As with all sports, rugby betting on individual matches and tournaments is becoming increasingly popular. The spread of high-speed internet connections and ever-improving mobile technology, it has never been easier to keep in control of your wagers before and during events.

Rugby Betting Guide

This rugby betting guide is an introduction to rugby betting. The principles are broadly similar to other sports but with different rules, the bettor needs to employ alternative strategies to success.

5 Types of Rugby Betting

  1. Match Outcome

It’s easy to think of this as a three-way bet, but the reality is that draws in rugby are rare.  In the 2017 Super Rugby season, it was just two out of 142 matches.

You get the point; there is no strategy in rugby betting on a draw unless you are covering your bases.

The bookmakers’ odds will reflect several factors, mainly form, venue and injuries. Favourites acquire that tag for good reasons; the shorter odds will be against them, the long against the underdog.

It pays to watch how the odds are performing; they can be a signal that something which will affect the outcome of the match, e.g. a key player injured, has happened.

Rugby Betting Odds

In this example, the Chiefs are favourites and for a R10 stake, your return will be R8 profit (R10 x 4/5) plus your R10 stake.

The Highlanders, in contrast, will see a R11 profit (R10 x 11/10) plus your R10 stake returned.

A draw will see R250 profit (R10 x 25/1) plus the R10 stake.

If you bet on all three outcomes, you need the draw at these levels to show a profit. In this illustration, figures in red brackets indicate losses incurred.

Stakes Win Stake Return Net
Chiefs               30                 8               10               18  (12)
Highlanders               30               11               10               21  (9)
Draw               30            250               10            260 230


We’ll deal with strategies around this aspect of rugby betting in future articles.

  1. Two-Way Outcomes

With draws a rarity in rugby, bookmakers offer a two-way outcome. This is a variant on the outright market, and the odds are subtly different than the previous bet.

Types of rugby betting

Here, the Chiefs are now 5/6 which on a R10 stake brings in R8.33 while the Highlanders shorten to Evens; R10 for R10 stakes.

  1. Winning Margins

A natural progression of the match outcome odds is winning margins. This simply predicts the margin of victory in a match, usually in batches of 10 points although smaller ranges of 5 points are frequently seen.

Here, the bookmaker is limiting the rugby odds to either side winning by 1 – 12 points and then 13+, as well as maintaining the draw option.

Rugby Bet on Points

The odds are more generous, underlining how close this match is expected to be. In smaller points ranges, the rugby odds will shorten to fall more into line with the outright winning odds (see handicapping section below to underline this).

  1. Handicap Betting

Following on from the match outcome bet is handicap rugby betting. This is the bookmaker’s way of making the odds more ‘even’ in the match.

Rugby Betting Types

In this example, the Chiefs are favourites but to ‘even’ things out, a handicap has been applied to the outcome, indicated by “-1” next to their odds and “+1” beside the Highlanders odds.

The small numbers attached to both as a handicap indicate the match is viewed as difficult to call. In this instance, if you bet on the Chiefs, they begin the match with a ‘-1’ score with the bookmakers. For the bet to pay out, the Chiefs must win by more than one point.

If you bet on the Highlanders, there is a wider spread of results which will see the bet payout. Firstly, any defeat by less than one point will pay, as will a Highlanders victory.

However, in this instance, the handicaps are so marginal that looking at the outright odds is necessary. In the Highlanders case, you would bet on them outright rather than take the handicap.

Yet for the Chiefs, the handicap provides better odds. Outright, your return on a R10 stake is R8 yet here, the return is R9.09 (R10x10/11).

  1. Minor Markets

Some matches offer a broader range of markets; much depends on the bookmaker with the bigger tournaments such as Super Rugby, Six Nations, British Lions tours and test matches generally seeing more activity.

For sports bettors, some will be familiar. In the Chiefs versus Highlanders, the Half-Time market is available.

Half-time (or 1st Half) rugby betting operates on the same principles as match outcome betting. You are essentially betting on the score at half-time, provided that the full allotted time has been played.

Here, the odds for the Chiefs and Highlanders are the same as the two-way match outcome market. The draw, however, shortened; it’s not unusual for a draw at half-time to occur although, at 14/1, you will appreciate it isn’t a common score.

Total Points betting is the rugby betting equivalent of total goals. Here you will bet on the combined total points scored by both times at the final whistle. This also develops into points scored in the two halves, as well as under/over betting where the bookmaker will set a bar and you will wager that the combined – or single team – points will be higher or lower than the bar.

An interesting betting market in rugby is the ‘Race to 10 points’ and ‘Race to 20 points’. This can apply to halves as well and is a straight two-way bet between the two competing teams: first to the points total, wins. The odds here tend to reflect on how bookmakers view the match; there won’t be much between the two sides if it is going to be close, but a more one-sided affair will see the odds weighted to one team over the other.

  1. Player Markets

As with most team sports, player markets exist for rugby. These tend toward fact-based events and commonly down to who will score the first or last try, a hat-trick scorer or the top points scorer in a match. With the latter, a little research to find out players who take conversions and penalties will stand you in good stead.

There are a wealth of rugby markets when you dig under the surface. Each of the types of rugby betting above has derivations from the main heading which need a successful rugby betting strategy for profits to be turned.

We look at these in a later post.

For specialized and comprehensive local and international online rugby betting including Super Rugby, Currie Cup, Six Nations and Varsity Cup either in house and/or through our online sports betting facilities, visit Keith Ho BetXchange for the most competitive prices and the largest rugby betting options available in South Africa.


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