While the comparisons to American football are plenty, the sport of Rugby is actually quite unique. The number of players on the pitch is higher (15 per team for rugby union, while 13 for rugby league). Less protective equipment is also used, which ups the physicality level. The global footprint is more spread out, with the game catching on throughout the Oceania region, pockets of Europe, and slowly through the United States. It's no surprise why Rugby betting online has surged so much as of late.
If you're a first-time rugby bettor or even an experienced one, we've crafted this rugby betting guide with you in mind. We're going over all the essential information — best betting sites, types of rugby bets, and rugby betting events. Buckle up because this is about to be a crash course!
Rugby Betting Sites
As the sport has continued to amass popularity throughout the world, more and more online sportsbooks have begun supporting rugby gambling. It's created a crowded marketplace, which for a new bettor, might feel overwhelming at first.
No need to worry, though, we've hand-picked the very best rugby betting sites available today. Criteria we used to make our recommendations include wagering selection, quality of prices, the sign-up bonus offered, site features, plus more. Here's the best of the best:
Rugby Betting at BetOnline
BetOnline checks just about every single box that a bettor would want out of a sportsbook. Trustworthy? It's been in business since 2007, so check. Has it a great user interface for a smooth playing experience? Double-check. A huge selection of betting lines? Checkmate.
That betting selection definitely applies to rugby, where you'll find a bevy of betting lines for both rugby union and rugby league. You'll find it all at BetOnline — moneyline, spreads, over/unders, futures (we'll cover these bet types later in this guide).
It's really tough to find any fault with BetOnline. There's a reason why it's one of the most-used online bookmakers in the United States and has been for some time now.
WagerWeb's Rugby Lines
Similarly, you'll find a good crop of rugby bets at WagerWeb. Most major leagues and tournaments pertaining to the sport will be available for wagering at this bookie.
But here's where WagerWeb really stands out — its sign-up bonus. Whereas most betting sites only provide one new player deal, WagerWeb actually offers three unique ones. First-time bettors have their pick at one, but each differs in free play, cashback, and the playthrough requirement before the bonus is withdrawable.
Having extra options is always a plus for bettors. Thus, the promotions available at WagerWeb offers a little something for everyone, no matter what your starting bankroll is.
Betting on Rugby at BetDSI
Throughout the year, there's an abundance of rugby betting opportunities. Between the National Rugby League, Super League, Rugby World Cup, among others — bettors will be busy.
That's why wagering at a sportsbook with a full-fledged rewards program is so valuable. And that's exactly where BetDSI shines.
BetDSI's loyalty program is officially named BetPoints Rewards. Whenever a player bets on rugby or another sport on the platform, they'll earn points. These points can be exchanged for cold hard cash or used for other perks (e.g. higher bonuses and exclusive customer service help).
If you plan on betting rugby consistently, you can't go wrong with BetDSI and its rewards program. In theory, you're essentially being paid to play here — and what's not to like about that?
GTBets's Rugby Markets
Last on our list is GTBets. This bookmaker is an all-in-one betting destination. The site is loaded with features and little to no shortcomings.
Right off the bat, you'll find a good array of rugby odds. It rivals what you'd find at competitors — both in selection and price-quality.
Two, GTBets gives back to its players in the form of bonuses and a loyalty program of its own. Between its sign-up and reload bonuses, bettors can earn thousands in free play. Likewise, cashback can be netted from its GameTimeRewards if you gamble over the long haul.
Between these four online bookies, rugby bettors are in good hands. No need to jump around from site to site either, any one of these rugby betting forums could be a one-stop-shop for all your wagering needs.
If you're ready to get started rugby betting, check out the table below. We have full-blown sportsbook reviews and sign-up bonus details included. Signing up at any one of these sites is quick, plus once you fund your account, you qualify for those hefty welcome bonuses we mentioned earlier.
How To Bet Rugby
If you've ever bet on a different sport, then you should have no issues translating over to rugby betting. The overlap is strong across the board. But if you're unfamiliar or need a fine-tuning, here's how to bet on rugby:
It doesn't get much simpler than this wager type — you're simply picking which team will win straight up. It's as easy as that. This form of betting is also referred to as "head to head" by English and Australian bettors so are aware that it can be used interchangeably with moneyline.
Generally, bookies will denote one team as the betting favorite and another as the underdog (on rare occasions, games will be at pick-em where no one is a favorite or underdog). Negative (-) and plus (+) odds create the distinction between the two.
Say Melbourne and Sydney are facing one another in the NRL. Melbourne could be -230 to win, which means they're favored. Payout-wise, a $230 risk on them that hits will pay back $100. On the flip side, Sydney at +180 are the underdogs. A $100 on them returns a $180 payout if it wins.
The most popular form of rugby wagering is the spread. Here, bookies place a "handicap" on each team to effectively even the playing field.
Let's illustrate spreads using the same Storm vs. Roosters example from above. The favorites, Melbourne, could enter with a -6 spread. This means for them to "cover", they must win the game by seven points or more. This scenario would make Sydney +6 longshots automatically (spreads are always identical numbers). For the Roosters to cash in the bet, they must either win outright or lose by five points or less.
What if Melbourne beats Sydney by exactly six points? In this case, the bet is a "push" and bettors on either side will have their full money returned. Effectively, it's a tie.
The over/under wager is concerned with one thing and one thing only — how much points both teams will combine for. Bookies will pre-set a point total and bettors simply pick over or under that figure.
Live Rugby Betting
Don't think you can only bet on Rugby before the game starts. No, with live rugby betting, you can wager whenever and wherever.
The bets we just covered — moneyline, spreads, over/unders — will also come with live lines. They work in the same manner, only odds will change in real-time as the game unfolds.
Think of props as side bets. These are bets on specific outcomes within rugby games, usually not tied to who wins or the final score.
For instance, a commonly-found prop is which player will score the first goal of the game. Another example is which player will finish the match with the most yellow cards.
Unlike the aforementioned bet types, futures are long-term wagers. Depending on the bet and when exactly you place it, futures could take weeks, if not months, for a result to be finalized.
Essentially, you're betting on future outcomes. Think which country will win the World Cup or perhaps who earns the World Rugby Player of the Year honor.
Rugby Betting Events
As we alluded to before, there's a host of rugby events throughout the calendar year for gambling. These, in particular, should be on your radar:
- World Cup: The biggest international competition in the whole sport takes place once every four years. Only the very best countries qualify for this prestigious tournament. There are separate men and women's brackets, with the next event taking place in 2023 and 2021, respectively.
- Six Nations Championship: This historic event pits six countries — England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, and Wales — against one another in a round-robin format. The competition is centuries old and takes place annually on February and March.
- Premiership: The highest rugby union league in all of England. Twelve teams play the season from September to May.
Other rugby events to look out for:
- Super League: top-end rugby league featuring 11 clubs from England and France that plays between February and October.
- National Rugby League: the top-level rugby league in Australia that runs from March until October.
- World Club Challenge: annual rugby competition between the Super League and Rugby League winners. The game takes place in February.
Rugby Betting Tips
We can't leave you hanging without some rugby league and rugby union betting tips. After all, the end-goal for all bettors is to make money. Here are a few pieces of advice that you absolutely need to follow in order to win at rugby betting:
Research, Research, And Research Some More
We can't overstate how important research is to winning at rugby wagering. It's a simple concept, but a rarely followed one by most bettors.
Any time you make a wager — whether it's a spread or player prop — you need to have an evidence-backed reason why you're making that selection. And no, "my gut told me to" isn't a good answer. Generally, the more data to back up your decision, the better.
Differences Between International & Domestic Rugby
Recent performance is perhaps the best predictor of how a team will play next. Hot and cold streaks are very real things. Plus, injuries can completely change the landscape of a team. So in this sense, having a recency bias is sort of good when handicapping rugby.
But recency means the past few weeks, not months ago. And there lies the problem — while domestic clubs play continually, there are much larger gaps with national teams. A countries "recent" performance means little if there last-go was a months-old tourney with a completely-different roster.
That concludes our rugby betting guide. We covered a lot of ground just now, but if you paid attention, you're well on your way to achieving betting success with rugby.