NRL betting in Australia
NRL betting can be done all year round, with all betting sites featuring odds on Australia’s top flight rugby league competition. NRL betting is prominent in in Australia and online bookmakers will have both match betting and outright odds for things like the premiership and making the finals. You can navigate our NRL betting guide here or sign up at one of these NRL bookmakers to see the latest odds:
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NRL betting – An Introduction
The National Rugby League of Australia is the top rugby league competition in the world, with its 2021 season largely going on uninterrupted, despite the covid crisis engulfing the world.
It will be among the first major sporting codes to resume after the worldwide shutdown forced by the global COVID-10 pandemic.
The NRL is contested by 16 teams with 10 based in NSW, three in Queensland and one each in the ACT, Victoria and New Zealand.
The season in a normal year runs from March to October, with three State of Origin matches between NSW and Queensland among the most popular fixtures. Of course the 2020 season has a very different look, with the lengthy gap between the second and third rounds of the regular season.
The NRL is the premier rugby league competition globally, with the only comparable league being Britain’s Super League competition.
The defending NRL champions in 2020 are the Trent Robinson-coached Sydney Roosters, who defeated Canberra Raiders 14-8 in the 2019 NRL grand final.
Robinson has cemented himself alongside the likes of Wayne Bennett and Craig Bellamy as the best coaches in the game, and few would tip against his Bondi-based side from making a strong run at a third consecutive title, despite their slow start.
Of course, two rounds have already been completed before the COVID-19-enforced shutdown, with six teams – Brisbane Broncos, Parramatta, Canberra, Newcastle, Melbourne Storm and Penrith – standing at 2-0 as the competition restarts.
Best NRL Bookmakers 2021
All of our recommended NRL bookmakers will offer extensive markets on National Rugby League matches, as well as on season-long outcomes such as which team will win the NRL title and which player will score the most tries.
NRL betting is highly regulated and widely televised sport, making it a good product to bet on wherever you are in the world. Obviously being an Australian domestic sport, the NRL is covered extensively by Australian betting sites, and it is illegal for Aussies to bet with overseas bookmkers that are unlicensed in Australia.
The top NRL bookmakers in Australia will feature extensive betting markets on many different aspects of the game, including top match day markets, such as try scorers, converted tries scored, total points scored, winner and much more.
The best NRL bookmakers will also look further ahead, offering betting markets on things like Premiership winner, best and fairest awards, which teams will make the finals and even awards like the league best and fairest — the Dally M Medal. It’s worth noting that NRL bookmakers will only have Dally M medal betting available before the season, because up until a certain point in the home and away season the points tally is open to the public.
Unfortunately NRL bookmaker will not allow Australian to bet live online, with this banned under the Interactive Gambling Act Amendment Act, which stops most forms of in-play bets. Many NRL betting sites will also offer a phone service, that does allow live betting though.
Top 10 NRL bookmakers
History of the National Rugby League
The National Rugby League held its inaugural season in 1998 after being formed in the aftermath of the Super League war of the mid-1990s when for a year there were two opposing competitions: the Australian Rugby League and News Corps’ Super League. Most of the clubs which played in the long-standing NSW Rugby League competition (founded in 1904) now compete in the NRL. In the NRL the wealthy Sydney Roosters have been the most successful club with four titles.
NRL bet types
Our leading NRL betting sites will offer all of the following markets and many more.
Many of the leading sportsbooks in the world will offer hundreds of markets and different odds on each game. But if you are serious about finding a winner in a rugby league game, many of the markets can be safely ignored without compromising your objective.
We will provide a rundown of the major markets while the ones we personally avoid are those which rely more on guesswork than skill; bookies likes to tempt you into trying “same-game multipliers’’ and the like which generally swing the odds well into their favour.
Head to head NRL betting: As the name suggests this is simply backing Team A to beat Team B, with no points spread. You will see some extremely short prices in this market as powerhouse such as Melbourne host minnows like the Gold Coast. Upsets, though, are not uncommon in this sport.
Line betting or handicap betting: The NRL bookmakers will handicap the teams to make the dividend as close to an even bet as possible. For example, their $1.90 offering may be Melbourne Storm (-17.5 points) v Gold Coast Titans (+17.5 points). This means if you want to bet on the Storm they must win by 18 points or more for your bet to be a winner.
Match total points over/under: This is a good option if you are unsure which team will win. You can bet on whether it will be a high-scoring contest or a low-scoring contest. For example, the NRL betting site may set the mark at 40.5 points, leaving you to decide whether the total scores of both teams added together will exceed that mark or fall short. A good bet for the neutral fan.
First try-scorer betting: This is a simple bet in which you simply bet on the player you think will score the first try but given the 13 players a side that are on the field at any one time, it’s pretty difficult to find a winner.
Is NRL betting legal in Australia?
NRL betting is a betting partner to many Australian bookmakers Australian gambling industry is heavily regulated. Betting on the NRL you can be sure it is always a fair contest with nothing underhanded going on from a betting perspective.
NRL betting laws are governed by the overarching sports wagering laws in Australia, with these part of the Interactive Gambling Act. The basic principal of the IGA is that Australians must bet with licenced bookmakers and offshore betting sites are illegal. It’s also illegal to promote offshore online bookmakers to Australian citizens, even if they offer betting on the NRL.
Several of the prominent NRL betting sites we promote on the Australian Gambling List are even official ‘betting partners’ of the top-flight competition.
Where can I watch the NRL?
In Australia and New Zealand you can watch all matches on Fox Sports and many of the matches on free to air television. This is also the case the many of the rugby league-mad Pacific Islands.
A large percentage of the NRL’s player base is made up of players from Pacific islands such as Fiji and Samoa; they are perfectly suited to a game which demands large and explosive athletes capable of great endurance.
Outside Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific islands, matches can be watch on the NRL’s Watch NRL streaming service available from watchnrl.com
WGL’s guide to the NRL’s 16 teams
Coach: Anthony Seibold
Premierships: 6 Most recent: 2006
Finishing position in 2019: 8th
Unibet title odds: $10
WGL says: The sleeping giants of the competition but they have run a little hot and cold in the past few years. They can play dazzling football at times and are putting together a formidable pack of young superstars headed by Payne Haas. Their best can beat anyone but we don’t think they can produce it often enough to make the top four this year.
Coach: Ricky Stuart
Premierships: 3 Most recent: 1994
Finishing position in 2019: Runners-up
Unibet title odds: $5.50
WGL says: Oh so close to the title last year for “Sticky” Ricky Stuart and they will be motivated to right what many perceived as a wrong this year. Got some dicey calls in the premiership decider and the men from the ACT are angry. Can they maintain the rage though?
Coach: Dean Pay
Premierships: 8 Most recent: 2004
Finishing position in 2019: 12th
Unibet title odds: $101
WGL says: Really tough times for the once-mighty Bulldogs. Have one of their favourite sons in Dean Pay trying to turn things around but on and off the field they are a little off the pace. Rebuilding year.
Coach: John Morris
Premierships: 1 Most recent: 2016
Finishing position in 2019: 7th
Unibet title odds: $41
WGL says: The joy of finally winning their first premiership seems a long way away for the Sharks faithful, including Australian PM Scott Morrison! Things have seldom gone to plan since and it’s hard to imagine them jumping back into contention this season. Struggling to pay the bills.
Gold Coast Titans
Coach: Justin Holbrook
Finishing position in 2019: 16th
Unibet title odds: $201
WGL says: The Titans have a tough road to hoe; if the Cowboys are the poor relation of the Broncos in Queensland terms, the Titans barely register. They have some serious talent on the books but they don’t seem to excite their dwindling number of fans. Need to turn things around in the next 18 months or risk becoming another failed Gold Coast franchise.
Manly Warringah Sea Eagles
Coach: Des Hasler
Premierships: 8 Most recent: 2011
Finishing position in 2019: 6th
Unibet title odds: $10
WGL says: The Silvertails … at least they used to be when they were poaching players left and right from less wealthy clubs. They have the nutty professor Des Hasler back in charge at the club where he was a legendary player and it will be fascinating to see if he can take them back to the top. Manly used to be the team all rival fans loved to hate, and the Sea Eagles’ own fans would love nothing more than for that to be the case again.
Coach: Craig Bellamy
Premierships: 3 Most recent: 2017
Finishing position in 2019: 3rd
Unibet title odds: $5
WGL says: A juggernaut since Craig “Bellyache’’ Bellamy took over as coach and their record would be a whole lot more impressive if they didn’t lose a couple of titles for rorting the NRL salary cap. The crankier Bellyache gets the better the Storm perform, so look out; we can’t imagine Bellamy was too happy cooling his heels in isolation and not in natural habitat of a rugby league stadium.
Coach: Adam O’Brien
Premierships: 2 Most recent: 2001
Finishing position in 2019: 11th
Unibet title odds: $17
WGL says: The Knights have started to put together a roster that could deliver success to their rabid fans, with Mitchell Pearce steering the ship from halfback and young superstar Kalyn Ponga providing the razzle-dazzle and David Klemmer the steel. They looked good before the shutdown and loom as something of a dark horse.
New Zealand Warriors
Coach: Stephen Kearney
Finishing position in 2019: 13th
Unibet title odds: $151
WGL says: It’s a tough gig playing rugby league in the rugby union-mad home of the All Blacks and the Warriors have not been a consistent power for a few years now. They have the right man at the helm in the impressive Kearney but can’t seem them shining in 2020.
North Queensland Cowboys
Coach: Paul Green
Premierships: 1 Most recent: 2015
Finishing position in 2019: 14th
Unibet title odds: $19
WGL says: The Cowboys have not surprisingly dropped away a little since the retirement of all-time great Johnathan Thurston, but they still boast arguably the best player in the game in Jason Taumalolo, who plays with all the skill of a halfback and can run like the wind despite weighing in around 120kg. Just a machine. In fact, the Cowboys have a strong roster altogether and should do better than they have been.
Coach: Brad Arthur
Premierships: 4 Most recent: 1986
Finishing position in 2019: 5th
Unibet title odds: $7.50
WGL says: All the Eels’ success came in the 1980s, so they are more than overdue for some success. A club with a massive supporter base and Arthur has had them in the mix in recent seasons. They have just lacked the X factor that the big teams have in spades to break open games when required. That could the problem again in 2020.
Coach: Ivan Cleary
Premierships: 2 Most recent: 2003
Finishing position in 2019: 10th
Unibet title odds: $15
WGL says: They went into 2019 with high expectations and fell flat but have put themselves in good shape with a couple of wins to start the season. The jury is out on the Panthers’ prospects for 2020 but there is no doubting their ability to unearth young talent from their vast junior rugby league network in western Sydney.
South Sydney Rabbitohs
Coach: Wayne Bennett
Premierships: 21 Most recent: 2014
Finishing position in 2019: 4th
Unibet title odds: $12
WGL says: Russell Crowe’s club and they have Bennett, possibly the most successful coach in the game’s history, calling the shots. That drought-breaking title of 2014 was something to behold but that’s a long while ago now and it’s time for new stars to put their stamp on the Bunnies. The Pride of the League and many opposition fans have a soft spot for the Rabbitohs.
St George Illawarra Dragons
Coach: Paul McGregor
Premierships: 15 Most recent: 1979
Finishing position in 2019: 15th
Unibet title odds: $101
WGL says: A proud club fallen on hard times, with more than four decades passing since they last tasted premiership success. Under “Mary” McGregor you know you are going to always gets a great effort from the players but they have really been disappointing of late. Hard to see them even challenging for finals.
Coach: Trent Robinson
Premierships: 15 Most recent: 2019
Finishing position in 2019: Premiers
Unibet title odds: $5.50
WGL says: The new team everyone loves to hate and that sits well with their fans. They have become a powerhouse on and off the field and make no apologies for their aggressive recruitment of superstars such as NSW and Australian fullback James Tedesco. Robinson’s players have a cult-like reverence for the coach and whatever he is telling them it is working. Chasing a hat-trick of titles and expect them to hit the ground running when the NRL resumes. They should have all the celebrating of the 2019 title out of their system now.
Coach: Michael Maguire
Premierships: 1 Most recent: 2005
Finishing position in 2019: 9th
Unibet title odds: $34
WGL says: Renowned entertainers but success has been fleeting from the boys from the inner west. They are a club formed by the merger of the successful Balmain Tigers and less successful Western Suburbs Magpies but as West Tigers they have always had a distinctive free-flowing style. It will be interesting to see if a successful career coach such as Maguire can get them heading in the right direction.