Rugby: A Popular English Sport
Although rugby is hugely popular, many people are unaware that there are two versions of the sport; Rugby Union and Rugby League. There’s a rather long history for the two versions of the sport that dates back to the 19th century when rugby was played all over the country. However, there was a discrepancy across England, as the northern English Rugby clubs were comprised of working-class players, while the southeastern clubs were middle class.
A schism broke out in the early 1890s for several reasons, including when the rugby clubs of Bradford and Leeds were charged for professionalism after compensating players for missing work, after complaints of over-representation in the south of England, and after northern English clubs’ proposal of paying players for missed work during Rugby matches was rejected. This led rugby clubs Broughton Rangers, Leigh, Oldham, Rochdale Hornets, St. Helens, Wigan, Widnes, Tyldesley, and Warrington to hold an emergency meeting in Manchester where they vowed to support Yorkshire in separating and forming a Northern Union.
In August 1895, over twenty clubs formed the Northern Rugby Football Union or Northern Union, beginning what will later be known as Rugby League. The clubs that formed the Northern Union included:
- Brighouse Rangers
- Broughton Rangers
- Wakefield Trinity
- Huddersfield FC
- St. Helens
- Hull FC
- Rochdale Hornets
The formation of the Northern Union sparked England’s Rugby Union to issue sanctions against clubs and players, which led more clubs to join the Northern Union. The first-ever international match of Rugby League took place in 1904, and although the Northern Rugby Football Union initially followed the rules of England’s Rugby Union, they slowly changed over time, helping Rugby League differentiate itself from Rugby Union.
Rules Of Rugby
As mentioned, Rugby League made several changes to its rules for rugby, separating itself from Rugby Union. Some of the major changes Rugby League made to its rules included:
- Reducing the number of players from 15 to 13, with the two missing players being flankers from Rugby Union
- Eliminating the line-out where players form parallel lines to restart play
- Increasing substitutions from eight to ten
- Removing rucks when a player is tackled and replacing them with a move known as a ‘Chicken Scratch’ or ‘Play The Ball’ where players place the ball between their legs and roll it to a teammate using their foot
- Altering scoring mechanics so goals vary in points
Other than the above, general gameplay remains the same. Rugby League games consist of eighty minutes split into two halves, and the game is played by two teams on a grass field with goalposts at either end marked by a goal-line or try-line, and the in-goal scoring area. We’ll explain the Rugby League pitch in more detail later.
The aim of the game is to carry and pass the ball across the Rugby League pitch and touching it to the ground on the opposing team’s In-Goal area. Meanwhile, the opposing team will have to stop the team by tackling the player carrying the ball. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.
Rugby Pitch Explained
The Rugby League pitch can be a little complicated. The pitch is split into various sections, all of which can be incredibly useful to learn if you’re thinking of placing Rugby League bets. The important sections are:
- The Ground Area: The patch of land that the pitch is on
- Outline: The outer border of the Rugby League pitch. Carrying the ball outside of these lines takes the ball out of play, requiring the game to stop and restart
- Halfway Line: The line that divides the pitch into two halves, each side represented by a team
- Goal Line: A line at the end of each side of the field with goalposts
- In-Goal Area: The area behind the Goal Line where Tries are scored
- 22 Metre Lines: Lines in front of the Goal Line at each end of the field
- 22 Metre Area: The space between the Goal Lines and the 22 Metre Lines
- 10 Metre Lines: Lines between the Halfway Line and the 22 Metre Lines
- 5 And 15 Metre Lines: Lines that run parallel alongside the pitch
- Dashed 5 Metre Goal-Line: Dashed lines set five metres before the Goal Lines at either side of the field
As we explained above, it’s important to understand the different sections of the Rugby League pitch when you go to place a rugby bet.
Rugby League Scoring
Scoring is an integral part of Rugby League, and there are four ways of scoring in the game. They include a Try, a Goal Kick, a Penalty, and a Drop Goal. Like learning the Rugby League pitch areas and the general rules of the game, it’s important to understand how Rugby League scoring works.
A Try is worth four points in Rugby League and is the main method of scoring. To score, players must carry the ball across the rugby pitch and place the ball down on the Goal Line or in the In-Goal Area with downward pressure. If a player is tackled while placing the ball down, they must complete the action before the tackle has complete.
A Goal Kick is awarded to a team after a successful Try, giving the team a chance to win an additional two points. The Goal Kick is taken from a position perpendicular to where the Try was scored, and players are required to kick the ball between the goalposts and above the crossbar.
Penalties are another method of scoring in Rugby League, and they’re usually awarded when a player has committed an offence. When this happens, the team awarded with a penalty can either perform a two-point penalty kick from where the offence took place or they can attack with six tackles to score a four-point Try.
Finally, the Drop Goal is worth one point and can be taken from anywhere on the pitch if players feel they’re in a good position. Like with Goal Kicks, it must pass between the goalposts above the crossbar.
As we already mentioned, the scoring in Rugby League is different to the scoring in Rugby Union, where the above types of scores range between five and three points each.
Finally, it’s also important to understand the different Rugby League positions, particularly when it comes to placing bets. The positions in Rugby League include the following:
- 1, Full-Back: A general player that is usually the last line of defence. They are usually good at tackling and chasing opponents while supporting fellow teammates
- 2 and 5, Wing: There are two wingers on each team. These players are usually the fastest, responsible for attacking, marking opposing wingers, and catch and return kicks
- 3 and 4: Centre: There are two centre players per team and these players are usually all over the field, attacking and defending
- 6, Stand-Off: The Stand-Off or Five-Eighth is usually good at both passing and running and generally has good kicking skills
- 7, Scrum-Half: The Scrum-Half are players that are skilled at passing and connecting the back players (First seven) and the forward players (Final six)
- 8 and 10, Prop Forward: The two Prop Forward players are generally responsible for making the big tackles throughout the game
- 9, Hooker: The Hooker player is usually the player that receives the ball from the Play The Ball move. Hookers are usually great at passing
- 11 and 12, Second Row: Similar to the Prop Forward players, these players are known for their speed and usually have a wider position of attacking and defending
- 13, Loose Forward: A trade-of-all-jacks player responsible for continuously running and attacking or defending when required
- 14, 15, 16, and 17, Interchange: In addition to the initial 13 players, there are four additional substitute players that can come on whenever an original player is unwell or injured
Like many other sports, betting on rugby is incredibly popular. The process is the same as other sports, with you simply having to find a betting website that allows you to wager on Rugby League. Once you’ve done so, you’re free to place bets on any game or competition that you want. However, it’s important to take a look at the different betting options available before placing any wagers. The most common types of wagers available with Rugby League betting include:
- Straight Bets/Moneyline: Betting on which team will win a match or whether it will end in a draw
- Total Points: The bookmaker will predict how many points will be scored between both teams and you will bet on whether you think the final result will be over or under the prediction
- Winning Margin: Betting on what the winning team is and how many points ahead they’ll be at the end of the game
- First Tryscorer: Predicting which player will score the first Try
- Last Tryscorer: Predicting which player will score the last Try
Depending on the bookmaker you’re registered with, there may be additional bets we haven’t listed here. For example, Betway offers propositional wagers such as Man Of The Match, which team will hit a select number of points first, when penalities will be given, which half of the game will feature the highest number of scores, and plenty more.
Rugby League Betting Odds
One of the most important factors you need to understand when it comes to rugby betting is how Rugby League betting odds work. In short, betting odds inform you of how likely something is to happen. They can be read in two main ways in the UK, either as decimal points or as fractions, both of which have different methods of working out the probability of you landing a win. For example, fractional Rugby League betting odds of 4/5 are worked out as five divided by four plus five. This sum equals 0.55, which means there’s a 55% chance that the event will happen.
You can also calculate what your winnings will be through odds, helping you make decisions before confirming a bet. With Rugby League betting odds of 4/5, you’ll win £4 for every £5 you bet. When it comes to decimals, the winnings on an odd of 4.5 is calculated by multiplying the odd by your stake and subtracting your stake from that answer. It’s that simple.
However, it’s important to note that all Rugby League betting odds and the odds for other sports will vary between websites. This is why you should search multiple websites and analyse their odds before confirming a bet, as some bookmakers may offer better Rugby League betting odds than others, and you’ll always want the best possible rugby betting odds.
Rugby League Handicap Betting Explained
Handicap betting in rugby is when a bookmaker applies a handicap to the team more likely to win to even the odds between both teams for rugby betting. Handicap betting in rugby and other sports is usually referred to as spread betting, and you’ll find that the team with the handicap will be marked with a ‘-‘, while the opposing underdog team will be marked with a ‘+’.
To win Rugby League handicap betting, the handicapped team will have to make back the points its been deducted, while the boosted team will have to outperform the handicapped team in points by scoring real goals in combination with the points added by the sportsbook.
Many people enjoy placing Rugby League handicap betting wagers as the bets tend to be a little more complicated than placing straight bets or other wagers. However, it’s important that you do your research when placing handicapped rugby bets and are confident in your abilities as they can be tricky.
Rugby League Betting And How It Works
As mentioned, betting on Rugby League is the same as betting on other sports. Before you can place a bet, you need to find a website that accepts or offers Rugby League betting. Finding a website can be a rather difficult task, which is why we’ve put together a list of our suggestions of the best rugby betting sites in the UK, but if you’re looking to find a website for yourself, you’ll need to take a look at the following factors:
- Licensing: Ensure that the website you’re thinking of registering with is licensed for your country so it is safe to play at
- Sports: Check what sports including rugby the website accepts bets on
- Other Content: Find out whether the website offers any other gambling content, like slots and table games
- Bet Options: Examine the different types of betting options available. Are there enough to keep you interested?
- Promotions: Take a look at the betting offers available on the website. Are they only for new users or are there long-term promotions too? Do they have promotions for other gambling content too?
- Payment Methods: Check what payment methods are available like PayPal, how long withdrawals take, and whether there are any fees
- Customer Support: Find out what customer support options are available like live chat and when the services are available for you to use
If looking at all of the above factors in detail seems like too much work, we’ve put together a series of recommendations for you below. Regardless, once you’ve found the website you want to use for Rugby League betting, you’ll need to register by providing the website with your name, address, contact details, birth date, and you’ll need to create a username and password.
After all of this is done, you’ll also need to verify your account by sharing copies of identification documents like your passport or driver’s license and copies of documents showcasing your address, like a recent utility bill, to the website’s customer support. Only once this is done will you be able to make a deposit and place a bet.
Best Rugby Betting Sites
Now you have an understanding of how Rugby League betting works. It’s time to take a look at what the best rugby betting sites are. We’ve put together a list of our recommendations for Rugby League betting with reasons for our selections and links to our detailed reviews for each website. Check them out below:
10Bet is an online casino operated by Blue Star Planet Limited. The website allows you to wager on a variety of sports, including Rugby League, horse racing, tennis, basketball, volleyball, darts, golf, cricket, and numerous other sports too. The online sportsbook offers you a generous free bet and it accepts most major payment methods too. You can read more about the website in our 10Bet review.
William Hill is another one of the best rugby betting sites in the UK. New users can enjoy free bets as a welcome bonus and a range of other promotions too, including free play and boosted odds. If that isn’t enough, you can place bets on numerous sports, including snooker, hockey, horse racing, cricket, golf, and more. You can also bet on traditional casino games, including slots, table games, live casino content, and so much more. Additional details can be found in our William Hill review.
BetVictor is another big name in the sports betting industry and one of the best rugby betting sites. In addition to betting on Rugby League, you can also enjoy betting on Formula 1, other motorsports, greyhound racing, tennis eSports, volleyball, and virtual sports too. If that isn’t enough, the website also offers traditional casino content along with bingo and online lottery too, which means there’s plenty to keep you busy. Our BetVictor review has more details on the other games and promotions available.
SportPesa is one of the best rugby betting sites around. It allows you to wager on Rugby League and Union, as well as sports like ice hockey, boxing, baseball, basketball, tennis, motor racing, football, and more. There’s also traditional online casino content, several promotions, and the website supports fast payments through some of the most popular methods. Want to know more? Take a look at our in-depth SportPesa review.
Our final suggestion for the best rugby betting site is Bet365, one of the biggest sportsbooks in the UK. Here, you can enjoy betting on a variety of sports and enjoy a diverse selection of casino games, including video slots, table games, and live casino. The website is incredibly mobile-friendly, offers great customer support, and accepts most payment methods. Our Bet365 review has more details.
As always, the websites we’ve suggested above are not the only sites offering rugby betting, but we believe they’re some of the best. If none of the websites appeal to you, why not search for something that does?
Rugby League Competitions
Before you go rushing off to place bets on Rugby League, take some time to learn about the different Rugby League competitions that we’ve listed below. Depending on the website you’ve registered with, most of the events below can be wagered on, and some websites may even run special promotions during them too. Discover all about the different Rugby League events and when you can expect them below.
The Super League is one of the biggest competitions in Rugby League. It sees 12 teams, 11 from Northern England and one from Southern France, compete in 29 matches between February and September. The top six of said matches then compete against each other in the Grand Final, with the Champion team facing the National Rugby League champions in the World Cup Challenge.
The NRL or National Rugby League is a competition that takes place across Australia and New Zealand between March and October and involves 16 teams, one from New Zealand and 15 from Australia. The eight best teams compete in the main competition over a period of four weeks, culminating in the Grand Final, where the championing team is crowned.
The Championship or RFL Championship, which is currently sponsored by Betfred, is another major Rugby League event that involves clubs across England and France. In the competition, a total of 14 teams compete against each other to enter the Super League and potentially win the event.
The Challenge Cup is a Rugby League event organised by the Rugby Football League that takes place each year. The competition currently involves teams from England, France, Wales, Ireland, and Scotland, but previously included teams from Canada, Serbia, and Russia too. The event runs for several weeks and consists of six main rounds, a Quarter and Semi-Final, and then the Final, which takes place at Wembley Stadium in July.
Rugby League World Cup
The Rugby League World Cup is an international Rugby League competition in which the best men’s teams compete against each other for the Rugby League World Cup. The event is held every four years and there are World Cups for women, students, and more. The Rugby League World Cup sees 16 teams compete against each other, with eight teams in the Quarter-Final, Four in the Semi-Final, and the top two in the Final.
Alongside the above Rugby League competitions, there are numerous county-wide competitions that take place across England that are worth watching and betting on. What’s more, the betting opportunities available for you will greatly depend on the website you’ve registered with.
Rugby League Betting Tips
Rugby League betting can be a little confusing, particularly if you’re new to the sport and placing bets. That’s why we’ve outlined a few Rugby League betting tips below to help you get started. Now, these Rugby League betting tips won’t guarantee you a win, but they can make the entire process a little easier.
#1: Know The Difference
One of the biggest things you can do when it comes to Rugby League betting is learning the difference between Rugby League and Rugby Union. We’ve explained all of the rules here, and although the differences may seem small, it can be easy to confuse the two, which is why it’s incredibly important to learn the difference before placing bets.
#2: Research The Clubs
It’s also hugely important to research the different teams taking place in a match or a competition. Analyse each team and their players’ weaknesses and find out how they compare to other teams. Doing this can greatly improve your chances of placing a successful bet.
#3: Check The Weather
Before you place any bets, it’s a good idea to check what the weather will be like on the day of the match, as bad weather can impact the players’ performance and may require the team to put together alternate strategies. If this is the case, this is where your research will come in handy.
#4: Don’t Overdo it
If you’re new to Rugby League betting, it’s important that you take it slow. Don’t place several bets as a first-timer, just focus on placing one and doing the best you can with it. We also suggest you stick to simple bets, like straight bets or money lines, which only require you to predict the outcome of a match or competition.
#5: Try Other Games
Since Rugby League betting involves waiting in real-time for the event to finish, it can be a little boring waiting for the game to end and your result to be finalised. Rather than placing other bets out of boredom, we suggest you try other casino games or simply take a break and return later on.
Again, it’s important to note that the Rugby League betting tips we’ve mentioned here will not guarantee you a win, but they can make the entire process much more fun for you.
Questions & Answers (FAQ)
What's the difference between Rugby League betting and Rugby Union?
First of all, Rugby League and Rugby Union are two different types of rugby games that follow varying rules. We discuss the differences between Rugby League and Union and highly suggest you learn what the differences are before betting on anything.
What are the biggest Rugby League events?
The biggest Rugby League events include the RFL Championship, the Super League, and the Rugby League World Cup. These events all involve several talented teams in England, France, and other countries. It’s a good idea to check whether your bookmaker provides special Rugby League online betting offers when these events are on.
Do all sportsbooks offer Rugby League betting?
Most sportsbooks offer Rugby League betting, but the bets, promotions, and odds available will differ between websites, and it’s worth taking a look at them before registering with the website.
Are there any Rugby League betting promotions?
Many betting websites like running free bet and cashback promotions, and some may even run specialised promotions for events, so keep your eyes peeled for them!
What's the best Rugby League betting site?
We’ve put together a list of our suggested Rugby League betting sites along with reasons for our choices and links to our reviews. Our suggestions are some of the best Rugby League betting sites, but there are plenty more available.