Total Points Betting

Total Points betting is the most popular ‘side’ market in NRL betting but it is one that is played stronger by sharp punters and weaker by Joe Average. It is a simple enough market to understand – will the total combined points of the two sides go over or under the assigned total – but one that really separates winning punters from losing punters.

There are certain keys to understanding totals betting that will give any punter an advantage if they take these factors into account.


The Majority of Games Go Under

Punters want to bet the over. They want to cheer on points. To back the under is to cheer nothingness. This inherent market bias gives sharp punters – who typically prefer the under – an advantage.

Since 2011, 53% of NRL matches have finished under the total. Totals punters who bet the under blindly hit a lot more than those who take the over at every opportunity.


Weather is Critical

The line or price on a line, of course, drops when the weather turns wet. It does not drop by enough though. When the weather is wet, the under needs to be backed.

Since 2011, the under has hit in 68% of rain-affected games.  The average score in those matches is just 34 points. Yet in 159 of the 170 games impacted by rain over that time, the total points line was 34 or higher. There were 143 games with a total points line of 36 or bigger, 97 of 38-plus and 54 with a total set greater than 40.

The line is just never low enough when bad weather hits.


Day/Night Splits Matter

A simple look at average scores between day matches and night matches tell a pretty important tale. Day games average a total score of 43.3 points since 2011 while night games total on average just 39.4 points. That is an average drop of nearly a try per match.

The under hits in 54% of night matches yet falls to 46% in day games.

It is logical – less dew and better vision in day matches, that are often played on a faster track. And the market has noted it but again not to the full extent.



Recent Head-to-Head Should Be Factored

Some teams match up loose against each other. Some teams play tight and in the middle. Some matchups expose weaknesses. Others see strength on strength.

While too much weight should never be given to history, some heed should be paid in total points betting.


Under Teams Exist

Over the last four seasons, four teams have gone under in 60% of matches: Melbourne, Canterbury, Penrith, St George Illawarra.

Only Canberra go over at better than 55%.

If teams go under for a consistently long period of time, the market clearly isn’t adjusting as much as needed.


Referees are Important

Referees have a huge role in Rugby League, more so than a lot of sports. Most importantly, they dictate the tempo and the style of the match. They can cause a match to be stilted. They can ensure a match is played in the attacking 20s. They can allow the wrestle to dominate.

There is a pretty big disparity between officials.

Ashley Klein matches over the last four years have gone over 56% of the time and have averaged 42.3 points a game. Ben Cummins, by contrast, has seen his matches go under 63% of the time with an average of 37.8 points.

Understanding the man in the middle and how they referee is very important when betting total points.


Related Articles

NRL Betting: Introduction

Learn how to bet NRL. There’s plenty of betting strategies that you can implement to help with your NRL ...

Five Betting Trends to Follow

Astute punters will recognise the importance of following long-term betting trends even if the angles don’t look overly appealing ...

Dividing the Season

One critical element to having success as an NRL punter is identifying that all rounds of the season are ...