Rugby League Betting 3
Betting on the Super League Grand Final has been quite profitable for punters who like trends. Coming first in Super League is a massive advantage and no table-topper from 1996 to 2003 failed to make the final at Old Trafford.
In fact, only Wigan in that period managed to finish outside the top two and make the campaign finale. That's largely because having to play in consecutive weeks, usually away from home, is a massive disadvantage for those who finish down the pecking order.
The biggest showpiece occasion for rugby league is the Challenge Cup final but don't let the romance of the competition lead you to believe the underdogs will have their day. They don't.
Only once, when Sheffield were successful in 1998, has the cup not gone to Wigan, Leeds, Bradford or St Helens in ten years between 1994 and 2004, while London (1999) are the only other team outside the big four in that period to even make the final.
Picking between the quartet is never easy and punters should beware of lumping on any team in a cup competition where the draw is random and you could find your selection paired with a daunting away trip due to an unlucky draw.
Once we reach the final, there is always a huge amount of markets available, with the Lance Todd Trophy (the man of the match as voted for by rugby league journalists) the most prestigious.
Between 1994 and 2004, just two favourites were successful (Sean Long and Henry Paul) and it is fairly safe to assume half-backs are by far the most likely winners.
Away from the glamour and glitz of Super League, a number of firms bet on the two divisions of the National League. These games are not shown on television so any guide must be either through the form book, reading match reports or going to the games to formulate your own impressions of teams.
It's not an ideal situation, particularly for those who live in the south, miles away from the grounds, while team news is the key factor for punters and bookmakers alike.
You may have to spend hours trawling through local newspaper websites, official team sites and fan forums to pick out the nuggets of injury news which could be the difference between striking a winning and losing bet but it is worthwhile in the long run. As with all forms of sports betting, there is simply no substitute for hard work.
Long-range advice is difficult to give with team news such an important factor in National League betting, but do be wary of teams who are forced to play three times in a week due to fixture congestion. Most squads are only part-time and it's not uncommon for players to work during the day before rushing to a game in midweek and, naturally with the travelling involved in away trips, fitness often plays a massive part in proceedings.