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Rugby World Cup 2015: Here’s why you should be cheering on the underdogs and this 12/1 punt in the quarter-finals

We're down to the final eight in the Rugby World Cup, and if the Pool stage is anything to go by you should be punting the underdogs on the handicap if you want to boost your bank balance this weekend

by Josh Powell | October 13, 2015

Everybody loves an underdog. There’s nothing better as a neutral to side with the plucky minnows as they attempt to upset the odds and topple a giant. The Mighty Ducks, the Tune Squad in Space Jam, the Irish football team. It’s hard not to jump on board with the gutsy small fry – particularly when they produce that miraculous result.

Japan have already ticked our ‘plucky minnow bandwagon’ box at this year’s Rugby World Cup. Their 34-32 victory over one of the pre-tournament favourites South Africa in Brighton led to many rugby hipsters donning the red and white jerseys, while claiming they always knew Karne Hesketh was going to be a star after seeing him impress for his club side Otago in 2008.


Now while cheering on the underdogs with a pint in the pub is might craic, putting money on them isn’t going to result in continued success. That’s why handicap betting in rugby is ideal – levelling the playing field for the perceived weaker team.

Now backing the underdog becomes profitable.

If you’d put £10 on every side with a plus handicap during the group stage, you’d be around £115 up. The team with the handicap on their side has won 27 of the 40 clashes during the groups – a success rate of 67.5 per cent.


Going into the weekend’s quarter finals, and the four sides with the handicap – Wales (+9), France (+11), Argentina (+5) and Scotland (+15) – make up a nice little 12/1 fourfold to temp us in.

South Africa v Wales (), Saturday 4.00pm

  • In the last decade South Africa have face Wales 12 times, and covered the handicap on just five occasions
  • In the last eight games (since November 2008) a bet on Wales (+9) would have won six times – a strike rate of 75 per cent


New Zealand v France (), Saturday 8.00pm

  • These two sides have faced each other 14 times since October 2005, and New Zealand have won by 12 or more eight times. A success rate of 57 per cent
  • However the All Blacks may be slightly overrated by the PP traders – they failed to cover the handicap given to them in all four of their group games against Argentina, Georgia, Tonga and Namibia


Ireland v Argentina (), Sunday 1.00pm

  • The last five times Ireland have played Argentina they have covered a five point handicap
  • Although Ireland failed to cover their handicap against Italy, Romania and Canada in the group stages, while Argentina stayed within 10 points of New Zealand in Pool C


Australia v Scotland (), Sunday 4.00pm

  • Scotland have played Australia three times in the last six years. The Scots have won twice (by a point in 2009 and by three points in 2012) and were beaten by just six points in November 2013
  • Scotland were given (+15) on the handicap against South Africa and came within six minutes of covering it, before Bryan Habana’s 74th minute try put 18 points between the sides

Will the underdogs have their day this weekend? Get the latest Rugby World Cup 2015 odds here: Desktop | Mobile

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