While Canada as a nation has yet to make any big inroads into either code of rugby, the sport is hugely popular in parts of the country. The national teams are well supported and provincial tournaments feature some top name players.
While the sport continues to make its mark, rugby has become a big draw for the betting community in Canada. More and more bookmakers are getting involved so here is a guide to finding the right sportsbook along with a rundown of the popular betting markets for those looking to get on board.
Rugby League Betting
Rugby League is the more popular code across Canada and it’s the one that the betting community here is most likely to get involved in. The national team was formed as recently as 1987 and they start 2019 as the 16th ranked side in the world.
A big boost to the sport in this country will come in 2025 when Canada, along with the USA, will host the Rugby League World Cup. Betting will intensify during this tournament but if you can’t wait that long, there is lots of action in store in the lead up to the big event. In order to appreciate rugby league betting properly, the first thing to do is understand the main markets that are available.
Rugby Betting Lines
What are Betting Lines?
A line is simply another term for a betting option: In many parts of the world it is known as a market while in Canada and North America, ‘line’ is the preferred terminology. A sportsbook will consider many aspects of the rugby league match, aside from the straight match result, and will then decide what odds they will place against that outcome.
The betting option is known as the line and it’s then up to the bettor to decide whether or not to take up the bookmaker on that price. As we’ll now see as we run through the main options, there are plenty of lines to choose from when betting on a rugby match.
Anyone new to rugby betting should be looking to start with this bet which is the simplest of all. The match result involves looking at the two sides involved in a specific game and deciding which of them will win it. Draws are rare in both codes of rugby but they do happen so a line will be published for that option too.
Research on form and head to head results can help bettors succeed here and this is the market where everyone starts.
Shocks can be rare in any code of rugby so, if the price on the result bet isn’t that tempting, it may be possible to switch to the handicap. This would give one team, usually the weaker one, a notional head start in terms of points and the odds on the result line then change.
For example, it may be typical to see the higher priced team given a head start of 10 points by the sportsbook and when that happens, the team with the shorter odds would need to win by 11 points or more in order for the bet to land.
A winning margin bet is, as the name suggests, a stake on how many points you think a team will win by. Most sportsbooks will publish lines for this market on the bigger games and there will be a series of options available.
Depending on the bookmaker you choose, the parameters may vary so you may find options on 0-5 points, 6-11 points and so on. The exact numbers will change but the principle – to correctly stake on the final winning margin for a nominated team – is the same.
Rugby Matches are 80 minutes long and are split into two separate halves and, as an alternative to the straight result bet, there is a line known as the Double Result. Here, the task is to bet on the result of the game at the end of each half.
The best rugby bookies will list all available options for this which will involve a win for either side or the possibility of a draw.
This is an area of rugby betting that can be quite confusing because a line bet can also refer to a handicap. The principle here is exactly the same as it is for the handicap option that we mentioned above so the purpose is to give one team an imaginary head start.
The side chasing that deficit has then been handicapped and has to overcome it to win you the bet. It’s merely just another way to describe the handicap alternative.
Rugby Betting Tips
While it’s important to understand the types of rugby markets that you might be betting on, the ultimate aim is to make a profit. Tips on sports betting come in many forms and the lazy way to go about this is to identify a tipster – either online, in the national newspapers or on TV – who gets paid to give their opinion on the game and to help pick a winner.
This is an option but it’s certainly not foolproof and we would definitely advise any reader to never pay for advice. There are lots of ways in which you can identify likely bets yourself starting with…
Tip 1: Research
While it’s an obvious place to start there is no substitute for your own research. There are so many websites available now with relevant rugby information that there really is no excuse for not crunching the statistics and looking for trends that will point you towards a winner.
Immediate form is the first thing to take into account but if betting in the straight result market then it’s just as important to study those head to head guides for recent matches between the two sides taking part. Every sport has a history where one opponent has a particularly strong record over another and vice versa so take all of those points on board when compiling your research.
Tip 2: Use the Handicap
Irrespective of whether you call it a handicap or a line bet, this market can prove to be consistently profitable when used wisely. Shocks can happen in rugby but we mentioned that they are very rare so some experienced punters make consistent profits in the result betting.
However, by tweaking this and using the handicap to your advantage, you can quickly identify high scoring teams that can deliver those profits only this time, they will be at longer odds.
Tip 3: Managing your Bankroll
When starting out with betting on any sport, managing your bankroll is vital and rugby is certainly no exception. As a general rule, bets with high odds should leave you making a small wager while those shorter-priced favourites can attract a bigger stake from your overall fund.
Don’t go chasing losses and while theories may differ on this final point, it’s recommended that you only spend up to 10% of your total bankroll on any one bet.
Tip 4: Finding Value
We’ve mentioned the handicap as a good market in which to find longer prices but many experienced rugby bettors will point you in the direction of the winning margin line. Both league and union can be very high scoring affairs at times so, for bigger profits, it’s a case of doing that research and looking for attacking sides up against the weaker teams.
There is a higher element of risk here but once punters get past the newbie stage, this is a market to consider for higher rugby betting payouts.
Rugby Betting Sites
Rugby betting can be a fun and hopefully profitable pastime but it’s important not to waste all of that knowledge by signing up with the wrong bookmaker. Most, if not all, sportsbooks have markets open for rugby league and rugby union matches but that doesn’t mean that they are suitable for you.
The key elements to look for are strong odds, ongoing promotions, choice of markets and flexibility in terms of funding and customer service. You may not find a completely perfect mix of all four qualities but we think the following recommendations will suit all rugby bettors.
They are known as the kings of live betting but whether you like to stake in-play or ante post, bet365 offer a great place to play. They are always competitive on any sport, including rugby, and the odds comparison sites show that their prices are often ahead of the rest of the market.
There is a strong welcome bonus backed up by ongoing promotions including a Parlay boost and bet365 usually put their ante post markets up early – before most sportsbooks. The addition of thousands of live bets just adds to the appeal of what is a great all-round bookmaker.
This is the bookmaker of choice for many Canadians and there are many good reasons as to why this is the case. They describe themselves as Canada’s online bookmaker and that leads to a great deal of loyalty among residents but that accessibility is backed up by plenty of substance.
A generous welcome offer gives way to a number of promos and there is the flexibility to play in $CAD and also to change from the default decimal odds to the American version. In addition, players here can look forward to competitive everyday odds and one of the best choices of markets for rugby betting.
Unibet have worked hard to get into most territories that are highly regulated and they have since built up a very loyal following in Canada. They are one of the best bookmakers, behind bet365, for in-play betting and they back that up by streaming a great selection of live sport to customers with a funded account.
This operator also covers an extensive set of sports including some very niche events but for traditional games such as rugby, they extend that element of choice into a range of prop bets and once again, odds are competitive and in step with the rest of the market.
One thing players can really be sure of with William Hill is trust: This is a sportsbook that has been around for decades and their history therefore predates their competitors by a wide margin. But Hills are not complacent and in the digital age they have proved themselves to be one of the most innovative operators around.
The choice and flexibility is there and competitive odds are backed up by a strong set of regular price boosts so the package here is a great one and William Hill come highly recommended to all Canadian bettors.