2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens Betting Preview, Odds and Picks

by Rick Rockwell
on July 19, 2018

Minute Read


Here are the most valuable bets you can make for the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens Tournament.

  • Men’s Winner: Fiji (+100)
  • Women’s Winner: New Zealand (-200)
  • Men’s Betting Value: New Zealand (+600) and USA (+700)
  • Women’s Betting Value: Canada (+1400) and USA (+1400)
  • Men’s Longshot: England (+1700)
  • Women’s Longshot: France (+2800)

The Rugby World Cup Sevens makes its way to the United States for the first time ever with a 3-day tournament unlike any other rugby event in the world. This premiere rugby sevens tournament kicks off on July 19th with a Welcome Ceremony before the fast-paced action begins on Friday, July 20th and runs through Sunday, July 22nd. It features both a men’s and women’s RWC Sevens tournament with a total of 84 matches, 40 teams, and 29 different nations.

The tournament itself is a knockout style format and will be held at AT&T Park in San Francisco, California, which is the home of MLB’s San Francisco Giants. The Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament will be televised on the NBC Sports Network (NBCSN).

2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens Men’s Tournament

The Rugby World Cup Sevens is the most revered Rugby Sevens tournament outside of the Olympics. It’s held every 4 years, except for the 2018 tournament which is a 5-year gap from the 2013 tournament due to the sport’s Olympic integration process. The RWC Sevens will continue every 4-years from this point forward.

Previous RWC Sevens Men’s Tournament Winners

The following is a list of the previous Rugby World Cup men’s winners courtesy of Wikipedia:

Year RWC 7s Host Location Men’s Rugby World Cup Sevens Results
RWC 7s Winner Score RWC 7s Runner-up
1993 Edinburgh, Scotland England 21 to 17 Australia
1997 Hong Kong Fiji 24 to 21 South Africa
2001 Mar del Plata, Argentina New Zealand 31 to 12 Australia
2005 Hong Kong Fiji 29 to 19 New Zealand
2009 Dubai, United Arab Emirates Wales 19 to 12 Argentina
2013 Moscow, Russia New Zealand 33 to 0 England

The first tournament was held in 1993 and won by England. Only Fiji and New Zealand have won this tournament on more than one occasion.  Australia earns the dubious honor of the most runner-ups with 2.

How Does the 2018 RWC Sevens Men’s Tournament Work?

The men’s RWC Sevens tournament features 24 teams playing in 14 minute knockout style matches. Each match has two halves of 7 minutes in duration, with 1 minute in-between each half.

With 24 teams in the tournament, the 16 lowest teams will compete in Pre-Round matches on Friday, July 20th during the early afternoon. The winners of these Pre-Round matches will move on to face the 8 highest seeds in the Round of 16 on Friday evening. The 8 teams that lose in the Pre-Round will be entered into a consolation bracket dubbed the Bowl bracket, which takes place over the weekend.

The 8 winners of the Round of 16 will move on to the Quarterfinals, which takes place on Saturday evening July 21st. The 8 losers will be entered into a second consolation bracket dubbed the Challenge bracket, which also takes place over the weekend.

The 4 Quarterfinal winners will move on to the Semifinals, which takes place right around lunchtime on Sunday, July 22nd. The 4 quarterfinal losers will move on to the Challenge bracket.

The 2 teams to win the Semifinals will move on to the Men’s Rugby World Cup Sevens Finals (Gold Medal Game), which takes place on Sunday evening. Just prior to the Finals, the 2 Semifinals losers will play in the Bronze Medal Game.

2018 RWC Sevens Men’s Seeding

The are based on a few key factors. The top 14 seeds are based on the points that they earned during the 2016-17 season and the first 7 rounds of 2018 contests that spanned the globe including Dubai, Las Vegas and Vancouver. The lower 10 seeds (15-24) are based on how the teams placed in the Hong Kong World Series qualifier.

1. South Africa 9. Kenya 17. Chile
2. Fiji 10. Canada 18. Uruguay
3. New Zealand 11. France 19. Hong Kong
4. England 12. Wales 20. Uganda
5. United States 13. Samoa 21. Zimbabwe
6. Australia 14. Russia 22. Jamaica
7. Argentina 15. Japan 23. Papua New Guinea
8. Scotland 16. Ireland 24. Tonga

2018 RWC Sevens Men’s Betting Odds

The following Rugby World Cup Sevens Men’s betting odds are courtesy of BetWay:

  • Fiji (+100)
  • South Africa (+250
  • New Zealand (+600)
  • USA (+700)
  • England (+1700)
  • Australia (+1900)
  • Argentina (+3900)
  • Kenya (+6500)
  • Samoa (+6500)
  • France (+7900)
  • Scotland (+7900)
  • Canada (+14900)
  • Ireland (+15000)
  • Japan (+24900)
  • Wales (+24900)
  • Russia (+49900)
  • Tonga (+49900)
  • Uganda (+49900)
  • Papua New Guinea (+99900)
  • Jamaica (+99900)
  • Uruguay (+99900)
  • Chile (+99900)
  • Hong Kong (+99900)
  • Zimbabwe (+99900)

The RWC Sevens Men’s Betting Favorites

Based on the RWC Sevens men’s odds above, the following two teams are the clear-cut favorites:

Fiji (+100)

Despite coming into this tournament as the #2 seed, Fiji is the defending Olympic champions. They have qualified for all 6 previous RWC tournaments and finished no worse than 5th, which was in 2009. Fiji has won the RWC on two occasions (1997 and 2005), but finished 3rd in the 2013 tournament. This year’s squad arguably has the most talent out of all 24 teams and they return a handful of players from their 2106 Olympic Gold Medal team and their 2013 RWC Sevens team. Fiji looks to become the first team to ever win 3 Rugby World Cup titles. They bring an exciting style of play that will have all viewers glued to their TVs or mobile devices.

South Africa (+250)

South Africa is the #1 seed in this tournament as they finished first in the 2018 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series. They’re captained by Philip Snyman who’s making history with his 3rd RWC appearance as he also played in 2009 and 2013. He will provide the team with much needed experience as most of the other players have never played in the RWC before. The Blitzboks have had a lot of success over the last few years as they’ve won: 6 tournaments, the 2016-17 World Rugby Seven Series Championship, 2016 Bronze Olympic medal, 2014 Gold Medal at the Commonwealth Games.

In their six previous RWC appearances, South Africa has five 5th place finishes and one runner-up finish which was in 1997, when they lost to Fiji 24-21. South Africa is trying to win their first ever RWC title and this is arguably their best chance in the last 20 years.

The Men’s 2018 RWC Sevens Betting Value

The following two teams provide solid betting value:

New Zealand (+600)

New Zealand is ranked #3 for the 2018 tournament, but they are the defending RWC Sevens champion having won it all in 2013. They crushed England 33-0 and look to win their second consecutive RWC title and 3rd overall. This squad is arguably the most popular team in the world and they have had a lot of success in the RWC Sevens tournament. In addition to their 2 championships, they also have a 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 7th place finish.

This year, the All Blacks only have two players from their 2013 championship team – captain Tim Mikkelson and Kurt Baker. Coach Clark Laidlaw has prepared his team well and they’re focused on becoming the first team to ever win back-to-back RWC Sevens titles.

USA (+700)

The host team is currently ranked 5th in this year’s tournament, but they’re loaded with some of the most dangerous finishers in the RWC. Head coach Mike Friday has turned this program around after previous stints with England and Kenya. The team is captained by Madison Hughes and features the 2017 World Rugby Men’s Sevens Player of the Year in Perry Baker. They also have the fastest man in the tournament with Carlin Isles. The USA is slowly creeping up into becoming one of the Top 5 teams in the world. A strong finish at the 2018 RWC Sevens tournament would solidify this ascension.

Unfortunately, the USA hasn’t fared well in previous RWC tournaments. Their best finish is 13th, which they’ve attained the last 4 years running. With the talent they have this year, there’s no doubt that the USA Eagles can go further than they’ve ever had before. With that in mind, they provide some great betting value as the host team and anything can happen in a knockout-style tournament.

The Men’s 2018 RWC Sevens Betting Longshot

I must admit that I’m surprised at England’s odds of +1700. Not only is that great value, but it’s also the only realistic long shot to have a chance at winning this tournament. England finished runner-up in 2013 and won the inaugural Rugby World Cup in 1993. Additionally, England has finished in the Top 5 in all six of the previous RWC Sevens tournaments.

They come into the 2018 tournament as the #4 seed and have a handful of players returning from their 2016 Olympic Silver Medal squad and their 2013 RWC runner-up squad. England is captained by Tom Mitchell and also led by the World Series all-time leading scorer in Dan Norton. Coach Simon Amor believes that this squad has a fantastic balance of youth and experience in addition to a wealth of tournament success over the last few years.

2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens Women’s Tournament

The Women’s World Rugby Sevens Series inaugural season was in 2012-13, but the first ever Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament was held in 2009.

Previous Women’s Rugby World Cup Sevens Winners

The following Women’s Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament information is courtesy of Wikipedia:

Year RWC 7s Host Location Women’s Rugby World Cup Sevens Results
RWC 7s Winner Score RWC 7s Runner-up
2009 Dubai, United Arab Emirates Australia 15 to 10 New Zealand
2013 Moscow, Russia New Zealand 29 to 12 Canada

How Does the 2018 RWC Sevens Women’s Tournament Work?

The women’s tournament consists of 16 teams that will compete in knockout style games. Each game has two seven-minute halves with a minute in-between each half. The Round of 16 will begin on Friday, July 20th with 8 games. The 8 winners will advance to the Quarterfinals on Friday evening. The 4 Quarterfinal winners will then advance to the Semifinals on Saturday, July 21st. The winners of the two Semifinal games will compete in the Finals (Gold Medal Game) on Saturday evening for the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens Championship. The Bronze Medal Game (between the losers of the two semifinals games) will take place right before the RWC Sevens Gold Medal Game.

For all of the Women’s teams that lose along the way, except the Semifinalist losers, they will be placed in a Challenge bracket to compete in consolation games over Friday and Saturday.

2018 RWC Sevens Women’s Seeding

Like with the men’s tournament the top 10 seeds are based on the total amount of points earned in the 2016-17 series and the qualifying process which included tournaments Dubai and Sydney. Japan was given the 11th seed due to their position as a core team, while the remaining five seeds are based on their results at the Hong Kong tournament.

1. New Zealand 7. Fiji 13. South Africa
2. Australia 8. England 14. Brazil
3. Canada 9. Ireland 15. Papua New Guinea
4. Russia 10. Spain 16. Mexico
5. United States 11. Japan
6. France 12. China

2018 RWC Sevens Women’s Betting Odds

Due to how fringe this event is with sports bettors, we had to dig deep to find the following odds for the women’s tournament:

  • New Zealand (-200)
  • Australia (+230)
  • Canada (+1400)
  • USA (+1400)
  • Russia (+2500)
  • France (+2800)
  • England (+3000)
  • Fiji (+5000)
  • Ireland (+7000)
  • Spain (+10000)
  • China (+15000)
  • Japan (+15000)
  • South Africa (+15000)
  • Brazil (+25000)
  • Papua New Guinea (+35000)
  • Mexico (+50000)

The 2018 RWC Women’s Favorites

The following teams are odds on favorite to win the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament:

New Zealand (-200)

The Black Ferns are not only the odds on favorite to win this tournament, but they also are the #1 seed. New Zealand is the defending RWC champs as they defeated Canada in the 2013 RWC Sevens tournament. They also finished as the runner-up in 2009, which makes them the most successful team in the history of this young women’s rugby sevens tournament.

New Zealand has won 4 series titles in the last six years, the 2018 Commonwealth Games Gold Medal, three series tournaments, and come in with a 23 match unbeaten streak. They feature the 2017 World Rugby Women’s Player of the Year for 15’s and 7’s, and are considered the greatest team in the history of women’s sevens play.

Australia (+230)

Perhaps, the only team that can hang with New Zealand is Australia. They won the inaugural RWC Sevens tournament in 2009 and placed 5th in 2013. They also won the 2016 Olympic Gold Medal, the 2016 World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series title, and come into the 2018 tournament winning the 2018 series. Australia fought off New Zealand to win the series title and are currently ranked #2 in the RWC Sevens tournament. This squad has 8 former Olympians on it and is led by co-captains Parry and Williams, with the former Women’s Sevens Player of the Year Charlotte Caslick providing plenty of firepower.

The 2018 RWC Women’s Betting Value

The two neighboring North American countries provide the best betting value for the women’s RWC Sevens tournament:

Canada (+1400)

Canada comes into the tournament seeded #3 and are the reigning runner-up squad (Silver Medalist) from the 2013 RWC Sevens tournament, which was an improvement over their 6th place finish in 2009. Canada continued their 2013 success with a 2016 Olympic Bronze medal and a 2018 Commonwealth Games Bronze Medal.

The team finished 4th in the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series, which is their lowest finish since the inaugural 2012-13 season. Prior to this year, Canada had four 3rd place finishes and a 2nd place finish in 2014-15. They’re bringing an exciting team to the RWC Sevens tournament with plenty of experience and firepower. Led by Ghislaine Landry, the all-time series leader in points with 984, Canada has a great chance to get back to the RWC Sevens Finals.

USA (+1400)

The Women’s Sevens Eagles are seeded #5 in this tournament after finishing 3rd in both the 2009 and 2013 Rugby World Cup Sevens tournaments. Unfortunately, they come into the 2018 RWC Sevens tournament without one of their leaders in Alev Kelter who was ruled out due to injury. The squad does feature 3-former Olympians who finished 5th in the 2016 Olympic Games. Additionally, they have several big-time scorers with plenty of experience on 15’s and 7’s teams.

Coming into the RWC, the USA women’s team finished 5th in the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series. However, according to coach Richie Walker, this rugby program has been preparing for the RWC Sevens tournament for the last two years and is dedicated to representing their country on their home turf.

The 2018 RWC Women’s Longshot

France’s Les Bleus are a solid option for our longshot bet at +2800 odds. The team has finally capitalized on their potential as they reached their first series cup final earlier this year. They also reached the semi-finals in two other series tournaments. Their 2018 success led them to a 3rd place finish in the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series 2018.

Seeded 6th in this year’s 2018 RWC Sevens tournament, France is looking to improve off of their 7th place finish in 2013. With their home country winning the men’s Soccer World Cup, you know that the French fans will be hoping for the Les Bleus team to pull off a big upset and win the women’s Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament. The team is led by captain Fanny Horta and also features Coralie Bertrand who is the Rookie of the Year.

2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens Predictions and Final Thoughts

Here are the top sites we recommend for betting on the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens Tournament:

On the men’s side of the RWC Sevens tournament, it’s going to be an explosive battle between Fiji, South Africa and New Zealand. I hope that the US team can sneak into the Finals, and they do have a shot. The Americans wouldn’t have to play Fiji or New Zealand until the Finals. However, they would have to play South Africa in the Semifinals. This is also good news for South Africa as they have an easier chance to make the finals than Fiji or New Zealand.

As much as I want to pick New Zealand to win it all, I have to go with Fiji to win the men’s RWC Sevens tournament. They are so much fun to watch and really have turned Rugby Sevens into an art form. If you have never seen them play before, then you are in for a treat. They will be on a collision course with New Zealand in the Semifinals before most likely facing South Africa in the Finals.

On the women’s side of the RWC Sevens tournament, it’s New Zealand or bust. They are the best female team in the world and come into this tournament on fire. Their top competition would be Australia and they wouldn’t have to play them until the Finals. Unfortunately for the host USA women’s team, they would most likely face New Zealand in the Semifinals. Hopefully, they can win the Bronze Medal game for the 3rd straight RWC Sevens tournament.

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