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For its entire existence, rugby league has rather been played in the shadow of its more popular counterpart – rugby union. The two codes have obvious similarities but somehow, union has always had a bigger following and therefore gets bigger exposure from the TV companies and from associated advertising.
League does, however, have its dedicated fans and in some parts of the world it is actually more popular than the 15 man game. The sport is thriving and growing all the time.
And, League has its backers among the gambling community who know that this sport can provide them with tons of value and opportunities. Like all sports, it pays to do proper research and to choose your bookmaker wisely so here is a brief guide to the game along with some of the best bookies.
Rugby Betting Sites
Since it turned professional, everyone has taken the sport more seriously, including the TV companies and also the bookmakers who have react to the rise of the game and the introduction of major tournaments such as the world cup.
It’s a tricky sport to provide extensive coverage for as it doesn’t naturally offer a huge range of side markets so some bookies are better homes for betting than others.
Here is a list of some of the best bookmakers in terms of bets.
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Genting are a more established name than others as their casino brand was set up many years ago and that’s certainly a benefit for any punter. But that needs to be backed up with those key areas of choice and value and once again, this operator scores very highly.
Prices are strong and there is just a marginally better set of choices in the side markets where Genting will frequently list some options for total points in the bigger league matches. Once again, all of the top games are covered along with a solid set of smaller fixtures from around the globe.
If that choice of side markets is the most important factor for you when considering a list of league betting sites, RedBet may well be the market leaders in this respect. For the big games such as those in the World Cup, it’s common for them to have over 40 different options for one game.
Looking at prices, the other bookies on this list might just have the slightly longer odds but there is little to choose between them and RedBet are certainly competitive in this respect. Value is therefore on offer here but it’s that huge selection of side markets that make this bookmaker really stand out.
If it’s promotions that you are after then 888sport are perhaps the best place to start. They are one of few bookies tailoring promos to specific tournaments and in the Six Nations, they were quoting a money back offer in the first try scorer markets.
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At the same time, 888 had an enhanced odds deal in the tournament outrights where you could bet on one of the six teams at a lifted price. The same offers were provided for individual games throughout the tournament and this was therefore one of the best places for this type of price boost deal.
The list of side markets is good here too – not everyone provides first try scorer for example – so overall, 888sport is a good first option.
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bet365 make the list for a number of reasons and if live betting is most important to you, then this should ideally be the first bookmaker on your list. Here you will find the biggest choice of live sporting markets and naturally, the sport is part of that overall schedule.
Both codes – Union and League – get their fair share of live options but if you’re looking to stake ante post, there are benefits here too with great prices across what is an extensive list of side markets.
And, new customers at bet365 can claim a welcome bonus that can be worth a lot so along, with 888sport, this is a must for all fans.
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BetFred offer a good mix of reasons why you should be on board here and they begin with the generic welcome deal that promises £30.00 in free bet tokens after a low opening deposit of £10.00.
From there, you have strong prices and a good set of markets for all matches, particularly the bigger internationals. BetFred are also among a select list of bookies who offer a promotion that is specific to the sport. In the Six Nations, if your pick for first try scorer came in and then went on to add a second five point score, BetFred would double your odds.
It’s a similar deal to football’s popular Double Delight Hat Trick Heaven and any bookie who offers tailored promos should be added to your roster.
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Serious punters like to play at Coral because they offer a good choice of live streaming for major matches. This applies to both league and union so if you like to watch the action once you have placed a bet, this is one to check out.
Coral are also active on the enhanced odds promos for new customers and there may be some occasional offers too when the bigger tournaments come around. Good prices and a wide choice of markets make this another operator to add to your list of providers.
Alternatively, you can go back to tradition and sign up with William Hill to enjoy some good, solid betting. Prices on both codes of the sport are among the best on the internet and there is a generic accumulator promotion that isn’t specific to any sport so you are free to use it for either union or league.
There is a welcome offer too of £20.00 in free bet tokens when you open an account with just £10.00 and with a range of options on all the big games, this is an obvious addition to your portfolio.
In the amateur days, rugby was perhaps a fringe sport for the community with the majority of wagers being staked on the bigger international matches. It’s hard to believe sometimes that the world cup only arrived in 1987 and from there the sport was revolutionised.
It’s hugely popular now for bettors too and the above list of bookies are among the best when it comes to offering value for all union and league matches across the calendar.
Again, side betting is plentiful and the prices, particularly in the result betting are really strong. Hills also have the obvious benefit of being listed on the main odds comparison sites and while that shouldn’t deter you from using the other names in this round up, it means that you can see how good those odds are when stacked up against other brands.
Each of these bookmakers stands out in a slightly different way but as we keep mentioning, it’s all about choice and value and all of them score highly in that respect. Whether you are a regular punter on rugby league or you’d like to get involved with an occasional bet, any of these names would provide good homes.
History and Major Events
Like many sports where there are conflicting codes, rugby league formed as a split from rugby union and its history in this respect can be traced back to England in 1895. At the time, rugby union was a staunchly amateur sport and it stayed that way for many years and league was effectively set up as a professional alternative.
Even in the present day, the majority of English league clubs are based in the north of England and this is no coincidence. Back in 1895, the best players in the north were from traditional working class areas and they simply couldn’t continue to play without some form of financial compensation.
There have been some subtle rule changes over the years that really separate league from union in the modern day. The most obvious of these is that rugby league is played with 13 players as opposed to 15 in union and the league game has no line outs – these were abolished in 1906 – and this is one of the reasons why league is a faster paced version.
From those early origins the game of Rugby League started to spread and now it is played all over the world. In fact, the League World Cup pre-dates its union counterpart by over 30 years. The very first tournament was held in France in 1954.
Betting on the Rugby World Cup
As rugby began to enter the professional era, the need for a global international competition was an obvious one. Looking back now, it seems strange that it took until 1987 before the first ever officially sanctioned Rugby World Cup took place but nearly 30 years on it has become one of the most highly anticipated events in the sporting calendar.
The tournament now takes place every four years and if you’re planning to place a bet on the next World Cup, here’s what you need to know.
In eight tournaments to date, there have only ever been four winners of the competition. NZ are the most successful side having claimed the trophy on three occasions while South Africa and Australia have two trophies each with England’s solitary victory coming in 2003.
The All Blacks are widely acknowledged as the most successful team in the sport.
After an initial round of qualifying matches, twenty teams head to the tournament itself where they are split into four pools, each containing five teams. After a round of pool games, the top two countries in each section then progress to the knockout stages, starting with the quarter finals, through to the semis and then on to the Final itself.
There is also a third place play off, known as the bronze final, played between the losing semi finalists so there are plenty of matches to bet on once the tournament gets underway.
If you regularly bet then you’ll know that there are few shocks in the sport and in the early world cup rounds there can be some real mismatches. In 2015 in England for example, eventual champion Kiwis played Georgia, Namibia and Tonga during the pool stage and won each game comfortably.
There would have been little point in wagering on the All Blacks for those ties – they would have been listed at 1/100 if you could have found a market – but other matches are much more evenly balanced. England v Wales in the same group phase is a perfect example of a tight 80 minutes which would have been tough to predict at the outset.
That England / Wales game would also have been perfect for those who enjoy live betting as the Welsh came from behind to win late on and deliver a decent profit for those that had backed them while they were down.
Betting in play options increase during the tournament but the main live bookmakers such as bet365 are always among those you should check out.
The side markets will always increase whenever the world cup approaches and aside from wagering on the outright winner, you can stake on the top try scorer across the competition. You can also bet on the winners of each pool so there are lots of ante post punts that you can take.
For each individual game, there is first try scorer, winning margin, number of points in each half and much more. Most bookies embrace the World Cup but some have more side markets open than others so choose an outlet carefully if this is important to you.
William Hill and Ladbrokes are particularly good when it comes to declaring a set of alternatives to the result betting but most of the main bookmakers will get involved when the bigger tournaments come around.
You can also get some more value by looking out for some world cup promotions. These might include refunds if a certain team wins the tournament or acca refund during the group stage. We’ll know exact details ahead of the next event but be certain that there will be plenty of deals that can be snapped up.
The World Cup is important both in the sporting and the gambling world. It took a while to become established but it’s a great event and one that can be enjoyed even more with a small stake in a choice of markets.