The Complete Guide to Betting on Rugby Union

Whether you are a fan of rugby or not, surely you enjoy making some money. Not all of us are gifted and athletic enough to play rugby, so watching and betting on the action is our only choice if we want to be involved in the sport.

You either wound up on this page because you love the game, you love betting on sports, or perhaps a little bit of both.

Our goal is to give you all the information you need to have some success betting rugby. Some of you are probably already avid fans of the game and don’t need any help making picks.

If you are solely looking for the top online betting sites where you can place wagers on Rugby matches, then here you go.

RankBetting SiteDeposit BonusGet Started
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Betway Sports
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Why These Sites?

The online betting sites we recommended are there for a reason. We don’t accept fees from the sites to endorse them, as we do not believe in conducting business that way. We want to suggest only the best sites that will enable you to have a fun and satisfying experience. As far as how we rank the sites, our criteria is extensive.

In a nutshell, we are sifting through the sites and eliminating the ones that smell even a bit funny. The main factor we consider is simple. Is the site trustworthy?

Dependability
  • Can the site be trusted?
  • What are the banking options like?

These are the questions our team answers when determining which sites we will recommend to our readers. The online gaming industry is as competitive as it’s ever been. When you place wagers on sporting events, you have loads of options. Unfortunately, not all of the sites will be dependable across the board.

Sure, some of them may have six different ways to deposit and withdraw funds, and that’s all fine and dandy. If their customer support team isn’t up to par and is not reliable, then the banking options are irrelevant.

Feel safe knowing that we underwent a diligent procedure in order to come up with the list of sites we did. When it comes to a picking who will win the rugby match, that part is still up to you!

What This Guide Covers

We aim to be thorough in our descriptions and explanations of all things rugby. If you are looking strictly for betting tips and advice for an upcoming contest, you are in the right spot. If you simply want to learn about the greatest rugby stars of all time, that information can also be found.

Use the table of contents above to jump around to whatever segment peaks your interest. If you want to immerse yourself in the rugby world, enjoy the entire guide.

We understand that many of you may already have some background knowledge of the sport of rugby but may have little or no experience placing wagers online.

All you have to do is get started right here!

Are You New to Sports Betting?

We felt that is was extraordinarily important to include this section in our complete rugby betting guide. The fact is that betting sports over the internet can be a scary thing for someone who has never done it before.

We want to calm your nerves and get you in a comfortable state of mind before you place your first bet.

Clicking on the button above will allow you to get yourself familiarized with the basics of online sports betting.

Once you have read through that segment, you will want to check out our next page describing the top tips for beginners.

This will be useful to those of you who are planning on placing some wagers.

It is important not to skip over the section above, as there are valuable details on how to structure your plans for online betting. Rugby isn’t like every other major sport out there, so be sure to keep your information organized.

The tab below is a treasured catalog of common mistakes that online sports bettors are routinely making. We don’t want you making the same silly blunders, so do yourself a favor and check it out.

Find out what the casual and recreational bettors are doing wrong so that you can avoid making the same slipups.

Our last page of useful information for those of you that are new to sports betting comes in the form of how to find value in betting odds. This is a complex way to think about sporting events; however, attacking rugby games using this philosophy can do wonders for your bankroll.

We aren’t referring to things like making sure you get the most optimal prices available. Finding true value in betting odds comes down to a little bit of research and a little bit of math. If you are truly trying to gain an edge over your betting counterparts, you don’t want to skip over the tab above.

Your edge isn’t going to come from listening to so-called experts tell you which rugby stars are primed for big matches. Let the statistics and data be your guiding light.

By now, you should be getting a good feel for what the online sports betting arena is like. The betting landscape for rugby matches isn’t going to look like every other sport. Let’s start diving into what rugby is before we get into the types of bets and strategies to follow.

What Is Rugby?

Rugby has famously been called ‘a hooligan’s game played by a gentleman.’

It is a brutal sport with players tackling each other with the ferocity you would normally associate with two cars colliding.

However, it’s also a beautiful game full of fast-paced action, sublime handling skills, and top-draw athleticism. With nearly 200 years of action to its name, rugby is the perfect combination of power, speed, and skill.

Rugby is hugely popular in the southern hemisphere countries of New Zealand, South Africa, and Australia, as well as in the United Kingdom and parts of Europe. It’s also expanding rapidly, with the United States being one area where the sport is on the rise.

At times referred to as ‘Rugby Union’ to differentiate it from ‘Rugby League’ (the two share more than just a name, but are very different games), rugby is predominantly played by fifteen-man teams, but sevens rugby, played as the names suggests by teams of seven players, is becoming increasingly popular.

What Is the Object?

There is nothing too confusing here, like most sports,
the aim in rugby is to score more points than your opponent.

In order to achieve this, you can score points through tries, penalty tries, conversions, penalties, and drop goals. Don’t worry, there will be more on those a little later.

Rugby is a contact sport which involves tackling opponents and the passing and kicking of a ball.

The game is played on a rectangular field. A field measures approximately 144 meters (157 yards) in length and is 70 meters (77 yards) wide. There are a number of significant markings on the field indicating various areas which will become more important as you learn more about the game. These include the try-line, halfway line, and the twenty-two-meter line.

On each end of the field in the middle of the short side are goal posts with a crossbar. The posts form an H-shape. The distance between the two goal posts is 5.6 meters (6.1 yards). The top of the crossbar is 3.0 meters (3.3 yards) from the ground.

In rugby, an oval-shaped ball is used. Balls must be between 28cm and 30cm in length (approximately 11-13 inches) and weigh between 383 and 440 grams (approximately 13.5-15.5 ounces).

Enough about explaining the game, let’s figure out how to make some money. The first thing you will want to understand before placing any wagers is what kinds of bets are offered.

Different Types of Rugby Bets

Betting on rugby can be divided into two categories — match betting and tournament betting.

Much like is the case in other sports, this means that you will either be making short-term bets on events in an individual match or long-term bets that will play out over the season.

Match Bets
There are many different bets that can be made on a game of rugby, but the most common match bets are: match result, handicap bets, winning margin, first scoring play, and first try scorer.
Match Result
A fairly straightforward bet: you back a team to win, lose, or draw the game. There is often limited value to be found in a bet on the match result at international level. This is because there are very rarely big upsets in international matches.

Results such as Japan beating South Africa at the 2016 World Cup or Ireland beating New Zealand in Chicago in the same year are few and far between.

Handicap Bets
The limited value in straight match result bets means that handicap bets are very popular. While a bet on a match result is a three-way bet with a win, a loss, or a draw on the table, a handicap introduces a margin that the team you’re betting on needs to overcome.

For example, if you are betting on New Zealand to beat the British and Irish Lions, and in the handicap market New Zealand are -10 to win, then essentially you are betting that New Zealand will win by 11 points or more.

Winning Margin
Similar to a handicap match result bet, with a winning margin bet you are betting that one team will win by a certain number of points.

One key difference here is that odds on a winning margin are often higher than a handicap (depending on how aggressive the handicap is of course) because you are betting on a winning margin within a certain window.

For example, New Zealand might be 4/9 to win with a -5 handicap but are 9/2 to win by 6-10 points. In both cases you expect New Zealand to win by more than five points, but with a winning margin bet, you’re putting a cap on how much they will win by.

It’s a riskier bet than a handicap bet, but that means there is also more reward.

First Scoring Play
With four possible ways of opening the scoring – try, penalty try, drop goal, or penalty – a bet on the first scoring play is an interesting market to dabble in. A penalty has the shortest odds, and for good reason.

However, depending on the style of play of the teams involved, a try might represent the best value. It’s of use to wait to see which team is kicking off before placing your bet, as the chances of a particular result may change depending on which side will have possession first.

First Try Scorer
With this bet, you’re looking at the first player to score a try, regardless of when in the game that takes place. There are a number of different variants on this, including the first try scorer from each team, the first try scorer in each half, and the position of the first try scorer.
Tournament or Series Bets
Turning our attention to the longer-term bets, the most popular bets in this respect are the tournament or series winner, the margin of victory in series, top points scorer in the competition or series, and top try scorer in the tournament or series.

Before we jump into a discussion of those options, a quick point of clarification: in rugby, when we talk about a tournament, we mean competition such as the World Cup or Six Nations, while a series would be a number of Test matches contested between two teams, for example, New Zealand versus the British and Irish Lions is a Test series played over three Test matches.

Tournament or Series Winner
As the name suggests, this is a simple backing of the team who will win the tournament or series.
Margin of Victory in a Series
Going one step further with this bet, you will predict the complete result of a series. So, if it’s a three-match Test series, you will predict which team will win how many games. For example, South Africa might win a three-match series against Australia 2-1.
Top Points Scorer in the Tournament or Series
Here you’ll back one player to score the most points – regardless of how they are scored – in a certain competition or series.
Top Try Scorer in a Tournament or Series
Unlike with the top points scorer, tries are all that matter with this one.

Rugby Betting Strategies

Knowing the types of bets that are available on the best sites is terrific. However, you can’t start turning a profit until you have some strategies in place. In order to be successful betting on rugby, you will need to attack the matches with an organized plan.

There are a number of things that you can do to ensure you are in a good place to make smart rugby bets.

Know the Team You’re Betting On

Different teams have different styles of play. Traditionally, New Zealand plays an explosive brand of running rugby that results in plenty of tries.

Conversely, South Africa relies on a forward-powered kicking game that generally sees more penalties scored than tries. With this in mind, it’s unwise to back South Africa to rack up high scores, while New Zealand can be relied upon to score their fair share of points even when they lose.

Keep an Eye on the Weather

Bad weather can have a huge influence on a rugby match. If it rains, the ball can become as difficult to handle as a bar of soap, and the result is a low-scoring match, even when attacking teams are playing.

Players can control how they play and how they act, but they can’t control mother nature.

Check the Team News

Playing without a key player can, as you would expect, be hugely detrimental to a team, particularly if it’s one of the playmakers (particularly the fly-half) who is missing.

Even if all the key players are available, if a team has been forced into a number of changes it will unsettle the team and have a considerable impact on their play.

Know Your Market

Wingers score the first try of the match more often than not, with one study suggesting that this occurs seventy percent of the time. If a winger doesn’t score first, it’s frequently another member of the backs. As a result, those players always have the shortest odds.

This is particularly important to keep in mind if you are betting on an attacking team.

In the six matches that New Zealand played in the 2016 Rugby Championship, it was a back who scored their first try in every match, and on four occasions it was one of the wingers.

In the same competition, even a conservative South African side who failed to score in two of their six matches saw their opening try scored by a winger fifty percent of the time when they did score, with a center scoring their opener in another match.

Know When Form Is Important

In a tournament such as the Premiership, teams are playing week in and week out. As a result, the form guide is crucial.

In international matches, form doesn’t always count for as much because there can be months in between series, and so form doesn’t necessarily carry as much from one series to the other.

Have a Strategy and Stick to It

There are two different general approaches to betting on rugby: bet small amounts on long odds, or big amounts on short odds. Backing New Zealand to win is a pretty strong strategy; they’ve only lost nine times since the start of the decade – that’s a massive ninety-four games, and none of those defeats were on home soil.

So, going all in on the All Blacks is smart; you’re likely to win often, but not win big. Conversely, if you backed Japan to beat South Africa at the 2016 World Cup with odds of 80/1, you would have pocketed a handsome payday even for a small stake.

However, those kinds of bets rarely come off, so you need to prepare yourself for dry stretches. The key is not to lose heart and switch back and forth as you’re then likely to leak money on the occasional long shot while not making a consistent profit on the favorites doing the job.

How Is Rugby Played?

Rugby can be confusing to follow if you aren’t familiar with the rules and objects of the game. We broke down all the vital information such as the different positions and how points are scored. We didn’t want to leave anything out.

If anything, we wanted to overload you with rugby knowledge.

The Greatest Rugby Players of All Time

Finally, this all-inclusive rugby guide wouldn’t be complete without discussing the greatest stars to ever suit up on a paddock. We aim to cover the most dominant and talented players that have ever played.

Learning about the finest men who have ever played the sport will allow you to appreciate the teams and players today. You will find out about the records set by Richie McCaw and you’ll hear about the amazing accomplishments of Ireland’s Brian O’Driscoll.

As rugby fans, we love learning about the brightest
stars of the game and how they came to be so skilled.

The Conclusion

Rugby is an international sport that takes a little bit of getting used to before you will fall into the category of a super fan.

We wanted to give you a brief introduction to the sport before breaking into all the juicy betting advice.

The first step was to introduce you to the world of rugby betting. If you weren’t familiar with the betting landscape of rugby, you now have a good foundation and knowledge base for what’s out there.

We then transitioned into talking about the most optimal betting strategies when it comes to approaching a rugby match. Knowing what to look for and what information to focus on is going to be what sets you apart from the bettors not doing their homework.

Understanding that not everyone knows all the rules and objectives of a match, we created an in-depth guide on what a rugby match looks and feels like. Scouring through our How is Rugby Played page will allow you to fully engross yourself with how the game is played.

We finished our page with a segment dedicated to the greatest rugby players who have ever lived. Acknowledging the legends and heroes of the sport is significant in order to fully appreciate the sport.

We assumed that many of you arrived at the top of this page starving for rugby information.

We hope that our menu of sections curbed your appetite and you are ready to go make some money betting on rugby!