How Do Winning Margin Bets Work in Rugby?

Blurred Rugby Player Diving to Score TryGiven the vast number of possible eventualities in rugby scoring, attempting to predict what the exact final score of a match will be is very tricky. It is hard enough in football, where scoring is much lower and the most common three or four scores account for around 40% of the outcomes. Indeed, with so many different possible final scores highly feasible in rugby, correct score betting is not a market that is typically offered.

This is why winning margin bets can be a shrewd option, as they give you the chance to increase your potential returns in comparison to a simpler bet on the match outcome. In this article, we will round up how winning margin bets work in rugby, looking at some useful strategies to increase your chance of success, and then taking a look at any sites offering winning margin bets.

Rugby Winning Margins in Summary

Overall, although they might require doing a bit of research first, winning margin bets are a great option for anyone looking to bet on rugby. This is because they offer you the possibility longer odds despite the fact you are not having to predict the exact scoreline. However, in matches that are likely to have high margins of victory, they are not always the most straightforward option, as these are very tough to predict.

How Do Winning Margin Bets Work?

BetVictor Rugby Union Winning Margin Betting

Simple winning margin markets have 5-way or 7-way options

Well, as one might expect, the winning margin of a rugby match is the number of points that the victorious side triumphs by. For example, if we take a look at a group stage game from the 2023 Rugby World Cup: South Africa vs Scotland, which was won 18-3 by the Springboks, a bet on South Africa winning by a margin of 15 would have been successful.

However, if a punter had placed a bet on Scotland to win, or even on the exact score to be 19-3 (if there was a bookmaker offering this market), then they would have lost their stake. This highlights how winning margin bets can give you an advantage, as there will be a number of possible score lines that could earn you a win. In some markets, winning margin bets do not rely on electing a specific team to win, meaning that if Scotland had won the game instead, and had done so 25-10, the original bet on a winning margin of 15 would still be a winner.

Furthermore, bets on winning margins in rugby will very rarely involve betting on a specific number, due to it being very tricky to call the exact margin that a game will be won by. Bookies will therefore be likely to offer winning margin bets on a range of about five numbers.

Ladbrokes Rugby Union Winning Margin Betting

Some bookmakers will offer 5 and 10 point winning margins

For example, if we again use Scotland vs South Africa, betting sites would offer bets on a winning margin of 1-5, 6-10, 11-15, 16-20 and so on. In our example game, bets on a winning margin of 11-15 would have been successful. However, different sites may offer different margins, whilst the same site may also provide a range of options.

You could be given the chance to back Leeds Rhinos to beat Wigan Warriors in rugby league by 1-5 points but also have the option of backing them to win by 1-10 points. Naturally the latter will be priced at shorter odds because your margin for error is that much greater.

Whilst winning margin bets feel considerably easier than betting on a game’s exact final score, there are a number of strategies that you can use to give your winning margin bet is greater chance of being a success.

Strategies For Winning Margin Betting

There are a number of useful strategies that can assist you in making a winning margin bet on rugby, as you certainly don’t want to just be relying on a hunch. Below, we will round up some of these strategies, to help you to make an informed choice.

Select Evenly Matched Teams

10Bet Rugby Union Winning Margin Betting

Closely matched teams often have more predictable winning margins

Whilst matches that seem fairly equal on paper are often tough to predict, they can generally be very good for winning margin bets, as long as you can predict the winner correctly. If we take a look at the 2023 Rugby World Cup again, Wales vs Fiji, a group stage game that finished 32-26, was extremely tight, and a bet on Wales to win with a margin of 6-10 would be a winner.

This will generally be a more effective strategy than betting on the winning margin of games that are vastly unbalanced, such as Ireland vs Romania, which finished 82-8 to Ireland. To have a successful winning margin bet there, you would have to have predicted Ireland to triumph by 71-75 points, which would have been extremely tricky to call pre-match, even though it was clear that Romania stood little chance.

In simple terms, tighter games have a smaller range of likely outcomes. Upsets and unexpectedly one-sided matches can always occur, but in general a clash where it is hard to predict the winner is unlikely to be won by more than a few points.

Look At History

This strategy is simple. All you have to do is look at the last few times that the two teams have played each other and use this to determine what you think the score will be. If the games are often free-scoring, and one side generally dominates, then there is likely to be a large margin of victory, which could make it tricky to predict.

On the other hand, if the last few matches between the two have been tight, cagey affairs, then betting on a small margin of victory could be an effective strategy. This has often been the case for England vs Wales.
Chart with the Head-to-Head Record of the England and Wales International Rugby Union Teams Between February 2019 and August 2023
The next time these two sides meet it would be worth noting that their previous three games have seen winning margins of 2 (19-17 Eng), 11 (20-9 Wales), and 10 (20-10 Eng), making a bet on England to win by a small margin perhaps the most shrewd choice. Of course, looking at current form is also key but recent meetings between teams are also worth factoring in.

What Brackets/Margins are Available for Winning Margin Bets?

If you are looking to place a winning margin bet on a rugby match, you will find that the vast majority of bookies offer this popular bet. Whilst some betting brands may have you betting on the margin of victory in increments of five, some sites simplify this. They instead only offer five possible bets, which we have compiled into a table below, using the World Cup 2023 game between France and Uruguay as a point of reference. It is worth mentioning that France were by far the favourites to win, with most leading rugby betting sites offering 1/500 odds on this eventuality.

Option Winning Margin
1 France 1-12
2 France to win by 13+
3 Uruguay 1-12
4 Uruguay to win by 13+
5 Draw

As you can see, betting on winning margins is fairly easy with sites that structure the market in this way, as you just need to correctly predict who will win, before deciding if they will win by a margin of 1-12 or 13+ points. In this scenario, it seems likely that France will win by 13+ points, and a bet on this outcome, could be a wise move.

The odds will reflect the difficulty of the margin, however, and so it really depends what your attitude to risk and reward is. If you want a bet at shorter odds with a greater chance of success, a market structured like the above works well. However, for bigger odds, more akin to a correct score bet in football, a smaller, five-point margin is probably the way to go.

Further Alternatives

For the same match, other betting sites will offer bets on the winning margin, although in a slightly different way. Whilst with the above site you could only bet on either 1-12 or 13+, rivals may offer winning margin bets in increments of five between 1-5 and 46-50 but then have a single option for all margins above that.

Chart with the Points Margins in the France vs Uruguay 2023 Rugby World Cup Game

So in that clash all winning margins over 51 were grouped together, and that could be a shrewd bet, with the bookies offering 3/10 odds on France winning by a margin of 51+. To highlight just how unlikely it is that Uruguay will win, the company are offering 250/1 odds on all eventualities in which the South American team are victorious, even if they only win by one point! Could be worth a punt… or maybe not!