How to bet on rugby: Handicaps, totals, player props and more
Rugby is a popular sport around the globe, especially in countries like Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Its fandom isn’t as staunch in North America, but there are still fans across the continent.
There are several ways to bet on the sport, which we’ll break down below as we explore the biggest rugby betting markets.
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Whether you’re betting on Rugby League or Rugby Union, wagering on the moneyline is the simplest bet to make.
In short, a moneyline wager means betting on a team that will win the match. Neither the margin of victory nor the timing of the outcome (regulation or extra time) matters. The team you wager on simply has to finish with a higher score.
When making a moneyline wager, you’ll notice that each side receives its own odds. The team denoted with a minus (-) symbol in front of its odds is the favourite, while the team listed with a plus (+) symbol is the underdog.
For example, in the 2021 Super League Grand Final match between top clubs St Helens and the Catalans Dragons, the odds for the game looked something like this:
St Helens (-300) vs. Catalans Dragons (+250)
In this instance, a $300 wager on St Helens was required to return $100. A $100 stake on Catalans is all that was needed to win $250. Although the potential payout for a wager on the Dragons was intriguing, it’s important to consider the implied probability of the bet winning.
With +250 odds, the implied probability of the Catalans winning sat at 28.57%. For St Helens, -300 odds implied a 75% chance of winning.
In addition to betting on the moneyline, rugby fans can also wager on the handicap. Handicap wagering works exactly like point spreads in sports such as football and basketball.
With handicap betting in rugby, the sportsbook assigns a projected margin of victory for the favourite. Rather than simply winning straight-up, the favourite must also cover the handicap. The underdog, however, can afford to lose within a certain range and still cover.
For example, in a Rugby Union Six Nations match between Wales and Scotland, the latter could be listed as a 2.5-point favourite. This means Scotland would have to defeat Wales by three points or more to cover the spread.
Wales would cover by winning the match outright or losing by two points or fewer.
Handicaps are intended to even things out, and typically each team will see -110 odds. Here’s how a handicap market would be presented:
Wales +2.5 (-110) v. Scotland -2.5 (-110).
In this instance, a $110 wager on either squad is required to return $100.
Another common form of handicap betting in rugby is three-way wagering. This opens the opportunity to wager on a tie.