XH is a shorthand code that is sometimes used in three-way alternative handicap betting, a more complex form of bet in which three possible results are acceptable – a home win, away win, or draw (tie).
The basic essence of handicap betting in rugby is to level the playing field – in betting terms so that it is more interesting and can offer bigger returns.
For example, in the 2018/19 European Champions Cup tournament, two well-known French sides were due to face one another in the quarter-finals of the competition: Racing 92 and Toulouse.
Let’s say that Racing, as the side with home advantage, were favorites to win the game. And US bookmakers decided that they were 9-point favorites – that means they expect Racing to win the game by more than nine points.
They have effectively given anyone who bets on Toulouse to win 9 free points before the game has even started. Racing would have to overcome that hypothetical starting ‘deficit’ for the bookmaker to win.
Punters looking at those numbers may decide that – after the 80 regular minutes of the match – Racing would win by more than 9 points. This would be noted in a three-way handicap bet as 1H.
They may decide that – after the 80 regular minutes of the match – Toulouse would win or lose by less than 9 points. This would be noted in a three-way handicap bet as 2H.
They may also decide that the scores after 80 minutes, including the handicap, would be level. This would be noted in a three-way handicap bet as XH.
A draw in alternative handicap three-way betting on rugby is rare. As a result, the odds are always much larger than the other options.