Rugby union is one of the world’s oldest team sports. From its origins in the British Isles, the game has spread to every corner of the globe, from Argentina to Japan, and continues to grow in popularity. There are currently over 3.2 million registered rugby players and the last rugby World Cup final, in 2015, was watched by an audience of 120 million. Not surprisingly, this fast-moving, intense sport has proven to be a popular betting vehicle, with many bookmakers competing to offer markets on the top rugby tournaments. So how can you put your rugby union knowledge to the test and make a profit?
While an in-depth knowledge of the game is a good place to start, in order to make money from the sport, you need to think like a bettor, not like a fan. Before you start betting on rugby, it’s important to be aware of the key factors. The relative ability of the two teams in any game is of course, a crucial consideration, but you also need to bear in mind the impact that weather conditions and playing styles can have, not just on the result of a match, but on the scoring rate, which can be vital when considering betting in the handicap market. The record and preferences of the referee, injuries and team news all have to be weighed up.
Since Rugby Union became professional in the 1990s, the number of tournaments has increased steadily, and offer rugby bettors plenty of opportunities to profit. But every tournament is different and it’s important to understand the characteristics of each.
For instance, the Rugby Championship is a bruising competition played across four southern hemisphere countries, in which long-distance travelling and acclimatising to different conditions can play a major role, while in the French Top 14, away teams often perform much more poorly than in other domestic competitions. Some tournaments, such as the European Rugby Champions Cup are more prestigious than others, such as the Anglo-Welsh Cup, for which many teams field a weakened side. Knowing the peculiarities of each tournament that you want to bet on is a crucial part of rugby betting.
If you want to make a success of rugby betting, you need to know your teams. That begins by understanding each team’s strengths and weaknesses, their style of play, their targets for a season, and the depth of their squad strength. Modern rugby union is about more than the regular starting fifteen. With so many fixture commitments, a long season can put a huge strain on a team’s resources, so knowing the ability of the second, third and fourth-choice player in each position is important. It’s also vital to stay in touch with injuries and team news. The technical and physical demands of rugby mean that a team’s fortune hinges on the availability of its best players, perhaps more than any other sport.
The Match Winner market in many rugby fixtures can be one sided, as the sport is less prone to shocks than a low-scoring game such as football. That’s why many rugby punters opt to play in the handicap markets, betting for or against the point handicap.
When considering betting on the handicap, it is important to weigh up the relative abilities of the two teams, the conditions, their scoring record and their motivations. A team that relies on forward play and a kicking game will not score as many points as a team that has a powerful backs line and will be less able to cover a points handicap. Muddy conditions can reduce the scoring rate and hence the points differential between the teams. You should also beware of assuming that a dominant team will rack up a big score against lesser opponents, particularly in lower profile games, where the need to safeguard fitness and preserve energy levels may take priority over running up a big winning margin.
Rugby is an absorbing, action-packed sport and a great betting vehicle. It is a fast-growing sector of the sports betting world, and for those who know their rugby and take the time to thoroughly research the teams, players and tournaments that they wish to bet on, it can provide plenty of opportunity to make money.
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