Rugby League Betting Guide

July 07, 2022


It’s a big year in the Rugby League world. Always a popular betting sport thanks to the success and coverage of the Super League, things move up a notch in 2022 with the latest edition of the Rugby League World Cup. As such, now seems an opportune time to delve into the key factors to consider when looking to make the sport pay.

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Popular Betting Markets

First things first - what are the biggest betting markets? In common with most sports, there is a wide range of punting opportunities available for Rugby League – well over 50 for the biggest games. However, year after year it is the following five which prove the most popular.

  • Match Betting - Simply a bet on which team will win the match.
  • Handicap - In handicap betting one side receives a theoretical head start over the other. E.g., St. Helens -4 Wigan +4. A bet on St. Helens -4 will win should the Saints win the game by more than 4 points. Wigan +4 backers will collect should the Warriors win or draw the game or lose by less than 4 points. A St. Helens victory by exactly 4 points meanwhile would result in a handicap tie.
  • Winning Margins - A bet on how many points a side will win by. E.g., St. Helens to win by 1-5 points.
  • First Tryscorer - Which player will score the first try in the match.
  • Over/Under Points - Whether the total number of points in the game will fall over or under a specified total. E.g., Total match points over or under 43.5.

Betting Considerations

Knowing what we are able to bet on is a good starting point, but the real trick is in deciding how best to take advantage of the various markets available. As with all forms of sports betting there is no substitute for doing your homework. Sites such as Totalrl.com and rugby-leaugue.com being excellent sources of information including coach interviews, team news etc. Researching the teams and players aside, there are many strategies punters can apply when attempting to boost their bottom line, with the following three topping our own personal list.

Remember the Weather

Scoring tries is rarely a straightforward task – all the more difficult when the ball is handling like a bar of soap! Reacting early to forecast heavy rain is one way in which punters may gain an edge over the bookmakers. Deluge forecast? The following two bets may be well worth considering:

  • Back Under in the Total Points Market - A common sense bet given the increased difficulty of scoring tries
  • Support sides with a large start on the handicap - Lower points leads to closer games. Punters should especially look to oppose favourites who rely on an expansive passing game.

Avoid Whole Point Handicaps

When setting the handicaps for the latest round of fixtures, many bookmakers will opt for a whole-point handicap. And there’s a very good reason for this. Setting a whole point handicap brings in the possibility of a handicap tie, seeing bets on both the favourites and the underdogs settled as losers – the only winners being the bookmakers themselves and those brave enough to speculate on the handicap tie at odds of around 16/1.

In the modern era, however, there is simply no reason to have the tie working against you. In such a competitive betting landscape, punters don’t have to search too hard to find a firm offering odds on a half-point handicap, +4.5/-4.5 as opposed to +4/-4 for example. If the option is available, the advice is to ALWAYS bet on the half-point handicap which takes the dreaded tie out of the equation.

Anticipate Team News

Accurately assessing team information before it is announced to the public – and odds compilers – can put bettors one step ahead. In the very biggest games - such as regular-season clashes between the top four sides, or playoff matches - teams will always field their best available side. In other games, this is not always the case.

Consider for example a late-season clash in which a side already qualified for the playoffs, but with no chance of making the top two, takes on a team fighting for their lives to beat the drop. The playoff-bound team are clearly the more talented outfit but, with no real incentive, may well rest a large number of players. It is after all in their interests to keep their star men fit for when it really matters.

Or perhaps a lower-ranked team face successive fixtures against a side battling for a top-two finish, followed by a huge clash against their relegation rivals. In this instance, it may be the outsiders who keep their best players on the bench in the first match in order to keep them fresh for the game they have a more realistic shot at winning. Applying a touch of logic, and consulting the league table and fixture list, can often enable punters to latch onto factors which may not be fully reflected in the handicap odds.


You might also be interested in:

Rugby Betting Explained Simply

What is a Sports Betting Middle and How Easy is it to Use?


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