Expert Betting Guide for Rugby

For Intermediate

One of the sports in this world where strength is measured and the real athletes stand out from the fake. In rugby, there’s no playing around. Anyone that steps foot in the rugby field has to give their all. Plus, they are willing to take a hit every now and then.

For these reasons, Rugby is one of the most popular sports on the globe. Its inception over 100 years ago in the UK had led to rugby being played across the world in continents such as Europe, Asia, and Australia. The Rugby World Cup has put rugby on the map, again solidifying the sport as one of the most entertaining games out there Within the United States, Football is a sport that’s more popular than rugby, but the betting strategies is where it gets interesting.

To all those who have followed American sports their whole life, Buckle up, now is the moment to take a trip overseas and see what a game like rugby has to offer. Unlike American football, rugby has a different set of rules applied to the game, they may look similar at first but there are differences between the games. In our guide, we will mention the rules of rugby. We will also give you expert strategies to increase your chances of winning. 

Table of Contents

What is Rugby and How is it Played?

The aim of the game in rugby is to score points by getting the rugby ball past the opponent’s try line. It sounds easy enough, doesn’t it? Well, the catch in rugby is that you cannot pass the ball directly forward. You must always pass it backward. However, players will be able to kick the ball forward. This makes rugby a high contact sport as players tackle their opponents to get the ball.


Getting an official try requires teams to also make contact between the ground and the ball. Without this, teams can’t get the points even if they cross the try line.  When the team scores a try they will be awarded 5 points. Once the try is scored they will be able to gain more points with a conversion. They will be given 2 more points if they convert. A conversion is when players kick the ball between the uprights on the opponent’s side of the pitch. 

The players can also score points by kicking a drop ball. This will award the team with 3 points during the game. The team can also gain 3 points by scoring a penalty. A penalty is given when the opposite team breaks the rules of the game. The rules of rugby are very strict in comparison to games such as soccer where players can get away with playing rough. The main rules of tackling are that players cannot make a tackle without both feet planted on the floor as the metal studs on the shoes can severely injure other players. The players are also not allowed to make tackles above the neck as this can cause injuries. This is because they do not wear helmets in rugby. 

Each team is split into 2 parts; you will get the forwards and the backs. These two parts of the team will have specific roles and are built differently. The forwards are usually the bigger and stronger players who have more power to make the big tackles and participate in the scrum. The backs are players who are lighter and quicker. These players will typically assist in scoring the tries, and they can run fast and dodge players much better. A well balanced team will have amazing forwards and backs. This will make the team one of the best in the league.

How Does a Rugby match work?

Before we can dive into finding the right strategy to bet, we should have a clear understanding of the sport. The essential ingredients for a typical rugby match are the following;

  • There are two teams with fifteen players each
    • Divided into forwards and backs
  • The players attempt to carry an oval ball to the opponent’s in-goal area
    • The game is all about fighting over the possession of the ball
  • Every match lasts 80 minutes
    • The team that scores the most points wins

Now, there are some slight differences between the Rugby League and the Rugby Union. However, these differences do not matter for the betting part of the sport.

How to Score Points in a Rugby Match

As the eighty-minute wrestling match for the oval ball commences, both teams will try to score points. Basically, you either bring the ball to the other side of the field or kick it through the goal post. To put this in an overview;

  • Try: Whenever a team manages to ground the ball in the opponent’s in-goal area
  • Successful conversion: Add points to a scored try by kicking the ball through the goal post
  • Penalty kick: After a team gets a penalty, and the team kicks the ball through the goal post

Drop kick: Whenever a player drops the ball on the ground and kicks it through the goal post

Different Kinds of Rugby Betting Strategies

As you might realize, the different ways of scoring points in a rugby match lead to different types of betting strategies. The most common betting strategies in rugby are;

  • Betting against the spread
    • Also known as handicap betting
  • Over/Under 
    • Also known as total points betting
  • Winning margin
    • Also known as Five-Way market

There are tons of options that are comparable to other markets. As with any competition, you can always bet on the team winning the championship, for example the world cup. You can bet on overtime, a player to score the most points, and the number of fouls made by a team. You name it, and there’s a market for it.

rugby betting

Rugby Betting Moneyline Strategy

We want to guide you in making the right decision when it comes to sports betting. To help you with the moneyline strategy in rugby, you can follow these steps; 

  1. See which team is the favorite based on the odds
  2. Start doing extensive research;
    1. How is the team performing this season?
      1. See what they did against previous opponents
        1. Were these strong opponents?
    2. Are any of the strong players injured?
    3. What does the media say?
    4. What is at stake?
  3. See if there are any active promotions to boost your odds
    1. See our promotions page to be sure
  4. Place your bet, keep a close eye on the match and enjoy!

Rugby Betting Over/Under Strategy

Choosing the winner of a match can be pretty doable with the right amount of research. Betting on the total amount of points, however, can be more challenging. We want to provide you with some key elements to look at when betting on this strategy;

  • Check the current form of main try-scoring players in the team, their main kickers.
  • Check the weather conditions
  • Rugby matches with lots of rain tend to end up with a lower amount of total points. 
  • Check whether the teams are an even match. The more significant the difference, the higher the chance for a big amount of points
  • Check if there are any injuries

How to Read Rugby Betting Odds

To give you a clear understanding of how to read the most commonly used rugby betting odds, you can use this example;

  • Moneyline
  • Glasgow Warriors -1667
  • Stade Rochelais +800
  • Glasgow Warriors are the clear favorite here. You need to bet $1667 to win $100
  • Over/Under
  • Over 42.5 (-152)
  • Under 42.5 (+120)
  • The sportsbook expects more than 42.5 points. You need to bet $152 to win $100

These are just two examples; in practice, there are tons of variations to the odds. Odds can get pretty complicated, but with a little help from our betting odds page, you will understand all the available odds in no-time!

Player Betting

You have the option to bet on each individual player, there are several different markets you can bet on with each player. You can make bets on players such as;

  • The first player to score a try.
  • Players who will score during the game.
  • Payer to score the highest points. 
  • Player to get disciplinary.

Some of these markets also have submarkets. You can bet on the exact player to get a yellow card, or the first player to get a yellow card. You can also bet on players which might get a red card during the game. There are many outcomes to rugby games. 

Season Betting

You will be able to bet on the entire season with rugby, this means you can bet on the season’s winner. These odds tend to be the biggest you can get in rugby. You cannot always guess who’s going to win a whole season. These bets are very popular when it comes to the rugby world cup as this form of the sport is the most popular with the public. 

rugby betting

Rugby Betting Strategies

There are lots of strategies you can use when betting on rugby. Some of the strategies are very simple. You can look at the league table, or who the team is playing, or the league they are playing in, and the importance of the game for betting help. Here are some things to look out for to start winning more;

  • Team Form. The team’s form is a crucial thing to think about when betting. If the team has been playing bad for a while (not scoring high and losing many games), it is good to look into this to make sure you don’t make the wrong bet. If the team is on a winning streak, they will be high in confidence and be more likely to score more tries and get more wins. 
  • Player Injuries. If the best players in the team are injured the chances of them winning are much lower. The main try scorer could be injured or the main forwards might be injured. This can lead to a lower score and a loss in the game. 
  • The Team they are Playing. A team will play its best players against better opponents. They will also reserve some of their better players against teams that aren’t so good. This keeps players fresh for the big games. Keep this in mind when making a bet on a match-winner. The team might not play their best against bad opponents. 
  • Follow your Head. The main thing is to not make a bet with your emotions. Betting on a team you support when they are very likely to lose can lower your winning rates. Make the smart decision. Don’t make the decision with your heart. 
  • Weather Check. Make sure to do a quick weather check for that game. The weather can affect game play. You can make a guess how the team will play depending on if the weather is good or bad. Teams will score less in bad weather and score more in better weather. 
  • Home and Away Games. The team playing in their stadium will have the home advantage. They have more fans at home, so the cheers are always louder. Teams playing away usually find it harder to play under pressure from the crowd. Always check if it’s a home or away game before placing your bet.  

What to Consider When Picking your Rugby Betting Strategy

Rugby is an exciting sport that thrives with adrenaline rushes all the time. To make your betting experience as impressive as the actual match, you should prepare. We shared some tips before, but you should never forget the following tips. 

  • Understand which competition you are betting on 
  • The rules may vary per league
  • Understand the team’s tactic and style
  • Are they more offensive or defensive, what about the other team?
  • Where is the match being played
  • Who has the home-playing advantage
  • Who is the referee?
  • Does he stop the game often?

How to Choose the Best Sportsbook for Rugby Betting

rugby betting

By now you know what the sport rugby is all about, you are aware of all the betting possibilities and how to analyze a match, time for action! It’s time to find the sportsbook that works the best for your rugby betting needs. A small checklist; 

  • Friendly and welcoming user interface
  • Enough volume to handle large bets (When you’re sure, you want to be able to bet a little bigger)
  • Wide variety of rugby matches in different leagues and countries
  • Biggest leagues are the Rugby Union and the Rugby League
  • Active promotions and bonuses 
  • Would be sad to miss out on some free cash

The Best US Sportsbooks for Rugby Betting

We know that life can get pretty time-consuming, not everyone has all the time in the world to analyze sportsbooks to the extent that we do. We look at every single detail in a sportsbook and come up with a rating we find the best suiting. In the case of rugby betting, we look at more than the available markets. We prefer to look at the bigger picture. To save you all the effort and struggle of doing all the research, we invite you to check out our review page to find the sportsbook that works best for you. You do the betting, and we’ll take care of the research!

A lot of states in the US have now made it possible to bet legally on rugby. There are for sure some more to come in the future, for example Florida. The current states offering legal rugby betting so far you'll find here:

  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Michigan
  • Illinois
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • Nevada
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia
  • Washington DC
  • West Virginia

To Conclude

Have you ever seen the ritual of the New Zealand rugby team before a match? They burst out in a dance while screaming out a song, the Haka. This builds up the energy required for a rugby match as they tend to get pretty intense. We hope to provide you with all the guidelines to make your betting experience as thrilling as a rugby match. As your personal Haka, the ritual of building up the tension, you should grab yourself a nice bonus along the way. 

Visit our bonuses and promotions page and grab a bonus before you start betting!

Rugby Betting in the US FAQ

  • What is the difference between American Football and rugby?

    The difference in rugby is that they do not wear helmets, no pads, and there are different ways of scoring points.
  • Can I bet on rugby matches using Paypal?

    This depends on the sportsbook you use. Most sportsbooks accept Paypal as a banking method, but not all of them!
  • What are the best US sportsbooks for rugby betting?

    After doing extensive research on all the sportsbooks that are allowed to operate in US states, we created a top list with a ranking for each one of them.
  • What is an accumulator?

    An accumulator is a type of bet where you can put multiple different bets onto the same bet slip. This allows you to multiply the odds. These are some of the pundit’s favorite types of bets.
  • Can I cancel one of my bets?

    Once you have placed a bet and confirmed it you will not be able to cancel the bet. If you have added bets to your bet slip. You can cancel them before you press the confirm button.
  • What is a cash-out? And can I do it during a game?

    A cash-out is the opportunity to cancel your bet mid-game. The sportsbook will give you a payout if you cash out. This can be carried out at specific sportsbooks and not all offer this option. The cash out is usually given if you are close to winning the game so the sportsbooks overhead are reduced. It is also given to players that are losing the bet but still have a slim chance to win. The sportsbooks want to reduce their losses so they offer this option.
  • Can I bet in the US?

    Yes, you will be able to place sports bets on games in the US permitting you are in a state that offers sports betting. You can place bets on professional games, college games, and international games. The only requirements are that you’re over 21 years old and a resident of a legal state.