Rugby is perhaps one of the most under-appreciated sports for trading on Betfair.
I am yet to get my teeth into it in any serious way, partly because I am busy enough with my current sports trading methods, and partly because I just enjoy a good game so much that I fear trading rugby union on the Beftair exchange might reduce my immense enjoyment of just watching it!
Having 'skin in the game' has a tendency to make things a lot more serious, something you'll already know if you know how to trade sports. This is a business and certainly not 'leisure', I like to keep a few sports away from business just so I can have some downtime without having to give up watching any sport at all.
Why Trade Rugby?
For reasons which are frankly beyond me, the Betfair rugby markets seem to 'nose dive' when a team goes ahead, almost as much as football does, yet a try in rugby doesn’t represent anything like the importance of a goal in a football match.
This tells me rugby is ripe for trading simply because the markets seem so 'green'. By that I mean the markets see some pretty crazy overreactions to in-play events like one measly try early on in a game when it can, and often does, swing back the other way soon after.
Fitness is another hugely important factor in rugby. In football, fitness doesn’t play a very noticeable role in most major league games because all players are supremely fit and running around for 90 minutes isn’t really a big ask for them. Also the game is more stable, so the level of exertion doesn’t fluctuate much between the first whistle and the last.
In rugby however, teams have some extremely heavy players and some extremely fast and fit players, but the heavier ones often wane towards the end of the game. This is true of every team, the biggest and best-known ones included.
As a result, rugby matches are much more likely to see late comebacks from underdogs than you see in football, as these key heavier players get tired and less able to hold back an attacking team. This means tries can often come very late in the game. These things provide many opportunities for profit, especially to those keeping a sharp eye out for 'value' in the betting markets.
My Friend: A Self-Taught Rugby Trader
A good friend of mine is one such person. He trades horses and football like I do, but he has a fair bit more free time than I do!
He will often trade premier league (rugby) games, and his most frequent trade is to lay the leader, especially if they take an early lead. I have seen the logic of this myself countless times in games I've watched.
I saw there are some very easy greens to be made by just laying a team who burst into a 7 to 10 point lead in the first quarter of an hour, greening up when the other team scores back, or sometimes waiting to allow them to gain a lead, if they were clearly the better team up until that point. My friend's trading reports confirm that rugby trading really is rife with profits if you know the game and have some knowledge of the teams involved in a game.
He doesn't even need to use software, he just uses the browser-based exchange even though he does use sports betting software most of the time for football and racing.
Immature Markets: 'Easy' Profits
It really does amaze me what the prices do during many games where one team goes ahead by, sometimes, only one converted try!
One try ahead in rugby, between two reasonably even teams, often means absolutely nothing in relation to the likely result of the match. Yet I've seen teams go heavily odds-on, even in the first 10-20 minutes, just due to one try, even a 'lucky' one where the back runners intercept the ball and get a clear home run by catching the other teams defenders off-guard, commonly referred to as a 'breakthrough try'.
These tries can happen to any team at any time, so when it happens there's often plenty of easy money to be had by a simple lay of the scoring team, greening up after a reply score from the opposition.
'Strong Team' Bias
Famous rugby teams get heavily overbet in the Betfair exchange markets, and very regularly too. This presents opportunities just as it does in any other sport, and this phenomon exists in all sports. I do think it's far more pronounced in rugby though, hence why I think the markets are still very 'green', i.e. they are mostly dictated by punters instead of more sensible traders!
I remember with fondness the rugby World Cup back in October 2019. The England v New Zealand game got me a bit fired up and I chatted to my friend before the game. I was absolutely convinced England would win. This view was based on seeing their massive improvement and watching the other teams in the tournament who all seemed entirely beatable compared to the Brits, for once!
I thought it was pretty likely that England would (finally) beat the New Zealand All Blacks. But I also knew the Kiwis had a well-earned reputation for being a class above any other team on the planet. They usually were, but it didn't look that way this time around.
However the markets were priced as you'd usually expect, with the immense fame and historical dominance of the All Blacks keeping their odds typically short, despite the new England team being (in my view) quite possibly the best we've ever had.
I knew that if the All Blacks went ahead early, this game would be ripe for a lay of NZ, and likely to lead to profits. I was poised!
As it turned out, that was exactly what my friend had planned too, to hope NZ went ahead early and lay them as he knew England was more than capable of not just a big comeback, but a win. (And remember, to have a profitable trade on rugby you don't need the other team to win, just to score back some points so the odds swing back the other way for a profitable trade closure.)
In the end it was such a convincing performance by England that the opportunity didn’t actually arise to trade them that way. They were utterly dominant throughout the game. England were well worth a bet before the game too in my opinion, but I didn’t do it, I just enjoyed the whipping we finally gave those Kiwi rugby geniuses!
How To Trade Rugby on Betfair
As you can probably guess, I don't have a load of tried and tested strategies for rugby. This is more intuitive and reactionary than that.
I just decided to write a page covering this sport because I know some of my site's readers are avid rugby fans like me, but may wish to consider trading it when watching. I do think there's money available to those with their trader head screwed on, and a love of the game.
Value bets are where the easiest money lies in my view. If you're a fan of the sport you will know the flow of the game, the scoring system, the rules etcetera. You don't need much more than that to start trading it, just watch those markets while you're enjoying a game some time, and you will quickly be seeing valuable 'setups', especially when teams go ahead in the first half. If this happens 'against the run of play' (such as a breakthrough try), get your clicking fingers ready!
I wish you luck and I very much hope to be having an occasional dabble myself this winter!
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