Aviva Premiership Betting

Also known as the English Premiership - the Aviva Premiership is the top tier of Rugby Union football in the U.K. It features the region’s top twelve clubs, which compete in a grueling eight-month season of 132 Saturday afternoon fixtures. The clubs that finish atop the standings at the end of the regular schedule will qualify to compete for Europe’s two most prestigious annual rugby competitions: the first-tier Heineken Cup and the second-tier European Challenge Cup. They are also considered for entry in the quadrennial IRB Rugby World Cup.

Aviva is the U.K.’s leading provider of life insurance, pensions, investments, general insurance, and health products, counting more than 20 million individuals as its customers. By signing a four-year deal worth £20 million in July of 2010, the company picked up the title that was formerly held by Guinness. Aviva is also investing heavily in the Aviva Premiership Rugby Schools Programme to help develop young talent, introducing the sport to more than 36,000 pupils at 600 English primary schools.

Although sponsorship may be changeable, the Premiership is firmly entrenched. Its had its start as Division One of the original Challenge Leagues of 1987~1997, a pyramid of more than 1,000 clubs playing in 108 leagues, each using a seasonal system of promotion and relegation—two clubs up and two down. Bath and Leicester dominated in those days, and Allied Dunbar acquired title sponsorship for top tier in 1996.

By 2000, a new sponsor took the stage and the Zurich Premiership was born. A new play-off format was also introduced, including a wildcard slot. This soon became known as the world’s most competitive rugby club competition, with the London Wasps as its powerhouse, claiming the English Championship three years running, 2003~2005.

In 2006, it was Guinness & Co. who stepped forward and put their name on the Premiership, ushering in a new era of competition. Leicester Tigers came to the fore, taking three championships, but they have been battled tooth and nail by the scrappy squads of Gloucester Rugby, London Irish, and the Saracens.

Today, Aviva Premiership Rugby consists of 22 rounds of six fixtures, beginning in early September and with the final round played in early May. The four teams finishing at the top of the table are seeded for the semi-final play-offs in mid-May, and the two winners face off at Twickenham for the Championship at the end of the month.

Ante post betting on which club will claim the next Aviva Premiership title begins the day after the current year’s winner is revealed. Wagers can be placed on who will win outright, which clubs will make it to the play-offs, and what teams will be relegated at the close of the season. Bets on individual standing such as top tryscorer are also available.

Match betting on the regular season’s 132 fixtures accounts for the bulk of the wagers placed on the Premiership. Markets include taking a handicap on the underdog as well as picking a side to win straight up. More exotic wagers include first half leader, first tryscorer, first side to score, last side to score, and winning margin. Parlays are also of interest. Picking three, four, or even six out of six teams to win on a given Saturday pays out at high odds.

Quite a few bookmakers now offer in-running or live betting, too. That means wagering is possible even as the game progresses, and at online betting exchanges bettors can set their own lines, such as total combined score over/under, minute in which the first try will be scored over/under, trailing team at half time coming from behind to win, and more.

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