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Main NRL Betting Markets

The main NRL betting markets explained

Along with AFL and A-League, NRL betting is one of the top seasonal sports to bet on in Australia.

The NRL regular season is contested by 16 teams 26 Rounds,  with the Top 8 teams contesting the NRL Finals.

The Australian bookmakers put a heavy focus on NRL betting, and supply a vast number of NRL markets throughout the season with plenty of NRL betting promotions and offers from the bookmakers.

Below we will explain the main betting markets for NRL.


NRL Head to Head Market

NRL Head to Head betting is the most basic market, where the bettor must simply select which team will win the game. Draws are not included in the straight up Head to Head markets.

A Head to Head betting market will be shown in the following format:

Team A vs Team B
Cronulla__$2.20 Penrith__$1.80

The home NRL team will be shown in the Head to Head odds first, in this example Cronulla is the home team, and have a home ground advantage, which will play into the odds. In this Head to Head market, the bettor has selected Cronulla to defeat Penrith.

This bet, once selected, is placed into the bet slip automatically.

An Example of a Head to Head NRL bet in a betslip can be seen below, where the bettor has selected Cronulla to defeat Penrith straight out.

Bet Slip
Leg Conulla__$2.20
Stake $10
Est. Returns $22.00
Net Winnings $12.00

The bettor has placed $10 as their “Stake” in the Stake field.


How are returns calculated for an NRL Head to Head bet?

The estimated returns are calculated as:

(Cronulla Odds) $2.20 x $10 (Stake)

Estimated Returns = $22.00


Calculating profit on an NRL Head to Head bet –

(Estimated Returns) $22.00 – $10.00 (Stake)

Estimated Profit = $12.00


TIP – To make an informed Head to Head NRL bet we suggest –

  • Check the previous five games between the two sides, anything beyond the last five matchups have too many variables such as coaching staff, new players, game structures etc. All NRL teams match up differently, so keep an eye on past performances. There may be value somewhere.
  • Check each teams last five total games. Certain teams may be on a winning streak, and some good teams may be in poor form. Catch the in-form teams with confidence, but make sure to check wins were against Top 8 sides, and place a discount on wins over bottom 8 sides.
  • Check for injuries and omissions closer to kick-off.

NRL Line Bet (Spread Bet)

Line Bets are a type of market in which a bookie will handicap an NRL game by setting a points handicap (Spread) for each side, essentially making the market level for both teams.

This estimated points handicap of the game is referred to as the ‘Line’ or ‘Spread’, which is where the term line betting comes from.

The line market presents each side in a game with either a (+) or (-) symbol with a margin of points attached.

In this example, the bettor has selected Cronulla to ‘beat the line’.

The odds for Line Bets are generally set between $1.91 – $1.95 depending on the bookmaker. The higher the odds, the less ‘juice’ or profit the bookmaker will take from each bet.

The favourite in the game will always be handicapped as (-).

TEAM LINE
Cronulla (+3.5)1.94
Penrith (-3.5)1.90
  • When a team has a line with a (+), it shows that the team must win the game outright or lose the game by fewer points than indicated by the line.
  • When a team has a point spread line with a (-), it indicates that the team must win the game by more points than what is indicated in the line.

For this to result as a winning line bet, Cronulla must win the game, or lose the game by 3 points or less.

An example of a this NRL Line Bet in a bet slip can be seen below.

Bet Slip
Leg Cronulla (+3.5)__$1.91
Stake $10
Est. Returns $19.20
Net Winnings $9.20

The bettor has placed $10 as their “Stake” in the Stake field.


How are the returns calculated for an NRL Line bet?

The estimated returns are calculated as:

(Cronulla) $1.91 x $10 (Stake)

Estimated Returns = $19.20


Calculating profit on an NRL Line bet –

(Estimated Returns) $19.20 – $10.00 (Stake)

Estimated Profit = $9.20

TIP – To make an informed NRL Line bet we suggest –

  • Check the losing/winning margins for the previous five games between the two teams. Some teams have not had a large winning margin against in other in their last 5 matchups. When teams with poor form are expected to lose games, sometimes the Line can be exaggerated, it’s best to take the (+) market on these occasions.
  • Check for injuries and omissions during the week, as a loss of quality players will alter the line.

NRL Margin (Big Win/Little Win)

NRL margin betting markets offer a set margin for each game, where the bettor can select a margin in which they believe the game will result for either team.

The most common NRL Margin Markets are:

  • 1-12 points (The team must win the game by a margin of 1 to 12 points).
  • 13+ points (The team must win the game by a margin of 13+ points).
  • Draw (The game must end in a draw).

NRL Margin Markets are set out with the following format and odds. In this example the bettor has selected Cronulla to win the game by a margin of 1-12 points.

Margin Markets
Cronulla 1-12__$3.10 Penrith 1-39__$2.00
Cronulla 13+__$5.50 Penrith 40+__$4.50
Draw           $56.00

Because the Head to Head markets for this game (Cronulla $2.20/Penrith$1.60) have Cronulla as underdogs, the Margin Markets will also reflect Cronulla at longer odds than Penrith.

For this to result as a winning bet, Cronulla must win the game by a margin of 1-12 points.

An example of a this Line Bet in a bet slip can be seen below.

Bet Slip
Leg Cronulla 1-12__$3.10
Stake $10
Est. Returns $31.00
Net Winnings $21.00

The bettor has placed $10 as their “Stake” in the Stake field.


How are the returns calculated for an NRL Margin bet?

The estimated returns are calculated as:

(Cronulla Odds) $3.10 x $10 (Stake)

Estimated Returns = $31.00


Calculating the profit on an NRL Margin bet –

(Estimated Returns) $31.00 – $10.00 (Stake)

Estimated Profit = $21.00


TIP – To make an informed NRL Margin bet we suggest to-

  • Look up the previous 10 games for both sides. If one team is prone to heavy losses while their opponent is winning by big margins, their is value in the 13+ points margin. Alternatively, if one team keeps games close, the value is in the 1-12 margin for either team.

NRL Total Game Points/Over Under

With NRL Total Game Points betting, you are selecting whether the total score of an NRL game will be over or under the expected total points given by the bookmaker.

If the total score of the NRL game is higher than the Total Points Line given by the bookmaker, then the over wins; if it is lower than the predicted total, the under wins.

The NRL Total Game Points is calculated by adding the total points scored by each team following the final siren.

Total Points markets are presented in the following format by the bookmaker –

In this example the bettor has selected that the Total Points Line (set by the bookmaker) will be over 39.5 points.

Total Game Points
Over (39.5)__$1.80 Under (39.5)__$2.00

As with a Line bet, the odds will not favour a particular market heavily, with the bookmaker looking to get roughly 50% of bets on either side of the Total Points market.

An example of a this Line Bet in a bet slip can be seen below.

Bet Slip
Leg Over (39.5)__$1.80
Stake $10
Est. Returns $19.10
Net Winnings $9.10

The bettor has placed $10 as their “Stake” in the Stake field.


How are the returns calculated for an AFL Total Game Points bet?

The estimated returns are calculated as:

(St. Kilda Odds) $1.80 x $10 (Stake)

Estimated Returns = $18.00


Calculating the profit on an NRL Total Game Points bet –

(Estimated Returns) $18.00 – $10.00 (Stake)

Estimated Profit = $8.00


TIP – To make an informed NRL Total Game Points bet we suggest –

  • Check the average scores of both sides for the current season. Total Points bets are not generally recommended until after the first 8-10 games of the season, when it’s clearer as to the scoring trends of teams.
  • If each team scores a lot of points, go the over. If one team is defensive and the other attacking, stay away. The Total Points markets is one of the most difficult to predict, as the outcome relies heavily on the defense of either team. If you feel comfortable with a line, take it. Sometimes it’s best to go with your gut.
  • Watch for team lineups closer to game.

NRL First Try Scorer Betting

NRL First Try Scorer markets list out players from both teams in the nominated game, and the bettor must select which player they think will score the first try of the game.

These markets are generally available for –

  • First Try Scorer in a team.
  • First Try Scorer in a 1/2.
  • First Try Scorer in the game, listing all applicable players (the most common First Try Scorer Market).

For this example, the bettor has selected ‘Player L’ to score the first try of the game. Player L is at odds of $20 to score the first try.

Below is how the First Try Scorer market may appear in a wagering site –

1st Goal Scorer
Player A $8 Player B $9 Player C $8
Player D $12 Player E $13 Player F $13
Player G $14 Player H $13 Player I $15
Player J $19 Player K $21 Player L $20
Player M $21 Player N $21 Player O $21
Player P $23 Player Q $26 Player R $26
Player S $34 Player T $34 Player U $41
Player V $41 Player W $41 Any Other Player Not Listed $5

For this to be a winning bet for the bettor, ‘Player L’ must score the first try of the game.

An example of a this First Try Scorer bet can be seen in the bet slip below

Bet Slip
Leg 1st Try Scorer – Player A__$20.00
Stake $10
Est. Returns $200.00
Net Winnings $190.00

The bettor has placed $10 as their “Stake” in the Stake field.


How are the returns calculated for an NRL First Try Scorer bet?

The estimated returns are calculated as:

(Player A Odds) $20.00 x $10 (Stake)

Estimated Returns = $200.00


Calculating the profit on an NRL First Try Scorer bet –

(Estimated Returns) $200.00 – $10.00 (Stake)

Estimated Profit = $190.00


TIP – To make an informed First Try Scorer bet we suggest to –

  • Look at 1st half and opening 10 minutes scoring statistics for both teams. If one team manages to score a lot early in the game, it is likely that they will start well, and have many chances to score the first try. Back the forwards in that team for the First Try Scorer bet.

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Good Luck!

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