Andy MacKenzie of spread betting firm Spreadex reveals what spread betting punters are making of the Rugby World Cup.
Rugby World Cup fever is about to envelope the nation and spread betters are also salivating at the prospect of six weeks of in-play betting opportunities, starting with England v Fiji on Friday.
A total of 20 nations will compete in 48 matches altogether. But ahead of the start of the tournament, where have punters been putting their money on the long-term markets?
Well, if the flow of spread betting cash is anything to go by, betters think England, New Zealand, South Africa and France will be the ones to make the semi-finals with the All Blacks and England contesting the final come Saturday 31 October.
As for who will win the whole thing, the Spreadex traders have New Zealand as the big overall favourites ahead of England but Spreadex clients have been strongly backing both sides on our spread betting Outright Index.
The All Blacks have a spread of 74 – 77 on this index, which awards teams points depending on where they finish in the tournament (100 to the winners, 80 to runners-up, 60 to the third place side, 50 to fourth, 25 to losing quarter-finalists, 10 for those finishing third in their group and five to those finishing fourth in their group).
So buyers at 77 would need Steve Hansen’s side to either win the tournament (when punters would make 23 times their stake) or at least finish second (when they would make three times their stake). Anything less would see spread betters out of pocket (losing 17 times their stake if New Zealand finished third, parting with 27 times their stake if they finished fourth and haemorrhaging a huge 52 times their stake if the current reigning champions went out at the quarter-final stage).
England are the second favourites with a spread of 52 – 55 and, despite Stuart Lancaster’s men being in the ‘Group of Death’, Spreadex punters have been buying on the Sweet Chariot’s spread with just as much gusto as New Zealand.
This means spread betters need England to finish at least third to make money on a buy at 55 and anything worse would mean punters losing multiples of their initial stake. That’s arguably a tough ask given that England face Australia and Wales in their group and with only two of these three giants of the international game being able to qualify to the knock-outs.
However, Spreadex clients don’t appear phased and have been patriotic in their backing for Chris Robshaw and co. believing home advantage at Twickenham will help see them through to at least the semi-final stage.
By contrast Wales and Australia don’t seem to be fancied at all by Spreadex clients who have been largely selling England’s Pool A opponents on spreads of 21 – 24 and 43 – 46 respectively. This means the majority of our clients don’t expect the injury-hit Welsh to reach the knockout stages and don’t anticipate the Wallabies making it past the quarter-finals.
Ireland too haven’t been popular so far in the betting with more sellers than buyers on their spread of 48 – 51, again signifying that the majority of punters don’t expect the current Six Nations champions to reach the last four. Instead it’s France (37 – 40) and South Africa (49 – 52) who been attracting the buyers.
In terms of a surprise side to look out for, the USA have been fancied by Spreadex punters with plenty of money buying on the States’ Outright spread of 1.5 – 3.
This means spread betters here would only need the USA to finish fourth in their group to turn a profit, with the buy level of 3 only risking a worst case scenario of a loss three times their initial stake should Mike Tolkin’s side end up bottom of Pool B (which also contains South Africa, Scotland, Samoa and Japan).
In terms of the tournament spread betting markets, the Spreadex traders have pitched the Total Tournament Points spread at 2430 – 2480 and Total Tournament Tries at 273 – 283.
To compare to the previous three tournaments with 48 games (in 1999 the Rugby World Cup had 41 matches and previous tournaments had 32 matches), Total Points settled at 2245 in 2011, 2478 in 2007 and 2835 in 2003. Spreadex clients clearly feel this year’s tournament is going to be more like the 2003 event and have been buying Total Points at 2480.
In terms of Total Tournament Tries, in 2011 there were 262, in 2007 there were 296 and in 2003 there were 332. However, Spreadex clients don’t believe the downward trend will continue and have again been buying Total Tries at 283.
Of course there a multitude of other markets to choose from when it comes to spread betting on the Rugby World Cup from player Total Try Minutes (the aggregate of all the minutes scored by a named player in the tournament), biggest winning margin in a single match (priced at between 96 and 98 points) or Fastest Tournament Try (our traders have this in for between 56 and 64 seconds).
With the World Cup being held in England for the first time since 1991 (when it was hosted in Britain), even those who are not traditionally interested in rugby will no doubt find themselves glued to a match at some point over the coming weeks. And if the spread betting trends suggesting a England vs New Zealand final and high scoring tournament in general are to be believed, it could create some new rugby union fans come November.