How To Bet On Rugby – Betting Guide

Enjoyed by nations worldwide, the interest in Rugby is forever growing. While it may have been around for a long time, betting on Rugby is still a relatively new thing to many. But with plenty of markets, it is generally an excellent opportunity for betting, offering something for every type of bettor.


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If you’re interested in Rugby and are considering betting on the sport, our guide will show you the basics of the game, different betting markets, choosing your bookmaker and the top tournaments to look out for.

The Rules of Rugby Union

Rugby is a physical sport where two teams aim to score points through different methods while attempting to stop their opponent from scoring by tackling and defending their goal.

Here are the basic rules of Rugby to give you an idea of how the game is played:

  • To win a match, a team must outscore their opponent.
  • A match lasts 80 minutes, divided into two halves.
  • Teams score points through tries, conversions and drop goals.
  • Each team is made up of 15 players.
  • The ball must only be passed backwards, with the exception of when a player chooses to move the ball with their head or foot.
  • In the event of a forward pass or a knock-on, a scrum can be used to restart play.
  • If the ball is out of play, a line out is used to restart the play. This is when the ball is thrown into play overarm.
  • In all other restart events, a free kick is taken.
  • Penalties are awarded when the opposing team have broken the rules. This gives a team the chance to freely kick the ball between the posts.

Understanding The Scoring

Throughout a match, teams can gain points with three different moves. A penalty can also earn a team points. They each work in different ways and award the team a different number of points.

Scoring typeNumber of pointsHow it works
Tries5Being the highest scoring move, teams aim for tries the most. To score a try, a player must make contact with the turf over the opponent’s try line while in control of the ball.
Conversions2After a try is scored, the team can attempt to earn extra points with a conversion, Similar to a penalty kick, the team freely kicks the ball through the goalposts.
Drop goals3Drop goals are scored when a player gets the ball through the opponent’s goalposts via a kick. This can happen at any point in the match.
Penalties3Penalties are awarded to a team when the opposing team commits an offence. The team must kick the ball between the opponent’s goalposts to score points.

The Difference Between Rugby Union And Rugby League

The differences between Rugby Union and Rugby League are slim but are important to be aware of as they may influence your bet.

Rugby League follows the same rules as Rugby Union with the following exceptions:

  • Each team is made up of 13 players.
  • Points differ slightly with tries being worth 4, conversions worth 2, penalty kicks worth 2 and drop goals worth 1.
  • Each team can only have the ball for a period of 6 plays/tackles. After a team has completed 6 plays, they must then hand over possession to the opponent.

Rugby Betting Markets

When it comes to betting, Rugby has a wide array of markets to choose from. From match-specific to tournament bets, there is something for every type of punter, whether you’re in it for the long haul or want quicker wins off individual matches.

Here are just some of the markets and betting types you are likely to come across when exploring Rugby betting:

Betting marketHow it works
Match bettingA popular betting type across most sports, match betting allows you to select a team you think will win the match. Unlike other sports, with Rugby, it is unlikely that a draw will be offered as an outcome due to it being such a high scoring game.
HandicapAlso known as spread betting, handicap is another common betting type. Here, bookmaker give a hypothetical disadvantage, or handicap, to a favoured team with the aim of making the market more even. This impacts the number of points your selected team needs to score during a match.   An example of this is if Team A is given a disadvantage of -5, while Team B is given an advantage of +5 points before the match starts. If you bet on Team A to win on the handicap, they would have to win by 6 or more points. If you bet on Team B, they would have to win the match or lose by 4 or less points.
Over/underThis type of bet covers a wide array of categories. Within this market, a bookmaker will provide a number within a category and you select whether the outcome will be over or under this number. An example of this type of bet is total number of points at the end of a match.
OutrightAs well as betting on the winner of individual matches, you also have the chance to bet on the overall winner of a league or tournament with outright betting. Many people prefer outright bets as following a whole tournament can give greater excitement and interest. It’s important to be aware that odds on outright bets can fluctuate throughout the season. Therefore, you need to be careful with your timing.
Individual player bettingAs popularity in Rugby rises, so does interest in the individual players. That’s why punters are opting for individual player bets. This can include bets like who will receive the first yellow card of the game, or who will be the first try scorer.
Individual match bettingThere are plenty of specific bets you can place within individual matches. This encompasses things such as 1st half total, race to points, winning margin, first scoring play and many, many more.

How To Bet

All Rugby betting can be done online with your chosen bookmaker. Once you have an account set up and funds available, it is relatively simple to start placing your bets.

With lots of things to bet on and the nature of Rugby itself, there are lots of opportunities for live betting. Therefore, it’s a good idea to make sure your chosen bookmaker provides the live betting function, and even better, allows you to live stream the match so that you don’t miss a trick.

It’s also a good idea to choose an online betting site that gives you multiple different markets to choose from, from over/under bets, handicap bets, and outright bets, to more specific markets like the next try converted or the next goal drop.

All Rugby bets are settled within the normal 80-minute play time, including additional time and overtime. If a game is abandoned, bets are settled as void and refunded. If a match is postponed, your bet can still stand so long as the game is re-arranged for within 7 days, otherwise the bet is refunded.

Events That Could Be Worth Betting On

Every four years comes The Rugby World Cup. Featuring the top players around the world, this is main event to look out for.

Annually, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, France and Italy compete in The Six Nations Championship. This tournament offers additional betting opportunities with special trophies awarded throughout the championship. These include the Triple Crown, the Calcutta Cup and the Grand Slam.

Similar to the Six Nations, each year South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and Argentina compete in The Rugby Championship.

Strategies For Betting On Rugby

There are a number of strategies you can use when betting on Rugby:

  • When betting on a winner for a tournament, bear in mind that each team will be playing a mix of home and away games. Home advantages can count for a lot so be sure to factor this in to your selections.
  • The Rugby World Cup features a round-robin type approach before a knockout stage. Therefore, when betting on an outright winner, it is worth trying to work out the likely matchups and outcomes.
  • For individual matches, it is a good idea to look through the list of games and pay close attention to where the bookmaker has made their handicap line as this will have a big impact on the bet(s) that you make.
  • As with any sport, it is good to know your team before placing a bet. Consider if they have lost any of their best players due to injury or the outcomes of their most recent matches and factor this in to your bet.