Beginners Guide to Rugby Betting

Rugby is fast becoming popular the world over, garnering more spectatorship from punters by the day. For this reason, the gambling scene is seeing a considerable increase in rugby betting sites.

Many beginners find the different codes or formats of the game rather complex and difficult to follow. The sport has two distinct codes, namely the Rugby Union and Rugby League. Each code has its specific set of rules and is targeted at a different audience.

In this article, we’ll highlight all you need to know about these codes, as well as the basic betting rules. We’ll also give you a few rugby betting tips, pointers on the best rugby betting sites and highlight a few popular competitions to be aware of. At the end of the article, you should be more than confident to wager money on your favourite sport!

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Understanding the rules

rugby match

To better understand how rugby betting works, you need to know the basic rules of the sport. These rules will help you to analyze the mentioned codes and ultimately help you with your betting strategy. Generally, a rugby game lasts for 80 minutes, with each half lasting 40 minutes.

Depending on the type of game, each team can have up to 15 players with 7 substitutes. The game has one referee and two judges. Players should never pass the ball forward, and they can’t tackle above the shoulders. If the ball goes into touch, a line out is called, and 7 players can form this line out. A successful conversion occurs if a player kicks the ball through the top section of the crossbar.

Rugby Union rules

Moving on to the codes, we’ll start by taking a closer look at the Rugby Union rules. Rugby Union comprises two teams with 15 players each. Games last for 80 minutes with 40 minutes for each half. The main goal of this game is for a team to get the ball past the opposition’s try line. If the team succeeds, it wins 5 points. Once the team successfully records a try, they have the chance to kick the ball through the two posts—known as a conversion — to gain two additional points.

Defenders try to hold off the attacking team by tackling them to the floor. If the attacker falls to the ground, it’s called a ruck. If the attacker remains to stand, it’s called a maul. If at any point an infringement occurs, such as tackling over the shoulders or pushing the ball forward, an offside decision results. In this case, the opposing team has the chance to kick the ball downfield to form a line out or opt to form a scrum.

Rugby League rules

With Rugby League betting, rules are similar to Rugby Union games, where the game’s duration and how teams score points are concerned. The difference lies in the fact that Rugby League games have a quicker pace. Also, where a try gives a team five points in Rugby Union, the team gets only four with Rugby League games. Conversions also have two points. A drop goal has one point, whereas it attracts three points in Rugby Union.

Rugby League games have only 13 players for each team. There are no rucks or mauls in Rugby League games. Instead, if a player is tackled, he retains possession of the ball and rolls it back to his teammate. In addition, with League games, players have a limited time to hold the ball. Also, players can only be tackled six times before turning over the ball. Plus, there are no line-outs.

Where to find Rugby betting websites?

Even though rugby betting websites are popping up everywhere, not all of them are created equal or worth your time. As such, to get the most of your betting experience, you need to sign up with a site that provides the best rugby betting opportunities. In our table below, you can find the top bookmakers for rugby betting with the best odds.

Rating: 5.0/5
  • Trusted Online Betting Website
  • Licensed by the UKGC
  • Best Sports Betting Features
  • High Odds
New Customers only. Registration required. Bet £10* & Get £30* in Free Bets. Sign up, deposit between £5* and £10* to your account and bet365 will give you three times that value in Free Bets when you place qualifying bets to the same value and they are settled. Free Bets are paid as Bet Credits. Min odds/bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. +18 | Terms & Conditions time limits & exclusions apply. #Advertisement
Rating: 4.9/5
  • Trusted & Secure Online Betting Site
  • Competitive Sports Betting Odds and Markets
  • Great Range of Casino Games
  • Professional Customer Support
New customers only. This offer is valid for 7 days from your new account being registered. Min Deposit: £10. Free Bet awarded: £10. 1 x £10 must be wagered at odds of 1.75+ to unlock Free Bet. Debit Card deposits only (exclusions apply). Free bet will expire 7 days after the 1st deposit. 18+. Bet The Responsible Way. Full Terms apply |
Rating: 4.6/5
  • Fantastic bonuses
  • Good sportsbook
  • Amazing casino games
  • Many payment methods
#ad • +18 Min deposit £10 • A qualifying bet is a ‘real money’ stake of at least £10 • Min odds 1/2 (1.50) • Free Bets credited upon qualifying bet settlement and expire after 7 days • Free Bet stakes not included in returns • Casino Bonus must be claimed within 7 days and expires after 14 days • Bonus valid on selected Casino games only • Bonus wins capped at £500, excluding Jackpot wins • You must wager Bonus amount x40 – this requirement varies by game Full T&Cs apply | begamblingaware | | Play Responsibly
Rating: 4.2/5
  • An amazing sportsbook
  • Superb bonus offers
  • Cash-out feature available
  • Mobile apps
18+ | New Players only | Get up to £50 in FreeBets, an Odds Boost Token, 20 Free Spins and £10 Casino Bonus when you sign up to Sportingbet today. | T&C apply | | | Play Responsibly
Rating: 4.6/5
  • Extensive sports library
  • High odds
  • Separate apps for sports, casino, and poker
  • Fully legal and licensed
18+ | New UK players only | Min deposit req. £10 | Certain deposit methods excluded | Pace 1 sport bet (3+ selections) } Excl Horse Racing | Min stake £10 | Max stake £20 | Min odds 2/1 (3.0) for each selection | Max FreeBet £20 for football only | FreeBet valid for 7 days | FreeBet stake not returned | T&Cs apply | |
Rating: 4.9/5
  • Trusted online betting site
  • Great range of Sports Betting markets
  • Top-class Customer service
  • Various Payment methods
18+. Play Safe. From 00:01 on 18.10.2022. £30 bonus. New customers using Promo Code R30 only. Minimum £10 stake on odds of 1/2 (1.5) or greater on sportsbook (excluding Virtual markets). Further terms apply. #ad T&C apply | | | Play Responsibly
Rating: 4.3/5
  • Generous welcome pack + Free Spins
  • High-quality games by top suppliers
  • Regular Tournaments & Must-Drop Jackpots
Only available to new verified customers residing in the UK. Place a first ever sports bet (£10 min. stake; single bets only; min. odds 2/5). Get 2x£5 in free sports bets, £10 in bonus money at Casino and 20 free spins (£0.10 per spin) on eligible NetEnt Slots. Payment method restrictions apply. T&Cs apply. | 18+ | | | Play Responsibly
Rating: 4.4/5
  • Great Sports Betting Coverage
  • Secure Deposits and Withdrawals
  • Enhanced Player Security
  • Various Promotions
18+ | T&Cs apply. New reg only. Claim by placing a min deposit £10 via "My Offers" page within 30 days. 7 days to stake max £10 in-play, min odds 1/1. Max. extra winnings £100. Once claimed, 30-day expiry. Cashed out, System & EW bets do not qualify. Other Promotional Play Restrictions Apply. (Full T&Cs apply) | | LeoSafePlay
Rating: 4.4/5
  • Trusted & Licensed UK Brand
  • Great Customer Support
  • Competitive Odds
  • Various Sports Betting Features
18+. UK Customers (Excluding NI) only. Cash stakes only. Min £10 stake required for initial £5 free bet. Min odds ½. Max £25 in free bets. Subsequent free bets equal 50% average of each 3 £5 max qualifying bets. 13 settled bets required to receive full £25 free bet. Qualifying bets must be placed on sportsbook within 30 days of opening account. Cashed out bets will not qualify towards your average stake. One free bet offer per customer, household or IP address only. Free bet expires after 7 days. Payment method restrictions apply. 18+. T&Cs apply. | |
Rating: 4.6/5
  • Good looking website
  • An operator with a long history
  • Great selection of sports
  • Helpful customer support
18+ Eligible UK+IRE players. Paypal & some deposit & bet types excl. Min first £5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 = 4 x £5 free bets. Free bets valid for 7 days, stake not returned. No cashout, restrictions + T&Cs apply. | |
Rating: 4.7/5
  • Trusted Betting Site
  • Great Range of Daily Sports Betting Markets
  • Live Streaming & Other Features are Available
  • Mobile App for Android and iOS
18+. New customers only. Min Dep £10. Debit cards only. Opt in for bonus funds. Wagering, sportsbook 3x at min. odds of 1.40 (2/5), casino 50x. Sports bonus must be wagered before using the casino bonus. Valid for 7 days. Geographical Restrictions and T&Cs Apply. | 18+ | | | Play Responsibly
Rating: 4.6/5
  • Huge amount of promotions
  • Live dealer and casino games
  • VIP program
  • Helpful customer support
New Players Only. Free bet is a one-time stake of €/$/£10, minimum odds of 1.5, stake is not returned. 10X wagering the winnings. Wagering occurs from real balance first. Wagering requirement is calculated on bonus bets only, wagering starts from real funds. Max conversion: €/$/£20. Valid for 7 Days from issue. Excluded Skrill deposits. 18+ T&C apply | | | Play Responsibly
Rating: 4.6/5
  • Attractive Odds
  • Fun bets available
  • Cash-out feature
18+ | UK new customers only | KYC verified | Min £10 bet | Max £20 free bet (2 x £10) full amount awarded on losing first bet only | Min odds 7/10 (1.70) | Free bet stake not returned | Certain Markets/sports/payment methods restrictions apply | Cashed-out and Bet Builder bets are excluded from this offer | Qualifying bet must be made within 30 days | Free bet valid for 30 days | T&C's apply | | | Play Responsibly
Rating: 4.7/5
  • Trusted & Licensed UK Brand
  • A wide array of promotions
  • Various Sports betting features
  • Various payment options
New UK 18+ only. Register with promo code WELCOME40, Bet £10+ on Sports in one transaction. Get £30 Free Bets & £10 free spins within 10hrs of bet settlement. Bonuses expire 7 days after issue. Min odds, eligibility & payment exclusions apply. Full T&Cs apply. | | | Play Responsibly
Rating: 4.5/5
  • Good welcome offer
  • Active cash-out option
  • Plenty of sports
New bettors; Code SPORT; Wager deposit & bonus 8x; Max qualifying bet stake=initial bonus; Valid 60 days; Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply; T&C apply; 18+ | | Play Responsibly
Rating: 4.5/5
  • Reliable & professional brand
  • UKGC licensed
  • Great betting features
  • Wide variety of horse races
New UK/IE customers only. Sign up and place your first sports bet at odds of Evens (2.0) or greater and if it loses, get a free bet equivalent to 50% of your first bet stake (min £10), to a maximum value of £25, plus 25 free spins on Gold Horsey Winner. Full T&Cs apply.18+ | | | Play Responsibly
Rating: 4.6/5
  • UKGC Licensed Bookmaker
  • Wide Range of Sports Betting Options
  • Competitive Odds
  • Professional Support
18+ Opt in, bet £10 on football (odds 2.00+). No cash out. Get 6x£5 football free bets at specified odds for set markets, 7 days expiry. Valid from 12:00 UK Time on 25/08/2023. Card payments only. T&Cs apply | | | Please gamble responsibly
Rating: 4.5/5
  • Good payment methods
  • Allows easier access to mobile betting games without the need of a browser
New Customers Only, Sign up using Bonus Code: MB:20. Place your first bet, if it loses we will refund your first bet stake as a free bet, up to the value of £20. The first bet must be placed within 7 days of registration and at odds of 1.8 or more. 18+ T&C apply | | | Play Responsibly
Rating: 4.4/5
  • Licensed bookie
  • A lot of betting features
  • Live betting
  • A ton of payment options
Rating: 4.4/5
  • Great range of sports betting options
  • Cash out is available
  • Wide array of casino games
New Customers Only. Max one £10 Free bet. Qualifying bets must be placed at odds of 1/1 or greater. Paid as bonus token with min 4/5 odds req. Skrill, Neteller & PayPal not eligible. T&Cs Apply. 18+ | | Play Responsibly
Rating: 4.3/5
  • Hundreds of betting options on over 15 sports
  • Welcome bonus with low wagering requirements
  • Fast & Secure payments
  • Licensed in Sierra Leone
18+ T&C apply | Play Responsibly
Rating: 4.2/5
  • Cash out option is available
  • Modern and stylish approach
  • Huge selection of games from several providers
Bet £10 Get £10 Free Acca Bet | T&Cs apply. New players only. Qualifying bet(s) must have minimum odds of 4.0 and must be settled before triggering free bet. Free Bet must be used on an accumulator with 3 or more selections. 18+ | | | Play Responsibly
Rating: 4.2/5
  • Slight and easy-to-navigate design
  • Fast and secure payments
  • Welcome sports bonus for the first deposit
  • Live betting & other betting features available
18+ T&C apply | Play Responsibly
Rating: 4.2/5
  • 15+ Sports & Competitive odds
  • Android betting APP available
  • Welcome bonus for sports
  • Separate sections for casino games, aviator & virtuals
18+ T&C apply | Play Responsibly

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So, what makes the best rugby bookie, you might ask? Well, first, you need to check if the site offers a generous welcome bonus. Then you must check if the bookie puts forward the rugby betting odds early. Such sites are trustworthy and prove their reliability than those that update odds minutes before the game starts. You also want to pick a website that offers competitive odds.

Also, check if the betting platform offers several major competitions and a wide range of betting markets. You’ll also want to pledge allegiance with the site that offers things like in-play betting, where you can bet during the game.

How to bet on Rugby Union or Rugby League?

Betting on rugby union or rugby league is not difficult, and the process is the same for both options. Follow the step-by-step guide for more information.

  • Read our reviews regarding the best sites for rugby betting and choose one.
  • Select the register button (or something similar) and open an account. The signup process will be different, but you’ll have to include an email, username, address, and more.
  • Deposit funds and verify your account or vice-versa.
  • Explore the sportsbook and check the available Ruby Union and Rugby League options.
  • After analyzing the different markets, choose the market you like the most. Websites that offer Bet Builder will let you add more than one market from the same betslip.
  • Choose how much you should bet and confirm its placement.

Something you should remember is that certain bookmakers will let you use additional features for this sport. We’ve seen bookies with live streaming, In-Play options, and more.

Which are the most popular competitions?

rugby match player ball

As we mentioned before, you must look for a betting operator that offers significant competitions. In essence, that means not all rugby competitions are as popular. Major tournaments happen across the northern and southern hemispheres. Some concentrate on age group-specific competitions, while others are gender-specific.

You’ll also find one-off competitions as well as ongoing tournaments that can occur either annually or once every four years. Of the numerous competitions you’ll come across in the world of rugby, the Six Nations, World Cup, and Rugby League are the most popular rugby competitions. We’ll unpack them a little further below.

Six Nations

The Six Nations rugby tournament is considered one of the most popular rugby events globally and has been running since 1883. It follows why the Six Nations rugby betting odds generate a lot of public interest. The competition takes place once a year, and the nations that participate are England, France, Scotland, Italy, Wales, and Ireland.

The teams that participate in the Six Nation competition are predominantly made up of male players. The unions of the six nations are involved in the organizing of this annual tournament. Historically, Wales and England are the most successful teams in this tournament.

World Cup

The Rugby World Cup is yet another popular event among the sport’s enthusiasts. You’ll find two tournaments under this competition — one for men and the other for women. Both events take place every four years. The idea behind this is to avoid the prestigious event clashing with other popular rugby tournaments.

Several nations participate in the Rugby World Cup, including Germany, Australia, South Africa, Japan, the United States of America, Wales, and Russia.

Rugby League

The Rugby League promotion is another ongoing competition availed by bookies. Under this competition, several teams go head to head to wind up being top of the league. The Rugby League originated in England after a split from the Rugby Football Union. To date, several European, Australasian, and Pacific Island countries participate in the league. As mentioned earlier, 13 players play in this league. The aim of this league is for teams to score more points than their opponents. This is done by placing the ball over the try line or kicking the ball through two goalposts.

Short history and facts

Rugby is believed to have started back in 1845 at a Rugby School in Rugby, Warwickshire in England. The game is said to have started during a game of football when William Webb Ellis decided to pick up the ball and run with it towards the opposite goal post instead of passing it to a teammate. While this theory is hearsay, and there’s not much evidence to back this story, the Rugby World Cup Trophy is now named after William Webb Ellis. In 1895, Rugby Football split to form two distinct groups, namely Rugby Union and Rugby League, which we explained earlier.

By the 20th century, the game started increasing in popularity. However, it was still played as an amateur sport by people who worked other jobs. It’s not until 1995 that rugby became a professional sport. Since then, several nations mentioned earlier have been participating in the game.

Final thoughts

No doubt, the game of rugby has won the hearts of many punters. Betting on the game need not be a complex task. You just need to have a deeper understanding of how both codes of the game work. That will help you analyze the games better and formulate your betting strategy. As you’re probably aware, like with any sport, rugby also has multiple betting options, and punters need to understand where to place their bets. You can either bet on the team you think will win or the total number of points scored in a match, to mention a few options.

But overall, it’s crucial to align yourself with a legit and reputable betting site to avoid being ripped off. Look for a verified and licensed betting site where possible that provides you with the most competitive rugby lines for each fixture at any given time. With that said, are you ready to dive into the world of rugby betting?


How to bet on rugby games?

Rugby has numerous betting options, such as the Outrights or Win bet, where you bet on the team that’ll win. Then you have rugby league handicap betting, where you place a handicap on the underdog that the opposing team must surpass. Players can also predict the half-time/full-time result.

Can I bet on rugby games live?

Yes, some bookies allow punters to bet on rugby games live. In this case, you can watch the match you bet on live because the bookmaker streams the game.

Can I find any dedicated rugby betting apps?

Yes, some bookies design native rugby betting apps for their customers. However, you can also find independent sports betting apps featuring rugby.

How do you find the best odds in rugby betting?

You’ll need to ensure the bookie provides rugby odds for a game. Use these odds to figure out which bet will give you the highest profit. That’ll help you determine how much money you place on a bet.

What are 3-way bets in Rugby betting?

3-way bets are when punters predict the number of points that’ll be scored in a match with three different lines set by the bookie.

Kristiyan Kyulyunkov
Kristiyan KyulyunkovKristiyan Kyulyunkov specializes in bookmakers’ analyses. He has years of experience betting online and always keeps an eye on the different operators. His tasks in Nostrabet include writing, editing and publishing expert reviews.