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Rugby Union has surged in popularity since England's triumph in the 2003 Rugby World Cup. Both international and domestic leagues have since secured big TV deals, with BT paying a reported £152 million to broadcast the Aviva Premiership this year. This has been accompanied by the expansion of Rugby Union betting markets too, with increasingly sophisticated options being made available.
The basics of the game are simple: two teams of 15 attempt to score points against each other through tries, conversions, and drop goals, which are worth 5, 2, and 3 points respectively. Games can be hard-fought contests for the middle of the field with each team struggling to reach more than 10 points, or more fast-paced spectacles in which the cumulative total of the teams' scores reaches the high 60s and 70s.
The Aviva Premiership, the popular English domestic league, sees 12 teams battling it out each season. Amongst the best are the Leicester Tigers, Northampton Saints, and Saracens. These are generally considered to be the "dominant" English teams, often making it to the end of season playoffs.
Despite the sport's English origins, the French Top 14 is widely considered to be the best league for domestic rugby, with Perpignan, Clermont and Toulouse usually performing well, somewhat limiting the availability of long odds in these games.
International rugby is an entirely different beast. Split between the hemispheres, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, France and Italy take part in the annual Six Nations tournament, whilst Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina compete for the recently renamed Rugby Championship.
There's also the World Cup which is held every four years, as well as various multi-nation tours - the English and Irish Lions Tour is one of the most popular.
All of these diverse competitions create plenty of opportunities for Rugby Union betting - much like football, there's now a huge range of betting markets that you can sample in every game. Handicap betting has surged in popularity, especially in match ups between a world champion and an outsider. Games such as England v Tonga are a prime example, with value betters much better served by giving the weaker team a theoretical head start.
Winning Margin is another popular market, as this gives you the opportunity to back a likely winner without having to settle for short odds. This means that if you think a team will triumph but in a tightly fought contest, Bet365 Sports usually offers better odds if you back them to win by a range of points - 1-5 is a good option, although 1-13 is far safer for newcomers to the market.
Rugby Union is yet another part of Britain's proud sporting heritage, delivering more action and victories than a number of other sports combined.
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