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Guide to Rugby Online Betting

Growing international interest and big-time TV sponsorship deals have taken rugby from being just a UK-centric sport to becoming a true global phenomenon. With millions of fans around the world, the betting market for rugby has exploded. Across both codes of the game (Rugby Union and Rugby League), the action appears to be reaching new heights.

Our rugby betting guide details how to find the best rugby betting sites, the different types of rugby bets and more besides.

Best Sites for Rugby Odds

To get an indication of which site offers the best rugby odds, we take a look at the market for outright winner for the 2019 Rugby Union World Cup:

Bookie New Zealand Ireland England Australia
Sport Nation ReviewSport Nation21/2019/421/427/4
Betfair ReviewBetfair10/114/17/18/1
Sky Bet ReviewSky Bet11/105/16/17/1
Betway Sports ReviewBetway6/55/111/28/1
Royal Panda Sport ReviewRoyal Panda11/109/211/215/2
Betbright Sport ReviewBetbright11/105/17/28/1
Paddy Power ReviewPaddy Power10/119/27/18/1
BOOKMAKER
BETS
Sport Nation Review
Sport Nation
New zealand : 21/20
Ireland: 19/4
England: 21/4
Australia: 27/4
Betfair Review
Betfair
New zealand : 10/11
Ireland: 4/1
England: 7/1
Australia: 8/1
Sky Bet Review
Sky Bet
New zealand : 11/10
Ireland: 5/1
England: 6/1
Australia: 7/1
Betway Sports Review
Betway
New zealand : 6/5
Ireland: 5/1
England: 11/2
Australia: 8/1
Royal Panda Sport Review
Royal Panda
New zealand : 11/10
Ireland: 9/2
England: 11/2
Australia: 15/2
Betbright Sport Review
Betbright
New zealand : 11/10
Ireland: 5/1
England: 7/2
Australia: 8/1
Paddy Power Review
Paddy Power
New zealand : 10/11
Ireland: 9/2
England: 7/1
Australia: 8/1

*Top nations only. Odds correct as of June 2018.

As you can see from the table, Betway has come out on top with the best odds for the overwhelming favourites for the World Cup, New Zealand. Moreover, Betway also offers the joint best odds for second-favourites Ireland, as well as Australia. BetBright is arguably the loser in this market, offering by far the lowest price for Englandwho would represent popular betting picks for UK-based punters. Verdict: Betway is the clear winner.

Looking at another example of the Ireland vs Australia Summer Test Series International on 16th June 2018:

Bookie Australia to Win Ireland to Win Draw
Sport Nation ReviewSport Nation5/621/2017/1
Betfair ReviewBetfair5/611/1018/1
Sky Bet ReviewSkyBet8/111/120/1
Betway Sports ReviewBetway17/2011/1025/1
Royal Panda Sport ReviewRoyal Panda4/5103/10018/1
Paddy Power ReviewPaddy Power5/611/1014/1
BOOKMAKER
BETS
Sport Nation Review
Sport Nation
Australia to win: 5/6
Ireland to win: 21/20
Draw: 17/1
Betfair Review
Betfair
Australia to win: 5/6
Ireland to win: 11/10
Draw: 18/1
Sky Bet Review
SkyBet
Australia to win: 8/11
Ireland to win: 1/1
Draw: 20/1
Betway Sports Review
Betway
Australia to win: 17/20
Ireland to win: 11/10
Draw: 25/1
Royal Panda Sport Review
Royal Panda
Australia to win: 4/5
Ireland to win: 103/100
Draw: 18/1
Paddy Power Review
Paddy Power
Australia to win: 5/6
Ireland to win: 11/10
Draw: 14/1

Once again, Betway is the winner here, offering the best price on hosts Australia and the joint best price on Ireland. Betway has also trumped its rivals with 25% bigger odds for a draw than any of its competitors. Sky Bet gets the wooden spoon in this market, with odds in the lower bracket for both Ireland and Australia.

Best Site for Rugby Promotions

All the betting sites handpicked by the team at PlayRight are noted for offering good promotions, but how do they measure up for rugby betting?

Bookie Free Bets Price Boots Ongoing Promotions
Sport Nation ReviewSport Nation £10 Free Bet when you bet £10SometimesAverage
Betfair ReviewBetfairUp to £100 Free BetsRegularVery Good
Sky Bet ReviewSkyBet£10 Free Bet + weekly Free BetsRegularVery Good
Betway Sports ReviewBetwayUp to £30 Free BetRegularAverage
Royal Panda Sport ReviewRoyal Panda£20 Free Bet when you bet £20 SometimesAverage
Betbright Sport ReviewBetbright£25 Free Bet + £25 Casino SometimesAverage
Paddy Power ReviewPaddy Power£10 Risk Free BetRegularVery Good
BOOKMAKER
BETS
Sport Nation Review
Sport Nation
Free bets: £10 Free Bet when you bet £10
Price boots: Sometimes
Ongoing promotions: Average
Betfair Review
Betfair
Free bets: Up to £100 Free Bets
Price boots: Regular
Ongoing promotions: Very Good
Sky Bet Review
SkyBet
Free bets: £10 Free Bet + weekly Free Bets
Price boots: Regular
Ongoing promotions: Very Good
Betway Sports Review
Betway
Free bets: Up to £30 Free Bet
Price boots: Regular
Ongoing promotions: Average
Royal Panda Sport Review
Royal Panda
Free bets: £20 Free Bet when you bet £20
Price boots: Sometimes
Ongoing promotions: Average
Betbright Sport Review
Betbright
Free bets: £25 Free Bet + £25 Casino
Price boots: Sometimes
Ongoing promotions: Average
Paddy Power Review
Paddy Power
Free bets: £10 Risk Free Bet
Price boots: Regular
Ongoing promotions: Very Good

All of these bookmakers have their strong points. But in terms of promotions that can be used for rugby, Betfair, Sky Bet and Paddy Power are somewhat ahead of the rest. Betfair get the nod as the best though, as that £100 Free Bet package is one of the most generous welcome offers available for sports betting online.

 

Best Site for Rugby Markets

As with football betting, an individual rugby match will have dozens of different markets available. Examples of some of the popular options include: Handicaps, Winning Margin, Team to Score First, Anytime Tryscorer and Draw No Bet. Using the previous example of Ireland and Australia’s Test Series game, we can see that Betway comes out on top with 29 markets available, nearly double that of its closest rival, Sky Bet (16).  More markets can, of course, be added as we get closer to the game’s kick-off, but Betway gets the recognition for having a big choice of markets a week before the game.

Best for In-Play Betting

In a sense, rugby (both League and Union) is the perfect sport for live betting, as the game is so intrinsically tied to momentum. It’s no surprise then that punters like to bet while they watch the action unfold. You can, of course, bet on all the standard markets live in-play – match winner, winning margin and so on – but you can also bet on markets like the next tryscorer, next line-out or whether there will be a try/score in the next 10 minutes (or other set timeframe). Betway, Sky Bet and Paddy Power are all regarded among the top UK bookmakers for live betting. They are lauded in terms of offering a good choice of in-play markets, but also for offering reliable real-time updates to their markets.

As with most top-level sports, it is difficult to get free live streaming without paying for a subscription service to BT Sports or Sky Sports. However, Paddy Power Sport, Sky Bet and Betfair do offer you the chance to see a lot of live sports on their sites. Normally, you must have an account and you will often be required to place a bet to watch some premium sports, although this is usually a token amount of £0.50/£1. In the end though, the vast majority of Rugby Union and Rugby League matches are not available to stream through bookmakers’ sites. Betfair, which has an excellent scheduling guide for all sports (shown online and elsewhere), gets the nod here in a tight race.

Rugby Bet Types

If betting on the game of rugby is something that you love to do, the following will already be very familiar, but if you’re new to the market, get ready to commit all of the following to memory.

Bet Type Description
SupremacyNumber of points that one team will beat the other by
FuturesA bet that is specific to the outcomes of a certain competition.
Season PointsHow many points a team will score across an entire season.
Outright WinnerBacking a team to win a tournament overall
Match BettingBet on the outcome of a game, picking a winner.
Total PointsTotal number of points between two competing teams.
Handicap BettingPoints-deficit is applied to one team or both teams. At the end of the game, the bookmaker adds or subtracts this points total from the score to find the handicap score
Last Try ScorerFinal common wager type is the last try scorer.

Rugby Betting Tips and Systems

All punters like to get ahead of the game, so it’s no surprise that rugby betting tips sites and tipsters are commonly found online. The first place to start is with the bookies themselves. For example, Betfair has an excellent sports betting blog, where you will find unbiased and expert analysis of major events in Rugby Union and Rugby League. Perhaps surprisingly, the blog writers will point to where they think Betfair has erred in the odds-setting, allowing you to, hopefully, pick up some big value wins.

As with all sports, the internet is awash with tipsters who claim to offer foolproof betting systems with guaranteed returns. These should always be approached with caution and it is certainly not recommended that you part with any money for tips unless you have thoroughly researched the source.

League vs Union

Rugby League games make use of 13 active players (with 10 substitutions), with the main aim of the game being to advance the ball across the length of the pitch in order to score points. The team on defence will tackle the opposition in order to prevent this from happening and “reset” the play. Within Rugby League there is a tackle limit in place, which means that the defence is limited. The scoring mechanism within Rugby League works as such: four points for a try, two points for a goal, while a field goal/drop goal is worth a single point.

Rugby Union features 15 players (with 7 substitutions), with the aim for the attacking side to drive the ball past the try line, with points also awarded for kicking the ball between the posts. The difference here comes about through tackling, as there is no tackle limit in place. The scoring system is also different, as a try is worth five points, a penalty kick or drop goal is worth three points, and conversion kick is worth two points.

In general, the scoring patterns are quite similar for Rugby League and Rugby Union. For example, teams at the top of the table at end of a Super League season (23 games, Rugby League) and teams at the of the English Premiership (22 games, Rugby Union) will accrue 600+ points (700+ in a stellar season). Despite League having a lower points award for a try, statistically more trys are scored in a game, so this helps address the balance for points in an individual game and the season as a whole.

From a betting perspective, it should be pointed out that draws are much more common in Rugby League, certainly in the English game. For example, the Super League XXII season recorded six draws, whereas the 2017 English Premiership season only had one.  Rugby Union betting and Rugby League betting require different approaches, as both games play out very differently over the course of 80 minutes.

Major Rugby Events

Rugby (both Union and League) is certainly a popular sport on British shores, which means that if you’re betting, there is a selection of major rugby events worth looking out for over the course of the year.

Major Rugby Betting Events

 

PlayRight has selected the best bookmakers for Rugby League and Rugby Union. We’ve ranked our bookmakers based on odds, markets, promotions and other factors that offer an enhanced rugby betting experience. You can also be sure that all of those on our recommended list have a reputation for treating punters fairly. Choose any bookmaker on our list and you’ll be in safe hands for betting on rugby.