Rugby union betting
Besides soccer, rugby union is the most widely played form of football in the world. While its origins are firmly British, the game now has a strong following in continental Europe, Asia, Oceania, South Africa and the Americas. Let us show you all you need to know about rugby union betting, including which online sportsbooks offer the best rugby odds and bet specials for punters in United States.
Best sportsbooks for rugby union odds
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The most important thing about betting on rugby union is picking the right online bookmaker. There are hundreds of rugby betting sites out there nowadays, but how do you know which ones are legitimate and which are not?
BettingPlanet.com has done the hard work for you. We only feature online bookies that offer competitive odds, wide-ranging markets, convenient banking options, trusted security measures and superior customer service. Every one of our recommended rugby union bookies is licensed by a recognised online gambling regulator, so you can be sure that everything is up to scratch.
Hit the ‘Review’ links in the table above to find out more about the best rugby union betting sites for United States. If you are ready to get started, tap the ‘Bet Now’ buttons to begin the registration process. We suggest signing up at multiple online bookmakers to ensure you always get the best odds available.
Popular rugby union betting markets
The best online sportsbooks offer dozens of different ways to bet on rugby union, ranging from straight bets to the most obscure exotic wagers. The bet types below are among the most common.
- Match betting – This is not a difficult one to figure out. All you have to do is pick which team will win the match. The favourite to win is the team with the shorter odds. Rugby union match bets can be either two-way or three-way markets, the latter of which includes the option to bet on the draw.
- Handicap betting – Also called line bets, handicaps allow bookmakers to balance the odds by giving the outsider a virtual head start on points. If the Springboks have a -9.5 handicap, for instance, they must win by at least 10 points for the bet to pay. If it was a +9.5 handicap, however, they could lose the match by nine points and the bet would still win.
- Margin betting – The nature of scoring in rugby football means margin bets usually come with four choices: Team A win by 1-12 points, Team A win by 13+ points, Team B win by 1-12 points, or Team B win by 13+ points. There are variations, however, as many bookies also take bets on smaller points brackets and exact winning margins.
- Over/under betting – While over/under lines are similarly to handicap bets, they do not take into account the outcome of the match. The total match points over/under bet line is the most common, where you must decide whether the total number of points scored in a game will be above (e.g. over 35.5 points) or below (e.g. under 35.5 points) the given figure.
- Tryscorer betting – First scorer bets are wildly popular in all forms of football, and it is no different for rugby union. Online bookies also run odds for anytime tryscorer and multiple tryscorer markets, while double bets and specials featuring a tryscorer leg are also popular.
- Doubles and multis – Double bets consist of two separate propositions that have been combined to make a single wager. Half-time/full-time result is a common one, as is anytime tryscorer/match result. Multi bets are similar, except they cover multiple games at once and can feature as many legs as the bookie will accept.
- Futures and outrights – For major rugby union tournaments like the Rugby World Cup, online bookmakers will start taking bets months out from the main event. Outright winner odds are available for most professional rugby competitions, while the big ones come with dozens of future props like player of the tournament, top tryscorer, pool winner, winning continent and more.
Secure banking options at rugby union bookies
You cannot bet online without safe and convenient options for moving your money around. Rugby union sportsbooks support a number of trusted deposit options, such as:
- Wire transfer
Transaction limits, withdrawal options and processing times vary from bookmaker to bookmaker, so be sure to check out the available banking methods when you sign up.
Top rugby union tournaments
There are heaps of local leagues and major tournaments worldwide nowadays, but which are the best for rugby union betting? Open the tabs below to find out more.
- Rugby World Cup
Founded in 1987 and staged every four years since, the Rugby World Cup has emerged from humble beginnings to become a genuine highlight on the sporting calendar. South Africa’s win in 1995 will go down as one of the great moments in modern sport, while English fans will never forget Jonny Wilkinson’s winning drop goal against Australia in the 2003 final. Four nations have claimed the Webb Ellis Cup, with New Zealand leading the way on three RWC wins.
- Six Nations Championship
Each year, the national teams of England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales compete in the Six Nations Championship. As the successor to the old Home Nations Championship, which was founded way back in 1883, it is one of the oldest international football tournaments in the world. The English and the Welsh have enjoyed over 50 outright title wins between them over the years, while the French and Irish teams have found plenty of success since the turn of the millennium.
- Rugby Championship
Much like the Six Nations, the Rugby Championship is an annual tournament featuring the four leading national teams from the Southern Hemisphere. Australia, New Zealand and South Africa have competed in the Tri Nations since 1996, but the current format came about in 2012 when Argentina joined the ranks. The All Blacks have dominated from the beginning, winning 10 out of 16 Tri Nations titles before taking six of the first eight Rugby Championships.
- Rugby World Cup
- European Rugby Champions Cup – Featuring the top teams from the English Premiership, the French Top 14 and the Pro14, the Champions Cup is is rugby’s answer to the UEFA Champions League. Each year, the continent’s top 20 clubs compete in a group stage and knockout rounds to determine the champions of European rugby. Only teams from England, France and Ireland have ever won the trophy, with Leinster joining Toulouse on four titles with their 2018 triumph.
European Rugby Challenge Cup – If the Champions Cup is the Champions League, then the Challenge Cup is the Europa League. This second-tier tournament features the teams that failed to qualify for the Champions Cup but avoided relegation from their domestic competition, as well as the teams just promoted to the top flight. The Challenge Cup winner automatically qualifies for the following year’s Champions Cup tournament.
English Premiership Rugby – The top flight of English club rugby was founded in 1987, the same year as the Rugby World Cup. It features 12 teams, most of which hail from the southern half of the country. Bath, Gloucester, Leicester and Wasps are the only teams that have played every season in the top division. The Leicester Tigers have enjoyed more success than any other side, notching their 10th title in 2013.
Top 14 – France’s first division is one of the oldest and strongest domestic rugby competitions in the world. The maiden season was contested way back in 1892, when Racing Club de France (now Racing 92) defeated Stade Francais in the final at Bagatelle. The top teams from France are highly competitive in continental play, with 20-time Top 14 champions Toulouse widely regarded as one of the best clubs in Europe.
Pro14 – In 2001, the rugby unions of Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales joined forces to create an international club league that would allow their strongest clubs to compete at the highest level. The Pro12 became Pro14 in 2017 when South Africa’s Cheetahs and Southern Kings joined the fray. Irish giants Leinster bagged their sixth title in 2019.
- Super Rugby – Not unlike Europe’s Pro14, Super Rugby is an annual league competition that features 15 franchise teams from Argentina, Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Africa. The competition is divided into three conferences, with Japan’s Sunwolves playing in the Australian conference and Argentina’s Jaguares in the South African conference. The five NZ teams play in their own conference and regularly dominate the finals.
Mitre 10 Cup – The top professional rugby competition in NZ features 14 union teams split into two divisions. The top seven clubs play for the title in the Premiership, while the other seven compete for promotion in the Championship. The tournament was founded in 2006 and has run every year since, usually kicking off at the conclusion of the Super Rugby season. The team to beat most years is Canterbury, who won nine titles in 10 seasons between 2008 and 2017.
Currie Cup – South Africa’s domestic competition is one of the oldest and most prestigious in all of rugby union. Running since 1892, it features 15 teams split into two divisions. The seven teams in Premier Division compete for the Currie Cup, while the eight teams in First Division play for promotion to the top tier. Blue Bulls (formerly Northern Transvaal) and Western Province are the dominant forces in competition.
National Rugby Championship – Rugby Australia’s top domestic competition features eight teams, including one from Fiji. It emerged in 2014 from the ashes of the short-lived Australian Rugby Championship, which folded after one season in 2007. Like the Currie Cup and the Mitre 10 Cup, it serves as a second-tier professional league beneath Super Rugby. Brisbane City became the first team to win multiple NRC titles with back-to-back trophies in 2014 and 2015.