Which country will win the quadrennial World Cup in rugby? Bettors that have an answer have a chance to make some serious cash. Here’s a preview of the two-month event, plus our very own best bets on the rugby World Cup winners!
- What: 2023 Rugby World Cup
- When: September 8 - October 28
- Where: France
Preview Of 2023 Rugby World Cup
There are 20 teams competing for glory at the World Cup. But if we’re being honest, only a small handful have a real shot at winning the tournament. It makes sense to start off our preview of the rugby World Cup with a look at the current betting odds. Per the best betting sites for sports, these teams are most likely to win the World Cup:
The 20 teams are broken into five-team groups or “pools” as they say in rugby. It’s a round-robin style stage with each team playing one another once. The top two teams of each pool advance. From there, it’s single-elimination until the finale. The pools are broken up like this:
- Pool A: New Zealand, France, Italy, Uruguay, Namibia
- Pool B: South Africa, Ireland, Scotland, Tonga, Romania
- Pool C: Wales, Australia, Fiji, Georgia, Portugal
- Pool D: England, Japan, Argentina, Samoa, Chile
In the history of this event, which dates back to 1989, only four countries have won the World Cup — New Zealand (three times), South Africa (three; most recent winner), Australia (two), and England. So it’s zero surprise all four are in the top six of betting contenders. They’re joined by the hosts (France) and the No. 1-ranked team in the world, Ireland. Let’s get into our picks next section.
2023 Rugby World Cup Betting Picks
You could make a strong case for six teams to be the World Cup betting pick. However, our job is to narrow down the ones most worth putting money on. For us, there are two countries that stand out. Only one can win, but you’ll want a backup bet just in case (anything can happen in a single-elimination knockout round). Here’s who we’re backing with our money:
Only one team from the northern hemisphere has ever lifted the Webb Ellis Cup. However, Ireland has a strong, strong chance at making it two. This team is for real, as evidenced by its Six Nations victory and No. 1 ranking for months now.
Still, we can’t lie, playing in Pool B, in what’s effectively the “Group of Death” does worry us. Defending champion South Africa is in the same group. Though, Ireland did beat the Springboks the last time they squared off. But South Africa has a way of finding an extra gear in the World Cup so you can’t bank on that prior result. Whoever wins that group match sure has the leg up on winning the pool and title.
Ireland still gets our bet, however. We’re not really buying into the whole narrative of them never going past the quarter-finals. We mean, it’s true, but this Ireland team is different. Head coach Andy Farrell has built a confident group that’s been building for years, and its peak happens in France is what our money says.
A year ago, the All Blacks were in the dumps (by their lofty standards at least). The country was rag-dolled by Ireland (at home twice; New Zealand’s first home-series defeat since 1994), France, South Africa, and even Argentina. The string of losses dropped them to a No. 4 ranking, the worst in its history. Its World Cup odds tanked too.
But that was then and this is now: the All Blacks look like their former selves again. The team has won 10 of their past 12 losses with the exceptions being a tie to England and one loss to South Africa in the final pre-tournament match. However, they did top the Springboks in an earlier July game as The All Blacks won 35-20.
The point is, New Zealand is trending up after a rough patch through most of 2020 and 2021. They’re also competing with slightly more measured expectations, which might make them even more lethal. We think the All Blacks are worth a complimentary bet with Ireland. We’re confident one of the two can run the table.
How To Bet On 2023 Rugby World Cup
The World Cup will be fast and furious — 48 matches across 51 days in nine venues across 10 French cities. To us, that’s a betting dream having that many matches to take swings on. If you want a one-stop shop for betting on the 2023 Rugby World Cup, then start with one of the bookmakers listed below. These are the “best of the best”, per our sportsbook review section.
But here’s the best part of using one of these bookies to bet on the World Cup: they’re offering hundreds to thousands of dollars in free play. Yes, that’s free money for rugby betting. The money can be had by leveraging a sportsbook bonus. Our favorite ones available right now are listed underneath so pick one and voila, you have free play to gamble with!