Arbitrage betting on rugby is significantly less popular than other sports like tennis and soccer, but is still a decent sport to keep in mind.
The bookmakers often have quite a bit of difficulty agreeing on what the respective probabilities are for the various outcomes of a rugby match. Thankfully for us, this leads to quite a few arbitrage opportunities.
Both flavours of rugby, union and league, originated in England but are now enjoyed around the world in various countries. Both codes play a World Cup every 4 years, as well as individual professional leagues at a national level.
Let’s read to find out how to identify sure bets in the world of rugby arbitrage betting!
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Rugby Betting Markets
- Money Line (1X2) - Bet on Team 1 to win, Team 2 to win or the draw. The most basic betting market.
- Handicap - Line betting where you bet on a team to win after an imaginary headstart is given to one side before the beginning of the match. This head start is designed to make the game more even.
- Total score (over/under) - Bet on whether the total match score (combined from both teams) will be over or under a particular number).
Simple Rugby Arbitrage Betting Example
Let’s look at an example of rugby arbitrage betting.
Imagine a hypothetical rugby union match between the Wallabies (Australia) and the All Blacks (New Zealand). Paddy Power, Ladbrokes and SBObet are offering Money Line markets for the match.
By combining the best odds from each of the bookmakers, we have a nice 2.1% arb.
Let’s calculate our stakes for each leg of the bet, assuming total winnings of $600.
In the surebet above, we are staking $587.46 to win at least $599.99; a guaranteed net profit of $12.53!
If you can't figure out how I arrived at probability and stake numbers in the tables above, I highly recommend that you check out my in depth guide to arbitrage betting calculations.
It runs through all of the formulas and calculations with tables, graphs and quizzes!
Want to know how to calculate the stakes in the table above?
Read my article on arbitrage betting calculations!
Advanced Rugby Arbitrage Betting Example
Rugby is a decently high scoring game so it is often quite possible to middle the bookmakers in the total score betting market.
When there is an overlap between the total score estimates set by different bookmakers, there is a potential for middling.
You may notice that the arbitrage row above does not actually constitute a real arbitrage opportunity as the probability is greater than 100%.
This is what is known as a negative middle. This will become more clear in a minute. Let’s treat it as a regular arb and calculate stakes based on winnings of $500.
Here are the potential outcomes:
- Total score is 38 or less. Payout is $500.01 from Coral. Net loss is $5.37.
- Total score is 41 or more. Payout is $500.01 from Pinnacle. Net loss is $5.37.
- Total score is exactly 39 or 40 points. Both bets pay out. Payout is $500.01 from Coral and $500.01 from Pinnacle. Net profit is $494.64.
In this situation, you can see that most of the time, you will be losing $5.37 per hit, but every now and then, you will win $494.64!
You need to hit the spread at least 1 in every 90 games for it to be profitable.
As the line is set by what the bookmakers feel is the most likely score at the end of the match, the middle is achieved more often than you might initially think.
Arbitrage betting in rugby is, much like the other sports I have discussed, an excellent way to squeeze some more profit out of the bookmakers.
Compared to basketball and ice hockey, there are few rules with which you can be caught out, so the arbs are fairly straightforward.
Rugby union and league are both fairly popular, and there are a decent number of games on over the course of the year.
I highly recommend that you add it to your arsenal of arb-able sports!
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