. By doing this it can feel like a win anyway without having to exert too much energy, and then they give a massive push for home games.
Now, this certainly isn’t all teams all of the time, but you will find that away teams might settle for bonus points in some matches rather than try and grab that win.
Watch as much live rugby as you can
The stats on rugby betting are harder to come by than some other sports, so a lot of the time you need to take the old-fashioned route of submerging yourself into the sport and then finding trends from what you see.
There is no real substitute for getting as much rugby watched as you can and then coming up with bets the following week. You can really start to see a certain team’s style of play and get accustomed with who their dangermen are or where they are weak.
Plus, information on team news between games can often be a little sketchy, so if you are aware of which players are likely to be needed for a specific game and then go from the starting line up once announced, you will be in a much stronger position to make more informed bets.
There has been an influx of artificial pitches brought into the game over the last few years. They have done this to prevent things like the weather from either washing games out or totally ruining them.
The majority can be found in the northern hemisphere, with the likes of Racing 92, Glasgow Dragons and Cardiff all adopting artificial grass. Games that are played on these artificial pitches often play out a lot faster because they are much firmer than grass. This encourages scoring so you can really start to manipulate the points scoring markets if you know what you are doing.
They will, as a result, suit certain styles of play more than other pitches as well. Fast and fluent teams that like to pass the ball a lot will go great guns on these pitches but they will be less suited to those who like to play a slower, more aggressive style of game.
Each referee has their own particular style and they each allow games to run slightly differently. For example, some might be really strict on things like binding and pushing in the scrum and others might like to crack down on players not rolling away fast enough in rucks.
Either way, they will each have their own little idiosyncrasies and areas that they like to enforce sometimes more than others. This means that the games can often play out in a certain style as a result of who is in control, which again will suit some teams more than others.
The more rugby you watch, the more you will get a feel for how the referee would like a game to be played. This means you’ll have a better understanding of which team this should favour and then a better understanding of who might win as a result of this.