Rugby is one of the toughest sports and can well and truly claim to be known as a global sport with over one hundred nations registered in the World Rugby Official Rankings. While the All Blacks continue to build their legacy and dominate the international landscape, teams like Australia, England, South Africa and Ireland fight hard to close the gap and up and coming teams like Canada continue to build.
It's a great time to be a Rugby fan - plenty of teams means a whole lot of matches, and you can be sure that the big betting companies will cover each and every one of them, offering fantastic lines and competitive odds. There's also the big tournaments like the Six Nations, The Rugby Championship, and of course the famous Rugby World Cup which is second only to the FIFA World Cup in terms of attendance and income generated.
Best Rugby Betting Sites
In order to place the best possible bets on rugby, you're going to need the best betting sites to choose from. Below you will find a selection of the best sportsbooks available, each with their own unique lines, odds, bonus deals and the range of fixtures that they offer.
How To Bet On Rugby
Rugby is a sport that is based heavily around playing the percentages, and this is a great approach to take when considering betting on matches. Let's take a look at the most popular lines available so that you can select your preferred method of betting.
2-Way and 3-Way Betting
A important aspect of betting on rugby matches is that there are three results that can occur: win, loss and draw/tie. Although rugby is nothing like soccer in that draws are fairly rare, it is still possible and can really become a thorn in your side just like the double zero on a roulette table. The trick here is understanding the added risk and how to remove that risk altogether.
Let's take a hypothetical fixture like the All Blacks vs Australia for example.
In this match, the 3-Way Betting odds look like this:
- All Blacks: -200
- Draw/Tie: +2000
- Australia: +170
Now by removing the draw as an option and refunding bets if the draw occurs, you would get odds under the 2-Way Betting category that look something like this:
- All Blacks: -200
- Australia: +162
We have now reduced the risk of an unlikely draw altogether, and if we were planning to bet on the All Blacks, we would be getting the same odds anyway! That's a handy tip that you are sure to benefit from. Keep in mind that draws/ties are a possibility in the majority of rugby matches, but would not be applicable in a knockout stage where only the winner progresses to the next round.
The handicap line is one of the most popular options in rugby sports betting. This is where the bookmakers shift the goalposts so that the odds on both teams are close to even. Using the above example, the handicap for the All Blacks would be set at -4.5.
The odds would look like this:
- All Blacks: -110
- Australia: -110
If you place a bet on the All Blacks at this price, you would win if they beat Australia by five or more points. If you bet on Australia, you would win if they won, tied or lost by less than five points.
You will find that most companies offer alternatives to the standard handicap, and if you were bold enough to pick the All Blacks to win by more than ten points you could get odds of +150 for a -10.5 handicap. The standard handicap (in this case -4.5) represents the sportsbook's opinion on the likeliest result of the match, in this case a four or five point win to the All Blacks. If you think otherwise, then this is the market for you to make some serious money.
Pick the Margin
Betting on the margin is reasonably similar to other sports, however in rugby there are always fixed brackets to choose from: '1-12' and '13+'. This simply allows you to put a bet on whichever team you think will win, and specifically how large the win will be.
Again using the above game as an example, the odds in this market are as follows:
- All Blacks 1-12: +162
- All Blacks 13+: +200
- Australia 1-12: +260
- Australia 13+: +800
The most likely result is the All Blacks 1-12, yet you can still get far superior odds when compared to a simple 2-way bet. Obviously this is because there are more variables, however if you do your research and are confident, this is a great line to increase your dividend.
Live Betting On Rugby
Live betting is offered by many of the top online sportsbooks and is extremely useful in rugby matches. This is best utilised when you know the favourite in a matchup and are looking at a number of matches at once. It is not uncommon for the favourite team to fall behind early, perhaps to a penalty goal, and come back to win the match. Look for those matches where a favourite is struggling early and watch the odds increase in your favour.
Let's say that in the match above, Australia jump out to an early lead thanks to a try against the run of play. Twenty minutes in and 7-0 down, the All Blacks' 2-way odds may jump as high as -110 from their original -200. Hold your nerve, pick the right moment, and if the All Blacks come back as expected, you could be set to rake in a big win, something that would not be possible without the option to place a live wager.
International rugby is all about the big tournaments.
While the top British and European teams contest in The Six Nations annually, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina match up in the yearly Rugby Championship. Then of course there's the Rugby World Cup which is held every four years. There's always something happening!
The top betting sites will have future lines set up and ready well in advance of these tournaments, and that presents a great opportunity to get your pick at a better price. You will also find tournament specials such as top point scorer and top try scorer markets.
These options are just the tip of the iceberg, so make sure you explore our sportsbook partners and check out all of the different markets available.
As always, you can also join in the discussion on our Facebook page to connect with other bettors and convey your thoughts on all the upcoming rugby matches and tournaments.