A Rugby League Betting Guide You’ll Want to Read – Top Odds & Tips for 2023

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Last Updated on: 23.02.2023

Rugby League is a very popular sport in the UK, France and Australia, and enjoyed across the world. The rules differ from the Rugby Union ones, and in some way or another, allow for more time with the ball in play – which means more action to watch. Here we provide you with a rugby league betting guide, as well as all the details about what makes rugby league such a great sport to follow and bet on.

Rugby League matches give fans and punters 80 minutes of high-intensity sports, and offers a perfect scenario for bets to be placed both before the start of the match as well as while the match is in play.

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Upcoming Rugby League Odds & Predictions

Below we list the latest odds for the major rugby league competitions starting from the 2021 Super League Grand Final, which will be played on the 9th of October 2021 at Old Trafford in Manchester.

2021 Super League Grand Final Outright Winner Odds

St Helens4/6bet365
Catalan Dragons11/4bet365
Leeds Rhinos6/1bet365
Hull KR12/1bet365

*Odds are subject to change

  • St Helens may have ended this year’s Super League behind the Catalan Dragons, however, they are the bookmakers’ favourites to win the Grand Final. The French side also lost their final two games so they will be trying to make up for that as best they can.
  • Hull KR managed to make it into the sixth place in the Super League and booked their place in the playoffs despite having played the least matches out of all the competing teams. They then stunned the Warrington Wolves in the playoffs by winning 0-19. They face the Catalan Dragons in the semi-final on 30th September as they try to pull off yet another upset.
  • If the Dragons beat Hull, they will be contesting their first ever Super Cup Grand Final. The same cannot be said for St Helens who have played in the final an impressive 13 times, winning in both 2019 and 2020. They will be eager to make it 3 in a row and go beyond Leeds Rhinos, their opponents in the semi-final, in the all-time winners’ standings by claiming their 9th title.

Queensland Cup 2021 Grand Final Outright Winner Odds

Norths Devils13/10Paddy Power
Wynnym Manly Seagulls5/2Paddy Power
Tweed Heads4/1Paddy Power
Burleigh Bears9/2Paddy Power

*Odds are subject to change

  • The Queensland Cup Grand Final will be played on Sunday 10th October 2021 at the Moreton Daily Stadium in Kippa-Ring, Australia.
  • The Norths Devils are the favourites to win the cup after having ended the league in the top spot, losing only 2 out of 17 games played. One of their losses did however come against the Burleigh Bears with a surprising 0-36 score. The two will be facing each other again in the final playoff on 3rd October 2021.
  • As for the other final playoff, the Manly Seagulls can boast of an 81% winning ratio against the Tweed Heads. The Tweed Heads are coming from 2 consecutive games without a win after having drawn against Townsville Blackhawks and lost to Papua New Guinea Hunters. The Tweed Heads have not reached a final since 2011, but this year, 10 years later, it is within their reach.

Challenge Cup 2022 Outright Betting Odds

The 2022 Betfred Challenge Cup Final is scheduled to take place in the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on the 28th of May 2022. Here you may see the initial odds – these are bound to change as the season proceeds.

St Helens3/1Paddy Power
Warrington Wolves4/1Paddy Power
Wigan Warriors5/1Paddy Power
Leeds Rhinos6/1Paddy Power
Catalans Dragons8/1Paddy Power
Castleford Tigers10/1Paddy Power
Hull FC10/1Paddy Power
Huddersfielf Giants16/1Paddy Power

*Odds are subject to change

Popular Rugby League Betting Markets – Top 5 Favourites

Rugby League matches give fans and punters 80 minutes of high-intensity sports and offers a perfect scenario for bets to be placed both before the match has started as well as while the match is in play.

To Win

Probably the easiest betting market to understand – this betting market is made up of odds on who will win a particular match as well as odds of the match ending in a draw. The odds of a draw being the final result are normally quite high given the low probability of a match ending with both teams having scored an equal amount of points.

Winning Margin

This winning margin betting market offers punters the possibility to not only bet on the winner of the match but also on the margin of points by which the team will win. Normally, this market would place odds on a team winning by more than a set number of points, say 1 to 5 or 6 to 10. There is also a specific market called Dozen Winning Margins, available on a few rugby league betting sites, which offers odds of a team winning by more or less than 12 points.

Handicap Betting

In handicap betting, points are added or subtracted to the final score of a particular team and punters will decide which team they think will win the match keeping these amended scores in mind. For example, if the betting market places a (-10) handicap on Catalan Dragons, a bet placed on that same team to win will be successful if the Dragons would have still won if you reduce 10 points from their final score.

First Tryscorer

Here, punters place odds on who they predict will be the first player to score a try. A betting market also exists for the first team to score a try. The odds in first team to score a try will normally be shorter than the first player market, given the latter one is much more specific.

Anytime Tryscorer

Similar to the above betting market, the anytime tryscorer offers the odds of a particular player scoring a try at any point during the given match.

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, most don't fully 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 huge 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 one. That said, we will concede that the differences are enough to be considered significant.

The Difference in Points Scored

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 Difference 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, it 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 distinction includes 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, however, deliberately throwing a ball out of play grants your opposition a penalty, so something that is commonplace in League is not legally allowed 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 wide, 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 more of a working-class sport, while Union is both more accepted by middle and upper classes as well as 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.

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, 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.

betfred rugby betting

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, 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 importance Rugby League betting has in England, from which the Betfred 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 annually. It’s also probably the best way to get introduced to the sport.

4. Championship

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, it is 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 you Need to Know

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 are 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 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, since as in many tournaments, there are fewer teams and the rules can be less convoluted. And 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 often needs a full game to flesh out, whereas League games tend to 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.

4. Keep on top of player news

Fewer players on the field means more pressure on each 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 important than the Super League. On top of that, many games are not televised. All this means is there are fewer 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.

Bite-Sized 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 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 Union Betting: Most Popular Tournaments

Partly down to its greater international appeal, Rugby Union betting has more tournaments than its Rugby League betting siblings. 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 at 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 a chance to prove itself 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 -oved 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 that are not in either competition, against each other for the chance to play at the European Rugby Champions Cup.

You can probably now see 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.

Autumn Internationals

The Autumn Internationals are a set of matches taking place in November, featuring teams from the Northern Hemisphere hosting teams from the Southern Hemisphere, and makes for some great rugby betting opportunities.

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 very evenly-matched teams against each other. Now, that is no bad thing: it’s part of what makes them so exciting. However, when we are looking at domestic games, there can be 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, ensuring 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, 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 to predict the entire domestic tournament.

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 FAQs

Our preferred betting site for Rugby League betting is bet365.
They are not. However, they do have various similarities.
It’s a tough call but historically speaking, St Helens are the strongest, closely followed by the Leeds Rhinos.
This is also a difficult one, so we’ll go ahead and mention two – Melbourne Storm and Sydney Roosters.
It will be played on 10th October 2021 at the Moreton Daily Stadium.

ThePuntersPage Final Say

Even though Rugby League matches are not as popular as the Rugby Union ones, it does not mean that matches are any less entertaining to watch. There are various prestigious leagues to follow, and this makes way for a large amount of betting opportunities for fans and casual punters alike.