Rugby Union is a particularly popular betting market in the UK and Ireland and it maintains firm international interest too, with bookies offering a variety of betting choices suited to all types of punter.
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. Rugby bookmakers offer odds on many different bets for the Aviva Premiership. 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.
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.
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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 and win by above a certain score you can place a bet on this instead of the correct score or outright winner. Rugby union is yet another part of world's proud sporting heritage, delivering more action and victories than a number of other sports combined!
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