Rugby is a very popular sport across the world, especially in the UK, with both rugby league and rugby union thriving and receiving great exposure. As the two versions of rugby have grown in popularity, so has betting on them and we are seeing more bets placed on rugby now than we ever have. In both codes, the most common way to bet is on the handicap betting line, which is created by bookmakers to make even the most one-sided games look interesting from a betting perspective.
The first thing to know about the handicap betting market is that this market uses a line that the bookmakers specifically create themselves for this. Therefore, it pays to shop around if you have more than one betting account and look for the best price you can possibly find and the line that favours you the most. For example, one bookmaker may set their line at 7.5, with a price of 10/11, while another bookmaker may set their line on the same game at 5.5, with the same 10/11 price. Although the price with these two different bookmakers is the same, the line is very different and could be the difference between winning and losing.
If you are backing over on the line above then you would want to be on the smallest line, which is 5.5. This means your team needs to win by six points or more for your bet to win. With the other bookmaker, because the line is set at 7.5, your team needs to win by eight points or more for your bet to win, a whole two point difference which could be crucial in the game.
A lot of rugby games have long odds-on favourites, which is why the handicap line was created and why it has now become the main line for most people. This is different to many other sports where the traditional line is the win/draw/win line, but once you have adjusted you will be both understanding and betting on the handicap line all the time.
While the bookmakers have created the handicap line and they create one for every game each week, it is there for the benefit of the punters. Thanks to the handicap line, we are able to bet on any game we want and get competitive odds, even if the game is likely to be a huge victory for one team. Handicaps can go well into double figures and it is not uncommon to see handicap lines of anywhere between 40 and 60 for the big one-sided games that we have. Watching a game that ends 60-0 is very boring for the neutrals and the prices on the outright market will make it impossible to bet on. However, if the handicap line for that game is somewhere in the 50s or 60s then all of a sudden this game is a very exciting watch for that that have had a bet on the line.
These large handicaps also allow punters to look on the other side of the handicap and back someone they normally wouldn’t. Using the above example a team who have a handicap line of +60.5 have no chance of winning the game according to the bookmaker and normally no one will be backing them. However, on the handicap line, people can bet on them and know they have a chance of landing the bet, because of the start they have.
The majority of handicap lines you will see will all end in .5 to avoid the draw. This makes them a two horse race with both teams involved being slightly odds on. Sometimes if a bookmaker gets a line wrong, instead of changing the line they will change the price and that will mean they won’t be a shade of odds on, one will be long odds-on and one slightly over evens. However, that rarely happens and the usual case is that they move the handicap line and keep the prices the same.
Changing the line by one or two points may not seem like a huge change but it is enough to have a big difference in price and that line change will keep the prices similar to what they were originally.
As is the case with almost every sport now, rugby betting is something that is constantly evolving and new betting markets are always being developed and tested by the bookmakers. We have more rugby markets available to bet on than we have ever had, and this is thanks to the bookmakers finding new ways to get us betting on the sport. This is something that I expect will continue to grow in the future and in years to come, we are sure to see new markets added to the rugby betting section on sports betting websites.
In the same way, you can back first goal scorers in football, bookmakers will offer odds on who will score the first try in a rugby game. This market has evolved just like the football market has, and you can now place each way bets, back anytime scorers, last try scorers and many different multiple try scorer bets are also available. As with football, rugby teams all have their star men and regular scorers so for anyone looking to place bets on this sport for the first time that could be a great place to start. If you are a fan of the sport you will know who are the main men and you can back these players to score the first try, or any try in the game, the choice is yours.
The anytime scorer market is a great market for those who are wanting an interest in a game that is live on TV, but they don’t know who to back to win. I often find myself backing a player on each team and watching every attacking play with interest as I cheer on my player to score. This gives me a great interest throughout the game and is a great place for newcomers to start betting on the sport.
The total points market in rugby is another great alternative market and one that can be taken advantage of with a bit of research. This is a simple two way market where you bet over and under the points line, betting whether you think there will be more than the total points scored or less than the total created by the bookmakers. With a little research into the point scoring records of the teams involved, I often find you can get a good angle on this and any knowledge you have will certainly come in handy.
Alongside this version of the market, bookmakers also offer a spread of the points where you can choose how many points you think will be in the game. This is much harder to do, but you are rewarded with much better odds if you win. On this market, you often have the choice of betting on under 20 points, 20-40 points or over 40 points, or markets similar to these.
Whichever market you choose it is another good way to get involved in a game without actually choosing someone to win the game. You can have an interest in the game, and cheer on points or no points, without needing to choose who you want to win and I always find this a good way to bet.
Whether you have the knowledge required to back try scorers, or you are happy to put the research in to find out who are the big and low points scorers, these markets offer an alternative way to get
into rugby betting. If you want to find something simple and easy to get involved in at the start then this is certainly what I would suggest. From here you can try out other markets such as the handicap line but those require a basic betting knowledge that you will be able to pick up when using the smaller markets.
Betting on rugby is continuing to grow and punters will find many different ways to bet on the sport. From the handicap lines where you choose a team to win using a fictional head start or disadvantage to picking out your favourite players to score a try, you can do it all when you bet on rugby.
Betting on the sport is a little different to other sports and it will take you time to adjust to this. Start by looking at the markets surrounding try scorers because these work in exactly the same way as many common sporting markets. From here try out the total points market or the handicap line as your betting knowledge increases and you have more of an understanding how betting on rugby works. It is very accessible for beginners and if you take the right early steps you will really enjoy betting on rugby