Beat the Machine

Pick against the odds in Major League Rugby

How to Play

This game is meant to mirror a sports gambling set up (although obviously without the money). Each week, spreads are set for the matches and players pick against those spreads. The spreads are set according to the GRI, a predictive model for Major League Rugby. You can learn more about the system by listening to the Tackle the Numbers Podcast or by reading about it on Glorious Rugby.

To play, first create an account. You will then see the option for picking the various matches on the Matches page.

How to read spreads

Next to each match, you'll see a number. This is known as the spread, and it represents a best guess for how the game will turn out. However, spreads can be a bit confusing at first, as they seem a bit backwards. For example, if the spread for Example Team is -5, it actually means they are favored to win by 5 points.

A good way to think about this is as a handicap. If a team has a spread of -5, it means that the match would be even if they started out down by 5 points. Therefore, the better a team is the more points they would need to be docked in order to level the playing field. Conversely, the worse a team is the more points you'd need to give them for them to have a chance.

Spreads are for the home team.


Because this isn't a gambling site and no one is betting real money, this game uses a point system. When you make a pick, you will also express your confidence level that your pick is correct. For a correct pick, you will get points based on your confidence level. For incorrect picks, you'll lose points based on your confidence level. If the final score of a match is exactly on the spread, then it's a push and no one gains or loses any points.

Take a look at this table to see how points you win and lose with each confidence level:

Confidence Level If you're right If you're wrong
1 Win 1 point Lose 1 point
2 Win 2 points Lose 3 points
3 Win 3 points Lose 6 point

You'll notice that the more confident your pick, the greater the potential loss if you picked wrong. Keep that in mind as you make your picks!

Obviously, you can't pick a match that has already happened, so picks will be closed the morning of the match.


When do spreads come out?

Spreads will be released on Mondays