In this article, we break down the differences between Union and League rugby, as well as the things that unite them. Additionally, we list the many great bookmakers which service rugby betting fans all across the world in our table below.
Table of Contents
- Best Bookmakers We Recommend for Rugby Betting
- Best Rugby Betting Sites – Top 15 Ranked
- Best Rugby Betting Sites Reviewed
- What’s the Difference Between Rugby League and Rugby Union?
- What are the Most Popular Rugby Betting Markets?
- Rugby Union Betting: Most Popular Tournaments
- Rugby Union Betting: Top Five Strategic Tips
- Rugby League Betting: The Tournaments
- Rugby League Betting: Top Five Strategic Tips
- In History: The League and Union Split
- Rugby Betting Sites FAQs
- ThePuntersPage Final Say
New customer offer. Place 5 x £10or more bets to receive £20in free bets. Repeat up to 5 times to receive maximum £100bonus. Min odds 1/2 (1.5). Exchange bets excluded. Payment restrictions apply. T&Cs apply.
T&Cs APPLY, 18+ ONLY
Up to £100 in Bet Credits for new customers at bet365. Min deposit £5. Bet Credits available for use upon settlement of bets to value of qualifying deposit. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply.
18+. UK+IRE only. Paypal & some deposit & bet types excl. Min first bet £5 a odds 1/2 or more. Tote and Pool excluded. Must be placed within 14 days of account reg. £20 credited as 2 x £10 free bets. Not valid with CashOut. Free bet valid for 7 days. Free bet stake not returned. 18+ T&Cs Apply.
New customers only. Place your FIRST bet on any sportsbook market and if it loses we will refund your stake in CASH. Max refund for this offer is £20. Only deposits made using Cards or Apple Pay will qualify for this promotion. T&Cs apply. Paddy's Rewards Club: Get a £10 free bet when you place 5x bets of £10+. T&Cs apply.
New UK & NI customers only. 18+. Sign up using promo code ‘SPORTS60’. Deposit & place first sports bet at a minimum of £10 in one bet transaction at evens (2.0) +. £30 paid in free bets within 48 hours of bet settlement, expires 7-days after issue. E-Wallet & Prepaid Card restrictions apply. Your first bet must be settled within 60 days of bet placement. SMS validation may be required. Game restrictions apply. Maximum 30 Free Spins on selected games. Free Spins expire after 7 days. Full T&Cs apply.
18+, Welcome Bonus: New Players only, 1st Deposit, Min Deposit,: £10, max £10 free bet valid for 14 days, bets must be placed at odds of 1/1 or greater and be settled within 14 days of placement. System bets not eligible. Neteller,Skrill and Paypal not eligible. T&Cs apply
18+ Eligible UK+IRE players. Paypal & some deposit & bet types excl. Min first £5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 = 4x £5 free bets. Free bets valid for 7 days, stake not returned. No cash-out, restrictions & T&Cs apply.
Minimum deposit of £10 using deposit code 30F - A qualifying bet is a ‘real money’ stake of at least £10 placed on any sports market - Minimum odds of 1/2 (1.5) - Free bets credited upon qualifying bet settlement and expire after 7 days - Free bet stakes not included in returns - Casino Bonus must be claimed within 7 days • To withdraw bonus/related wins, wager bonus amount x40 within 14 days • Wagering req. vary by game • Deposit methods, Withdrawal restrictions and Full T&C’s apply
T&Cs APPLY, 18+ ONLY
New customers using Promo Code P30 only, min £10/€10 stake, min odds 1/2, free bets paid as 2 x £15/€15 (30 days expiry), free bet/payment method/player/country restrictions apply.
New Customers only; Min. deposit £15; Bonus amount 50% of deposit up to £50; Wager deposit and bonus 8x within 30 days; 4/5 Min. single odds or 2/5 min. acca selection odds; Max. stake contribution equal to the initial bonus; Certain bet types and payment methods excluded; See full terms; Terms apply; 18+
18+ / Customers will be awarded £15 in Free Bets and £15 in Free Spins for Casino and Vegas. New Customers only. Free Bets valid for 3 Days. Free Spins valid for 30 Days. T&Cs apply
New users only. Min deposit £20. Place qualifying bets of £20 to £50 in first 7 days after deposit to unlock free bets. Free bet rewarded as 4 free bets that total first deposit amount. Min odds 1/1, 3+ legs & expire in 7 days. Winnings credited in cash. Full T&Cs apply
18+. UK Customers (Excluding NI) only. Cash stakes only. Min £10 stake required for initial £5 free bet. Min odds ½. Max £25 in free bets. Subsequent free bets equal 50% average of each 3 qualifying bets. 13 bets required to receive full £25 free bet. Qualifying bet must be placed within 30 days of opening account. Cashed out bets will not qualify towards your average stake. One free bet offer per customer, household or IP address only. Free bet expires after 7 days. Payment method restrictions apply. T&Cs apply.
Valid for new UK customers who have registered from 31/03/2020. Deposit using code SNWEL125. Valid once per customer. Bonus expires after 90 days. 6x turnover at 1.7 minimum odds before withdrawal. Max contribution to turnover requirements per bet is £100. Multiple bets on the same market do not qualify.
T&Cs apply. New players only. Qualifying bet(s) must have minimum odds of 3/1 and must be settled before triggering free bet. Free Bet must be used on an accumulator with 3 or more selections. 18+. begambleaware.org.
Best Rugby Betting Sites – Top 15 Ranked
- Paddy Power
- William Hill
- Mr Green
Best Rugby Betting Sites Reviewed
Rugby is one of the most popular sports in the world, especially throughout the United Kingdom and throughout Europe. When you consider this, as well as the incredible competition you can find in betting sites in general, it should be no surprise that the picks for the best rugby betting sites also read like a who’s who of the greatest betting operators in the industry.
What’s great about this is that rugby betting fans have plenty of other markets to check out and enjoy, because we know many of you – most of you in fact – are multi-faceted in your sports passions. For that reason, every and all picks here must be great not just for rugby markets, but also be quality operators in general to make this list.
That means if an operator provided great rugby betting odds but was very poor on other key areas, especially the likes of security, they would not be eligible for a spot here. Those high standards still apply. That said, our key focus is on those League and Union markets.
With both a betting exchange and a traditional sportsbook for rugby fans to enjoy across both Union and League markets, Betfair naturally has an advantage over much of the competition, as they do in most sports.
Not only that, but it’s also the world’s biggest betting exchange and, as we have discussed on many occasions here at ThePuntersPage, an absolutely incredible traditional sportsbook more than capable of standing up to the best in the industry. When you combine this with the fact that they have one of the broadest varieties of markets and consistently rank amongst those with the best rugby betting odds available, you have our number one pick.
This should not really be a surprise. If whatever you're looking for has to do with betting online, then chances are that bet365 rank somewhere among the absolute best. In fact, we weren’t sure whether to go with this or Betfair, but eventually sided with the latter based on the exchange.
However, with brilliant markets all across the world, and the world-class odds that bet365 are known for, they did come first in our extensive betting odds comparison, so it was a tough pick. Not only that, but the excellent bet365 sign-up offer can be utilised on rugby betting markets, apart from being an all-around brilliant welcome for new customers.
Nowhere in the world is rugby betting more popular than in the United Kingdom. It’s fitting, then, that the British high-street juggernaut, Coral, makes our list of the best of the best for rugby betting operators.
Not only are League and Union markets covered extensively with in-play matches, competitions, and future matches, but there’s also a whole bunch of smart boosts regularly available. Rugby League alone had close to a dozen boosts at the time of writing this article, meaning more value for money. There’s also #yourcall specials and a huge amount of market variety for each and every game.
4. Paddy Power
It was incredibly tough to pick between Coral and Paddy Power. Indeed, pretty much everything we have said for the former could be said for the latter. In the end, Coral's smart boosts helped us finalise our decision, but have no doubt that Paddy Power has an absolutely phenomenal amount to offer when it comes to rugby betting markets, which should come as little surprise considering how excellent their betting product is across the board.
One thing that Paddy Power really excels at – although there were no rugby betting specific examples at the time of writing – is event specific promotions. When there’s a big rugby tournament on, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for something special.
Considering they are the sponsors of the Super League and one of the best British bookmakers in general, the fact that the mighty Betfred only ranks 5th here is an indication of just how stacked the competition is.
Some people worry that their bookmaker may only cover Rugby Union, as it is the most popular form of rugby, but there’s no worry about that here. Indeed, it would be embarrassing were that the case, considering their position as sponsors. Not only are the markets there but they are backed up by daily price boosts, promotions and the PickYourPunt feature, which means if you don’t see a market you want, you can request it.
This bookmaker is probably the biggest surprise in our list, just missing out on a top five slot. Now, that’s not because Betiton are lacking in quality of reputation, but just look at the competition that surrounds them. For a bookmaker that was founded in 2020 to be standing up to long term industry favourites like this in any capacity, it's certainly impressive, to say the least.
But when you look at their product, there’s no doubting how far they’ve come in such a short space of time, and their rugby markets are a great example of why. You can choose between Australia, International and European markets for both Union and League, meaning they have a hugely global scope of markets considering how relatively new they are. In addition, all of their sport promotions available at the time of writing, including the Welcome Bonus, Acca Bonus and Cash Out features, are all available on rugby markets.
To give you an idea of the kind of quality you can expect from Ladbrokes, consider that there were two games playing live when we went to check out their markets: one for League and one for Union, with significant price boosts on each. Now that is value for your betting buck.
And, of course, this is Ladbrokes, which means this kind of quality is quite literally an everyday occurrence, as you can get a rugby betting odds boost of your choice every single day. Naturally, you can also get a ton of great rugby betting opportunities here on a daily basis as well.
A consistent favourite here at ThePuntersPage is the wonderful 888sport. You may not view this bookmaker as a natural leader when it comes to rugby betting, considering that they are, to their credit, more of an international site than many of the others on this list. However, you might be underestimating how consistently excellent 888sport is across so many markets.
In fact, this has the additional benefit of not just providing quality rugby betting odds on British markets, but also the likes of the Super Rugby AU, Super Rugby Aotearoa, the State of Origin Series and the NRL, to give a few examples. World-class stuff from all around the world.
9. William Hill
We surprised ourselves by only having the mighty William Hill at number nine. All we can say is that this is down to the incredible strengths of the competition, rather than any weaknesses on their part.
That’s because if you know William Hill, you’ll know that they don’t really make mistakes when it come to their betting offers. This means quality rugby betting markets alongside acca promotions and double #yourodds each and every week. You can even get 10% of your in-play losses back as a free bet. One thing that William Hill does very well is provide promotions that can be utilised on many sports, which is great as bonuses often get overlooked the world of rugby betting.
We promise our choice of ranking for 10bet here is just a coincidence, although we would say they are a perfect 10 (pun intended) when it comes to betting market variety and odds quality. They have daily match list, in-play, top leagues and all leagues for you to choose from on both Rugby League and Rugby Union, so you know that they are committed to covering everything they possibly can about the game we love.
They even have a lovingly written passage about the different markets you can expect, from Race to 10 Points and Winning Margin to their coverage of France’s top 14 and the Mitre 10 Cup in New Zealand. They seem to have a real passion for rugby betting that really shines through.
One of the things we did in order to decide what we consider to be the best rugby betting sites is compare rugby betting odds across random markets and see who came out on top. NetBet consistently impressed us in this regard, always ranking very well against serious competition and often taking the top spot.
Stats provide users with the ability to immediately gain a better understanding of the markets, and things like their Add2Bet and BetMaker functions make NetBet not only one of the best rugby betting options around, but also one of the more versatile.
It was really difficult to decide the right place for BetBull, the socially focused, accumulator-based mobile betting site. As that name would suggest, they are providing something very different to every other example on this list.
Considering their niche status, you would be forgiven for thinking that only a few sports are available, but they are actually a fair bit more versatile than you might think. BetBull offer competitive markets on both Rugby Union and League, meaning that fans can enjoy this unique take on online betting on their favourite sport.
Very much the polar opposite of BetBull is BoyleSports. This is a bookmaker that keeps things simple and is very traditional in many ways. They don’t have a mascot, or any niches or gimmicks to help them stand out. Their focus is on providing simple, quality betting markets with competitive odds across as many sports as they possibly can.
That is exactly what rugby betting fans are going to get here, with tournaments across the world being represented by this industry favourite. Plus, their attention to detail – for instance, telling you what channels are hosting all these sporting events – has not gone unnoticed by us.
One of the key selling points for SportNation is that they reward every bet on both their sportsbook and casino. You receive points that can be redeemed for real items in their stores. That’s certainly good news for rugby fans, as a huge amount of betting markets are covered here.
And, of course, all this interconnectivity is ideal if you have a wide range of betting tastes. When you back all of this up with an intuitive site/app design, you have a betting experience that is a joy from start to finish.
15. Mr Green
You may be wondering why the ever-fabulous Mr Green ranks so low on our list. Well, a big part of the reason is simply that the others on this list are simply excellent, but there’s also the fact that Mr Green only covers Rugby Union.
Nonetheless, we felt they deserve this spot because they do an excellent job with Union, and many rugby betting fans will only follow that version of the sport. On top of that, their excellence as a casino means that there are plenty of people for whom Mr Green will provide the perfect level of betting content for.
What’s the Difference Between Rugby League and Rugby Union?
While pretty much everyone knows that Rugby League betting and Rugby Union betting are different, many less really understand to what extent. It’s certainly far beyond them having different teams and leagues, and more than the gulf in popularity between them – with Union regularly doing several times the numbers in terms of attendance and TV viewings of their League equivalents.
And indeed, it can be confusing for those who aren’t intimate fans of either sport. The basic rules appear the same, with players needing to get the ball past the goal line of the opposition and kick it between the two posts. Many ardent fans will claim that the differences are significant enough to make their preferred version the true version of the sport. We think that each is a true version of rugby; just its own distinct version. That said, we will concede that the differences are enough to be considered significant.
The Differences in Points Scored
To begin with, a “try” – which is when the ball is taken past the opposition goal line and placed on the ground – is worth 5 points in Rugby Union and 4 Points in Rugby League. Both, though, have a 2 point-conversion kick in the aftermath. This makes the “try” portion of the points more significant for Union.
So are drop goals, which are worth 3 points in Rugby Union and 1 Point in Rugby League. Finally, penalty goals are worth 3 points in Rugby Union and 2 Points in Rugby League. This means the layout of points is significantly different, which affects both priorities and strategies.
The Differences in Rules
Perhaps the biggest difference between them, though, is that in Rugby Union, the team can hold onto the ball until it is taken by the other team. In League, it is automatically relinquished after six tackles. This may not seem like too big a deal, but in reality, this completely changes how teams approach these games, and is the key reason why some people consider them different sports entirely.
If you want to understand the effect of this, consider that Rugby League on average has the ball in play for 50 minutes, and in Union, it’s around 35 minutes.
The Differences in Strategies and Set-Up
Other significant differences include the use of kicking the ball out of play. Naturally, because of the six-tackle rule, it is common in Rugby League to have the ball kicked out of play after the fifth tackle, as it makes a fair amount of tactical sense, especially when you consider that this is allowed without a penalty. In Union, deliberately throwing a ball out of play grants your opposition a penalty. So, something that is commonplace in League is not allowed legally in Union.
Further distinctions include the fact that there are 15 players in play on a Union team, and 13 in a League team. Even the pitch is different, with the average Union field being significantly longer than a League field. The Union field is around 144 metres long and 70 metres wise, while a League field tends to be about 68 metres and can be around 112 metres long – a significant difference when you consider how the ability to travel unchecked is a large part of any successful game plan.
There are even cultural differences, with League being viewed as a more of a working-class sport, while Union is both more accepted by middle and upper classes and is more internationally recognised. In many countries, Union is just called rugby, as the alternative is not well known.
We hope this helps you understand that the differences between League and Union are not only significant, but quite crucially change the logistics and strategy of each game. That means these differences should also impact how you view them in terms of your betting strategy – but more on that later.
What are the Most Popular Rugby Betting Markets?
While there are many differences between League and Union, as we have discussed, one thing they do have in common is that the most popular betting markets remain the same for the most part, whichever version of rugby you’re a fan of. This shouldn’t be too much of a surprise considering that although there are many differences, the way in which points are awarded, for instance, are the same.
We've broken down below some of the most popular rugby betting markets you can choose from.
The simplest way to bet is by backing whichever team you think will win. The option of a tie is also generally available; however, considering that these tend to be high scoring games, the odds for this are usually fairly low in both League and Union.
There are a lot of mismatches in rugby, especially at the local level, and this means that in order to not have to bet on very low or very high odds, you’ll want to utilise a rugby betting handicap to bridge that gap. A handicap is where a favourite has to win by a certain number of points, or an underdog only has to avoid losing by a certain number of points for your bet to be successful. This is, of course, ideal if you want to back your favourites in spite of a mismatch.
Similar to a rugby betting handicap betting is the winning margin bet, which has the same benefits when it comes to mismatched teams. You can choose a points spread, which a team has to win by for your bet to be successful. Naturally, betting for a team to win by 10-15 points, for instance, will mean that your odds are significant longer than a normal To Win bet. Rugby betting often has significant wins even with close teams, so this can be a really interesting one to back.
Half Time/Full Time
The physical nature of rugby means that, more than many other sports, you can see huge shifts in momentum in the first and second half. This allows you to bet on either in a vacuum.
Team/Player to Score the First Try
This is a very simple bet: you can pretty much understand it from the title alone. Pick who you think will score the first try. Pick teams for shorter odds and player for longer ones, at least in the vast majority of instances.
First Scoring Play
This expands the previous market by also including any kind of goal or penalty.
Time of First Try
A great example of the extent of the market variety, this allows you to pick when you think the first try will happen. These are usually within 10-minute segments, so it’s quite similar in methodology to winning margin. It is also the first market of many which are about how the game is played, as opposed to which teams come out on top.
Another perfect option if you don’t want to back either team, Total Points allows you to simply bet on how many points you think will take place over the course of the match.
Half with Most Points
As we said, the differences between the first and second half can be vast, and this allows you to pit one against another. This really tests your ability to understand the strategy of individual teams on a deeper basis.
There are all kinds of different tournaments bets, but of course, picking an overall winner is the most obvious and most popular choice. This can give you a reason to be excited about every game in a tournament, and, if you want to utilise multiple tournament bets, can provide threads of interest throughout.
A natural addition to our previous point is the inclusion of accumulators. Some people avoid accumulators because of their complexity, but they can be a really interesting way to maintain interest across long tournaments or form a cohesive betting strategy.
These are markets which will come up on certain bookmakers during in-play betting, and they are bets you can put money on based on the events that are happening right then and there. A perfect example would be whether or not a penalty kick is successful.
Rugby Union Betting: Most Popular Tournaments
Partly down to its greater international appeal, Rugby Union betting has more tournaments than its Rugby League betting siblings. In fact, there’s an absolutely huge amount playing at any given time throughout the world. Here we have picked five of the most interesting and popular to give you an idea of what’s out there for you to check out, get invested with and bet on.
The Rugby World Cup
Held every four years, Rugby World Cup betting is for many, the pinnacle of international rugby in all its forms. It first took place in 1987, and it is telling that the hosts from that year – New Zealand and Australia – remain two of the most dominant in Rugby Union to this day. That’s because few teams have ever won, with South Africa and England being the only other Rugby World Cup champions. It’s quite the tournament if you’re looking to back an underdog for great Rugby World Cup betting odds.
Six Nations Championship
Another huge international here; although this one doesn’t provide much chance of an unknown team breaking through. The Rugby Six Nations Championship is played every year between England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales. It evolved from the United Kingdom Home Nations tournaments to the tail end and the beginning of the 20th century, with Wales and England remaining the dominant forces.
The top division in the English Rugby Union system consists of 12 clubs competing not only for national glory, but also to earn a spot in the prestigious European Rugby Championship and the European Rugby Challenge Cup. The bottom team is relegated and the winner of the Championship, the second most prestigious division in English Rugby Union, gets the chance at the big leagues. From a betting standpoint, this is a really great place to be if you’re looking for more variety in team quality and often, games that are a touch tougher, but potentially more rewarding to predict.
European Rugby Champions Cup
This is where the top club teams from the Six Nations who compete in the Six Nations Championship go to test their mettle against some of the world’s best. You often get a great variety here, and it provides a good mix of new matches with classics against historic rivals. On top of that, it delivers the perfect extension to the much loved Six Nations Championship.
If you want to get to know Rugby Union beyond what most people around you likely do, then check out the PRO14. This is a tournament that, alongside the Premiership and the French Pro14, pits the finest European teams not in either competition against each other for the chance to play at the European Rugby Champions Cup.
You’re probably now seeing how all these things connect together, and that’s really a big part of what makes them so interesting. Just as vital, though, is that it provides you with a greater knowledge base on a wider variety of teams, which is so important for successful betting.
Rugby Union Betting: Top Five Strategic Tips
Here are some vital tips to help you make more successful wagers on Rugby Union.
1. Take advantage of the big tournaments
The good thing about tournaments like Six Nations and Rugby World Cup betting is that generally, the interest and history is such that if you’re a fan, you probably have a good base of knowledge from which to work. Knowledge is power when it comes to the world of betting, and if you’ve followed these kinds of tournaments and teams before, that’s always an advantage.
Speaking of which, these are really ideal if you are into accumulators because there’s a lot of coverage and lots of different interesting threads for you to get the most out of. One of the best things about accumulators is their ability to enhance your enjoyment of big tournaments, and these are great examples.
2. Domestic games can be perfect for handicap betting
While it can also be the case in international games, it’s fair to say that often, tournaments pit teams against each other that are very evenly matched. Now, that is no bad thing: it’s part of what makes them so exciting. However, when we are looking at domestic games often, we can have a mismatch. But, instead of viewing these as passable, you can instead make the game interesting for yourself by planting a well-calculated handicap bet. When you bet smart, every game is a must see.
3. Go beyond the usual
The huge international appeal and popularity of Rugby Union means there is a lot of it to watch. A lot of people never stray from their preferred domestic and international league, but there is so much out there which is not just greatly entertaining, but can also give you an edge in terms of betting.
The more teams you know, the more knowledge you have going into more fixtures, and this is especially important if you are tournament betting. What’s really great about the structure of Rugby Union in this regard is that so many of the tournaments are intertwined, making your extra hours enjoying rugby have extra benefits.
4. But don’t stray too far from what you know when it comes to betting time
To be clear though, we’re not advising you to bet on random leagues and teams you know nothing about. If that’s what you want to do, that’s fine, but we wouldn’t recommend it from a strategic point of view. Watch as much as you can, soak up as much knowledge and understanding as possible – but be realistic about your expertise.
Let us put it this way: if you have watched a team in the French Pro14 and now your favourites are going up against them, that’s some extra understanding that can serve you well when crafting a smart bet. It doesn’t mean that you are suddenly an expert in that team and can try and predict the entire domestic tournament, for instance.
5. Do check out the other markets
One of the biggest missed opportunities in Rugby Union betting is that people often don’t realise the variety and versatility of the markets that are available. This is a hugely popular sport, which means your betting options go far beyond straightforward To Win wagers. This can often also be the case for League, but as Union is more popular, greater variety is even more likely here. Check out all those strange left-field betting options and specials: you may find a market that is perfect for you.
Rugby League Betting: The Tournaments
Perhaps because it is less well known in many parts of the world, people often think that Rugby League will be lacking when it comes to quality tournaments. However, we can assure you that is far from the case. There’s a huge amount of regional, continental and global options for you to choose from, and here’s our pick of the top five.
1. Rugby League World Cup
This is pretty much the League equivalent of the Union Rugby World Cup betting which we talked about before, bringing together the best teams from throughout the sport. There are fewer teams and importantly, fewer major contenders. This is one where Australia have totally dominated, winning 11 out of 16 tournaments. Despite this, there’s plenty of intrigue, excitement and great athleticism year after year.
2. The Ashes
We mentioned that Australia completely dominated the Rugby League World Cup betting odds, which means that as much as we are looking forward to the revival of The Ashes – named after the famous cricket series of the same name – which was postponed in 2020, England will no doubt have their work cut out for them. This is a great thing to focus on if you want to keep your rugby bets simple.
3. Super League
We’ve mentioned a fair few times that Union is generally more popular than League. While this is true, that is not to underestimate the love and importance Rugby League betting has in England, from which Super League takes the majority of its teams. For many, this is the pinnacle of League point blank, with the best club teams in the world getting to showcase their incredible chemistry year after year. It’s also probably the best way to get introduced to the sport.
It may be a notch below the Super League – indeed, the prize for winning the Championship is to be brought into the Super League – but it is, in many people’s opinion, often the most exciting. We think it’s because of the wide variety of team styles and quality, not to mention the hunger to get to that coveted top tier. In any case, this is one tournament that’s well worth paying attention to.
5. The Anzac Test
Alright, this isn’t technically a tournament, and is instead an annual game between New Zealand and Australia. However, it takes place every year, has a trophy and has just as much, if not greater, importance than many other League tournaments, so we’re including it as part of this list. This is a wonderful way of getting to know two of the best teams in Rugby League, and also a really simple way of getting into betting on the sport.
Rugby League Betting: Top Five Strategic Tips
Strategies between League and Union are often very similar, but we’ve provided an additional section specifically for League here. This is because there are some things that are perhaps more worth considering for one variation compared to the other. With that in mind, here’s five betting tips to help you on your Rugby League betting adventure.
1. Don’t assume because you know Union, you know League
As Rugby Union is so incredibly popular and there are many similarities between the different versions of rugby, people often assume that knowing one is as good as knowing the other. However, as we have discussed, there are significant differences. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bet on Rugby League – far from it –but you should respect it as its own discipline before you do.
2. But if you’re a beginner, it’s the perfect place to start
That said, if you are new to rugby entirely, then an argument could be made that League is actually the best place to start, as in many tournaments, there are less teams and the rules can be less convoluted. And, well, we agree. We think that both are really interesting, but if you want one version to get you to understand the basics and provide a simpler way to start betting, this is it.
3. Consider first half betting
With longer playing time, a more even distribution of possession to the pass rule, and more time with the ball in play, we’d say that League is a great choice for betting on one half. Union more often needs a full game to flesh out, whereas League games can often be more immediate, making them more suitable for this market. This is a generalisation, of course, and Union games can also be great for first half betting, but it is more common here.
4. Keep on top of player news
Fewer players on the field means more pressure on each as an individual in terms of injury and specific performances. You should keep on top of player news not only for any version of rugby, but any sport. Having said that, there are few disciplines where this advice is quite so pressing.
5. Pay close attention to the Super League
There are fewer teams in League than Union: that is just a fact. This means that there’s even more importance on those few significant competitions, and there are none more significant than the Super League. On top of that, many games are not televised. All this means is there are less places to get your dose of sporting goodness. In other words, there’s no better place to enjoy Rugby League, and Rugby League betting, than the Super League.
In History: The League and Union Split
Those of you reading this may be wondering why there are two different versions of this sport. It’s actually a really interesting story.
Originally, there was one sport known as Rugby Football, and there were a whole host of different rules. In fact, as they were played at different schools, many would often have their own individual rules. This changed when the clubs met in 1871 to form the Rugby Football Union, and during this time, its popularity spread to Australia and New Zealand.
Vitally, it was an amateur sport, meaning that nobody was to paid to compete. However, in 1892, there was a controversy as Yorkshire clubs were compensating players for missing work. It was proposed that they be paid up to six shillings for whenever they missed work due to match commitments, but it was voted down. Pressure continued, however, with Lancashire clubs agreeing with compensation. This is how the first professional rugby organisation was formed, which was called the Northern Rugby Football Union.
It is important to note that this is where the class divide came into play. You may view it as ironic that the teams being paid were the ones who are considered to represent the poorer parts of the country. However, that’s because the teams that required compensation did so because they were generally from a less privileged position. In other words, the amateur players could afford to remain amateur.
That is where the split began between teams that chose to remain amateur and those who turned professional. For a long time, they were different in name and administration only. Over the years however, gradual changes began to take place in the rules and today, the original sport has created two completely different forms of rugby. Now, the split is entirely rule-based, as Rugby Union joined Rugby League as a professional sport in 1995 after a century of debate.
Rugby Betting Sites FAQs
🥇 Is rugby widely available to bet on?
Generally speaking, yes. Rugby Union betting is more popular, so it does have more betting coverage, but there are plenty of bookmakers available for fans of all kinds.
✅ Are Rugby Union and Rugby League the same game?
No, but they do have a shared origin and many shared elements.
❌ What is the key difference between the two types of rugby?
There are many points and rule differences, but the one which we view as being most significant is that in Rugby League, you must restart play and give the team possession of the ball after six tackles.
💪 Are there different rugby betting markets?
Despite the differences between the two sports, the betting markets between Union and League remain largely the same.
⚒️ Should I approach all kinds of rugby betting the same strategically?
Largely, we’d say yes. However, there are some examples where we would view one piece of advice as especially relevant to one compared to the other. You can find details of those kinds of strategies earlier in this article.
ThePuntersPage Final Say
Rugby betting can certainly appear complex to newcomers, with the sport often split between the Union and League variations of the game. However, one thing that fans of both versions of the sport have in common is the desire to get the best possible value from their bookmaker.
There are many different rules and intricacies to understand, no matter which league or version you prefer. However, we prefer to think of this as depth, rather than difficulty. It’s all these different elements which make rugby such an engaging sport, not only to bet on but to be a fan of as well.