Rugby Betting In Michigan

There’s a lot more to Michigan sports betting than just the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, and NCAA sports.

Traditional American professional and college sports make up most of the betting markets at Michigan sportsbooks. However, there are a variety of alternative international and American sports you can bet on as well.

Rugby is one, well, actually two, of the alternative sports you can bet on in Michigan.

Rugby Union and Rugby League are two different versions of the same game played in international competitions and professional associations around the world, including one pro league right here in the US. Whenever these are running, you’ll be able to find rugby betting markets.

Plus, Michigan online and mobile sportsbooks will allow you statewide access to these same Rugby Union and Rugby League betting markets when Michigan sports betting goes live.

Find out everything you need to know about rugby betting in Michigan, including the basics behind Rugby Union and Rugby League betting markets and when and where you can access them right here in the Great Lakes State.

The difference between Rugby Union and Rugby League

Rugby is basically a combination of soccer and football without forward passing, and it is widely considered the father of American football. The pitch is quite similar to a football field, with a goal line and goal area, or end zone, and H-shaped goalposts, or uprights, at either end. In rugby, the goal line and end zone are known as try line and try zone, respectively.

The game is played according to the slightly different rules of Rugby Union or Rugby League. However, the object of both is to advance the ball up the field throughout the game and score more points than the other team.

Rugby Union teams are made up of 15 players on the field. Matches are 80 minutes long with two 40-minute halves.

Players run with the ball and can lateral it back to teammates in an effort to advance it towards the goal line. They can also kick the ball ahead and try to run it down.

The defense tries to tackle the ball carrier, rip the ball away or take a kicked ball and start moving it in the other direction.

Teams scoring is comprised of:

  • Try (5 points): When players place the ball down in the try zone after running it across the goal line
  • Conversion (2 points): When players kick the ball through the goalposts following a try
  • Penalty kick (3 points): When the ball is kicked through the goalposts after being awarded a penalty kick for various infractions
  • Drop goal (3 points): When players drop kick (bounce and kick) the ball through the goalposts during play

If the ball goes out of bounds, there is a throw-in known as a line-out. Both teams line up as many as seven players and compete for the ball in the air after one throws it in on a straight line.

Penalty kicks are awarded for major infractions like head tackling, but minor infractions, like passing the ball forward, lead to a scrum. In a scrum, both teams line up as many as eight players in a pile. The players lock arms and shoulders, the ball is fed into a small gap between the teams, and the teams compete for possession.

Rugby League differences

In contrast, Rugby League teams are made up of 13 players on a slightly smaller field. Matches are still 80 minutes long with two 40 minute halves and while scoring methods are the same, the values are different.

In Rugby League, the scoring is as follows:

  • Try: Worth 4 points
  • Goal (conversion or penalty kick): Worth 2 points
  • Field goal (drop goal): Worth 1 point

The other major difference is when the ball goes out of bounds in Rugby League there is a scrum instead of a line-out.

Rugby match betting options

Whether you are betting on a Rugby Union or Rugby League match in an international competition or professional circuit, Michigan sportsbooks will generally offer you the same basic rugby match betting options, including:

  • Moneylines: Pick either team to win or that the match will end in a draw and lock in the bet at currently posted moneyline odds. If you’re right, you win, and you get paid at whatever odds you locked in, no matter how much those odds change ahead of the game.
  • Spreads: Pick one team to win the match with a spread set by oddsmakers factored into the final score. Lock in the bet at the currently posted spread and moneyline odds. If they cover the spread, winning as the favorite by more than the spread, or losing by less than the spread or winning outright as an underdog, you get paid at whatever odds you locked in.
  • Three-way spreads: Pick one team to win, or that the score will end up a draw with a spread set by oddsmakers factored into the final score. Similar to spread betting with no push on scores that end up a draw with the line factored in.
  • Alternative two-way handicaps: Pick one team to win the match with an alternative spread factored into the final score. Adjust points in the alternative spread to manipulate the odds.
  • Totals: Pick whether both teams will combine to score more or fewer points than a line set by oddsmakers.
  • Winning margins: Pick a team to win by a set number of points or points range. The more specific you can be the better the odds.

Betting on a match in-game

Michigan betting apps will offer live betting for major rugby matches in top-flight leagues and international competitions.

These are generally the same basic rugby markets listed above available at odds that change continuously with the action in a match. In-game betting is designed for online and sportsbook apps because of the speed at which the odds can change.

Rugby futures

Mobile sportsbook apps should offer futures markets for major rugby matches. That means you’ll be able to bet on who you think will win various pro leagues and international competitions right here in Michigan at odds that are adjusted throughout a season or event.

Where to bet on rugby in Michigan

In March 2020, MGM Grand Detroit converted its MoneyLine Sports Lounge into a sportsbook, Greektown Casino Hotel operator Penn National Gaming partnered with Kambi to open up a temporary sportsbook and solidify plans to build the first Barstool Sports-branded sportsbook, and MotorCity Casino Hotel launched a retail sportsbook with FanDuel Michigan on the property.

All three suspended operations because of the global Covid-19 pandemic.

The Michigan Gaming Control Board also says the state’s first online and mobile sportsbook could open and start taking bets on rugby as early as November 2020.

DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, and BetMGM Sportsbook will all offer online and mobile sports betting in the Wolverine State from the word go and provide the most comprehensive rugby betting options in Michigan. Each should offer a huge range of rugby betting options for a wide variety of games around the world, including in-game betting.

Top pro rugby circuits

Major League Rugby

Major League Rugby is North America’s professional Rugby Union championship. The Major League Rugby season generally runs for five months from February to the end of June.

The 2020 season included 12 teams, 11 from the US and one from Toronto, Canada. The league held its inaugural season in 2018 and the Seattle Seawolves were crowned champs in the league’s first two seasons.

The 2020 season included a conference format for the first time. Each team was scheduled to play a double round-robin within the six-team conferences and six games against teams from the other conference. The postseason was scheduled to include the top three teams from each conference with the second- and third-ranked teams competing in wild card games and the winners facing off against the top seeds. The winners from each conference would then have played in the league’s championship game.

The season started Feb. 8, 2020, but was suspended in March in the wake of the pandemic. The league has since announced it would not resume until 2021.

Sportsbooks should offer Major League Rugby futures markets ahead of next season and match markets throughout.

Gallagher Premiership Rugby

Gallagher Premiership Rugby, which has been in existence since 1987, is the United Kingdom’s top-flight Rugby Union competition. There are 12 teams in the top division that compete for the Gallagher Premiership Rugby title and places in Europe’s top two Rugby Union club competitions, the European Rugby Champions Cup and the European Rugby Challenge Cup.

The league’s last-place team is relegated to the second division, the RFU Championship, at the end of the season. The RFU Championship winner is also promoted to the Gallagher Premiership.

The season usually runs from September through June, with each team playing each other at home and away. The top four teams in the league table enter the playoffs in June with two semifinals and the winners moving on to a final at Twickenham Stadium in London, England to decide the Premiership Champion, which was won by Saracens in 2019.

The 2020 league season was suspended in March 2020. It is scheduled to resume in August 2020. Michigan sportsbooks should host Gallagher Premiership Rugby match betting markets at that time.

National Rugby League

The National Rugby League (NRL) is Australia and New Zealand’s top men’s Rugby League competition. The season runs from March to October featuring 16 teams.

The NRL premiership season starts in March and wraps up in September and is followed by the Finals Series with the top eight teams facing each other over four weeks until only two remain. These teams face off in the Grand Final, usually held on the first Sunday in October.

The final is one of Australia’s most popular sporting events and the pageantry surrounding the game makes it almost like Australia’s Super Bowl.

The Sydney Roosters have won back-to-back NRL titles.

The 2020 season began on schedule, but Round 2 matches were played in empty stadiums and several saw a change of venue during the global pandemic. That changed on March 23, 2020, when the league was suspended and matches were canceled. However, it restarted on May 28, 2020, with a 20-round competition where each team will play all the others once with five extra games. The NRL Grand Final is now set for Oct. 25, 2020.

Michigan sportsbooks will offer 2020 NRL match betting markets when they are open.

Betfred Super League

The Super League is the top-level pro Rugby League club competition in the Northern Hemisphere. It includes 12 teams, 10 from England, one from France, and one from Canada.

Super League teams each play 29 games from January through October and the top five teams then enter a playoff series leading to a Grand Final where a  Super League Champion is crowned.

The bottom team is relegated to the Championship level and the Championship level winner moves up to the Super League.

The 2020 Super League XXV season began in January 2020 and was suspended in March.

The league is considering a mid-August return and modifying the schedule to include 22, 24, or 28 games and a Grand Final date either at the end of November, mid-December, or mid-January 2021.

Michigan sportsbooks should offer Betfred Super League betting markets when the season resumes.

Super Rugby

Super Rugby is an international men’s Rugby Union club competition involving 15 teams from Argentina, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and South Africa.

The 2020 season was scheduled to be the Japanese team’s last season in the competition but play was suspended in March 2020 and the team has not since made any announcements regarding their future.

The Super Rugby season generally splits the teams into three different conferences, the Australian Conference (including the Japanese Sunwolves), the New Zealand Conference, and the South African Conference (including the Argentine Jaguares).

A group stage consists of 18 rounds of matches from January through the start of June, with each team playing 16 matches with two bye weeks. The winner of each conference qualifies for the Super Rugby finals and the five best non-conference winners also qualify and progress through a playoff to decide the Super Rugby Champion.

In May 2020, New Zealand Rugby announced it would be replacing the 2020 season with a Super Rugby Aotearoa competition, involving the five New Zealand Super Rugby teams. It began on June 13, 2020.

Rugby Australia is also replacing the 2020 season with the Super Rugby AU involving the four Australian teams and play began June 3, 2020.

Michigan sportsbooks should offer Super Rugby AU and Super Rugby Aotearoa betting markets when they are open.

International rugby competitions

The 2021 Rugby League World Cup

The 2021 Rugby League World Cup is scheduled to be held in England between Oct. 23, 2021 and Nov. 27, 2021.

It will be the 16th Rugby League World Cup and will include 16 international teams, including the eight quarter-finalists from the previous Rugby League World Cup, six qualifying teams each from Europe and Asia-Pacific, plus one each from Middle East/Africa, the Americas and an intercontinental playoff.

The 16 teams are:

  • Jamaica
  • Australia
  • Cook Islands
  • Fiji
  • Tonga
  • New Zealand
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Samoa
  • England
  • France
  • Wales
  • Scotland
  • Ireland
  • Greece
  • Italy
  • Lebanon

Australia is the two-time defending champion.

Betting markets should open in Michigan ahead of the event.

The 2023 Rugby World Cup

The 2023 Rugby World Cup (Rugby Union) is scheduled to run Sept. 8 to Oct. 21 in France.

Twenty teams will compete, including 12 that finished in the top three of their pool at the 2019 Rugby World Cup and France is given an automatic bid as host. The other eight teams will qualify through ongoing regional competitions and cross-regional playoffs, and a repechage tournament scheduled for November 2022.

South Africa is the defending champion.

Betting markets should be open in Michigan ahead of the event.

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