It could be argued that Rugby is at least equally as popular as Football, and that the supporters are simply different crowds. However, what they do have in common is that we know with so many great events and games to bet on, punters still love a bet on the Rugby.
You can bet on either Rugby Union or Rugby League. Fundamentally they are very similar games, and for the purposes of this betting guide you can consider them as the same. In practice they are games played on different sized fields, with different numbers of players, and with different amount of points scored. So OK, maybe they are a bit different.
The Main Events
In Rugby Union the biggest event is obviously the World Cup, but that only comes around once every four years. For that reason the Six Nations is undoubtedly the highlight of the year. The Six Nations offers not only a market in the `winner takes all´ stakes of the Championship Trophy and the `grand slam´, but also markets in each individual match, as well as several other sub-trophies including the Triple Crown Trophy, the Calcutta Cup, the Centenary Quaich, the Giuseppe Garibaldi Trophy and the Millennium Trophy. For the best prices, look at the form book from the Autumn internationals before placing any bet on the Championship though - Wales won the thing last year, but entered this year´s tournament on a record losing streak. On a domestic level there´s the Heineken Cup, the Aviva Premiership and the RFU Championship if you prefer sinking your teeth into the domestic form and statistics.
From a Rugby League perspective there are just as many events to splash your cash on including: The Challenge Cup, the Championship, the Northern rail cup and of course the world cup.
Whichever way you decide to look at it, there are a lot of tournament permutations to bet on. In the 6 nations if you´re backing a team to win the tournament overall then the clever money has to be to on backing the same side to win the grand slam. In the past 11 years on only 3 occasions has the winner of the Championship trophy failed to sweep the board and win the grand slam. Another clever 6 nations bet has to be to back Scotland for the wooden spoon. It´s usually a toss up between Scotland and Italy, but Italy are a real emerging force.
The Usual Fare
On a `by match´ basis we really are spoilt for choice for places to make clever bets. Aside from betting on the winner, a clever bet is often to bet on the winning margin. By following the form guide coming into a match it´s often easy to tell if a particular game is likely to be close or one sided. In the case of two equally matched teams, opt for a low-scoring match (so back a low points total), a small margin of victory, and also for there to be a greater proportion of kicks than tries.
Another banker is to back the first points of the match to be scored by a penalty rather than a try. How often have you watched a team in the early stages of a match opt for the penalty rather than take the scrum and go for the try? They´ll usually go for the kick, just to get the early points on the board. The odds will obviously reflect this probability but if you can find some good odds this is usually a safe bet.