Rugby League is fast becoming one of the UK’s favourite summer sports. This is largely thanks to the popularity of the Super League - the rugby league equivalent of football’s Premier League - which is frequently televised. With so many matches now available to watch live, it’s easier than ever to take advantage of the many Rugby League betting markets offered at top bookmakers, both ante-post and in-play.
Rugby League shares many attributes with Rugby Union, which is almost identical in terms of gameplay, with the main difference being the tackling system. In Rugby League, the attacking team has six chances (six tackles) to attempt to score – after the sixth tackle there is a changeover in possession. There is no such restriction in Rugby Union.
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The Super League consists of 14 teams, who play each other twice a season, home and away. A 27th game is added on top of this at the ‘Magic Weekend’, where all the teams play in the same stadium over a single weekend.
As you can imagine, with so many matches taking place, this is one of the most popular times for betting on the Super League. At the end of the season, the top eight teams from the league then enter the play-offs, before the Super League Trophy is handed to the winners of the Grand Final.
The rise in popularity of the Super League has led to an increased appetite for Rugby League betting, and there are some key points worth noting before trying your hand at it.
You can, of course, bet on the Super League regular season winner and Grand Final winner, though given the dominance of certain teams (such as St Helens, Leeds Rhinos, Wigan Warriors and Bradford Bulls), it can be hard to find value in these markets.
Punters therefore tend to turn their attention to the match markets, which can be bet on in-play, giving them the chance to see how a game is unfolding before staking their money.
The main pitfall to Rugby League betting is that there are an awful lot of mismatches throughout the season. Some of the big teams can be huge odds-on favourites, and this forces punters into the handicap markets. With the top teams being more than capable of overcoming sizeable handicaps against the weaker sides, this can be a great way to find better value when betting on Rugby League.
However, if you wager on a Super League handicap market, it’s advisable to remember that the scoring system differs from rugby union, with four points awarded for a try, two for a conversion and one for a drop goal.
An alternative way to find some of the best Rugby League odds is to target matches that look set to be a more even contest. Indeed, as the Super League grows in popularity and more money comes into the sport, it’s sure to get more competitive, meaning more appealing odds more often.
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