Rugby is a hugely popular sport in some parts of the world and completely unknown in others. It’s origins are found in England in the early 1800′s and indeed it is popular mostly in the United Kingdom and former English colonies like Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific Islands and to a lesser extent in Argentina.
The proliferation of online betting has meant a rise in the popularity of betting on rugby and people who are knowledgeable about the game can do very well out of rugby betting. Below is a run down on the most popular tournaments for rugby betting and how they are structured.
There are 2 codes of rugby known and rugby union and rugby league with union being far greater in terms of player numbers and television coverage, so most of the focus of this article will be on rugby union tournaments. When looking for a site to bet on rugby, you want to pick one that offers good odds as well generous handicaps and a wide range of markets to bet on, alongside all of the usual concerns like security and customer service.
Types of Rugby Bets
Obviously in all competitions you can pick who you think is going to win the tournament in the early stages or whou think is going to win an individual match, but the most common type of bet in rugby games is the handicap.
In case you’re not familiar with handicap betting, it’s basically just a market on who’s going to win the match if the weaker team has a head start of a certain number of points. Rugby games are often quite one-sided, and there’s not much to be earned or much fun to be had if you’re betting on New Zealand to beat Fiji when they’re at odds of 1/50 to do so. In the days leading up to the game, the bookmakers will set the points handicap and the odds (though usually both teams will be at the same odds, typically 10/11) and it’s up to you to decide if the handicap is fair.
For example if New Zealand were playing Fiji, the bookies might give Fiji a head start (handicap) of 25 points, and now there’s a good chance they might win in this market. Of course it’s up to you to see if there’s value in it or not! Aside from handicap betting you can also bet on things like who will score the first try, whether the first try will be a drop goal, penalty, or try, the winning margin, and lots of other stuff. A lot of these bets are ‘shot in the dark’ type of bets though, and the real skill is in handicap betting. The betting sites will also offer a first half handicap market to, which is settled at half time. One other good bet is the ‘total points’ market, where you have to predict whether the total points scored by both teams in the match will be over or under a given number, typically in the region of 40.
Rugby World Cup Betting
The Rugby World Cup is the sport’s premier international competition held every 4 years, most recently in 2015 in the UK and first held in 1987. 20 teams take part in the tournament, with most the top tier nations being guaranteed a spot, indeed only 8 positions are available for qualifiers. The teams are divided into 4 seeded pools and each team plays all other teams in their pool once.
The pools use a points system to determine who advances as follows:
- 4 points for a win.
- 2 points for a draw.
- 1 “bonus” point for scoring 4 tries (or more).
- 1 “bonus” point for losing by 7 points (or fewer).
The top 2 teams from each pool advance to the quarter final where the tournament switches to a knockout format with group winners playing the 2nd placed team from another group. In total, there are 48 matches in the tournament which takes place over the course of a month, so there’s plenty of potential for betting on the Rugby World Cup!
6 Nations Betting
The 6 Nations is an annual competition contested by the national teams of England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, France and Italy, taking place in Spring. Each team plays each other team once, with the home field alternating each year. For example in odd-numbered years England play Scotland, France, and Italy at home, and Ireland and Wales away. Knowing who is playing who is crucial when it comes to betting on the 6 Nations, as home field advantage has traditionally been huge in this tournament. There are 2 points for a win and one point for a draw and the winner is determined by the team with the most points at the end of the tournament, with the tie-breaker being points differential. The bonus point system isn’t used in the 6 Nations.
Betting Tip: One bet that always comes good in the 6 Nations is for Italy to beat the first half handicap. Italy always start well but fade towards the end of games, making betting on them to beat the handicap a great proposition!
The Rugby Championship (formerly Tri-Nations) Betting
The Tri-Nations was contested by Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa until 2011 and was renamed The Rugby Championship with the introduction of Argentina, who have little opposition in South America to play against. Each team plays each other team home & away for a total of 6 matches each and the competition uses the bonus point scoring system. The team with the most points at the end of play is deemed the winner. New Zealand won all 6 games in 2012 to be crowned winners. A detailed knowledge of southern-hemisphere rugby will give you a good chance at making money betting on this tournament.
Champions Cup Betting
The Heineken Cup, now known as the Champions Cup is the premier club rugby competition in the Northern hemisphere, contested by teams from England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, France and Italy. Qualification is based on performance in the ‘Pro 12′ which is a less prestigious league that runs concurrently with the Heineken Cup. 24 teams take part and are grouped into 6 pools, each with 4 teams who play each other home & away with the bonus point system applying. The winners of each pool, together with the 2 highest scoring runners’ up advance to the quarter finals, where home field advantage is granted to the 4 teams with the highest points totals where 1st plays 8th, 2nd plays 7th and so on. The semi-finals and final take place at neutral venues.
Betting on Other Rugby Tournaments
Bookmakers will also offer markets on tournaments like the Super 15, which is the Southern hemisphere’s equivalent of the Heinkenen Cup; The Pro 12, a less prestigious European club rugby league, the Challenge Cup, The French Top 14 League, and the English Premiership.