Ontario online sports betting is gradually emerging with a more varied market with odds for single games and matches. Not only are there more sports to bet on, but additional gaming platforms will be available when private operators join the province on April 4, 2022. Many of these platforms offer rugby odds.
When those unfamiliar with rugby in Canada see a match, they are often drawn to the physical play, and also confused by some of the action and rules. But once fans begin to understand the game and see the great physical demands it places on players, it can be a wonderful sport to follow.
Rugby or “rugby football” are terms used to describe two sports known as Rugby Union and Rugby League. The sport originated in England in the 19th century and much of its popularity still resides on the European continent, where the best players compete. But pro rugby also landed in North America, especially with pockets of fans in British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as Ontario.
Understanding Rugby League Vs Rugby Union
In Rugby League teams compete with 13 players, whereas in Union they have 15. You’ll also see a difference in the size of “the pitch” (field). The pitch is smaller in Rugby League than it is in Union.
Rugby League play has more open spaces (due to the two fewer players on each side) and a slightly faster flow of action as compared to Union which has more players. But that doesn’t mean that League is the better game.
Rugby Union, which is the game played by Rugby Canada and tournaments in the country, is a more complicated game in rules and also strategy, according to experts. In contrast, Rugby League is more popular with fans who enjoy a simpler game that relies more heavily on player fitness, strength, and durability, as opposed to schemes and strategy.
Rugby’s Complicated Evolution Into Canadian Football
Rugby traces its roots in Canada back to the mid 19th century. But unlike England, Australia, and New Zealand, the game was shaped and changed in Canada, eventually splintering off into a new sport that has far eclipsed rugby in popularity: Canadian Football.
In 1869, the Hamilton Football Club formed a team based around a sport that borrowed rules from rugby but also opened up the game to more movement and strategy. This game eventually evolved into the sport played professionally as Canadian Football in the Canadian Football League. The championship game of the CFL, called the Grey Cup, is one of the most popular sporting events in Canada. It’s played each December and has been held annually since 1909.
As the CFL grew in popularity to become the second-most popular sport in the country (after ice hockey), attention for rugby waned. Eventually, local clubs and some tournaments remained, but by the 1960s, there was little interest in professional rugby. A group of fans in Ontario and British Columbia
Where Do I Bet On Rugby In Canada?
Several of the major sportsbooks in Canada are active in offering odds for rugby competition, but at this time only a few provinces provide single-event sports betting. Ontario, and the western Canadian provinces, have single-game betting administered by government-operated lottery commissions via online sportsbooks and/or retail sportsbook locations.
Which Rugby Leagues Are Available For Betting?
Professional rugby in Canada is played primarily by the Canadian Rugby Football Union, which was established in 1884, and whose season runs from May to October. Bettors can find odds on these matches, which pit teams from several major (and smaller) Canadian cities, beginning in late April.
World Rugby action, which plays under Rugby Union rules, plays a tournament-style schedule that invites teams to qualify for the Rugby World Cup, which takes place every four years. It will next be played in 2023. In Canada, the Canadian Rugby Union governs and organizes matches and tournaments in conjunction with World Rugby Union to produce a national Canadian team to compete internationally.
World Rugby teams play other matches to earn points and qualify for the World Cup, and many sportsbooks offer odds on those matches that take place in their home country like Canada. These matches can be played at various times of the year, depending on how far out the Rugby World Cup is.
Bettors in Canada can place wagers on professional rugby being played in England, Australia, and New Zealand, where the best teams and players typically perform. Seasons vary, but typically they run from March to October.
The National Rugby League (NRL) is the top professional rugby league in Australia and New Zealand. For most sportsbooks, when you bet on “Rugby League” you are choosing matches played in the NRL.
Sportsbooks also offer odds on the popular Six Nations tournament, an annual event where England, France, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, and Italy compete for a coveted trophy. This tournament, where all six national teams play the other five once to determine a champion, is played in February and March each year. Sportsbook will lay futures odds on Six Nations as it approaches.
How To Place Bets On Rugby
Betting on rugby is not difficult, it’s just like placing wagers on other sports. You may not hear as much about rugby in Canada as you do about ice hockey and the CFL, but you can get action on the matches through sportsbooks or at a retail sportsbook. You will want to check with your province to see if they have a third-party sportsbook available for single-match events. Most are only offering sportsbooks through their own government partnerships with operators..
Steps to placing a bet on rugby:
- Register with a sportsbook
- Verify identity and location for online betting in the province where you’re located
- Deposit money
- Take advantage of any new user bonuses
- Place your bet on the rugby action
- You can typically cash out the same day for your winnings online from most sportsbooks
To familiarize yourself with the sport, the teams, and the players, visit top rugby websites and seek out publications that focus on the sport. There are experts at rugby blogs and also on social media who can provide news and trends. Also, follow reporters who cover teams so you can keep tabs on injuries, roster moves, and coaching changes. Injuries are a big part of rugby, as it’s a very physical action sport, and active rosters are important to keep an eye on when you’re preparing your bets.
How Are Rugby Bettings Odds Calculated?
Luckily for Canadian bettors, rugby betting odds are very similar to Canadian Football League odds. Opponents are given a moneyline, there’s a spread, and also a total (for over/under). Scoring in rugby is typically fairly high.
For example, a match between two teams would be listed like this:
- Money Line: Team A (-150), Team B (+180)
- Total: Over 47 (-110), Under 47 (-105)
- Spread: Team A -5.5, Team B +5.5
In this example, Team A is the favorite, expected to win by 6 points or more. Bettors would need to wager $150 on Team A to win $100. Conversely, a successful $100 bet on Team B to win would net the bettor $180.
Odds in Canadian Rugby Union and can shift based on where the match is being played, what the weather will be like (rugby is played in practically any type of weather), and how healthy teams are. Most teams play weekly, much like a CFL season, with at least a week off. Teams can also receive bye weeks, which may impact their health for upcoming matches.
Types of Rugby Bets In Canada
You can place moneyline, spread, totals, and parlays on rugby with most legal sportsbooks. You can also lay down futures bets on who will win a league, tournament, or the Rugby World Cup, which will next be played in 2023.
The most popular bets in rugby are:
- Match Odds (Money Line)
- Winning Margin (Spread)
- First Scoring Play (Match Prop Bet)
What Is A Rugby Futures Bet?
A Futures bet is a wager placed on some event that will happen later in the season, such as which team will win a league title, the Canadian Rugby Union championship, or the Rugby World Cup. It can also be a bet on a future league award, such as who will be named Most Valuable Player. You can even bet on who will win the next season title, usually only hours or days after the current season ends. Your odds for futures bets are better the longer it is before the event is to take place.
What Is A Rugby Prop Bet?
A prop bet is any bet that is not tied directly to the outcome of a match. For example, you can bet on how many goals a player will score, or when the first goal will be scored, and so on.
Examples of Match Prop Bets include:
- Which team will score first?
- Which team will get to 10 points first?
- What the combined score will be at halftime
Examples of Player Prop Bets:
- Whether PLAYER A will score a goal
- Which player will score the first goal
- Whether a specific player will score over/under a certain number of goals or assists
Strategies For Rugby Betting
Rugby wagering requires an understanding of the game, especially how a team is constructed and the factors that may influence scoring in a match. Because rugby is not as popular in Canada as it is in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, as well as other parts of the world, bettors here should be diligent in educating themselves on the nuances of the game.
- Home field advantage is often very favorable. Some teams do not lose matches on their home pitch for years.
- Canadian Rugby Football Union league play continues during international competitions, which can siphon players from rosters.
- Matches can be one-sided, which leads to oddsmakers offering competitive handicap odds.
- Learn which teams employ forward-movement offensive strategies, and which like to kick and defend. This will impact “tries” and scoring.
Betting On Canadian Rugby FAQs
Yes, betting on rugby is legal anywhere where lottery-run sportsbooks offer odds in that particular province. In Ontario, many commercial sportsbooks will offer odds on rugby events.
You’ll need to be at least 19 years of age to bet with an online sportsbook in Ontario.
Yes, licensed sportsbooks are regulated in their respective Canadian provinces. Several of the sportsbooks are operated in conjunction with the local lottery or gaming authority. They are also mandated to follow payout guidelines, and you can take action if there is fraud or refusal to pay winnings.
Yes, 888sports and Caesars Sportsbook both offer live in-game betting on select rugby matches, which typically last about two hours (80 minutes of game action).
None of the sportsbooks we surveyed currently offers futures betting on MVP awards etc. for professional rugby in Ontario.
In 2019, South Africa defeated England in the Rugby World Cup, in Japan. This was the third Cup championship for South Africa. The Rugby World Cup began in 1987 and has been played nine times through 2019.
Canada’s national rugby union team has appeared in every Rugby World Cup since it began in 1987. Their best showing came in 1991, when Canada posted two match wins, qualifying for the quarterfinals, where they were defeated by powerhouse New Zealand.
In 2021, the Canadian National Rugby Union Team failed to qualify for the 2023 Rugby World Cup, the first time the country has failed to do so. As a result, many followers of Rugby in the nation are calling for a more concentrated professional and amateur focus to strengthen the game in Canada.
Most sportsbooks have Australia listed as the favorite for the 2023 Rugby World Cup. Odds at BetMGM as of November 11, 2021, were +350 for Australia and +550 for New Zealand. The 2019 runner-up England, is listed at +600. Host nation France is also expected to be a competitive team in 2023.
Professional rugby in Canada has had its ups and downs. The Rugby Canada Super League operated from 1998 to 2009, before ceasing due to financial problems. No formal professional circuit has replaced by a triad of competitions: the Ontario Rugby League Competition, the British Columbia Rugby League Competition, and the Alberta Rugby League Competition. Teams from across each province and region enter to compete
The next Rugby World Cup will be played in France from September 8 through October 28 in 2023. The top qualifying teams from all over the world will compete in an elimination tournament, culminating in the crowning of the world champion. The Webb Ellis Cup is awarded to the winner of the men’s Rugby World Cup. Canada failed to qualify for the Rugby World Cup competition, which will take place throughout 2022 and 2023.