NRL Betting - Line Handicaps

NRL Line betting or Handicap betting is one of the most popular betting options amongst footy punters. Line betting in theory presents bettors with a 50/50 proposition by assigning the favourite with a negative handicap and the underdog a corresponding positive handicap start. In this way even the most lopsided match ups can have a 50/50 chance given the appropriate NRL line handicap.

An example NRL Line bet will look like :
Wests Tigers -6.5 (1.95)
Cronulla Sharks +6.5 (1.95)

In the above example a bet on the favourites Wests Tigers -6.5 at odds of 1.95 would win if the Tigers win the game by 7 or more points and would lose if they win by 1 to 6 or lose outright. Alternatively a bet on the underdogs Cronulla would win if they were to win the game outright or lose by 6 or less, while the bet would lose if Cronulla lose by 7 or more points. Not all NRL line handicaps include the half point and in circumstances where the line results in a push then your money is refunded. An example would be if the above handicap was +/-6 and Wests won by exactly 6 points.

Individual NRL line handicaps and odds offered for each game can differ between the leading Online Bookmakers so it is well worth the effort to compare the point handicaps and odds between the bookmakers. So before placing your next rugby league footy bet why not check out our Live NRL Odds which features live odds, lines and totals from a selection of well respected online bookmakers.

In rugby league as with other sports there are certain margins of victory which occur more often than others. If prominent enough they are referred to as key numbers and are important to know about when betting line handicaps. One of the most significant key numbers occurs in NFL (American Football) where just over 10% of all games end with a winning margin of 3 points, which is the value a field goal. The following table shows the frequency of different margins of victory in the national rugby league over the last 5 years.

NRL Winning Margins 2007 to 2011
Winning Margin (Points) Number of Occurences Percentage of Overall Games
4 87 9.06%
2 79 8.23%
8 67 6.98%
14 67 6.98%
6 61 6.35%
20 50 5.21%
10 48 5.00%
16 48 5.00%
1 47 4.90%
12 44 4.58%
18 39 4.06%
24 31 3.23%
7 29 3.02%
22 28 2.92%
28 23 2.40%
30 21 2.19%
ALL Others Under 2.00%

From the above table you can see that in 9.06% of all regular season games in the past 5 years the winning teams margin of victory was exactly 4 points. That is significant, therefore if we liked a particular team at -3.5 on the line handicap we would bet earlier rather than later. Waiting to see if the line dropped to -3 is not worth the risk as opposed to it moving to -4. With only around 1% of games being won by 3 points.

NRL Line Betting Statistics 2007 to 2011
Years Winner Covers Loser Covers Draw/Push Favourite Covers Underdog Covers
2007 - 2011 85% 13% 2.23% 49.24% 48.53%

As you can see, the team that wins the game outright covers the NRL Line Handicap approximately 85% of the time. Of course every underdog that causes an upset automatically covers the line handicap as they get a points advantage in the line handicap market. That leaves around 13% of games where the points handicap comes into play and the underdog loses the match but wins the line bet. The other 2% of games see the margin of victory falling exactly on the line and resulting in a push or void bet, this is a low percentage however the majority of games see a line with a half point included which dictates that there will be a line result.