Rugby Betting

Learn how to win at Rugby betting using effective wagering strategies and betting systems. Read to avoid common mistakes made by punters.

Rugby is a hugely popular sport in certain sections of the world, while most of the globe remains completely oblivious to it. Considered a gentleman sport, rugby is noted for its physicality but at the same time the player's near-perfect conduct. Throughout this rugby betting guide, we will walk you through the various rugby leagues throughout the world and discuss what opportunities do rugby betting markets offer to everyday sports bettors.

Start by understanding how betting odds work and how betting can be broken down as a general concept.

Rugby Betting Explained

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A rugby match consists of two teams whose objective is to outscore the other. The team can score tries, by placing the ball over the opposing team's defensive line or they can score points through penalties where a kicker will need to score between a set of posts.

Rugby Union vs Rugby League

Rugby Union and Rugby League might look similar but there are fundamental differences that actually make the sports not that similar in nature.

In rugby Union whenever a player is tackled they have to find a way of legally maintaining the ball. On the other hand in Rugby league after 6 tackles the team would have to surrender position. This often results in players kicking for territory. The scrum in rugby league is also uncontested and the forward players that exist in the union version of the game are replaced by more athletic sportsmen.

Live Streams & In-play Rugby Betting

Betting in play while watching rugby on a live stream provided by a bookmaker can be very useful. When watching a game you will get a better sense of how the game is flowing and you can act accordingly if any odds look like they represent good value. Strong knowledge and instinct for the game will help you make quality decisions. You can also attempt to act quickly regarding injuries and dubious referring decisions.

Fixed-Odds vs Exchange Betting

Fixed-odds betting is when you place a bet at a traditional bookmaker and once you have submitted your bet, it stands, regardless of when and if the odds change at a later date.

Exchange sites like Smarkets and Betfair have really changed the landscape for betters and are considered essential for those who like to bet in-play and place lay bets. These sites work in a similar way to a stock exchange where you can potentially buy odds one minute and sell them for profit the next. The odds on an exchange site are set by other users so there is always the potential to bet with odds that are substantially better than you would find on a traditional bookmaker.

Betting Markets: Types of Rugby Bets

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As with all forms of betting these days, the number of markets you can bet on has grown substantially which is great for people like us who crave to be professional gamblers. When ready to place bets on Rugby, you need to consider:

  1. the betting market you want to wager on (e.g., simple outright winner, prop bets, tournament winner, etc)
  2. the type of bet you want to place (e.g., parlay, multiple, single)

Betting markets are really sport-specific as well as bookmaker-specific whereas bet types are generally the same across sports.

Here are the most popular betting markets and types of bets in Rugby and examples of how they work.

Outright winner

An outright winner bet means wagering money on the team coming out victorious for a special event, be it a tournament, a group stage, or a single rugby match.

This is perhaps the most obvious example of rugby betting. It's possible to bet on the outright winner of a particular tournament and it is the bet that most people place.

Example - England to win the Six Nations: Odds: 3/1. If you were to stake $10 on England to win the Six Nations you would see a return of $40. This would result in a profit of $30.

Match winner

Rugby tournaments and leagues are of course made up of several matches. These matches are between two sides where there can only be one winner. Draws do occur but they're not as common as they are in some other sports.

Example - Leicester Tigers to beat the Bristol Bears: Odds: Evens. If you were to place a $10 bet at these stakes you would end up with a return of $20. This would result in a profit of $10.


Handicap betting is where you are betting on a team to win or lose within a predetermined margin. If the team is followed by a + sign then they can afford to lose within this margin and it will result in a winning bet. On the other hand, if a - sign follows then this team has to win by more points than this margin.

Example - Saracens to win the match, Handicap: +8, Odds: 2/1. In this scenario, if Saracens don't lose by more than 8 points, this will result in a winning bet. If you staked $10 on this selection you will end up with a return of $30. This will result in a profit of $20.

Total Points

It is possible to bet on the number of total points there will be in a rugby game. This will be in the form of an over/under market.

Example - New Zealand Vs Australia: Total points, 35.5 or over: Odds, 5/2. In this scenario, if there are 36 points or more scored in this game, this will result in a winning bet. If you had staked $10 on this selection you will end up with a return of $35. This would result in a profit of $25.

Winning Margin

You can bet on the winning margin of a rugby game. This bet is most likely to be available in matches where one team is considered a heavy favorite.

Example - New Zealand to beat Italy by 50 points or more. Odds: 3/1. In this scenario, if New Zealand were to win by 50 points or more this would result in a winning bet. if you were to stake $10 on this selection you would end up with a return of $40. This would result in a profit of $30.

Exotic & Prop Bets

Exotic and prop bets refer to those types of bets that are not immediately obvious and could be considered a little outside the box. e.g. Half With Most Tries, Alternative 2 Way Handicap Betting, Team A To Win Both Halves, Team To Score Last.

Example - South Africa to win both halves: Odds: 2/1. In this scenario, if South Africa wins both halves respectively this will result in a winning bet. If you were to stake $10 on this selection then you would see a return of $30. This would result in a profit of $20.

Rugby Betting Strategy & Advice

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There is a lot to take into consideration when betting on rugby. Different playing styles can sometimes lead to a perfect storm which creates a great game, while sometimes certain teams continue to defy the odds against their superior opponents. Below are just some of the things you should follow when betting on rugby.

Stay updated on competition rules and formats

Some competitions such as the English premier league reward bonus points when a team scores 4 tries or more. This initiative was introduced to include more attacking play. Subtle rule changes are common in rugby with most of them being designed to introduce more entertainment to the rugby audience. The fundamentals of the game remain the same but knowing that teams can be rewarded by winning by a bigger margin should influence the way you think about the game in question.

Understand the different styles of plays and how they interact

In rugby have you ever seen one team dominate the rest of the field and then seemingly struggle when they come up against a team that most people had already written off? Well, this probably has a lot to do with styles. Sometimes a team can use their dynamic nature to outplay one team but then come totally unstuck when they play against a team that relies upon a set of different tactics.

The nuances of this are far too deep to go into here but it is essential that you research which teams are most likely to beat each other based on different characteristics. The recent world cup where England shell shocked New Zealand only to lose to South Arica is a perfect example of how the style of the respective teams can have a massive bearing on the match.

Avoid picking ultra favorites in a rugby match

Upsets in rugby do happen but unthinkable upsets never happen. In some sports, it's possible for a highly inferior side to play in such a way where they suck the entire life out of a game or defend as their life depends upon it. In rugby, this strategy can't be effective and if you are completely overcome with quality there is no way you can win the match. If you look at the scores in the world cup for example you will be able to see that some of the games against associate nations end up in absolute thrashings. This actually resulted in the authorities reducing the number of teams that can compete in such events.

Study team and player statistics

If you don't know the intricacies of how a team or player performs then you will be missing out on crucial information.

The most popular Rugby statistics databases are:

Of course, there is information that obviously will affect the likelihood of the outcome such as the team's win percentage but there will be more important stats like how do they play against teams with a strong physical presence. Maybe a team has a reputation for upsetting big teams? The data might hold the answer to a lot of these questions and should be consulted before you make any bet.

Look at recent head-to-head matchups

Head-to-head matchups in rugby matter. Sure, the stats and logic might determine that one team is superior to the other but that doesn't always tell the full story. Sometimes a team always appears to have an edge over another one and this can be accounted for by psychology, opposing tactics, etc. The six nations is a great example of where one team playing at home almost never loses while away is a much different story. Even though the form and player quality account for a lot sometimes there is always one team for some unknown reason that just gets the better of their superior opponents all the time.

Ignore rumors but listen to trusted rugby tipsters

If you have a Twitter account you are probably aware that it's all too easy these days to fall for unsubstantiated rumors based on hearsay. With a little bit of time and research, you will be able to discover honest and integral journalists who take care of what they report to the public. When they decide to break the story you should then use this information to place your bets.

Assess predictions made online for future reference

Copying people who are currently more successful than you is always a great way to rise to the top. Over a concerted period of time, you might come to the conclusion that one pundit, a journalist, or just some social commentator you follow on youtube always hits the nail on the head with their rugby prediction and tips. If they appear to do so try to learn from them and in the best case scenario gain access to the way they think so you can use this knowledge for your rugby betting down the road.

Rugby Betting Tips
Top Rugby Betting Strategies To Win

Rugby Competitions To Bet On

Before you place single rugby bet you need to be aware of the competition you are betting on. Not all tournaments are equal in status and this will have a likely effect on the result of the game. Equally some of the tournaments involve a different game altogether such as the Rugby sevens, so make sure you do your research before you proceed with any betting.

Six Nations Championship

The Six Nations Championship consists of the 6 best sides in Europe and is held over a 2 month period, starting in February each year. The teams that compete in this event are, England, Wales, France, Ireland, Scotland, Italy, and Wales. Each team plays each other once and if one side wins all their games they achieve the Grand Slam. Although it is still possible to win the competition losing a game.

European Champions Cup

The European Champions Cup is quite simply the Champions League of rugby. Made up of the best teams in Europe with the English, Welsh, Irish and French teams being the most dominant in the competition. There is also a second-tier European cup which can also be bet on. Outside of international fixtures, these matches can probably be ranked as the most prestigious rugby fixtures on the planet.

Rugby World Cup

The Rugby World Cup is the sport's showcase event. The competition is played over the course of approximately 2 months with the first group stage of the tournament involving the heavyweight nations of the rugby world against associate nations such as Georgia, Uruguay, and The USA. After the group stages are complete play is then moved on to the quarter-finals, where the knockout and business end of the tournament begins. South Africa are the current holder of the tournament after beating England in the final in 2019.

World Cup Sevens

The first World Cup Sevens tournament was held in 1993 in Scotland and has since grown in popularity. Due to there only being seven players on each side, the game is significantly more attacking than the traditional game of rugby and rewards more athletic runners. New Zealand in recent history has dominated this event with both the men and women being the holders of the tournament.

Rugby Competitions To Bet Money On
Most Popular Rugby Competitions To Wager Money On

Betting On Rugby: FAQ

Answers to the most common questions about betting on rugby matches.

What is handicap betting in rugby?

Handicap betting is when you can bet on a team to win or lose within a prearranged margin. For example, a + sign will indicate that a team can lose within this margin. Meaning that if they lose within the margin of points that follow the + sign, this will result in a winning bet. However, the - sign would mean the opposite. Meaning that the team would have to win by more than the points that follow the - sign in order to win your bet.

Should you bet on rugby union or rugby league?

This is entirely dependent on which sport you wish to specialize in. Both sports play out in different ways and although they are definitely similar in nature one rule can't necessarily be applied to the other. Generally speaking, it's best to bet on the sport you follow the most as this should help guide your betting.

How often does the favorite team win in rugby?

To answer this question it would be ideal to define what exactly makes a favorite. If both teams are strong then it's common to see the less favored team win against the odds, however, there are never insane shocks due to the fact that teams unlike other sports can't rely as heavily on strategies to stop the other team from playing their game.

What is the most effective rugby betting strategy?

There is no most effective betting strategy. In order to be successful with wagering on Rugby games, one has to practice discipline and discover what strategy suits their style of betting. Also, some betters are prepared to take more risks than others which in turn will influence the way some think about betting strategies.

Is handicap rugby betting profitable in the long run?

Handicap rugby betting is a difficult market to master based on the high-scoring nature of the game. You can on occasion see a very appealing handicap bet but in regards to forming a strategy for the long run. We would suggest that there are probably much better markets available to bet on.

Can you place an ACCA on rugby?

Yes! Placing an Acca on rugby is as simple as any other sport. Just add multiple rugby selections to your bet slip and then select the accumulator option. After this, all you need to do is add the amount you wish to stake and then place your bet.

Is bitcoin rugby betting a thing?

Bitcoin rugby sites are certainly a thing if you look hard enough but unfortunately at this moment in time, we do not feel like we can steer you in that direction safely as the majority of crypto and bitcoin sportsbooks don't have the history to back up their security claims. Hopefully, in the near future more mainstream bookmakers will embrace crypto making the process of betting with crypto a hell of a lot easier.

How to make money betting on rugby?

Making money while betting on rugby is not easy and to make money in the long run you will need to combine a good, solid strategy with good discipline and bankroll management. Hopefully, this guide will have inspired you to achieve these goals.

Betting on rugby can offer a potential stream of revenue for many betters. All you need to do to be successful is to find a solid strategy, maintain good discipline and use your knowledge of the game to choose quality selections on a consistent basis.