How does Rugby Handicap Betting Work

Betting on rugby in Ireland is hugely popular for many customers who enjoy the sport. There are many different matches available to bet on in a wide range of tournaments including league and union games as well as the Rugby World Cup, Six Nations events and many more. There are lots of local bookmakers and online betting sites in Ireland that provide a selection of markets and betting odds for the biggest rugby games available.


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One of the best bets to place for regular rugby bettors is the handicap bet which is ideal for the matches that have a favourite team most likely to win. This gives the underdogs a head start and it really adds to the excitement of the fans with what could have been an easy win for the better team. Here is everything you will need to know if you want to place a handicap bet on a rugby match.

What Is a Handicap Bet?

A handicap bet is provided by many bookmakers in Ireland and it is used to even up the teams prior to a match. The favourite team is deducted points and the underdog is given a boost which makes the match more interesting for fans to watch for those who have made a handicap bet.

In a rugby match, there are only 3 possible outcomes; a win, a loss or a draw. The handicap bet gives teams an equal opportunity to win the match as bettors can deduct or add points to the final score. The handicap bet is usually highlighted at the top of betting pages as it is the most popular bet for rugby.

For example:

A Six Nations tournament match, Ireland vs Italy. The Irish betting sites may offer a bet similar to this:

  • Ireland (-20) 10/11
  • Draw (-20) 16/1
  • Italy (+20) 10/1

The number in brackets is the handicap amount of points that will either be added to or deducted from the final score. These are the different options:

  1. If you bet on Ireland to win on the handicap, they will have to win by more than 20 points.
  2. If you place a bet on Italy, you can win if they win the match or if they lose by less than 20 points.
  3. If you bet on a draw minus the handicap, this means Ireland has to win by exactly 20 points for you to win the bet.

Handicap bets can also be offered in half points which makes it even more exciting for bettors, for example 5.5. This means there can’t be a draw and are only two possible winners making it a more enticing bet.

The Different Types of Handicap Betting Markets

Half-Time HandicapInstead of full time, you can predict what the score will be at half time. The handicap will be applied at the end of the half and you will win if you bet correctly which team is winning with the handicap.
Asian HandicapThe Asian handicap is when the option for a draw is removed. This is when the half point handicaps are used such as 5.5 to only have two options and bettors will bet on which team wins.
Alternative HandicapAny number for a handicap can be placed on a team and bookmakers will offer a variety such as 5, 10, 28 and even high numbers like 75 all with different odds to ensure the matches will be exciting for bettors.
Handicap AccumulatorsMany bookmakers also offer handicap bets on multiple rugby matches in which bettors can create an accumulator to predict the result of many matches that will have a handicap applied.
Margin of VictorySome bookmakers will not only offer a handicap bet for the rugby matches but will also provide a margin of victory that the winning team must win by. For example: 1-5 points, 6-10 points and so on.

Why Should You Place a Rugby Handicap Bet?

If you love to watch rugby but are getting bored of the easy wins for the better teams, you should definitely check out the handicap bet. It will add excitement to the match and you can give a boost to the underdogs which means the outcome of the matches can completely change.

Live rugby handicap betting is also popular with bookmakers and online betting sites because you may be watching a match and decide to place an in-play bet using the information and statistics from the match to help you make a knowledgeable handicap bet.

There are many different options to choose from, such as the half time handicap to predict the score after 40 minutes have been played or you can create an impressive handicap accumulator if you are feeling confident which can boost your winnings!

Strategies to Choose the Right Handicap Bet

  • Research – it is vital that you research both teams who are playing to find out their form, latest scores, best players and who’s on the bench to help you decide which team to back. It is also beneficial to see if they have played each other recently and that score to give you an idea of their match up.
  • Look at favourites – with the use of a handicap, this may put the favourites at a disadvantage, however it may also work in your favour. If you are unsure of the outcome, choose an alternative handicap for a suitable number that you feel comfortable with to make a confident bet.
  • Discover less popular leagues – the biggest tournaments and leagues will receive more attention and sometimes it is more beneficial to place a bet on a smaller league as it may offer bigger winnings or a more exciting game. The bookmakers might not be as knowledgeable on these matches, making the odds more profitable.

The handicap bets are a popular option for many bettors as you can even up the match for a thrilling experience which ensures you will never get bored.