Rugby Union Betting Guide for 2021

The game of rugby union both as regular 15-a-side events and rugby sevens format is on the rise. This is our guide to betting on the sport.

Rugby union betting in USA reaches its height when the national team contests the World Cup. Here’s what you’ll find in our detailed guide:

Top Rugby Union Betting Sites for United States Players

How we Review the best Rugby Union Betting Sites

Is the sportsbook licensed for and thus legal for United States bettors to use?

Friendly customer service options available around the clock in many forms

A secure betting environment where your data is protected by encryption

Welcome bonuses to entice new customers, but also regular offers for existing ones that keep you coming back

Comprehensive range of rugby union odds to bet on

How to Sign Up to a Rugby Union Betting Site

An Introduction to Rugby Union

A regular game of rugby union involves 15 players on each team with a bench of eight replacements

The starting 15 are made up of eight forwards – props, a hooker, locks, flankers and a number eight, who are key in scrums. There are also seven backs – a fly half, scrum half, inside and outside centre, left and right wings and a fullback

Blood subs and replacements are permitted at any time and, once replaced, a player can still come back onto the field if needed

A sin bin, where players who receive a yellow card go, can temporarily reduce a team to 14 or fewer players for a period of 10 minutes

Red cards permanently reduce a rugby union team to 14 or fewer players for the rest of the game

Top level rugby union matches have TMOs (television match officials) reviewing all the action in case the referee on the field misses something

Points are awarded for tries (five), conversions (two), penalty kicks (three) and drop goals (three) in between the posts

A penalty try can be awarded if the referee deems foul play to have prevented the scoring of a try

Unlike soccer, the time a rugby ball is in play counts rather than the clock running regardless. There is thus no stoppage time

Two halves of at least 40 minutes are played in a rugby union match. The team with the most points when the ball is put into touch at the end of the second period wins

How Rugby Union Odds Work

If you’ve never bet on rugby union before, then you can’t be expected to know how gambling works. To help newbies, we’re going to work through an example of some rugby union odds:

New Zealand, who are widely regarded as one of the best rugby union playing nations on earth, face USA. The All Blacks are very short price favourites in the betting.

In order to win just $1 betting on New Zealand at these odds, you would need to stake $10 on them. The total return of such a wager is $11.

USA, meanwhile, are obviously underdogs. If you were brave enough to bet $10 on them, and they defied all expectations and won, you stand to gain $200.

You always get your stake back when betting, so the total return on USA would be $210. Ties can happen in rugby union but, because multiple points are awarded for scores, they are very rare.

Should the game between New Zealand and USA finish level, then a $10 stake would return $340. That is $330 of profit.

Decimal odds are a common way of expressing rugby union betting in USA, but you may also encounter the American moneyline system or fractional prices. Our odds calculator below has more on how these types compare.


Rugby Union Betting Options

What kinds of markets are rugby union odds available for? Here, we take a look at some of the most popular:

To win

Just like any other sport, placing a bet in its most basic form on rugby union is finding the winner of a match.

Spread betting and Handicaps

In such a scenario as above where there are hot betting favourites, spread betting can offer you better value. Sportsbook traders price up brackets within which a fancied team can still win with an imagined deficit.

This is also called handicap betting. Besides the favourites having to overturn the deficit and cover the spread, the underdogs can also be given a pretend lead.

A favourite being handicapped is expressed as a negative number.

This can also be alternatively gambled on as brackets for the margin of victory.

-21 points

21-25 points

21 points

+21 points

Tryscorer betting

Odds are also available on individual players to cross the try line and score. This can be first, last, anytime or even for a hat-trick (three tries).

First scoring play

What will the first scoring play in a rugby union match be? You’re betting around a penalty kick, try or drop goal here. A conversion can’t be the first scoring play as a try must be awarded first.

Some betting sites offer this in combination with the team who scores it.


As with soccer, betting is available on what the result is halfway through a rugby union match and then at the final whistle. There are nine possible permutations to consider.

Outright tournament winner

With many high-profile tournaments like the Six Nations and Rugby World Cup, futures betting on the outright winners exists.

Top tryscorer

Another futures market that is popular is picking out who will finish a tournament as the leading scorer of tries.

Pool winner

When rugby union tournaments are split into groups, there is often betting on who will win each pool.


Mobile Rugby Union Betting

With smartphone and tablet use now commonplace, mobile rugby union betting has developed as part of the digital revolution. Why should you get involved in gambling through this channel?

What is Rugby Union Live Betting?

A Brief History of Rugby Union

Rugby union has a rich history in English-speaking countries. Here are some of the key dates from the sport’s past:

Rugby union is said to have its origins in William Webb Ellis picking up a soccer ball and running with it during a match at Rugby School

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) is founded and the first rugby union international takes place with Scotland beating England 1-0

The Home Nations, later Five Nations and Six Nations, is first held between England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. The first Rugby Sevens tournament is also played

A schism within English rugby leads to the breakaway sport of rugby league

New Zealand perform a haka before each match of their Northern Hemisphere Tour. In response, Wales players sing their national anthem. Both are now traditions before rugby union matches

USA plays its first rugby union international, losing 9-8 away to Japan in Osaka

The first international Rugby Sevens tournament takes place at Murrayfield in Scotland

The first Rugby World Cup is held in Australia and New Zealand

Rugby union is no longer considered an amateur sport and fully professional divisions are formed

Argentina are added to the Tri-Nations tournament of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, which is now known as the Southern Hemisphere Rugby Championship


So, there you have it. Our detailed guide with rugby union betting advice on a great sport.

If you have questions, then our FAQs section should answer them as common queries are answered.


Rugby union betting is similar to many other team sports. Select the outcome you want to bet on and add it to your betslip. Enter your stake – the amount of money you wish to gamble – and place the bet. What could be simpler?

Only the best rugby union betting sites feature on this page, so you’ve come to the right place to find them.

Sure, mobile rugby union betting is available.

Some of the most rugby union odds and bet types are:

Yes, rugby union betting in USA is completely legal.

Live betting is where you place bets during a sporting event. In the case of rugby union, odds are updated throughout games in reaction to what happens.

Spread betting is where a threshold or bracket is set by sportsbook traders within, which they believe a fancied team will win. Also known as handicap betting, it can take many forms in rugby union.

Favourites can be handicapped by having an imagined deficit to overturn, or underdogs get a pretend advantage to hold onto. Margins of victory can be set in five and 10-point brackets or have no upper limit.