With the exception of football, rugby is one of the most popular sports, both in terms of betting and purely watching for enjoyment, in the United Kingdom.
Whether you are a union fan or passionate about league, there is usually some form of rugby on the television on your regular sporting weekend.
Rugby union is arguably the bigger of the two in the Northern Hemisphere whilst league is played mainly in Australia.
However, Super League is growing on this side of the world and it is now potentially the second biggest and most competitive division behind the National Rugby League.
For the purposes of this guide, we are going to focus predominantly on rugby union.
This is the dominant code when it comes to the United Kingdom and it is developing into one of the most popular sports on the planet. And with the 2019 Rugby World Cup on the horizon, this is the perfect time to get involved in the sport.
What Are Rugby Outright Betting Markets?
Without a doubt, the most popular method for betting on any rugby competition is to place an outright bet on the ‘winner’.
Whether you are looking at the Six Nations or Premiership Rugby, punters can find a large number of tournaments that take place on a yearly basis – as well as other competitions, such as the World Cup, that follow a certain cycle.
The Rugby World Cup, hosted by Japan in 2019, takes place once every four years. International fans keep a close eye on the summer tests and autumn internationals but the Six Nations is the priority in a non-World Cup year.
These competitions appeal to most bettors, as those with terrestrial television can follow the results closely, making it very easy to follow the progress of your bet.
You can bet on the outright market of upcoming tournaments but also on long-term rugby events, such as the next British & Irish Lions tour.
In the most recent trip, Warren Gatland’s side recorded a drawn series in New Zealand. These events, as well as Premiership Rugby and the Six Nations, are arguably the most viewed competitions and outright betting is available on all of these.
Outright betting is simple – you predict the winner of a particular competition. In a nutshell, your selection will need to advance through the tournament and emerge victorious in the final for your bet to be a winner.
You will usually find one team will head into major international events as clear favourites but, with both codes getting more competitive, you can find value further down the market.
What Is An Each Way Bet?
Most major tournaments, such as the Rugby World Cup, will offer each way terms of the top two.
Therefore, if you bet on England to win next year’s competition and Eddie Jones’ side reach the final, you are going to have some sort of return on your initial bet.
If England win, you will receive a full pay-out. If England lose in the final, you will be paid at 1/2 of the odds.
In essence, an outright bet at 24/1 will be paid out at 12/1 should your team lose in the showpiece event.
Researching Rugby Betting Markets
The most important aspect of any bet is research. When placing an outright bet, you should be confident in your selection.
New Zealand, currently 11/10 to win the Rugby World Cup next year, have won the last two editions of the competition and that may convince some punters to back the All Blacks.
However, Steve Hansen’s side were recently defeated by the Springboks – who also secured a series victory over England this summer – and that may sway bettors to look elsewhere.
There are so many factors to consider when placing an outright wager. As in most team sports, injuries and squad selection are some of the most important aspects.
Some players will be ruled out of the competition and an influential star out of action can make the world of difference.
For example, an injury to Ireland fly-half Jonathan Sexton would be detrimental to their hopes of adding a World Cup crown to their 2018 Six Nations Grand Slam. Be sure to commit time and effort to research ahead of such a long-term bet.
In addition, the draw and pooling of certain tournaments can affect betting. Meanwhile, the odds for Six Nations success varies on a yearly basis depending on fixtures.
In 2019, Wales will play at home against England and Ireland but away in the three ‘easier’ fixtures against France, Scotland and Italy.
Beating England and Ireland at home is no easy feat but ask any Welsh fan and they’d rather face both teams at the Principality Stadium than elsewhere.
What Other Rugby Markets Can I Bet On At 888sport?
It isn’t all about outright betting when it comes to rugby, though. There is a range of markets relating specifically to certain matches and tournaments; all of which can be found at the rugby section.
One of the most popular ways of betting on specific matches is handicap betting. Domestic fixtures can be quite one-sided at times and punters can enhance odds by looking at ‘to win by x amount of points’ markets.
For example, South Africa were -9.5 on the handicap to beat Australia in their recent Rugby Championship fixture. Essentially, that meant that South Africa needed to beat the Wallabies by 10 points or more for the bet to be a winner.
The handicap also works the other way. If punters fancied Australia to keep the scoreline close or even win the match but weren’t confident enough to back Michael Cheika’s side, they could have opted for +9.5 on the handicap.
If Australia won, drew or lost by less than 10 points, that bet would have also been a winner. It is as simple as that.
This is another relatively straightforward market for punters. If you fancy a particular side to make a fast start, you can bet on the result of the first half.
In addition, you can usually bet on over/under a certain amount of tries in the half, handicap betting for the half and the total points in the half.
In-Play Betting On Rugby
Most punters have dabbled in in-play betting and it is growing in popularity.
The chance for bettors to make a judgment on any given match before placing a bet is appealing to some punters and there are a few ways to bet during matches when it comes to rugby:
How To Bet In-Play
Clicking the ‘Live Betting’ button at the top of the page will take you to the events currently available for in-play betting. Simply click on rugby and check out the latest prices available – click a specific match for odds on that encounter.
The majority of markets will relate to points, the number of tries and the outright winner, but you will see some betting options on certain events.
For example, major international fixtures may allow you to bet on cards, specific try scorers or even next try scorer.
As always, in-play handicap betting is one of the most popular rugby markets. Once you’ve decided who is going to win the game and by what margin, you can make your choice on which way to go on the handicap.
Differences To Consider Between Union And League
The main difference is the number of points scored in the two codes. In league, teams are awarded four points for a try, two for a conversion and one for a drop goal.
In union, you receive five points for a try, two for a conversion and three for a penalty or drop goal. This can affect the total points, over/under a certain number of points and handicap betting by a considerable margin.
Furthermore, there are 15 players per team in union compared to 13 in league. The extra space available for teams can help players to exploit defensive units and that leads to higher scoring games in league.
In union, the onus is on using power and grinding out results and that can mean some closer outcomes.
*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*