Compare the best Rugby League betting sites in the UK and our comprehensive betting guide below.
Although seen as niche by some sports fans, rugby league is massively popular in the UK.
Said to be about the eighth most popular sport in the UK overall, rugby league is particularly popular in parts of northern England, with betting on the big games also very common too.
It is often said there is a north-south split between league and union fans, but actually many people enjoy watching both codes of rugby: there is no need to choose one or the other.
Rugby league is played in many of the same countries as rugby union, not just in the UK. League is particularly popular in parts of Oceania such as Australia and it is the national sport of Papua New Guinea and the Cook Islands, with the sport still spreading around the globe.
Not everyone who watches league regularly will have ever placed a bet on the action, though, and they may be unsure of what they need to do to get started. Rugby league is one of the top sports to bet on in the UK, however, so it is worth learning the basics in order to get started.
Our full guide to rugby league betting in the UK has all the details, so read on for more info.
The history of rugby league can be traced back to the end of the 19th century, when there was a schism in the sport of rugby, leading to a breakaway and the foundation of a new rugby league.
Rule changes such as the abolition of the line-out and a change from 15 players in a team to 13 followed, paving the way for the league to become a subtly different sport to rugby union over time.
Rugby league in Australia was created by a similar split, with the sport quickly becoming the most popular for people to play and watch in the areas of New South Wales and Queensland.
The aim of the game in league is the same as in rugby union, with teams aiming to score more points than their opponents by recording tries and kicks over the course of an 80-minute match.
Sports fans in the UK are spoiled for choice when it comes to betting sites. Here are 10 of the best that are fully recommended for anyone who wants to bet on rugby league:
As the title sponsor of the Super League, it is no surprise that Betfred is one of the best rugby league betting sites in the UK, with excellent odds and a wide array of markets on offer here.
Great coverage of domestic rugby is a given at Betfred, which has markets for the Women's Super League as well as the men's tournament. Handicap options are available and there is also the opportunity to make the most of the Betfred Pick Your Punt feature here as well. Betfred's great mobile betting apps are perfect for placing league bets on the move.
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Even matches in the second tier of rugby league in England have dozens of betting markets at William Hill, helping to secure the site's place among the best options for rugby league betting.
At William Hill, State of Origin games are among the best to bet on as well as action from the NRL and the Super League, with plenty of pre-match and ante-post wagers available here. British brand William Hill promises to be a top choice for Rugby League World Cup betting with the competition already mentioned on the site as one of the best competitions to bet on.
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Like William Hill, Ladbrokes is a traditional British betting brand that is a good choice for league fans who are hoping to bet on tournaments such as the NRL, the Super League and more.
Top international events such as the Rugby League World Cup are naturally covered on the Ladbrokes sportsbook site too, while those who follow the Championship below the Super League will be happy to see a good range of markets for games in this competition too. For example, it is possible to bet on the total number of tries to be scored in a game at Ladbrokes.
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For a huge range of rugby league bets to pick from, it is hard to look beyond Unibet which typically has more than 300 different options on offer for UK rugby league fans to browse.
Unibet goes big on the NRL with each match in Australia's league competition tending to have about 35 different markets, such as handicaps and race to score 10 points first options.
A top reason to pick Unibet for rugby league betting is the wealth of data and statistics that are available on the site for people to check out when trying to find winning wagers.
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As Spreadex is the only firm to offer two types of sports betting - fixed odds and spread betting - this is a unique option for rugby league fans in the UK to test out.
Spread betting might seem complicated to many, though, but there is a normal sportsbook here. Spreadex makes it easy to flick between the fixed odds and spread betting options on offer too.
On the fixed odds side, handicap markets are offered for the NRL and the Super League. Those who want to try spread betting can pick from options such as the total points to be scored.
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As a leading UK online betting brand known for excellent value, the fact that BetVictor's rugby league betting odds are consistently among the best will not come as a surprise to anyone.
BetVictor has dozens of markets for Championship games, as well as Super League and NRL matches, with good handicap options among those that are the most popular on this betting site.
Among the key selling points of BetVictor over its rivals for the title of best rugby league betting site in the UK is users have the option to see the most popular wagers that are being placed.
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Rugby league fans might primarily see 888 as a casino brand. However, this could be a mistake as 888Sport is now widely considered to be among the UK's best online betting sites.
At 888sport, the site is easy to navigate, so finding the top rugby league bets is simple. However, it is fair to say the number of rugby league bets can be a little limited here.
Nevertheless, the 888Sport Acca Club means a £5 free bet, which can be used on rugby league games in the NRL or Super League, are up for grabs on the site every week.
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An even better deal is up for grabs for UK customers at Betway, where rugby league fans can earn £10 in free bets each week if they meet the site's qualifying conditions for the offer.
Betway's rugby league coverage includes the RFL Championship as well as all the obvious options such as the NRL and the Super League, so there is a good level of depth here too.
Ante-post rugby league betting markets such as for the World Cup are among the top options, while Betway's mobile site is among the fastest to load for placing live in-play league bets.
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As is the case for betting sites looking at other sports, when we assess the best rugby league betting sites to use in the UK we check out a range of factors. These are the most important:
Naturally, rugby league fans want to have a decent amount of choice when it comes to the events and markets listed on UK online betting sites. All games in the Super League should be covered at the minimum as well as the NRL in Australia, ideally with a lot of bets to pick from, but people will be hoping to see leagues, cups and competitions from other nations too.
Handicap betting tends to be very popular among rugby league fans so it is important that this is included. An example of a British betting brand with a lot of different markets is Betfred, which even has the Women's Super League covered too.
As well as markets for pre-match betting, rugby league fans will want to be able to bet live in-play, which continues to get more and more popular in the UK. Live betting is on the rise at a rapid rate and a bet on the live rugby league action can both make watching a game live more exciting and be an opportunity to win some money as well.
With a lot of betting sites now offering live sports streaming to their customers, league fans will be hoping to have the chance to catch some live action via their online betting account as well.
Sports fans in the UK love to place bets on a mobile device these days, so rugby league betting sites need to make sure they have a solid provision in this department. Many of the top betting brands in the UK now have their own iOS and Android betting apps that are available to download from the App Store or Play Store, offering league betting on the move. But a solid mobile site that is responsive and quick to load will also do the job for league fans.
UK betting sites have such a high level of competition in the industry these days that an increasing number of betting bonuses are up for grabs. Rugby league free bets are widely available through the welcome deals and promotions that almost all online bookmakers in the UK now offer in a bid to tempt new customers through their doors. However, fans of the sport will also be hoping to see top rugby league betting bonuses as well.
No rugby league betting site in the UK can earn a recommendation without having the right licenses in place. In order to legally operate as a UK online bookmaker, sites need to have a license from the UK Gambling Commission, which regulates the industry here.
Rugby league fans will want to get the most bang for their buck from their bets on the big game, so high rugby league odds are essential if browsing sportsbooks. Even a small difference in price can make a big difference to the profits. The top five UK bookies for high rugby league odds are as follows: Betfair, Betfred, Betway, Paddy Power and BetVictor.
UK betting sites largely offer customer support on a 24/7 basis nowadays, which is good news as this is what fans of rugby league have come to expect. Help should be available via live chat around the clock, with email and telephone support ideally offered too.
The site's help centre should also include a frequently asked questions section, which users can check out as their first port of call for common queries surrounding areas such as the cashier.
Rugby league is played all over the world, which means there is almost always something to bet on for fans. Here are some of the top rugby league events, tournaments and leagues to bet on:
While perhaps not as high-profile as the union's comparable event, the Rugby League World Cup is still a global showcase for the sport. The first ever Rugby League World Cup was held in 1954 and the popularity of the tournament has been growing ever since. It now takes place every four years, with the 2017 event seeing the hosts, Australia, beat England at Brisbane's Lang Park in the final.
England, three-time finalists but never winners of the competition, will host the next World Cup in 2022, with the tournament having been delayed by a year due to the impact of COVID-19, as both New Zealand and Australia had pulled out of competing in the 16-team competition back in 2021. The Women's and Wheelchair tournaments will also be held at the same time as the Rugby League World Cup for the first time. France is due to host the 17th staging of the Rugby League World Cup, which will take place in 2025.
This biennial rugby league football tournament is a fan favourite, with the traditional powerhouses of the game - England, Australia and New Zealand - facing off in a competition that replaced the previous Tri-Nations format.
France accepted an invitation to play in the inaugural Rugby League Four Nations in 2009, with Papua New Guinea, Wales, Samoa and Scotland have all taken part in previous events. No Rugby League Four Nations tournament has been played since 2016, though, and it is unclear if and when it will return.
National teams from across the continent face off in the Rugby League European Championship, which was first played all the way back in 1935. There are four levels to the Rugby League European Championship now and promotion was introduced, along with relegation, a few years ago.
England are perhaps unsurprisingly the most successful team in the history of the Rugby League European Championship, winning 14 times. As a result of the rescheduling of the 2021 Rugby League World Cup to late 2022, the Rugby League European Championship is next expected to take place in 2023, though not confirmed.
Even though it was only held for the first time in 2019, the Oceania Cup was a smash hit with the tournament enjoyed by rugby league fans from around the world. Australia, New Zealand and Tonga made up the top tier of the inaugural Oceania Cup - which was held in Australia and New Zealand - with Fiji, Samoa and Papua New Guinea playing in the second level of the competition. The date of the next Oceania Cup has not yet been confirmed either.
Australia and New Zealand take each other on to win the Bill Kelly Memorial Trophy in a single Anzac Test each year. The game used to be played in the middle of the season, but a few years ago it was switched in the sporting schedule and now takes place at the end of the domestic campaign. Australia have won all but three Anzac Tests as of summer 2022.
As in cricket, the rugby league teams of England and Australia regularly face off in a popular competition known as the Ashes. Hosting rights usually switch between the two countries and Australia have traditionally been extremely dominant in the league's Ashes games.
The New South Wales Blues and the Queensland Maroons - which are a pair of Australian state representative sides - take each other on in one of the most popular rugby league events to bet on, the State of Origin series.
Often described as Australian sport's greatest rivalry, State of Origin is an annual best-of-three rugby league series that is usually played in sold-out stadiums and attracts massive television audiences across the globe too.
Queensland has won 23 of the series played as of 2022, with New South Wales taking just 16. The 2022 State of Origin series saw Queensland triumph 2-1, with almost 200,000 people attending the three matches in which a total of 116 points were scored by the two teams.
England's version of the State of Origin series was the War of the Roses, an event that was created in 1895 and was last played in 2003, though a revival has been mooted. In the War of the Roses league matches, top teams from Lancashire and Yorkshire faced off.
In domestic rugby, English fans love to watch and bet on the Super League, which at the moment is made up of 12 teams, 10 of which are based in the north of England and mostly around what is known locally as the 'M62 corridor'. The season takes place between February and September each year, with the Super League having a play-off series leading to the Grand Final after each team plays 29 league games.
The team that finishes at the bottom of the Super League is relegated to England's second-tier competition, the Championship, in which the Million Pound Game for promotion is held. Having been founded in 1996, the Super League is going from strength to strength with St Helens the most recent winners of the competition, having collected a record 12th title in last year's SL.
One of the highlights of the rugby league betting calendar in the UK is the annual Magic Weekend, which sees a whole round of Super League matches played over a weekend at a single stadium, which more often than not tends to be St. James' Park in the city of Newcastle. This league competition is currently known as the Betfred Super League for sponsorship reasons and will remain so until at least the year 2023.
As well as the Super League, fans of the sport love to bet on the Challenge Cup action as well. Similar to the FA Cup in football, the Challenge Cup is particularly exciting due to the fact that it involves amateur, semi-professional and professional clubs and is just as historic, having first taken place 126 years ago. Wigan Warriors are the most successful team in the history of the Challenge Cup, having lifted the trophy on no fewer than 20 occasions so far including their victory in the 2022 final when they beat Huddersfield Giants 16-14 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Although the competition is mostly contested by clubs that are based across the north of England, the Challenge Cup has also featured teams from as far afield as Russia and Canada, while the Serbian team Red Star Belgrade took part in 2019 too. In the event that the same team is able to win the Challenge Cup and the Grand Final at the end of the Super League season, this is known as 'the Double' and it so far has happened 10 times in history, most recently in 2015 when the Leeds Rhinos were able to celebrate this remarkable feat.
Australia's version of Super League is the National Rugby League, which is often just known as NRL for short. The first season of the NRL took place in 1998 and matches are currently played in Australia as well as New Zealand from March to October. NRL has a similar structure to the Super League, with the season culminating in the Grand Final.
At the moment, NRL is made up of 16 teams including the 15-time winners Sydney Roosters, eight-time champions Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs and 21-time victors South Sydney Rabbitohs.
New Zealand Warriors are the only team not based in Australia to play in the NRL right now. However, a 17th club, named The Dolphins, is set to join the NRL in 2023 and it is being widely reported that a further expansion to 18 teams could happen in the near future too.
One of the showpiece sporting events on rugby league's calendar is the World Club Challenge, an annual match between the NRL and Super League champions. First held all the way back in 1976, only English and Australian teams have ever qualified.
Sydney Roosters are the current champions of the World Club Challenge, having won their fifth time in the event the last time it was held in 2020. Wigan Warriors have won it four times too. Additionally, many nations often play Test matches against each other throughout the year too.
Rugby league has lots of variety when it comes to betting markets - here are some top options:
For casual UK rugby league fans, the only bet they might place is on the winner of a competition such as the World Cup or the Challenge Cup. These markets tend to be available well in advance in the form of ante-post markets, which is ideal for those who like to plan ahead.
Tournament winner markets do what the name suggests, with users simply having to correctly predict which rugby league team will be lifting the trophy at the end of the event.
As with other sports, it is also possible to bet on the outcome of individual markets. Like in football and rugby union, the draw is a possible result so there are three options to pick from in match-winner markets for rugby league: home win, away win and the draw too.
Again this is a simple one to understand, with users predicting which team will be the winner. Home advantage tends to be very important in rugby league, which is reflected in the odds.
Many rugby league matches see one team start as a strong favourite in the betting odds, which is where the handicap comes into play as a decent option. With the handicap, one team is essentially given a headstart in the scoring, with a number of points added to their score. The aim of this is to provide a more balanced match for the purpose of the betting odds. Let's say that Wigan Warriors are playing at home to York City Knights in the Challenge Cup. Wigan would be expected to win easily, so their price in the match-winner market would be short.
However, a handicap bet such as Wigan -5.5 might help to even up the score. With this option, Wigan would have to win the game by six points in order for the handicap bet to win. In rugby league, handicap betting markets are also worth in the opposite direction as well. Let's say a fan felt York might lose, but not heavily. They might be tempted to bet on York +5.5 in the handicap market, meaning they would win the bet as long as they did not lose by six points.
As with rugby union, fans of the league can often place a wager on the first player to score a try in a match. It might even be possible to bundle in the first try scorer bet with a match-winner option to make a double in the form of a scorecast, or perhaps a wincast instead.
Certain players in the sport of rugby league are known for making an explosive start to games, so this will make them particularly appealing options when it comes to first-try scorer bets.
For those who are unsure which team is going to win, a rugby league betting option is to predict how many points are going to be scored in the game. A quick look at the previous results will show which league teams are known for being defensively solid and therefore likely to be involved in low-scoring matches, and vice versa for attacking teams.
Many of the top rugby league betting sites in the UK, such as Unibet, also allow their customers to bet on the first scoring play in a particular match as well. Users will have to pick from options such as a team to open the scoring via a try, a field goal or a penalty.
Keeping all of the above in mind, what are some top rugby league betting tips and strategies?
Weather conditions can affect the outcome of a rugby league match to a surprising degree. Lots of rain and winds can make it harder to kick at goal accurately, which may lead to low scores. A wet pitch can also sometimes lead to a more attritional match with few chances to score tries.
Some teams are known for being particularly strong in certain weather conditions. It is therefore worth checking out their record as part of research carried out before placing rugby bets. On a similar note, some rugby league teams are very hard to beat in front of their own fans and make the most of their home advantage while others perform strongly on the road when they go away.
Rugby league is perhaps not as data-driven as some of the other team sports out there. But fans can still make the most of statistics such as head-to-head records when placing bets. In team sports, it is sometimes the case that a club has a 'bogey team' that they struggle to beat.
Checking out the latest news headlines for rugby league is also a must when betting on the sport. If a team is likely to be without a lot of players as a result of injury, this is going to impact their chances of winning a game. The top UK rugby league betting sites will be taking all of this information into account when they come to set out all their prices for a match too, of course. Sites will sometimes make enhanced odds or price boosts available for rugby league as well.
Odds should be taken into account as well. There is more to winning rugby league bets than just being able to accurately predict what is going to happen when the game gets up and running.
The key to being profitable when betting on sports is to spot and take advantage of value. It can be beneficial to shop around for the best rugby league betting odds, though some sites are known for being more generous with their prices for the sport than a lot of their industry rivals.
On the flip side, a golden rule is never to bet more on rugby league than you can afford to lose. Many rugby league fans find it is best to treat betting on their favourite sport as a fun hobby and they may give themselves a weekly or a monthly budget of money to play as a result of this.
Making the most of rugby league betting bonuses, promotions and special deals is a priority. At almost every online bookmaker in the UK, new customers who sign up for an account can get access to free rugby league bets when they join as part of their welcome offer. Some sites, such as 888Sport and Betway, have a form of loyalty club where users can meet certain qualifying conditions each week to earn a £5 or even a £10 free bet, which again can be used on league.
While rugby league fans might come to have a favourite online bookmaker they use most often to place wagers on the NRL or Super League, there is nothing to stop people from joining a number of different sites to make the most of the various welcome promotions that are on offer.
Steven is an experienced iGaming content writer who has been working in the industry since 2018. He is passionate about sports betting and enjoys writing about all aspects of the industry, including bookmaker reviews, betting tips and strategies, and news and analysis. If you have any questions about online gambling in the UK, please don't hesitate to contact him.