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Rugby Handicap Betting Explained

Steve Haag Sports

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?

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

There is a bet that does make watching one-sided games very exciting: 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!

Handicap (with half-point) breakdown

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.

Putting it into practice

The All Blacks are playing Portugal, and the ABs are the stronger team (obviously). The handicap market could well look like this:

New Zealand (-85.5) 9/10 vs Portugal (+85.5) 9/10

Because the Kiwis are the stronger team here, they will start the game 85.5 points behind.  If you believe they will win the game by more than 85.5 points, then you will back New Zealand (-85.5).

Because Portugal are the weaker team, they will start the game 85.5 points ahead. If you believe that Portugal will either win the game or lose by less than 85.5 points, then you would bet on Portugal (+85.5).

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:

New Zealand 100 – 3 Portugal

If you backed New Zealand, you would minus 85.5 points from their score.  Therefore, the score would read as:

New Zealand 14.5 – 3 Portugal

Therefore, if you backed the New Zealand (-85.5) your bet would be a winning bet. This is because they have lost the game on the handicap.

If you backed Portugal on the handicap, you would add 85.5 points to their score. Therefore, the score would read as:

New Zealand 100 – 88.5 Portugal

Therefore, if you backed Portugal (+85.5), your bet would be a losing bet as they have lost the game on the handicap.

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