As Rugby League continues to grow, of course betting action is growing as well. Most online betting sites now offer Rugby League betting for all major tournaments as well as the bigger international leagues. While the rules of Rugby League differ from Rugby Union, the sports are similar enough that the types of bets offered are virtually the same.
The biggest Rugby League associations are the NRL (National Rugby League), and the European Engage Super League. The National Rugby League consists of fifteen Australian teams and one team from New Zealand, who all compete in the main NRL competition, the Telstra Premiership.
The Engage Super League consists of twelve teams from England, one from Wales, and one from France.
Every season, the champions of each league meet up in the World Club Challenge to determine the best Rugby League team in the world. Of course betting action is heavy for this event, and online betting sites up the ante for prop betting options.
How to Bet on Rugby Union
The most popular ways to bet on Rugby League are on the match coupon and the handicap. The match coupon is a straight-up bet on the winner of a match. The handicap gives points to the underdog, and takes points away from the favorite. The idea is to even out the match, offering in the neighborhood of 10/11 odds for either team. However, since so many punters wanted to eliminate losses to a draw, most betting sites also offer Asian handicapping. Prop bets and futures are popular as well.
Rugby League Handicap Betting
As mentioned above, a handicap bet (point spread) gives points to underdogs, and favourites give up points. This makes Rugby League matches more competitive and encourages betting on both teams. Since betting sites are looking to make their money on the juice rather than lost wagers, the handicap helps them achieve that.
Here’s what a typical Rugby League handicap looks like:
- Canberra Raiders: -6 10/11
- Gold Coast Titans: +6 10/11
- Tie: 16/1
In this case, the Canberra Raiders are favoured to win by 6 points, so for punters to win the bet, the Raiders must win by 7 or more points. If they win by exactly 6, then the result is a tie. If they win by 5 or fewer points or lose the game outright, bets on them lose as well.
For bets on the Gold Coast Titans to win, they can lose the game by 5 or fewer points. If they lose by exactly 6 points, the result is a tie.
In handicap betting, ties result in a loss for the punter. However, since the possibility of a tie exists, the odds for each team individually are higher than they are on Asian handicapping. Most online betting sites offer 16/1 odds on the tie.
Since a handicap is used, reputable betting sites generally offer 10/11 on either team. Some betting sites offer reduced juice, and if lines are shaded in either direction, this can affect the odds as well.
Rugby League Match Coupon Betting
Match coupon bets are straight-up bets on the winner of a match, with no handicap in place. So, favorites have lower odds, and underdogs have greater odds. A typical Rugby League match coupon would look like this:
- Brisbane Broncos: 4/11
- Penrith Panthers: 11/5
- Tie: 22/1
In the scenario above, the Brisbane Broncos are the favourite. As such, it requires a wager of €11 to win €4. Since the Penrith Panthers are the underdog, wagers of €5 would result in a profit of €11. The more one team is favoured over the other, the higher the odds for a tie. Since a tie is more likely to occur in a closely contested match, the odds are lower.
Rugby League Asian Handicapping
To decrease the chances for a losing bet, some betting sites offer punters the ability to bet on games without losing to a tie. This is called Asian handicapping, and while a tie results in a push instead of a loss, the odds for each team winning is lower than it is on a standard match coupon bet.
The best time to choose this type of wager over a match coupon is when a game is considered to be too close to call. If a matchup is extremely close, the punter gives himself protection versus a match coupon bet.
Rugby League Winning Margin Bets
A winning margin bet is exactly as it sounds, a bet on the difference in the score of each team. These are fun & interesting bets for punters who pay close attention to Rugby League. If a team beats their opponent by 7 points, that is the margin. Margins can be selected in 5 point increments, starting from 1-5, 6-10, and up to 41-45. Bets can also be placed on 46+ point margins.
Some punters prefer to select the margin in which the point spread is in. Others prefer to go after greater odds by selecting a different margin.
When you do the math, the juice paid in winning margin bets tend to be slightly higher than match coupon or handicap bets. As always, compare odds at several online betting sites before placing your bets.
Rugby League Futures Bets
Futures bets are wagers placed on league champions. A punters job is to predict which team will win their respective league. These are fun bets for casual punters, but not advised for serious or professional handicappers. The problem with a futures bet is that it takes an entire season to get paid – if you’re lucky enough to win.
Futures bets can also be placed on the World Cup and various international tournaments. Most online betting sites that focus on European & Australian sports offer the best selection of Rugby League futures bets.
If you’re picking an underdog to win, you’ll find the best odds before the season begins (if your prediction is correct). If your team starts the season off winning, their odds will go down. For this reason, place underdog futures bets before seasons begin.
For favourites, some punters prefer to wait until a few games have been played. While it’s not deep enough into the season to greatly affect the odds, it gives punters the chance to see if the team is performing up to expectations before placing their bet.
For serious handicappers, we recommend keeping your Rugby League futures bets down to a maximum of .5% of your bankroll. Otherwise you’ll be tying up too much of your bankroll for too long.
Rugby League Prop Bets
The variety of prop bets that are available for Rugby League vary based on a few factors. These factors include the betting site, the popularity of the game & event (or league), and the type of customer base at each betting site. For example, sites that focus more heavily on Australian sports versus European sports are more likely to offer a good selection of NRL props. Those that put more focus on European sports will generally offer better prop bets for the Engage Super League.
With all of this said, to find the best prices on prop bets, we recommend that punters register accounts at several online betting sites. Then, compare odds & vig before placing your prop bets.
Some typical Rugby League prop bets include:
- First or last try scorer (player or team).
- Score at different times of a game.
- Top try scorer (team or player).
World Club Challenge Betting
Every year, the World Club Challenge spurs the bitter rivalry between the two premier Rugby League associations in the world, the NRL and Engage Super League. While the event was designed to pit the top teams from Europe and Australasia, the event is a bit of a farce. The British continue to demand that the event be held on UK soil at the beginning of each season. The Australians would prefer to run the event at the end of each season, and switch to Australian venues every-other year.
Part of the problem with holding the event before a new season is that teams have player changes during the off-season. This means that last year’s championship team isn’t necessarily the same team competing in the World Club Challenge.
While the British think of this as an event for bragging rights as the best team in the world, the Australians see the event as little more than a pre-season warmup. It’s a shame because this could be the premier Rugby League event in the sport.
Regardless, the World Club Challenge is still very popular amongst Rugby League fans. For punters, this means a wide variety of prop bets can be found, along with all of the typical Rugby League betting options.
When betting on the World Club Challenge, historical data that means anything to punters only dates back to 2000, when the current rules of the event were last adjusted. Up until 2000, there were changes to the World Club Challenge seemingly every year, changes that greatly affect our ability to follow streaks from that time.
Rugby League World Cup Betting Online
Comprising of the top 16 teams in the world, this is one of the largest events in Rugby League. Of course this means that betting on the World Cup is extremely popular as well. However, competition hasn’t been as competitive as organizers would like, and this has caused problems for international popularity and scheduling. So, the event is not always held every four years, with some longer gaps between World Cups.
Every betting site offers all of the standard handicap, match coupon, and futures bets on the tournament winner. Many of them open up their betting options for Asian handicapping as well. More prop bets can be found for every game, but prop bets usually ask for a higher vig than other wagers. Before placing any Rugby League World Cup prop bets, always shop for the best price.