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Rugby Handicap Betting Explained

Rugby Bet Type Explanation – Handicap Betting
Ever looked forward to betting on a rugby match, but you were unable to find value on the outright market because the game is so one sided? Who wants to back a 1/100 shot? There is a bet that does make watching one sided games very exciting, and that is handicap betting! Handicap betting gives both sides an equal chance of winning the match by either adding or deducting points from their end score.

Find value in rugby betting now by reading our explanation on this bet type!


The handicap market is an exciting market that makes one-sided games more interesting. This market makes the “playing field even” when one side is better than the other. In this bet, a handicap is given to the team that is believed to be better than their opposition.

It means that instead of just winning the match, they have to win by so many points in order to win in this market. By the stronger team having to score more points, the weaker team in reverse is given an advantage to win in the match.

The weaker side no longer has to win the game, as they are given a number of points before the game begins. The stronger team will start with points behind.

In this market, if you back the stronger team to win the game even with the handicap, you will need them to win the game by more than the points they were deducted at the start.

In this market, the weaker team will start with more points than the stronger side. Therefore, they have to either win the game, or they need lose the game by fewer points than they were given at the start.

For example here is the handicap market:

The Sharks are playing the Lions, and the Sharks are the stronger team. The handicap market could
well look like this:

Sharks (-10.5) 9/10 vs Lions (+10.5) 9/10

Because the Sharks are the stronger team here, they will start the game 10.5 points behind.  If you believe the Sharks will win the game by more than 10.5 points, then you will back Sharks (-10.5).

Because the Lions are the weaker team, they will start the game 10.5 points ahead. If you believe that the Lions will either win the game or lose by less than 10.5 points, then you would bet on Lions (+10.5).

The half point in the handicap rules out the tie, leaving you with a better opportunity of winning on the handicap (only two options).

Note that the points are only deducted or added to the team that you bet on. One does not take off points from one side and add points to the other. 

Therefore, if the score line at the end of 80 minutes was this:

Sharks 30 – 20 Lions

If you backed the Sharks, you would minus 10.5 points from their score.  Therefore, the score would read as:

Sharks 19.5 – 20 Lions

Therefore, if you backed the Sharks (-10.5) your bet would be a losing bet. This is because they have lost the game on the handicap.

If you backed the Lions on the handicap, you would add 10.5 points to their score. Therefore, the score would read as:

Sharks 30 – 30.5 Lions

Therefore, if you backed the Lions at (+10.5), your bet would be a winning bet as they have won the game on the handicap (despite actually losing the game).


The Handicap Betting with the Tie works the same way as with the ‘half-point’, but this time, a  tie on the handicap is possible.


Here is an example. This is the handicap at the beginning of the game:

Sharks (-7) 19/20 vs Lions (+7) 19/20 – Draw 25/1

Here is a score line scenario:

Sharks 15 – 8 Lions

If the Sharks are (-7), then you would minus 7 points from the Sharks score. The score line is now:

Sharks 8 – 8 Lions and the game is a tie on handicap.

Likewise, if the Lions are (+7), and you add 7 points to the Lions score, then the score line would be:

Sharks 15 – 15 Lions

Therefore, the scores are a TIE after the handicap has been applied, and if you bet on the TIE or DRAW on the handicap, you would have a winning bet! If you backed either side on the handicap you would have a losing bet.

The handicap is an exciting and fun bet, especially when the handicaps are very high!  It can make the most average games very enjoyable to watch.  

Look out for our other bet type explanations under the “Betting Help” tab at the top of the screen!

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