Even though the sport may just be catching on in the United States, rugby, sometimes referred to as rugby football (not to be confused with American Football), is one of the most popular sports in many other parts of the world. Having originated around the same time as soccer (association football) in the United Kingdom, rugby has a history that extends far beyond many of the most popular professional sports today. Being as popular a sport as it is, rugby is the apple of the eye of a large number of sports bettors. With leagues and international competitions going on at all times of the year, there is no shortage of rugby matches which one can bet on.
Before going any further, it must be mentioned that there are a few different styles of rugby. Rugby union is the traditional form of the game and is played with 15 players a side. Rugby 7s, which is picking up steam all over the world but especially in the United States, which is played with 7 players a side for two 7 minute halves. Finally, there is Rugby League, which features 13 players on the field for each team. Each of these rugby variations is played in the same manner, however there are some small rule changes between the games. If you are familiar with betting on 7s but not on rugby union, you will find that that familiarity will not help entirely too much.
Types of Rugby Bets
There are plenty of bets able to be made on any single rugby match, tournament, or season, but most of those hundreds of wagers can categorized one of three ways. First, there are moneyline bets. Bets on the moneyline are quite simple in that if the team you bet on wins, you win, if they lose, you lose. The second type of wager is known as a spread bet. This type of wager is much like a moneyline bet, but instead of solely wagering upon who wins, you are wagering upon the margin of victory (or loss). Finally, we have over/under betting. This is also simple in that you are wagering on whether you think the total, final, combined score will be over or under a certain tally. Below, we will delve a bit deeper into explaining how these types of bets work. For simplicity’s sake, we are going to be wagering on a hypothetical pool-play match from a similarly hypothetical international rugby union competition.
Rugby Moneyline Betting
In order to explain how moneyline wagering works, first we need to set up an example moneyline much like what you will encounter on most sportsbooks. This matchup will feature the United States facing off against world rugby power Fiji. The line might look something like this if Fiji is the home team:
United States +450
While you may be confused by the numbers and symbols next to each team name, that confusion will be quelled in a second. On any type of wager, when you see a (-) you should immediately recognize that this denotes a favorite. In this matchup, Fiji being the stronger team by a mile means that they are, in fact, the favorite. As you might have been able to gather by now, a (+) next to your team’s odds means that they are the underdog. In this instance, not only are the US not favored to win, a draw seems pretty unlikely as well.
In order to understand what you stand to win by betting on each option, you need to use a combination of the (-) and (+) as well as the number next to them. When betting on Fiji in this example, a winning $100 wager will pay you $20. You determine this by taking the 500, moving the decimal two places to the left turning it to 5.00, and then divide your $100 wager by that. Conversely, a winning $100 bet on the United States will pay you $450. In order to calculate your potential winnings you are going to execute many of the same steps you executed above. First, you take the 450 and move the decimal two places to the left, turning it into 4.50. This time, however, instead of dividing your $100 wager by 4.50, you are going to multiply.
This may still seem a bit confusing, but there is no need to worry because almost every sportsbook out there calculates potential winnings for you before you ever place a bet. So all you need to do is type in the amount you wish to wager and your potential winnings will be calculated right then and there.
Keep these types of odds fresh in your mind, because they are going to be used from here on out.
Rugby Spread Betting
Spread betting, as was mentioned above, is similar to a moneyline bet except this type of wager revolves more around the margin of victory or loss than it does who was the outright winner/loser. Keeping with the example match above, this hypothetical match will feature Fiji hosting the United States. Because we know this game is so lopsided in Fiji’s favor, a spread might look something like this:
United States +20.5 (-115)
Fiji -20.5 (-150)
Let’s break down what all this means. Basically, what this spread is saying is that the United States are 20.5 point underdogs. Oppositely, Fiji are favored by the same margin. Attached to each of these margins are odds and, as you can see, this one is in many ways a toss-up.
If you place a wager on the United States, you are saying that you think the US will either win, or lose by less than 21 points. A wager on Fiji is only successful should they emerge victorious by a margin of 21 points or more. Another way to interpret the spread is to assign the team upon which you wagered the points on their own spread and go from there. For this, the United States would be starting the match winning by 20.5 points. So long as they are able to preserve this hypothetical margin, your bet will win. If you bet on Fiji, you can think of them as starting the game losing by 20.5 points, and in order to win your wager they must overcome this deficit.
The half-point is not always present, but exists as a way to avoid a push, or tie, from happening.
Rugby Over/Under Betting
Perhaps the simplest form of rugby betting to interpret is over/under betting. As was stated above, this type of wager is saying that the final combined score will either be over or under a certain point tally. In this example, the over/under might be 52.5 and a bet on either the over or the under might have odds of -115.
If the final score exceeds 52 points, a bet on the over would be the winner. If it does not exceed that tally, the under would be the winning bet.
Prop Bets and Futures Bets in Rugby
Another type of betting is proposition betting. While the aforementioned wagers encompass the entirety of the match or, if nothing else, the performance of an entire team, prop bets are usually based upon one player. An example of a prop bet would be, “How many tries will Carlin Isles score in this match?” Accompanying that question will be a list of options each with their own odds.
Futures bets are bets made about the outcome of an event far, far in the future. Often these types of wagers include who you think the winner of a specific league will be. The trick is, you will have to make a guess before the season even kicks off, which means that these types of things are often very difficult to predict.
Rugby Leagues to Bet On
Historically and currently, some of the best rugby leagues exist in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. With that being said, there are plenty of leagues from all over the world. The Aviva Premiership is England’s top-flight rugby union league and is regularly regarded as being the best in the world. There’s also the Pro12, which is a European rugby union league consisting of teams from across the continent.
In addition to domestic club competitions, there is also a boatload of international matches happening all the time. The marquis event as far as international matches are concerned is the Rugby World Cup, which is held once every four years. It is a tournament that features the best national rugby teams in the world.
More recently, Rugby 7s has been added as an Olympic sport. This means that the Olympic rugby we are now growing accustomed to is one of the top levels you could play on. What’s more, it is also a competition that is widely bet upon by bettors from all over the world. Rugby 7s features an international tournament too. This is where the best 7s teams from around the world travel to different cities and play tournaments there.