Whether you’re a League or Union fan you can be sure to find a great range of bets and good regular offers from UK betting sites when it comes to Rugby betting.
The last decade or so has seen a huge rise in the profile of Rugby. One major change has seen Rugby Union moving away from being an amateur sport and consequently this has driven up wages, club profiles and television coverage, all of which has had a positive effect on the profile of Rugby betting.
A Rugby World Cup can now command upwards of £100 million in bets with all major bookies offering odds, lines and promotions.
In our Rugby betting guide we will discuss the best Rugby bookmakers to bet with, the types of wager you can place on the game, the range of deals available, major tournaments, odds and payouts, history of the sport and more.
For the very latest Rugby betting offers see below.
Best Online Bookmakers for Rugby Betting
Every top UK bookmaker now give odds on both Rugby Union and League but this doesn’t mean they all provide the same markets. Some bookmakers supply a far greater depth of market than others, while some generally have better odds, better promotions and better information.
Here we discuss some of the best Rugby betting sites on their merits to help you find your perfect bet. For the very latest rugby promotions see our sister site, latestbettingoffers.co.uk.
Best Regular Rugby Offers
A very reliable bookie when it comes to Rugby betting. Betred offer a full range of markets on both League and Union with ante post betting well in advance of major tournaments. The stand out feature is the permanent availability of the Double Delight promotion available on both forms of the game. If you back a player to score the first try and they go on to score again Betfred will double the odds of your bet and thereby doubling your winnings. This offer includes all the main domestic and international games and for regular first try scorer betting it is an unbeatable offer.
Odds and Payouts good with this bookie too, get up to £100k limit. No live streaming is available but live betting is fully stocked with great market depth for pre-event and in play betting.
Outstanding All Round
There really is no better all-round bookie for sports betting than Bet365 and they keep this reputation up when it comes to the game with the oval ball too. Market depth is simply awesome for both Union and League with ante post betting available months in advance including tons of specials markets. In play Rugby betting doesn’t really get better, a vast range of in play lines are offered for major matches and with so many events streamed each year you can guarantee to be able to watch a fair few games too. Maximum payouts are some of best around for rugby.
On top of the great market coverage and streaming Bet365 also run great long standing regular Rugby promotions that can give you extra value to your bets.
Best odds and markets
BetVictor stand out from the crowd when it comes to their Rugby book. The range of markets is second to none with a full range of betting lines pre-event and in play for Rugby League and Rugby Union. Ante post markets are available sometimes up to 2 years in advance and odds are rarely beaten. The interface and user oriented focus of this bookie means it is an absolute pleasure to bet both before a game and in play. With a more international pedigree you will find markets on international Rugby that some UK-only focused bookies do not have.</p?
Not great for offers but considering the better than average odds, superb interface and great live betting these guys certainly deserve a place in any Rugby betting guide.
Enhanced Odds on Rugby
Coral are similar to Bet365 when it comes to market depth, coverage and streaming. You can watch live rugby with this bookie, bet on major tournaments well in advance at really competitive odds and nice payout limits of 100k. It is the latest offers around the big events that makes Coral really stand out. For something like the world cup expect excellent new customer offers and regular customer promotions. These will usually be in the form of enhanced odds promotions (such as outright winner odds) or free bets. Coral also have a great stats and results service for all sports but are one of the best for Rugby.
It is worth checking in with Coral before placing any big bets on major tournament, especially if these are outright result bets.
Very Good Depth
As one of the biggest bookies Hill’s offer a very good range of markets for Rugby and are up there as one of the best for Rugby League betting especially. Depth of market is as good as any other and the news and stats features are a welcome complement. Odds are better than average and you can even catch games streamed live.
Hill’s are also well known for streaming a lot of live rugby which complements one of the most comprehensive in-play packages for both League and Union.
Rugby Maximum Payout Limits
A Brief History of Rugby betting
The game of Rugby was first played by pupils at Rugby School in the town of Rugby, Warwickshire. In the 1820’s the game of Rugby looked a lot like the modern game of football, with a round ball but with the option to catch the ball and kick it out of your hands. In fact initially, scoring a try didn’t actually give any points but rather gave the opportunity to ‘try’ to score a drop goal. There were also no limits as to the number of players that could play for a team, this meant games could sometimes last around 5 whole days.
William Webb Ellis, In 1823, famously became the first boy to pick up the ball and run with. A rule not taken up straight away but by the 1830’s it had become an acceptable way to play the game. The first written rules appeared in 1845 written by the levee (prefects) at Rugby school. Most modern terms in the game come from these rules, such as ‘offside’, ‘knock on’ and ‘touch’.
In 1871 clubs in England formed the first amateur Rugby Football Union (RFU). In 1892 the Northern Rugby Football Union was formed as a professional body that paid players to contribute. The RFU went on to issue sanctions against any players, clubs and officials that participated in the new league and this lead to a formal division of the two leagues, separating Rugby Union from Rugby League.
Rugby Union is administered at the global level by the International Rugby Board (IRB) and Rugby League by the Rugby League International Federation. Rugby Union is the most popular form of Rugby worldwide and is even the national sport of several countries including Wales and New Zealand.
Like many sports of British origin there is a historical element of aristocracy and establishment in the game of Rugby. A game associated with public and grammar schools in England it has long been seen as an upper middle class to upper class game. In modern times the game has become far more open, played in most state run schools especially in the North, and through TV and even online betting it has become a far more accessible sport for the average punter.
Every bookie listed on this site runs a Rugby book allowing punters to shop around for odds and offers for top Rugby events. The game is now more open than ever with huge sums of money wagered on top international matches. If you would like to bet on Rugby and want to know more about the types of bets available and how to place them read on.
How To Bet On Rugby
Rugby as a game lends itself well to online betting.
For example you can place longer term bets on the result of an entire league, outright tournament or top tryscorer to create months worth of interest, while althernatively the 80 minute match length is perfect for placing a bet on a game result and then sitting back and enjoying the action.
Alternatively bets on all sorts of pre-event and in play markets from the exact time a try will be scored, half time / full time results, winning margins, etc. are also available. Take a look at any pre-event or live betting market for a big Rugby game and you will often see 10’s or even 100’s of lines available.
We explain some of the common bet types and associated promotions you can expect to find in Rugby League and Union matches below, and for regular Rugby deals see our rugby offers.
For more detailed information on types of bets and what they mean see our bet types article.
Outright Result Betting
The most popular type of bet in Rugby. This is simply a bet on the result of a game, England to beat Fiji for example. Outright betting is one of the most competitive markets between betting sites and we strongly recommend you shop around for the best odds and deals.
Draws are not too common in Rugby due to the high scoring nature of the game so most outright Rugby betting is on the overall game result. You can bet on the draw in Rugby though, although not commonly available, and these lines tend to be really high odds, a reflection of the likelihood of a draw.
Bookies will compete to get punters to place their bets with them for outright major league and tournament betting. In fact some bookmakers will even run these lines at a loss in the hope that you will place further rugby bets with them.
As an example, around a Rugby world cup you will be highly likely to see outrageous new customer and regular customer offers for ante post betting from the likes of Coral. See our top bookmakers in this article as a pointer to those most likely to give the best terms.
Over/Under and Winning Margin Points Bets
As a high scoring sport over/under points betting is more fun in Rugby than say football as the range is so much greater.
Here you are basically predicating a team to either score more or less than a specific value. For conventional betting these points values are given as half values so there will always be an outright result, e.g. over/under 30.5 points. There are bets available for over/under on pretty much any score total. If they are not listed on the bookies site simply contact them and they will quote you odds for any total.
Winning margin is a great Rugby bet too; simply predict the points gap between the winning team and the losing team. Again expect to see every connotation you can think of here and contact the bookie if the margin you are after isn’t listed.
You will rarely see promotions for this bet type though so it helps to look around for good odds.
An accumulator is simply a series of linked singles and Rugby has a great game structure for multiples betting.
Several matches will be played over a weekend for domestic leagues and tournaments such as the 6 nations and the world cup. This means you can place accas on anything from doubles to 10+ folds or more over most weekends.
Rugby accumulators do not have to be on outright markets only, you can happily place a multiple of 1st try scorers, half time results, etc.
Rugby specific accumulator bonuses and money back acca insurance are not commonly available, unlike with football. You can however expect to find periodic rugby accumulator offers around bigger tournaments. There are also plenty of bookies that offer all sports acca insurance that you can easily use for Rugby betting. See our Rugby betting offers section for more details.
Enhanced fixed odds accas are also quite common for major Rugby. These will read something like ‘England, Scotland and Argentina all to win 8/1’ and will usually be higher cumulative odds than can be found if you made a conventional multiple. Full cover betting (Yankee’s, Lucky 15s, etc.) are also widely available, although specific promos are rarely available.
Half Time / Full Time
These bets allow you to predict the result at both half time and full time in the match.
This bet type can either be based on the result of the first half and/or the result of the second half and generally give better odds than outright result betting. A simple outright bet could be ‘New Zealand to win the first half’ or a double result bet such as ‘Figi to win both halves’ or ‘Samoa to win the first half and Tonga to win the second’.
Half time / full time betting is not restricted to the overall result, you may choose to bet on a team to win the second half in terms of points but they could still lose the match overall.
Other bets include the half with the most tries, half with most penalties, half with the most bookings, etc. Half time and full time wagers are also very good for accumulator betting and can increase your overall odds. You may place a 4 team accumulator just on the first half results for instance. These bet types give more ways to win on any given Rugby game.
Try scorer, Total Points, Cast betting
First and last try scorer and any time try scorer betting are very popular markets for punters to wager on. These lines are competitive and you can usually shop around for the best odds and offers. A couple of bookies such as Betfred have regular enhance odds promotions for first try scorers in rugby too. With top bookies you will find other related bets such as, team to score first, team to score the first try, number of tries in a match and total team tries.
Another common Rugby bet is to predict the total points. This isn’t so much about predicating the correct score as you would see with a low scoring sport such as football but more about guessing things like the winning margin, total number of tries, points range, time a point will be scored and others. Other bets will include highest scoring half, team that scores the first try to win the game, race to 10 points, will a team score 3 unanswered tries and more. Effectively you can bet on every score outcome in every way for top matches.
Cast betting is more popular in Rugby than it used to be although not as big as in football. Here you are predicting two events to happen in a game. For example a scorecast bet may be something like ‘Player X to score the first try and England to score more than 30 points’. A wincast could be ‘Player Y to score the 1st try and Australia to win the match’. A timecast bet could be ‘Player Y to score a try in the first 10 minutes’.
Just as you can bet on the number of tries you can also bet on the number of penalties awarded, the number of drop goals scored, the percentage of conversions, the number of scrums and so much more.
Cards, Offsides and Substitutes
Rugby gambling online now means odds are available for lines that previously you may never expect to be able to bet on.
In the modern game, especially for top tournaments and leagues expect to find lines offered for specific players to be carded or even number of cards for a team, number of offsides, a player to be substituted, time of substitutions, etc.
These lines are becoming increasingly popular with punters as they tend to give good odds, so people who get these types of predictions right often end up with very broad siels on their faces.
A slight word of caution, sometimes these less common bet types can carry lower payout limits, so be careful how much you stake.
Forecast, Conditional and Spread Betting
.Forecast and conditional bets can be found from some bookies who have good market depth.
A forecast bet is just a prediction of a series of results; so ‘Wasps to win the league and London Irish to finish second’ would be a straight forecast, while ‘Wasps and London Irish to finish first and second in any order’ would be a reverse forecast. These are fairly common bet types and should be available from your bookie, if not try contacting them for odds.
Conditional bets are less common but there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to place a bet like this on Rugby. These bets, also known as any-to-come bets are linked singles conditional on a series of results.
Finally spread betting is actually easier to understand in a sport like Rugby than in a lower scoring sport. Spread betting rewards the accuracy of your prediction, the closer you are to your guess the more you win, conversely the further away you are the more you lose.
A spread betting bookie will offer a buy price and a sell price on the winning margin, for instance. If you chose to buy at that price then every point they win higher than that margin will increase your winnings, the opposite would be to sell at that price and then every point they were to come under that margin would increase your winnings. Spread betting is a form of non-fixed odds betting, this means your profit and loss is not fixed at the time you place the bet so can vary. This form of betting is not for the uninitiated, please read our spread betting guide for more information.
Handicap and Asian Handicap
The Rugby scoring system is great for handicap betting and is a particularly useful wager when betting on games with strong favourites.
The system is fairly simple to grasp; points handicaps are assigned to teams and this changes their odds of winning. When you have a game such as England vs Fiji the odds of England winning may be something like 1/80 with Fiji say 20/1. If you gave England a -30 point handicap and Fiji a +30 point handicap this may bring the odds close to say 10/11 providing much more attractive odds for England and more realistic odds for Fiji. For your bet to win in this scenario England would need to win by more than 30 points and Fiji would need to lose by more than 30 points.
Odds should be available for any handicap you would like, but if not listed contact the bookie.
Asian Handicap betting has exactly the same principle as conventional handicap betting however the draw is deemed a void bet and any stake returned. Most Asian handicaps are half point handicaps for this reason, removing any possibility of a draw. For more information on handicap betting and Asian lines click here.
Special bets vary a huge amount but can be found with most top bookies. Some, such as Paddy Power, are better than others for these lines but be careful – specials markets tend to be bespoke and less competitive in terms of odds. Basic types of special bets include things like ‘Australia to win from behind’ or ‘Player Z to score and Ireland to win’.
In Play and Pre-event
Rugby in play has really taken off in the last few years and as a result there are more lines than ever available in play.
Most pre-event markets are available in live betting too with some lines specific to in play such as next team to score, method of the next points scored, etc. Some bookies such as Coral also stream some live Rugby to enhance the betting experience.
For big tournaments expect to see linked pre-event and in play promotions, often along the lines of ‘place a £10+ outright bet on the winner and get a £5 free bet in play’ and things like that. Look out for these deals as they can not only boost your potential winnings but also enhance your betting experience too.
Live In Play Betting and Streaming
Every bookmaker on onlinebetting.org.uk offers live betting of some form on Rugby. However, some bookmakers have a much greater depth of market when it comes to in play Rugby betting.
Most bookies will give lines for Rugby Union and major Rugby League but some domestic matches do not always receive the same deep coverage as say an international game.
All of the Rugby recommended betting sites on this page offer great pre-event and in play coverage of Rugby, but finding the right live betting feature is a personal preference and we recommend you read our betting site guides and try a few bookies out to find the right service for you.
One tip would be do not assume that if a market is available pre-event that it will also be availabel in play. Another would be that most sites now also offer cash out on major rugby bets.
News, Results and Statistics
Unlike Football and horse racing, news and results services with Rugby can be a little hit and miss.
Some bookies such as William Hill operate regular news and blog services that cover Rugby well, while Sky’s sporting life is another excellent feature for keeping up with the latest Rugby betting news.
A personal favourite of mine for all sports is Coral’s stats and results service – clear and easy to use but packed full of information.
Most bookies however offer only basic results and stats features for the sport.
Many online bookies often don’t require you to even have funds in your account to use their results, news and stats features, and the best method we have found is to sign up with several bookmakers and use the best features of them all.
Remember, just because you use one bookies’ stats services it doesn’t mean you have to bet with them, you can pick and choose.
For more information on individual bookmaker’s news, results and statistics services see our betting site reviews.
Live Streaming and Commentary
Live Streaming of Rugby is better than ever but still nowhere near as expansive as football, tennis or horse racing. Coral as usual should be the first port of call, with around 2,000 live streaming events each week there is a hell of a lot of live rugby on here.
Other bookies that regularly offer Rugby live streaming include William Hill’s TV service and Ladbrokes. Check out our bookie reviews to find the best live streaming services for you. Again, if you sign up to a few bookies you don’t have to bet with the bookie you stream with.
Rugby Union vs Rugby League
Rugby Union and League officially split in the late 1800’s. The split came about on charges of professionalism from the RFU against Yorkshire clubs who were found to be paying their players up to 6 shillings to miss work. Clubs in Lancashire decided to put the animosity from the war of the roses aside and support their Yorkshire rivals leading to the creation of the Northern Rugby Football Union, often called the NU. The RFU went on to ban any players who participated in the NU. This is one of the major reasons for the strong divisions between League and Union in modern Rugby.
The nature of the division also created a class divide with the older union game of ‘rugger’ being seen as a posh sport whereas the northern based league was regarded as more accessible and less class based. This has continued right up to today.
The split also lead to gradual changes in the laws of the games. Union stuck close to the original rules of the 1840’s whereas League changed with the aim of making the game faster and more viewer friendly. League Rugby was reduced to 13 players, union remains at 15, creating more space on the pitch to play in with mauls and rucks being replaced with play the ball restart rules. Union has not changed much at all although some changes have been progressively implemented to reduce complexity and make the game more focused on tries rather than goals.
The removal of rucks, mauls and line outs from the League game means there is much less contesting of possession. The result of this means the ball is in play for roughly 50 out of 80 minutes in League Rugby but only 35 minutes in Union. A negative aspect of the rule changes means League players are all of a similar athletic build whereas Rugby Union’s structure means players of all shapes and sizes can have a role. Maybe a better way of summing up would be to say League is a faster more spectator friendly sport to watch whereas Union is a more inclusive sport to play – perhaps part of the reason why public schools invented the game in the first place.
Many small differences exist between the two forms of the game. League has smaller pitch sizes, 4 points for a try instead of 5 in Union and more. Overall the objective of the game is the same; the aim being to score as many points as you can through tries, conversions and drop goals in 80 minutes of play. Goals are scored by kicking the ball between the posts and over the cross-bar, a try is scored when the ball is touched down by the opposition behind the goal line. A try gives the opportunity to kick conversion, similar to a penalty kick, giving two extra points if scored. The ball can move forward by being carried, by kicking the ball out of your hands or through a set piece. Only the player carrying the ball can be tackled. Players are divided into ‘backs’ (faster, mobile players who score most points) and ‘forwards’ (Stronger more physical players who defend and tackle more).
Major Rugby Competitions
- Rugby Union World Cup – After a long stutter the first Rugby world cup took place in 1987 in Australia and New Zealand. The tournament takes place every 4 years with 20 teams taking part, the top 12 teams form the previous world cup plus 8 nations from regional qualifying rounds. The trophy is known as the Webb Ellis Cup, named after William Webb Ellis the first person to pick up a football and run with it. The is the pinnacle Rugby tournament, expect to find some cracking betting offers for this event.
- Rugby League World Cup – Played between national teams of the Rugby League International Federation. Older than the Union cup, first played in 1954 in France, the competition is played every 4 years. Made up of 14 teams, 7 of the top teams from the previous world cup qualify automatically with the remaining 7 places made up from four qualification zones, one European, two Asian / Australasian and one American.
- Six Nations Championship – First known as the Home Nations Championship with 4 national Rugby union teams, renamed the five nations after France entered in 1910 and eventually the 6 nations with the addition of Italy in 2000. This is a yearly International Rugby Union tournament, each team playing each other once making 15 games total. Home/away is rotated each year. Winning all games constitutes a Grand Slam and winning three games is known as a Triple Crown. This is the biggest bet on Rugby competition outside of the world cup.
- Rugby League Four Nations – An annual international competition between Australia, New Zealand, England and one qualifier (e.g. Scotland in 2016). Originally known as the tri-nations the addition of a European and South Pacific qualifying group now adds provision for a variable fourth team.
- The Rugby Championship – An annual Rugby Union competition contested between Australia, Argentina, New Zealand and South Africa. First called the tri-nations until Argentina joined in 2012. This is a kind of parallel to the 6 nations.
- Rugby League European Cup – First held in 1935 this is one of the oldest international Rugby League tournaments. There is no final, the winner is simply the team to top the league group. Teams compete every two years.
- Other International Rugby Union – Plenty of other less prestigious international Rugby Union tournatments exist and many bookies will provide lines on these but not necessarily offers. European Nations Cup, Pacfic Nations Cup, the Nations Cup, and more.
- Other International Rugby League – Additional trans-continental and regional continental tournaments exist in Rugby League, bookies with good depth will cover many of these markets. These include the Ohana Cup, the Magellan Cup, The Hayne-Mannah Cup, the Anzac Cup, the Pacific Cup and more.
Rugby Union National Club Competitions
- Super Rugby – An international club competition between clubs from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, currently contested by 15 top teams from the three countries, the competition is also referred to a Super 15.
- European Rugby Champions Cup – The replacement for the Heineken Cup as a top club completion for teams from the 6 nations. An annual competition, 19 teams qualify based on their position in their domestic leagues, 6 teams from England and France and 7 from the rest. The 20th spot is formed from a play off between the top placed teams outside qualifying positions.
- European Rugby Challenge Cup – An annual competition started in 2014 and arranged by European Professional Club Rugby. This is effectively a second tier championship to the Champions Cup for 6 nations clubs made up of 20 teams.
- Pro 12 – Annual league made up of 12 teams from Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales. The top teams go on to qualify for the Champions Cup.
- Premiership Rugby Cup – This replaced the Anglo-Welsh Cup after the Welsh regions withdrew, features 12 English teams, and is contested each year.
Rugby League National Club Competitions
- World Club Challenge – An annual competition contested between the winners of the European Super League and the Australian NRL. First played in 1976 and held every year since 2000.
- Challenge Cup – Organised by the Rugby Football League, this is an annual knockout competition between clubs from England, Scotland, Wales, France and Russia. The cup has been held annually since 1896, and currently 88 teams contest the cup with the final being one of the most prestigious Rugby League matches to win. You will usually find great odds and offers for the final.
UK Rugby Competitions
- Rugby Union Aviva Premiership – The top RFU league consisting of the top 12 English teams. First founded in 1987 taking off in 1996 when the league became professional. 4 points for a win, 2 for a draw and 0 or 1 for a loss (1 point if a team loses by less than 7 points). One team each year is relegated/promoted to/from the RFU Championship. The top French league is known as the Top 14, in Ireland it’s the All Ireland League, Italy the National Championship of Excellence, etc.
- Super League – The top level Rugby League professional European club competition. This is actually 11 teams from England and one from France. The league began in 1996 with each team playing 23 games. At the end of the season 8 of the top teams enter the Super 8 stage and play each other once more, finally the top 4 teams enter a play-off that culminates in the Grand Final. The Super League Champions play the winners of the NRL in the world club challenge. 2 teams are promoted/relegated from the Championship each year.
- National Rugby League – The top professional Australian league, very popular with punters and covered by many UK bookies. Instituted in 1997 and consisting of 16 teams, 15 Austrailian and 1 from New Zealand. This is regarded as the top domestic league and most widely viewed and attended club competition globally.
Odds and Payouts
Odds on outright Rugby markets are very competitive and it is really worth shopping around with a few bookies for the best price.
Less prestigious leagues and competitions get less coverage and this can sometimes impact on the odds you can receive. Be careful particularly when betting on Rugby specials as these lines especially can often have poor value odds.
Enhanced odds promotions are most common around the bigger competitions such as the 6 nations and World Cups.
Rugby doesn’t quite carry the same payout levels as football and horse racing but still you should be able to get decent limits of around £100k from our recommended bookies.
Not all lines qualify for the top maximum payout though so make sure you check the terms especially if betting on special or novelty markets or on less well known foreign leagues.
Here is an example of Rugby payout limits form a high limit betting site:
Rugby Union – £500,000 Internationals, World Cup, Six Nations, Four Nations, Aviva Premiership, Heineken Cup and Super Rugby match winners, handicaps and totals.
– £100,000 for all other Rugby Union markets/Competitions not listed.
Rugby League – £500,000 Super League, NRL, International and World Cup match winners, handicaps and totals.
– £100,000 for all other Rugby League markets/Competitions not listed.