Rugby

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In many countries rugby is the main sport. This means that this is the game watched the most, the game that is taught in schools, played at amateur and professional level, and the game that generates some of the most income in terms of spectators, TV revenue and gambling. This is the way of things in Australia, South Africa and New Zealand, along with countries like Tongo and Samoa, and rugby is also a second sport (behind football/soccer) in countries such as England, Scotland, France, Argentina and Italy.

The popularity of rugby has exploded in recent years. There are many different variations of the game, each dominating in certain areas. Rugby League is hugely popular in the North of England and in parts of Australia and New Zealand, Rugby Sevens is played everywhere and is even more popular than League, but it still lacks that global appeal. The most popular game, and the one that certainly has a global appeal, is Rugby Union.

This game swamped the United States about a decade ago, played in high schools and universities, before professional teams were established. Not too long after that it crept north, into Canada. Now it is one of the fastest growing sports in the entire continent of North America, and what’s more, with a vastly improving Sevens team and a Union team that is learning to play with the best of them, we’re getting quite good at it.

Us Canadians are also gambling on rugby like never more, evident by the last World Cup, and by the forecasts, previews and excitement that have proceeded the next World Cup, due to kick off in England at the end of 2015. In this article we will take a look at the best ways to bet on this sport, focusing on the World Cup and on BetFair, where you can get by far the best odds and the biggest variety of rugby union bets in Canada. If you have yet to sign-up, then make sure you do. Not only will you get a free bet to get the ball rolling (although this will be for the sports book and not the exchange, where the better odds can be found) but you will be able to take advantage of all the markets discussed below.

Handicaps

One of the things you need to understand about rugby is that, as with football, there are very rarely tied games and this means that a handicap system (or a spread, if you want to use football terms) is put in place to balance the books and make sure that you can get value for every bet. As an example, if the mighty All Blacks (the name for New Zealand’s national team) face-off against the somewhat less than mighty Italy, then you might expect a handicap of -25.5 to be given to New Zealand, with +25.5 placed on Italy. This basically means that New Zealand start the game 25.5 points down, and for you to win your bet (which typically comes with odds just short of Evens) they will need to win the game by at least 26 points.

These handicaps exist for every game and it is very rare that you will encounter a game that does not have them, or one that uses -0.5/+0.5. Even if you had two teams that were evenly matched, such as Ireland and England or South Africa and Australia, the fact that one of them needs to play at home would tip the balance. That is not the case for the World Cup of course. All of those games are played on neutral ground, and that means that the betting markets are wide open for exploitation, as discussed towards the end of this article.

Outright Bets

Before we give you a little rundown of this years’ biggest rugby tournament, whilst providing you with some big-priced tips, we need to discuss outright bets. This is where the money is, and if you place your bets before the tournament begins, and before the teams strut their stuff, then you can collect huge odds.

New Zealand are always going to be the favorite for any competition they are in, but as we will discuss, your money is better placed elsewhere. The best bets here are for outside teams to make it past the group stage. Big teams slip up all of the time, and if you can anticipate these and bet on the team that will take advantage of it, then you could collect on odds in excess of 30/1. This means that a $10 bet will net you a profit of $300. Don’t bet on them to win it, this isn’t Hollywood and they won’t make it all the way, but a bet for a team like the USA, Scotland or even Canada to make it out of their group means that they only need to win a game or two against the outsiders, win a game or two as the favorites and then wait for the big boys to slip up against each other.

Betting on the World Cup

Rugby is a global game, but one that doesn’t involve a lot of neutral play. Even during the Six Nations, where teams from all over northern Europe play, there are still home and away games. This changes during the World Cup and that can upset the balance. The 2015 World Cup, for instance, will be held in England.

The interesting thing here is that there are three teams at the top of the rugby world, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa, all in the Southern Hemisphere. The next few teams in line, England, Ireland and Wales, are not only in the Northern Hemisphere, but they are all in the British Isles. This means that the 4th, 5th and 6th best teams (give or take) in the world will have home advantage against the 1st, 2nd and 3rd, and this is causing a lot of instability in the betting markets. The lack of neutral play, and the fact that the last couple of World Cups were held in the Southern Hemisphere, means that the best in the world will also be ill-prepared, unused to the surroundings and the climate.

In our opinion, this is a great opportunity for teams from Northern Europe to shine. Get your money on England and Ireland, and collect big when they run deep in the tournament, and even pick up the title.

Rugby on BetFair

When it comes to getting the most out of BetFair, you need to hit the exchange, as opposed to the sports book. This way you will get better odds. Not only can you get slight increases on the favorites, but when it comes to outsiders that are 50/1 and higher elsewhere, on BetFair it is not unusual to see them as 100/1. Seriously. Because whilst sports books cover themselves in all eventualities, punters (who you are betting against when you use the exchange) are so confident that a certain team will not win that they will do anything to tempt you to take their bet and their odds over anyone else’s.

We have personal experience of this during the recent Six Nations and of Wales’s shock comeback in the second half against Italy, where they went from no-hopers in the tournament and game to sure-fire winners of all of it. They were 20/1 on most sports books at half-time, yet on BetFair they were 66/1. We took the bet and although it didn’t win in the end, the fact that it dropped all the way to Evens allowed us to make a huge cash-out even before the result was decided.

Trust us, there are a lot of idiots offering bets on BetFair, and if you know your stuff and pay close attention to the markets, particularly in big rugby competitions, you can make a lot of money.

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