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2011 Rugby World Cup Handicap Betting Guide

An alternative way to back overwhelming favourites

5th September 2011 / Lee A Jackson
Betting Advice

With the 2011 Rugby World Cup betting right on our doorstep (see full guide here) and (alternative betting markets here) there is an aspect of Rugby Betting we wanted to explore further. It is an important one,  because it is one which will help you the punter, to pick up a bit of extra profit. In the four groups at the World Cup, there are two teams in each which you can look at and almost safely predict will be in the quarter finals. Be it New Zealand and France from the Pool A, or Australia and Ireland from Pool C. The thing about the group stages in the Rugby World Cup, is that there are going to be matches where there are just going to be overwhelming favourites, which is just going to wipe out your outright betting market. Take the opener of the 2011 Rugby World Cup, New Zealand v Tonga. The two have only faced each other three times, but tournament favourites New Zealand are expected to run riot against the minnows. Put it this way. In those three matches, New Zealand have scored 238 points to Tonga’s 15 in reply, with the biggest score being a 102-0 victory in 2000. Rugby betting is not like football, where you can picture an underdog getting away with scoring from just one chance in a match and then hanging on to a clean sheet. It doesn’t quite work that way in rugby betting, because teams can rarely get away with just one score in a match and coming out victorious. It’s not like West Brom going to Old Trafford, scoring from one shot in the match and then parking a bus in front of their own goal for the rest of the match. For starters, Tonga will struggle to get points on the board, and their most likely route is through kicking penalties, which can only be done if they sustain pressure in the New Zealand half and make the All Blacks make mistakes. Tries are really needed, because there has been so few accounts in Rugby World Cup history where the teaming scoring fewer tries have won a match, that is not really even worth considering taking a massive underdog. So, while New Zealand are outrageous favourites to win this opening match (we are talking 1/2000 odds at Bet365 here) there is no value in betting on them. Conversely, seeing a side out at 100/1 with Bet365 to win a two horse race, it is not worth betting on Tonga either. So what to do? Is it worth your time even looking at rugby betting for these kinds of matches? There will be better value in matches like Argentina v Scotland and South Africa v Wales of course, so what to do about these heavily one sided matches?

Clearly Tonga is not going to win this match. But, this is where the beauty of rugby handicap betting comes in to play, and is a more common theme in the sport than in football betting, where odds are never usually so far apart. You’ve probably heard of handicap betting, but even if you have never dabbled in it, it is worth looking at a few pointers so that it can open some alternative betting doors for you during the seven weeks of top international rugby betting which we will get to enjoy. Now we can’t impress enough the need to look at past stats when weighing up handicap betting options for the rugby world cup. They will tell a very important tale. Use stats as much as you can, ones like winning margin, greatest ever winning points difference in a match, and one you should definitely look at, is average points scored per match against a specific opponent. This will help you out a lot. Also look at how prolific the team has been in their last three results against all opposition, and this will help you make some good rugby handicap betting decisions. Sticking with the New Zealand v Tonga match, we see that 79 points is the average haul for New Zealand against Tonga (and the average points difference between them is 74 points), so that is a great place to start in looking for a handicap bet. You are unlikely to always find a handicap being offered by a bookie which exactly matches this number, so use stats like this for ball park estimations. Looking at Bet365 we see that the main handicap being offer is -66 points for New Zealand (or a +66 points for Tonga, whichever way you want to look at it). Now, because it is essentially the same bet (but not really, which we will explain in a bit), the price is going to be the same, in this case 10/11 at Bet365. Taking a negative handicap is usually the way to go, because it backs the favourites in the match more, in this case, you are looking at New Zealand overturning that deficit of -66 points which the handicap sets out. So, if they won 67-0, then you would be a winner! If they won 67-6 for example, you wouldn’t be a winner, because there is only a 61 points difference.

If think that New Zealand are going to win, but they just aren’t going to clear off all of those 66 points, then you take Tonga in the positive, and you will be backing them to not lose by more than the handicap. So if they lost 65-0, then you would win the bet on a Tonga positive handicap. The bottom line is, while New Zealand are going to win, and as everyone knows that, there is no profit in backing them. There is profit and value to made in rugby handicap betting though. You know the outcome, you just make a judgement call on the margin of the inevitable. When looking at an online bookmaker for handicap prices, and for this example we’ll stick with Bet365, you will be presented with one, or maybe two handicaps which are the mid range line in the market. That is why the one in our example is around Even Odds because it that threshold at which the game result is likely to play out. So, if you think something more spectacular is going to happen, then you have to go digging for alternative rugby betting handicaps.

We are going to switch to England’s opening fixture against Argentina for this one, and look at the variations on Rugby Handicaps for the match, just to show you the difference in value. England are 1/5 at Bet365 to win the match outright, again, not great value. So, the punter pictures Martin Johnson’s men winning, and they will see that the mid line is 12 points for the England v Argentina rugby handicap. For a price of 10/11 at Bet365,  you can either back England at -12, or Argentina at +12. So, off you would go and look at stats, and see the average points difference between the two nations is just 9.88 points per match. So the bookie is right on the nose for this, as twelve points is close enough to what the stats say, but too close to put in to positive odds. So, if you want to find positive odds, and you think, well, England are going to win by a bigger margin than a converted try and a couple of penalties, then you go digging again for alternative handicaps. Here is where the swing is in rugby handicap betting. We are going to build on that margin of 12 that the bookie set, so we add three points for another penalty on that, giving us a 15 point margin (and still that is within touch of the average stats of 9.88 with just a converted try or a couple of penalties on top, so feasible) and will fetch 11/10 at Bet365. Suddenly, for a small points shift we are in the positive. You can push it just a little further, taking a -15.5 on England (a half point negates the possibility of a handicap draw) which fetches 6/5 with the bookie. Basically there is huge potential to play around with here in rugby handicap betting, so look thoroughly at your options in this valuable market.

Stay tuned to these pages for match previews and the important stats needed to guide your rugby betting for the 2011 Rugby World Cup. Online bookmaker Bet365, as we have been mentioning them here, carry great depth in their handicap betting on rugby, soccer and other sports. Make sure you have full ranges like this with your bookie. If you want to get in on the great Bet365 rugby handicap betting markets, then new customers registering an account can get a free £200 bet when singing up! It has been a long time coming, but the 2011 Rugby World Cup betting is here to enjoy. Take a look at some handicap betting to enhance your chances of profit.



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