There is a small, but enthusiastic rugby playing community in Canada and it’s one that continues to grow at an impressive rate. The oval shaped ball certainly has its place in college games up and down the country while the national sides continue to develop.
While the game builds, interest in rugby betting is also on the rise. Tournaments such as the Rugby Union World Cup have helped to fire that interest while the national sides record occasional, impressive victories over higher-ranked opposition.
Rugby has always enjoyed its share of attention from the Canadian betting community but it’s certainly been on the increase since the national Union side started competing on a more regular basis. The general relaxing of gambling laws in North America has also seen a knock on effect with more sportsbooks now looking to target this part of the world.
With more opportunities to bet on rugby than ever before, it’s important to understand all of the options before we commit to signing up with a bookmaker and studying the markets.
So, if you’ve ever wanted to know how to bet on rugby, please read on.
Rugby Types and Tournaments
Before you start your own rugby betting journey, it’s important to understand that there are two distinct codes of the game. Rugby Union and Rugby League are variations of the same sport and the obvious difference is that Union is a 15-man game while League features 13 players on each side.
Beyond that basic distinction, the differences in rules are quite complex and we don’t really have room to go through everything here. It’s not really important to grasp those differences when you’re working through rugby odds but you should be aware of the two options.
Each code has its own set of tournaments so let’s now move on and consider the biggest rugby events from all over the world.
Top Rugby Betting Events
If you’re looking to get involved with Rugby Union betting, the biggest tournament of all is the World Cup. This takes place every four years and the most recent competition was held in Japan in 2019.
The biggest sides in world rugby will automatically progress to the finals while tier two nations – including Canada – will need to undertake a series of qualifying rounds. You should be able to find a rugby betting line or two for those qualifying matches but the widest set of markets will apply to the rugby world cup itself.
Away from the big tournaments, Rugby Union also has some top international competitions to bet on. In the Northern Hemisphere, the Six Nations is an annual battle between England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, France and Italy. Sides play each other once and the country who leads the table wins the trophy.
If you want to bet on rugby during this tournament, there are hundreds of markets during the event and the same principle applies to the Rugby Championship. This is a competition between New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Argentina so, while there are fewer teams, the title is arguably more hotly contested than the Six Nations.
Each country has its own club championship and we can include Canada in that list. Look out too for Canada’s international matches as certain rugby betting sites will produce more markets during those games.
When we switch to Rugby League, we find that this code also has its own World Cup. In fact, it predates it’s Union counterpart by some distance as the very first Rugby League World Cup took place in 1954 and the most recent title was won by Australia in 2017.
Punters should also watch out for Rugby League’s Four Nations: This is a competition held on an irregular basis and it features New Zealand, Australia and England as its three core sides.
As with Rugby Union, there are domestic competitions taking place all over the world. Perhaps the most attractive of these is the Super League which is based in the UK but includes other sides from across the globe. In fact, there is some Canadian interest here as the current editions of Super League include the Toronto Wolfpack – a team who were formed as recently as 2016.
Once again, there is plenty of rugby betting interest whenever these tournaments come along so keep watching the markets as they appear.
Rugby Betting Lines: Rugby Betting Odds
We now know about the big tournaments but what rugby bets can we actually take? The majority of sportsbooks will publish odds for the rugby betting line on the match result but there are other options. We will discuss those options in greater detail in a moment but the point here is to make sure that you find a sportsbook operator with lots of different markets.
Having a better range of rugby betting lines helps one bookmaker to stand out from the opposition and we can generally trust that outlet when it comes to signing up with a new provider.
Odds are also important as we need to know that we are getting value for money. We don’t want to keep playing with a bookmaker who offers +1000 when someone else consistently quotes +1500. In a moment, we will take a look at some of our recommended operators but firstly, we will take a look at the range of betting lines that you can expect to find when you’re taking a punt on either Rugby League or Rugby Union.
Types of Rugby Bets
The most obvious of these is the rugby betting line on the straight result – also known as the Moneyline. Here, we have the option to bet on either side or we could stake on the draw. The draw option can happen in rugby but it is quite rare and you can expect rugby odds to come in at around +2200 for this.
With each rugby match, there is a wide selection of prop bets, some of which focus on individual players. First try scorer betting is available and while this isn’t as common as the first goal scorer bet in soccer, most bookmakers will list their prices for the biggest Rugby League and Rugby Union matches.
Method of first points scored is also an option with a smaller set of rugby bookies. Here, we have just three bets of a penalty, a try or a drop goal. Drop goals are quite rare in the game so for many punters, it’s just a straight choice between the try and the penalty.
From here, we move on to rugby odds that are all related to points. There are a number of ways in which to score points in a game and if we take Rugby Union as the first example, 5 points are awarded for a try, 3 for a penalty, 3 for a drop goal and 2 for a conversion.
Markets are, therefore, made available by most bookmakers for Total Points in the match. These can relate to a combined total for the two sides or one side only. Sportsbooks who get behind this type of bet will list a number of rugby betting lines, and it’s the punter’s job to pick one of those levels and decide whether to bet Over or Under.
Bookmakers may also list options for the highest scoring half and whether the total points score will be odd or even. These are rarer and will only tend to appear for the bigger games but they are available on occasions and they can be profitable.
In summary, there is a wide choice of rugby betting opportunities so the next job is to find a bookmaker to partner with.
Rugby Betting Sites for Canadians
At this point in our rugby betting journey, we need to pick a betting site to play with. We should already be aware that the Canadian betting market is quite restrictive but there are some options open to us.
Among our recommended places to bet on rugby are Sports Interaction who are actually based in Canada. That’s a big advantage because it allows players to play easily in their default currency and to use funding options that are accessible to all bettors within the country.
That’s a positive start but Sports Interaction go on to back this up by providing a great set of rugby markets – both for Union and League – and their odds are always competitive. In short, it’s a good all rounder and a logical place for Canadian customers to start.
Of the many sites that are based overseas but are accessible to players in Canada, we would suggest looking at William Hill. This is a long-established brand who were set up way before digital betting was available and there is an important trust element associated with that.
William Hill also deliver in the modern day with excellent rugby odds which are backed up by a host of offers and promotions plus they have a superb range of markets for both Union and League.
Of the overseas sites that have come along since the birth of the digital age, Unibet and bet365 are two of our favourites. Both have similar elements to offer and they are exceptionally strong in the live rugby betting markets. However, even if you are looking for an ante post bet, both bookmakers combine those key elements of competitive odds along with an excellent selection of markets for both Union and League.
How to Choose a Rugby Betting Site
The simplest way to choose a rugby betting site is to follow our recommendations but you are naturally free to do your own research. Finding the right operator for any sport may take time but the method of approach is fairly simple.
Essentially, we need our sportsbook to give us excellent odds in the first instance. It’s no use putting our faith in a site who are one or two points behind the rest of the industry when it comes to their pricing. Checking this is fairly easy as you can look at the main odds comparison sites. The issue comes when you’re considering a sportsbook that isn’t included on that list and at that point, you need to check a selection of rugby odds yourself.
The second element relates to choice although this may not be as important for every customer. Some punters will be happy just to focus on the result of any rugby match and that’s fine. It’s a sport where shock results can be rare and this is a practice that both new and experienced bettors like to carry out.
However, many of us also like to consider those side markets and, if they are important to you, you will need to find a rugby betting site that covers them extensively. Use those two factors of choice and value and you should be able to identify additional operators on top of our own list.
Live Rugby Betting
Both codes of rugby are played over 80 minutes and in that time, there can be plenty of twists and turns. Live rugby bets are popular in a number of areas of the betting community and you can get involved too.
The vast majority of bets from the ante post markets can be carried over including the result and total points but, as anyone who has placed a live bet will know, the drama of sport means that you can get better odds if you focus on in play.
A number of bookies will also offer live streaming which will allow you to watch the game as it unfolds. It’s all part of a great overall package that makes betting on rugby one of the most popular pastimes for sports lovers both in Canada and across the world.