SIX nations, 24 teams, the best the continent has to offer. It has rapidly become one of the highlights of the sporting calendar and, with results scrutinised from the north of Scotland to the south of Italy, there’s little wonder that Heineken Cup betting has become a European obsession.
Holders and four-time winners Toulouse are always highly rated in the Heineken cup betting odds. No surprise there. France's Top 14 supplied both finalists in the 2009 competition, a statistic which suggests that betting on Heineken cup winners should begin by peering across the Channel.
The French now have the richest club competition in Europe, and much of their focus, and European rugby cup betting, is focused upon our Gallic cousins. Yet their north European rivals are fighting back and Heineken Cup bets which reflect this may offer rich reward.
The Irish have always been strongly backed in Heineken Cup betting markets. This is hardly surprising as Munster and Leinster have won the tournament in the past three years; it follows that results in the Magners League should be examined before making a final judgement regarding their Heineken Cup betting odds.
The Scots too are starting to make more of an impact and although Edinburgh and Glasgow will be long shots to reach the final, Heineken Cup betting odds on them to progress beyond the pool stages could be of merit.
The Italians have traditionally been long shots in Rugby betting, and especially Heineken cup betting. But as the national team has just been invited to compete in the Tri-Nations tournament, punters can expect their Heineken cup betting prices to tumble as their fixtures against the best in the world start to teach them harsh lessons.
The odds may favour French or Irish teams to reach the final, but English clubs appear destined to realise success in Europe, a conclusion which highlights the need for some common sense before a Heineken cup bet is made. London Wasps were the last English side to win the tournament; both they and the losers that year, Leicester, will attract sustained rugby betting support this time out.
The tournament has come a long way since its inception in 1995 (when only 12 teams competed) and the emerging live Heineken cup betting market has reflected this expansion. Matches are played across weekends, giving great scope for punters to consider multiple European rugby cup betting markets.
It goes without saying that online bookmakers offer a succession of free bets to encourage punters to engage in some low-stakes rugby betting across a range of fixtures.
England has provided more winners of the tournament than any other country and as one expert said: "Rugby betting can be a tricky business, with UK customers tempted to follow their heart as much as their head when it comes to making their predictions.
"But should an online bookmaker extend the offer of a free bet, it is worth looking beyond nationalistic boundaries before making your conclusive Heineken cup bet.
"Consider the French and Irish of course, but also be aware of the emergence of the Scottish and Italian teams. They’re currently priced at tempting odds, but as their results improve, those prices will shorten. In the meantime, a bet on Heineken cup pool success for the Scottish and Italian teams is worth considering for the shrewd predictor prepared to look beyond the usual online Heineken cup betting markets.
"Refreshingly, for internet customers in particular, there is enormous opportunity to profit from Heineken cup bets. Online Heineken cup betting is expanding, so why not explore markets pricing pool winners or highest points-scorers? The choice is huge which highlights the fact that a bet on Heineken cup outcomes does not need to be limited to a single match result."