Rugby Betting

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Odds to Win the 2019 Rugby World Cup

Before the National Football League – even before its Canadian and Australian counterparts – there was rugby football. This exciting sport has its roots in medieval England; the first rules were put on paper in 1845 in the town of Rugby, then the sport started breaking into different factions with different ways of playing. One of those splits saw the formation of the Rugby Football Union in 1871, and the first recognized international rugby match between England and Scotland, with Scotland winning at home.

The brand of rugby they were playing that day is now known as rugby union, and the sport is now governed at the international level by World Rugby, first formed in 1886 as the International Rugby Football Board. Every four years since 1987, World Rugby has held the Rugby World Cup, the sport’s biggest and most important competition, and this year’s World Cup starts September 20 in Japan. Bodog Sportsbook is already on the scene with rugby odds for all 20 participating countries.

Rugby World Cup Odds Breakdown

This will be the first time the Rugby World Cup has been held in Asia, but as you might expect, the top five favourites are teams with current or previous ties to the British Empire. Here are their odds to win the 2019 Rugby World Cup at press time:

1. New Zealand: +125 Rugby World Cup Odds

No one team has had more success at the World Cup than the famous All Blacks. They won the first tournament in 1987, and repeated in both 2011 and 2015. New Zealand are the current No. 1 team on the Rugby World Rankings despite having recently drawn at home against South Africa and lost 47-26 to Australia – their worst-ever defeat. The All Blacks have been placed in Pool B for the World Cup, where they’ll be tested by the second team on our list.

2. South Africa: +500 Rugby World Cup Odds

Despite being ranked No. 5 in the world, if anyone can compete with New Zealand on the international stage, it’s the Springboks – as featured in the 2009 film Invictus, which showed them winning the 1995 World Cup on home soil just after the end of apartheid. The Boks weren’t allowed to compete in the first two Cups, so since their late debut, they’ve also won the 2007 tournament, and finished third in 1999 and 2015. They might also be the best value on the 2019 rugby odds given their recent form.

3. England: +550 Rugby World Cup Odds

While the No. 3-ranked Three Lions have faded in international soccer, they’re still a potent force in rugby, having won the 2003 World Cup (held in Australia) and placed second in 1991 and 2007. However, England find themselves in a competitive Pool C with No. 8 France and No. 11 Argentina, each priced at +4000 to win.

4. Ireland: +800 Rugby World Cup Odds

No. 2-ranked Ireland find themselves in Pool A, where they’re expected to advance alongside No. 7 Scotland (+5000) – although they could certainly get a scare from the No. 10 Japan host squad (+25000). They’ll be looking to regain their 2018 Six Nations Championship form, a stellar year which also saw them defeat the All Blacks for the second time in two years; 2019 hasn’t been nearly as kind thus far.

5. Wales: +900 Rugby World Cup Odds

Wales are the No. 4 team in the world at press time, thanks in part to their impressive performance at the 2019 Six Nations, where they put the boots to Ireland 25-7. They shouldn’t have much trouble advancing from Pool D along with Australia (+1200), as long as they don’t take Fiji (+35000) too lightly.

Bet now on the Rugby World Cup

How to Bet on Rugby

You might know everything there is to know about rugby, from the specific rules for rugby union to the ins and outs of the teams involved, but do you know all the different ways you can bet on rugby at Bodog Sportsbook? Even experienced bettors need to brush up from time to time. Let’s take a closer look at what’s on the rugby betting menu at Bodog:

Spread (Handicap)

In many ways, betting on rugby is similar to betting on the NFL. The point spread is more commonly referred to as the “handicap” in rugby, but it works the same way: The favorite of the two teams in question is assigned a certain number of points, and they have to win by more than that handicap in order to “cover” and pay out for their supporters. The underdog can lose by any amount less than the handicap and still cover. If the favorite wins by exactly the handicap, it’s a push, and all bettors get their money back.

Here’s an example of what you’ll see when you look at the World Cup odds at Bodog, using the opening match of the tournament on September 20 (3:45 AM ET) between Russia and the hosts from Japan:

Japan –39.5 (–110)

Russia +39.5 (–130)

In rubgy union, as with soccer, the home team is listed at the top. Japan are the favourites, indicated by the negative sign next to their handicap at press time of 39.5 points. Russia, the underdogs as indicated by the positive sign, can lose by up to 39 points and cover. The numbers in parentheses refer to how much you get paid if you win your bet—they’re represented in American odds. In this case, you’re betting $110 to win $100 with Japan, or $11 to win $10. Alternatively, you can bet $100 to win $130 with Russia, the underdogs. Smaller and larger multiples are allowed.

Note that betting in rugby union is based on the result of the match after the full 80 minutes plus any stoppage time required. A match may require two 10-minute periods of “extra time,” a 20-minute sudden-death period, or even a kicking competition in order to determine a winner on the field, but that doesn’t factor in deciding the winning bets.


This “fixed-odds” bet is the standard way of betting across much of the rugby world. You can bet on either of the two sides winning outright, or you can bet on the draw, which is much rarer in rugby than it is in soccer. For this example, we look at the second match of the 2019 World Cup, September 20 (9:45 PM ET) between Australia and Fiji:

Australia –1200

Fiji +600

Draw +3300

Here, the designated home side from Australia is heavily favoured at –1200 (again using the American odds format), while Fiji are +600 underdogs, and the Draw at the end of regulation plus stoppage time is a +3300 long shot.


Instead of picking a winner in rugby union, you can bet on whether the two teams involved will combine to score over or under the posted total – which is why it’s often referred to as the “over/under.” Let’s go back to the Final of the 2015 World Cup between New Zealand and Australia for our example:

New Zealand O 40.5 (–115)

Australia U 40.5 (–115)

With totals, the line for the Over is always listed at the top. At Bodog, we include the capital “O” for easy reading, and the capital “U” for the Under listed below. The total for this match was 40.5 points, with the payouts on either side paying $100 for $115 bet; the All Blacks won 34-17 in a historically high-scoring contest, so everyone who bet Over got paid.

First Half

Handicaps, moneylines and totals all fall under the category of straight bets (aka single bets). All three straight bets can be made specifically for the results of the first 40 minutes plus stoppage time, ignoring the events of the second half.

Second Half

Likewise, the straight bets can be made for the events of the second half plus stoppage time, ignoring the opening 40 minutes of play.

Game Props

A proposition bet (“prop” for short, not to be confused with the position in rugby) can deal with any event in the match other than the outcome itself. Game props include popular bets like Exact Score and Winning Margin.

Player Props

Player props are what they sound like: props that deal with specific players, like who will score the first try, or whether Player X will score any points during the match.


There are game-day bets, and there are wagers on outcomes that won’t be determined until a later date – like who will win the 2019 Rugby World Cup, or who will win each of the four pools. You’ll find the odds we’ve quoted in the above preview on the futures market at Bodog Sportsbook.

For more information on all these rugby bets and more, check out our FAQ and Help guides at Bodog. Then stay tuned for fresh odds and analysis as we get ready for the biggest tournament in international rugby.

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