Rugby League betting markets and strategies

Not only is Rugby League one of the world’s most popular sports but also the most physically intensive and televised sport in the world. It would come to little surprise to punters and Rugby fans that bookies offer an array of betting options and numerous markets as well as sub-markets for betting in events like the National Rugby League and State of Origins.

If a tournament or league is particularly competitive, the favourite may be offered at a short price, or the fancied teams will form a short-priced group at the head of the market. This generally leads to win only betting, though some punters like to back the outsiders. Apart from outright wins, a popular sport like Rugby League can only do just if they offer a wider range of betting markets, enough to dabble the punter and create unprecedented excitement while watching the game.

Rugby League Head to Head

2 teams, 13 players on each side and you choose who wins. Head to head betting is possibly the simplest and most common form of betting not just in Rugby League but in any major sport. Head to head betting describes markets in which there are odds about the two sides winning the match. A common example of head to head bet would be:

  • Manly Sea Eagles 1.60
  • Melbourne Storm 2.25

A bet on Manly Sea Eagles means if Manly wins, you win 1.60 times your bet. In this bet line, it is clear the Manly are the favourites and Melbourne Storm are the underdogs as Melbourne has better odds than Manly but it does not necessarily mean that Manly are to win the game. This head to head bet can be placed in 2 halves, where you bet on who will be winning on the before half time and after.

Making a head to head bet follows the most basic of betting strategies, RESEARCH. Head to head match stats on both the teams, injuries, home and away advantages etc. need thorough research before placing a bet in either one of those. Although past meetings can have an impact on a result, too much is often made of head-to-head results. Current form, say, the last six matches, is far more relevant to the winning chance of each team. Because head to head bets are simple, it definitely involves high risk, but with the proper statistics, you can always reduce the house edge.

Rugby League Handicap Betting

In handicap rugby betting, the better team concedes points start to the lesser side. Handicap bets even up the sides a bit which is why this is one of the most popular betting options, preferred by many punters. If the bookie adds and subtracts even points to the favourite and the underdog, it’s a line bet. A typical line bet may look like:

  • Manly Sea Eagles 2.00 (-3.5 points)
  • Melbourne Storm 2.00 (+3.5 points)

The above line bet showed that originally Manly Sea Eagles had a theoretical advantage of 3.5 point but now with the handicap line bet, they have evened up. So even if Melbourne loose with 2 points behind Manly, you will still win the bet if you had placed your wager on the underdog.

Another popular form of handicap betting is Points betting. It follows the basics of line betting apart from the fact that if does not evenly adjust points to the team. A point bet you look like

  • Manly Sea Eagles 1.92 (-5.5 points)
  • Melbourne Storm 1.92 (+1.5 points)

However, unlike head-to-head and line betting, bookmakers are not guaranteed to pay out on a winner because the handicaps do not align. For example, if Manly won the example match by four points, punters who backed the Tigers in either head-to-head betting or line betting (-3.5 points) would receive payouts but neither Tigers nor Dragons supporters would land their line betting wagers because according to the points distribution above, a 4 point margin win by Manly would even the points and end the match at a draw.

Rugby League Margin Betting

Margin betting is when you determine the final points scored by the teams in a match. These are typically given in a range like 1-12 points and 13+ points per side. The odds demonstrated in margin betting may look like

Manly Sea Eagles 3.10 (1-12 points)

Manly Sea Eagles 3.25 (13+ points)

Melbourne Storm 3.50 (1-12 points)

Melbourne Storm 5.40 (13+ points)

Draw 23.00

In the betting option presented above, a win on either one or more of the options would require the team to score corresponding points shown next to it.

In Rugby League, a try is worth 4 points and a conversion is worth 2 additional points so for a punter to place margin bets, they need to know the average tries scored and conversion rate of the teams. It is also important to know whether the team has a strong defence or attack system. Knowledge of teams’ defence and attack capabilities gives a marked advantage in selecting rugby betting winners, especially in margin bets. If the team has a strong defence, there is less chance that the opposition will have total points of 13 and if the team has a strong attack, it is more likely that total points exceed 13.

Exotic bets in Rugby League

Apart from the basic head to heads, handicaps and margins, bookmakers offer a whole lot of unique bets to keep the betting spirit of punters alive. Exotic bets found in the list of most bookmakers are First Score, First/Last try scorer and 40/20 kicks.

First Score

First score is an interesting manner of betting where players can guess which team will score first and in what form a try, penalty or a dropgoal. Bookies may also make it more interesting by adding stipulations with additional incentives such as ‘To Score first and Win/or Loose”.

First/Last Try Scorer

This exotic bet involves naming the team and the player to score the first try in the match. Although difficult to predict, this is offset by the generous odds offered by the bookmaker. In order to better predict and win in this market, punters can research on which player has attempted and scored the most number of tries in a Rugby match. This increases the probability of you placing the right bet.