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How to Bet on Rugby Games

rugby betting

Although rugby is not the most popular sport in the world, rugby betting really is a hit at online sportsbooks. With massive leagues in Europe and Australia and New Zealand taking place throughout the year, there are hundreds of opportunities to bet on competitive matches and you aren’t limited to selecting a team to win.

As rugby is as popular as betting on football, basketball, soccer or hockey, navigating through markets and odds can seem a little confusing. It is for this reason we have decided to create a rugby online betting guide where we cover all you need to know about betting on this famously tough sport.

If you continue reading our guide, you will learn more about the following:

  • The two different types of rugby (yes, there really are two!)
  • What rugby betting lines are generally made available
  • How to read odds
  • Betting tips to keep in mind
  • The tournaments you can bet on

We also list the best betting sites for rugby union and rugby league games so that you can start betting as soon as you feel ready to do so.

Best Rugby Betting Sites


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Best Rugby Betting Bets Today


Rugby Betting Links

rugby types

Types of Rugby to Bet On

Those unfamiliar with rugby will be surprised to learn that there are two types of rugby, namely, rugby union and rugby league.

Rugby Union Betting

In this version, teams battle for possession of the ball in each half. It is a slower when compared to the second kind. Other differences include:

  • Teams have 15 players
  • If a player is tackled and they fall to the floor, a ruck is created to manage ball possession. If the player stays on their feet after the tackle, a maul is formed.

Rugby League Betting

This is a faster version of the two. However, match times are slightly longer than the rugby union version.

  • Teams have 13 players
  • There are no rucks or mauls. Teams retain possession by kicking the ball backwards with their foot.
  • There is a time limit on ball possession. A team can only be tackled six times before they must give up possession to the other team.

Online rugby betting for these two forms can vary. They can either be straightforward or complex, and this all depends on the type of match and the sportsbook.
rugby betting lines

Rugby Betting Lines

Looking to get on in the action in Rugby World Cup, Super Rugby or Six Nations betting? Well, these are the lines you will be looking at online gambling sites:


Moneylines (also known as to win or 1×2 bets depending on the sports betting site) are bets that involve betting on a team to win a game. It really is the simplest bet you can place and the wager that most people think of when they think of sports betting.

The issue with moneylines is that they don’t payout very well if one team is heavily favored. And, thus, sportsbooks have come up with a way to make “to win bets” still seem exciting in such situations, which we get into below.

Supremacy/Rugby Handicap Betting Explained

If you know what a spread bet is, then you pretty much already know how a handicap or supremacy bet works. However, if you are a little unsure, with a handicap bet, you wager on how many points a team will defeat another team by.

So, how this works is that a sportsbook looks at a whole load of statistics in an upcoming match and then declares a favorite and an underdog. They then set a line they expect the favorite to win by; for example, four points.

You then bet on the favorite to “beat the spread” or the underdog to “cover”. Here is an example of what such a line would look like at an online sports betting site:

Western Force +15.5 -110

Reds -15.5 -110

The team favored to win here is the Reds. Sportsbooks expect the team to win by 15 points. If you bet on them, they will need to overcome this line and win by at least 16 points. Any bet on the Western Force would be successful if they lose by fewer than 16 points or if they win the game.


Totals are also known as over/unders. This type of bet involves wagering on how many overall points will be scored in the match. This means that Team A’s score is added to Team B’s score. The sportsbook will set a bunch of lines and then you can bet whether the score will come in over or under that number.

In general, these tend to be seen as the easiest possible sports bets to win. So, a lot of beginner bettors gravitate towards them.


Props are event-based bets rather than outcome-based bets. Usually, it doesn’t matter which team wins the game as long as your predicted event takes place. An example of such a bet includes betting on which team or player will score the first try.

In this hypothetical match, the player or team who score first can still lose the game but you will still get paid out because you made the right prediction.


Futures (also known as outright bets) are long term bets placed on the outcome of a tournament or important match set far in the future. So, for example, at the beginning of the Six Nations tournament, you could bet on England to take it.

As the whole season still needs to take place, it is a very difficult bet to place as a lot of things could happen. England could start out as favorites to win but then be plagued by injuries halfway through the tournament. So, practically every team gets long odds.

Overall, futures are fun and can win you a lot of money on a small bet, but they tie up your money for a long period of time so don’t place too many of them in one go.
rugby betting odds

Rugby Betting Odds

Odds have this tendency of scaring off potential sports bettors. But they really aren’t that intimidating. The first thing you have got to know is that there are three different odds formats: American, Decimal and Fractional.

Most of the websites we recommend default to American (even though you can change it), which is why we will explain it here. However, if you feel like finding out more about the others, check out our dedicated odds guide.

So, when you visit a sportsbook, a rugby betting line will be represented as such:

Wales +307

New Zealand -377

In American odds, the sign before the number is very important because it tells you how to calculate your potential winnings. The two formulae are as follows:

  • Positive – Odds x (Stake/100)
  • Negative – (100/Odds) x Stake

In general, the team with a plus is considered the underdog and the team with a minus is considered the favorite. But there will be lines where both teams have a minus or a plus.
online rugby betting tips

Online Rugby Betting Tips

There are a couple of betting tips you always need to keep in mind when betting on rugby. Some of these include the following:

Don’t Make Futures Too Early

It is important to note that rugby can be a very unpredictable game. Although it may seem like a wise decision to bet on a major side coming into a big tournament, this could prove to be a bad bet in time.

For example, it took New Zealand 24 years to win the IRC Rugby World Cup for a second time despite being ranked world number one for a significant portion of that period.

Study the Team You are Betting On

Different teams have different play styles that make for more sense for certain bets. For example, New Zealand is known to be an aggressive side that goes for trys. This is why backing a match they are involved in for the over makes sense.

However, the same can not be said about South Africa who play a more defensive game that focuses on kicking. If you study the teams you would like to bet on you will become aware of these differences.

Also, as in all sports, it is important to be aware of the latest team news. You don’t want to back any team who doesn’t have their squad at full strength.

Understand the Match Type

In saying this, we don’t mean the difference between rugby league and rugby union but rather the type of match you are going to bet on. For example, there is a stark difference between a match in French Top 14 and a test between two international sides.

You need to pay attention to different statistics. Form is less important because players only have to play well for one game.
rugby tournaments

Rugby Tournaments to Bet On

There is a load of different tournaments around the world in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres that you can bet on. Some of the most popular include:

  • Rugby World Cup
  • Rugby Championship
  • Six Nations
  • National Rugby League
  • European Rugby Champions Cup
  • National Rugby League
  • French Top 14

Rugby Betting Sites – FAQs

Check out our other sports betting guides:

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