Rugby Betting Advice

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Rugby Betting Advice

Types Of Tournament Bets

Outright Winner

This is betting on who you think is going to win the tournament or championship (or finish placed if you are betting each way). Depending on the competitiveness of the tournament there may be a short priced favourite or a very tightly bunched group at the head of the market. Some punters will back win only or may back a bigger priced selection each way simply for the place payout if that team reaches the final or finishes placed in a league competition.

Top Try Scorer Betting

An often difficult market to predict is the top try scorer of a tournament or competition. The outcome will depend on many factors such as player form, team form, injuries and suspensions so not a market to get too involved in.

Match Betting

Odds on both teams to win the match will be available before each match. Sometimes, if the game is particularly uncompetitive only a handicap market will be made available.

Handicap Betting

In handicap betting the better team is a given a points deficit that they must make up during the game in order to win the handicap. The punter is left with the choice of backing the favoured team with their points deduction or the outsider of the two with a points head start.

Betting School ImageAs handicaps will mostly result in both teams being 10/11 for the win the amount of points that are deducted from the favourite/added on to the outsider have to be how much the bookmaker thinks the favourites will win by.

One method successful punters have latched on to in handicap betting is to produce their own handicaps before the bookmakers price up the events. This way they have already decided what they think the difference in points is between the two teams and they can then see how much the opinion of the bookmakers differs from their own. The bigger the difference then the better the bet in most cases.

In more competitive matches the bookmakers will usually offer prices without a handicap as well as a small points handicap in the handicap market as punters may wish to bet on the game result without the interference of a handicap on the score.

On exchanges such as Betfair there are usually different handicaps to choose from which allows the punter to pick the bet that most suits them. Punters who prefer to play it safe will choose a bigger handicap at a shorter price whilst punters with a stronger opinion will take the smaller handicap at the bigger odds.

Most punters prefer to support the team that is given the points head start as favourites are often overestimated and many games are closer than people think they will be.


In a tight handicap the outsiders might receive a 6 point head start.

If the favourites win the match by more than six points they are the winner on the handicap.

If they win by less than six or lose the match the outsiders are the winners.

Match Total Points

This is a bet on the total amount of points that will be scored in a given match. The bookmakers will usually decide the relative strength the teams' defence and attack and will assign a number of different scores with differing odds. This can be a difficult market to assess and is more of a bet to make a game interesting than to win serious money.

Important Considerations

The Weather

Greasy surfaces make handling difficult and soft ground doesn't allow the creative players the space to break lines (only dominant packs tend to score lots on muddy ground).

Size Of The Pitch

Smaller pitches cause congestion and less creativity so unless the teams are completely mismatched you can mostly expect games on smaller pitches to produce fewer chances to score tries and therefore fewer tries to be scored.


Certain teams play a certain way not to lose and therefore have a lot of low scoring matches. Knowing the likely tactics of each team is very important and often you may find that some teams are better at playing as the underdogs. They may be set up negatively to restrict the opposition and then when they play weaker teams it is difficult to change the tactical mindset.

Recently bookmakers have started to offer the same market on each team in a match. This makes finding the winner easier as only one team's scoring has to be considered but the odds are obviously quite a bit shorter.

First Scoring Play

This is an interesting bet on what manner the first points are going to be scored in. There is a choice between penalty kick, try and drop kick. Waiting until you know who is going to kick off first should give you a slight edge in this market.

Considering each team is very important in this market as teams with strong kickers are going to produce different results from teams that like to play open and flowing rugby. Penalty kicks are always favourite in this market and the teams with stronger packs, especially in the scrum, are most likely to earn penalties.

Double Result Betting

This is betting on the combination of the winner at half time and the winner at full time. It is important to note that the score is carried over and the scores in half are not counted separately. Most punters will back a team to win at both half time and full time if they consider that team to have quite an advantage. This should not be the only time the bet is considered. Teams that start slowly and finish strongly or start strongly but fold tamely late on can make this market very profitable.

Teams that build big early leads are always likely to win the matches but not necessarily the second halves of their matches, they might ease off or make plenty of substitutions so look out for teams that have this habit when well ahead as the opposition might be value to win the second halve.

Weather conditions should also be included in your thoughts on this market. A particularly windy day or a pitch that is very wet in some areas is likely to give one team an advantage for a half and then the other team that advantage for the second half. Make these conditions pay in this market.

First Team To Score

This game often depends on which side gets the kick off and manages to get the play into the opposition's half early.

Winning Margin

Another market designed to make rugby betting more interesting and competitive. This is betting on how much one team beats another by. In tight games between evenly matched teams there is likely to be a small winning margin whereas open, one sided games should produce a large winning margin.

First Tryscorer

This market is always popular with punters and is a bet on which individual player will score the first try in the match.

The most likely players to score first are the scrum half, out half, full back, centre or the wingers. It can be a competitive market so expect a decent price on your selection.

Occasionally there might not be a try in a match, in which case the winner of the market is no tryscorer.

Last Tryscorer

Exactly the same as first tryscorer except the bet is on the last tryscorer. The odds will be the same for each player to score first or last.

Rugby Spread Betting Markets

As with most sports, rugby can also be backed with spread betting firms. Instead of simply being right or wrong, spread betting rewards the punter the more he is right, and punishes him the more he is wrong. Spread betting is more about finding outcomes that are either over estimated or under estimated by the bookmakers.

Seasonal Points

A bet on how many points a team will accumulate during the season.


A bet on how much a team will dominate the opposition. In rugby it refers to how many more points a team will accumulate in a game than their opponents.

Team Performances

A bet on overall performance during a match. Differing points are awarded for wins, draws, trys, conversions, penalties and drop goals. Also be aware that points are deducted for missed penalties or drop goals and for sin bins and red cards.

Time of First Try

Simply how long it will take either team to score a try. The maximum make up for this market is 80 minutes which would indicate that no try has been scored in the match.

Total Points

This market is betting on the total number of points that will be scored in a given match.

Tournament or Championship Index

In the major tournaments or championships in rugby you can bet on how well a given team will perform. The better they perform, the more points they will be awarded. The amount of places that are awarded with points will vary between spread firms, but expect it to be between four places and six places

Rugby Betting Tips

Lower Your Stakes On International Rugby

Domestic rugby takes place each week which means there will be more reliable form to go on than when betting on International matches when there has been a long break between games. The more form that is taken into consideration, the more confident you can be about a bet.

Check The Team News

No side is the same without it's best players and the better teams without a couple of their stars are often worth opposing against a lesser team with a full strength line up, even when on paper the bigger team still has better players. Playing with a settled side shouldn't be underestimated. When club fixtures take place at the same time as international fixtures some of the bigger teams can be without several first teamers and on those occasions great value can be gained in backing their opponents.

Don't Read Too Much Into Past Meetings

Although past meetings can sometimes have an impact on a game, if there is bad blood between the sides or if one player seems to exploit a certain team's weakness, too much can be made of head to head results. A much stronger idea of the relative chances of two teams can be gathered from looking at the most recent games each team has played. If there are easily explainable reasons why one team often has the edge over another then sit up and take note but there will be many occasions when previous meetings have little or no impact on the likely outcomes in future matches.

Assess Each Teams Strengths and Weaknesses

The relative strengths and weaknesses of each team need to be considered whether betting on a match or an entire tournament. Some teams meeting each other will cause a tight low scoring game and others will result in an open high scoring game. For example, the winner of the Premiership is usually the team that concedes fewer points rather than scores most points. This shows that a knowledge of a team's defence and attack should give an advantage in picking the winner.

Wait For Good Bets

It is important to not get sucked in to betting on too many matches. It can often be harder in rugby to find good value bets than in other sports so don't bet unless something sticks out as being very good value.

Some Advice From An OLBG Member

Rugby tipster SAMBARB likes to look at which leagues favour the home sides more, pointing out that in the 13/14 season all the home sides won on three separate occasions in France's top division. He also recommends the winning margin market over the handicap as the winning margin can be only slightly harder to predict yet the odds can be far bigger.

Click here to find Rugby discussion and tips on the OLBG Rugby Forum.

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Comments from the Forum

  • monkeytennis

    Do you prefer tournament betting or match betting when it comes to rugby? Why? What are the golden rules of betting on rugby?

    Rugby Betting Advice

    Think this Betting School lesson needs anything else added to it? Disagree with anything written above? Let us know your thoughts and your insight could be included in the OLBG Betting School!

    I think the best thing to do with rugby is look at the previous meetings between the teams as some teams normally beat others each year.
    then look at their recent form, if both are in favour of the same side then I would back them.
    also some leagues tend to favour the home side more ie the top league in france (top 14) already this season has seen all the home sides win on one weekend 3 times.
    I also like the winning margin bet as it give you better odds than handicap betting but nearly as much chance of a winning bet, the best site for this kind of bet is paddy power they have 5 or 6 different kind of margin betting.

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