South Africa is a sports fan’s paradise. You can watch and play some of the world’s most popular sports here. We go over the most popular South African sports later on in this guide. That’s the good news.
The even better news is that you can find action on all of these sports online. That’s right – you can bet on sports like cricket and basketball, or even on events such as the FIFA World Cup.
Before you can do that, though, you’ve got to have a sportsbook account.
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The fastest and easiest way to choose a suitable sports betting site is to use our list of recommendations above. Each one comes with a stamp of approval from our team. This means that they’re all full of betting action, banking options, and promotions.
Choose one or two sites from our list to get started with online betting now.
Each sportsbook we recommend has been thoroughly vetted by us. This is important to point out because South Africans aren’t supposed to bet at offshore sites. If you choose to do it anyway, you want to make sure you’re in good hands.
What does that mean? It means that every sportsbook we recommend meets the following criteria.
That’s what we mean when we say that you’re in good hands when you join one of our recommended bookmakers in the list above.
Don’t forget, many of our team members are customers, too. We don’t only talk the talk; we walk the walk, too.
Of course, you don’t have to use our recommendations. You can choose a sportsbook on your own, but you’ve got to make sure that you go about it the right way.
Whatever you do, don’t go about it like the village idiot.
We all know him.
He’s the guy who defies common sense. He puts his hands on hot stoves, tries to breathe underwater, and makes toast during bath time.
One time, he even tried to fly off his roof with cardboard wings.
This guy, he’s the village idiot.
This guy isn’t just your neighbor – he exists in the online betting space, too. He makes horrible and unexplainable choices that he ends up paying for later – such as joining a rogue sportsbook.
You don’t want to do what the village idiot does. In fact, you’ll almost always want to do the opposite of him.
That doesn’t mean you should ignore him, though. There’s a lot to learn from a guy like this, even if it’s what not to do.
Let’s look at some examples of what the village idiot does when choosing a sportsbook. In case it’s not obvious, consider getting psychiatric care, and in the meantime, we’ll explain what you should do differently.
We rate every sportsbook we list on GamblingSites.com. This is to help give you an idea of the quality of a sportsbook at a glance.
Our rating goes from 1 star to 5 stars. 5 stars is the best rating a sportsbook can receive from us.
You know what the village idiot does? He joins 1-star sportsbooks.
Perhaps he was into their massive $10 free bet offer. Maybe he noticed that the sportsbook offers action on his favorite football team (which wears blue jerseys – his favorite color). It could be that he wanted to prove us wrong – that this sportsbook deserved a higher rating.
Who knows? Maybe he wasn’t thinking. He is the village idiot, after all.
But you? You are a thinker, which means you should do the opposite. You should join 4- and 5-star sportsbooks. Here are a few reasons why.
The list goes on and on. The point is that if you want a worry-free experience betting on sports online, stick to our four- and five-star sportsbooks.
There are several reasons why joining multiple sportsbooks is a good idea.
The village idiot doesn’t care about these things. He doesn’t have a problem paying higher prices for his bets (which reduces the profit he can make). One free bet is good enough for him, and he’s not interested in fancy betting options, either.
As for arbitrage betting – that’s over his head.
Not yours, though – especially if you read our arbitrage guide. And you’re a smart cookie that joins at least two sportsbooks, and more if your bankroll allows it.
If you plan to claim an offer or three when you start betting online, it’s imperative that you read the terms and conditions for each one.
For starters, you want to make sure that the playthrough isn’t something crazy. You don’t want to have to complete a 100x playthrough on a $10 free bet, for example.
It’s also a good idea to compare offers and offer terms. If one sportsbook offers a $25 free bet and the other a $10 free bet, most people would opt for the first sportsbook.
But what if the first sportsbook has a 20x playthrough and the second sportsbook has a 10x playthrough? It makes far more sense to go with the second sportsbook even if it means receiving less money.
The playthrough is important to know upfront so that, if you win, you can get through it as fast as you can. That way, you can cash out your winnings.
Finally, many sports betting offers have terms that state what you can bet on in terms of the sport, match, event, and even the odds. If you get any of this wrong, you won’t qualify for the offer.
The village idiot doesn’t care about those things, so he doesn’t read the terms and conditions.
Don’t be the village idiot.
Another idiotic mistake village idiots make is not checking to see what their banking options are. They don’t check to see if the sportsbook they want to join offers options such as the following.
What if the sportsbook didn’t offer your preferred option? You’d want to know that so that you could see if you have access to another option that works or if you’d have to go elsewhere.
That’s not all, though. You also want to check the sportsbook’s banking limits and fees.
For example, what happens if you want to deposit $10, but the sportsbook has a $20 minimum deposit limit? What if you want to use Click2Pay to deposit $5,000, but the sportsbook only allows you to deposit $2,000 per month?
We get it. These aren’t life-and-death issues. It’s still an inconvenience that you don’t have to deal with if you do your homework, though.
Banking fees are worse. You want to know what each sportsbook charges for their banking fees so that you can compare rates and choose the lowest one possible. Some sportsbooks charge ridiculous fees – $50+ for bank wires and 5+ percent on card transactions.
The village idiot happily pays these fees, not realizing or caring that every dollar he pays in fees is a dollar less in profit that he gets to collect.
In a perfect world, you wouldn’t need customer support. You’d have no problems logging in. There would be no glitches or bugs whenever you tried to make a bet. Bonus conditions would be in laymen’s terms.
That’s not the world we live in, though. Thus, we need customer support.
Our team wants as many avenues as possible to reach customer support. That means email, live chat, and phone support.
Response times are also important. We don’t want to wait a week for an email response. Most of the questions we have are somewhat urgent. This is especially true when it comes to banking, bonuses, betting, or technology-related questions.
The village idiot scoffs at customer support. He says he can figure out his issue himself using the sportsbook’s vague FAQs or the outdated forum posts he finds on Google.
We don’t recommend you follow in the village idiot’s footsteps. Not if you want an enjoyable experience online. Make sure the sportsbook’s support is up to par before you create your account.
Every single sportsbook online is different. Pull up any two, and you’ll notice that the sports, markets, types of bets, limits, etc. are different.
Why does this matter?
It matters because maybe you want to bet football props. Well, not every sportsbook offers them. And some of those that do only offer a few markets, while other sportsbooks offer dozens.
It might matter because maybe you want to make a $10,000 bet on tennis. Not every sportsbook is going to have tennis markets, much less accept a bet as large as $10,000 on one.
Or maybe you want to bet Asian handicaps, view odds in American or decimal formats, or want to bet on the chances of Trump running for and winning a second term as the US president.
If these are things that you want, doesn’t it make sense to ensure the sportsbook has those things before you go through the hassle of creating an account and making a deposit?
They might also read our sportsbook reviews.
The village idiot does none of those things… and he pays the price for it later on.
Something we preach to our readers is the importance of sticking to one or two sports when you first start sports betting. You do this so that you can become intimately familiar with those sports and how your chosen sportsbooks handle them.
So why not start with the most popular sports and events in South Africa?
It makes sense, doesn’t it? Learn how to bet the most popular sporting events, and you can be sure that you’ll have an abundance of betting opportunities to take advantage of.
With that in mind, the following are the 7 most popular sports in South Africa. You’ll learn a little bit about each sport’s history and how well their teams have done at each of them.
Football is the most popular sport in South Africa. Nothing comes close.
Football was introduced to the country in the late nineteenth century. It was heavily affected by racial segregation until the end of apartheid.
Their first association – the Football Association of South Africa (FASA) – formed in 1892 and was all-white.
The racial segregation eventually bit them in the backside. Because they had two football teams (one all-white and another all-black), they had to choose which team to send to the African Cup of Nations.
The Confederation said this was unacceptable. They disqualified South Africa from competition (though some say they withdrew voluntarily).
It wasn’t until 1991, when apartheid started to weaken, that a multi-racial association (the South African Football Association) was formed and granted admission into FIFA.
Currently, there are five South African football leagues. Those include the Premier Division, National First Division, SAFA Second Division, SAB Regional League, and the LFA Football Leagues.
On the international stage, South Africa qualified for the 1998, 2002, and 2010 World Cups. They didn’t make it past the group round in any of their outings.
They did have the honor of hosting the 2010 World Cup, though. They were the first African nation to do so.
That’s awesome because it shows how far the country has come as a society since the sport was first introduced.
Cricket is the second-most-popular sport in South Africa. The country is one of the world’s leading cricket-playing nations and is one of twelve countries to play Test Cricket.
Test and first-class cricket were introduced in South Africa in the 1888-89 season. They toured other countries for years to challenge other teams. The exception is during the two World Wars – cricket was considered to be a frivolous use of time.
Following the second World War, South Africa became isolated from the International Cricket Conference (ICC) due to their apartheid policy. They managed to play a few games but were eventually banned from Test cricket in 1968.
This banishment lasted for 22 years. They didn’t get to play again until February 11th, 1990, when Nelson Mandela was released from prison (effectively ending apartheid).
They played in the Cricket World Cup a couple years later in 1992 in Australia and New Zealand. They have been touring countries for nearly two decades since and are one of the leading cricket-playing nations in the world.
The South Africa national rugby team is one of the strongest in the world. They have been ranked in the top 6 of the World Rugby Rankings since 2003.
The first version of rugby was played in Cape Town in 1862. The first true game of rugby was played in 1875. This was the same year the first club formed. Several more clubs formed afterwards between 1875 and 1889.
South Africa rugby leagues faced the same racial issues that the football and cricket teams did. They had all-white and all-black rugby teams and tours. This was even before apartheid went into full effect in the late 1940s.
Eventually, there were protests and banishments. The world had had enough.
In 1976, 28 countries boycotted the Olympics. The next year, the Commonwealth signed the Gleneagles Agreement. This agreement discouraged any sporting contact with South Africa.
South Africa was later banned by the International Rugby Board from international competition until the country abolished apartheid.
If you know your history (or were paying attention a few paragraphs ago), you know apartheid ended with the release of Nelson Mandela in 1990.
In 1992, the Springboks were allowed to play international rugby again. The rugby union and rugby board merged then to form the South African Rugby Football Union. They changed their name in 2005 to the South African Rugby Union.
The country participates in several major tournaments. That includes the Rugby World Cup, the Tri Nations, Rugby Championship, and the Africa Cup.
South Africa also hosted and won the Rugby World Cup in 1995. They also won the 2007 World Cup against France.
Golf is the most popular individual sport in South Africa. The country has had several top players.
Bobby Locke was the first South African to win a major tournament. He won the British Open four times (1949, 1950, 1952, 1957). He also had nine wins at the South African Open, seven wins at the South Africa Professional, and eleven wins at the Transvaal Open.
Arguably the most famous South African golfer is Gary Player. He crushed golf in the 1960s and 1970s alongside Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus.
Player won several tournaments and all the majors. He won the British Open, The Masters, the PGA Championship, and the U.S Open. He also won six majors on the Champions Tour (back when it was called the Senior PGA Tour).
Women’s golf has seen some success in South Africa, though less than men’s golf. The only South African woman to win a major was Sally Little. She won the LPGA Championship in 1980.
Australian rules football is seeing a massive resurgence in popularity in South Africa. Participation has grown by 160% between 2005-2007.
The sport first started in South Africa in 1898. However, experts say that interest in the sport died after World War I.
It wasn’t until the late 1990s that the game started to pick up steam.
One of the incentives to bringing the sport back was to provide players from indigenous communities with an opportunity to play a sport on the professional level that wasn’t soccer or cricket.
They played an experimental match in 1998. It drew more than 10,000 spectators and plenty of media attention. That sparked the fire. Later that year, they put together an Under 16 team to compete in the Jim Stynes Cup.
South Africa sent their first national team, the Buffaloes, to the Australian Football International Cup in 2002. The team failed miserably, which sparked the formation of the AFL South Africa the following year.
The AFL is the governing body and federation for Aussie Rules football in South Africa.
Sports betting is one of those hobbies that’s hard to improve in. It’s not like poker or casino games where you’ll find no shortage of books, coaches, or member sites that you can use to level up.
Newbie sports bettors often have to navigate these waters on their own. This can be frustrating and even discouraging for first-time bettors.
With that in mind, we thought it’d be helpful to answer some of the most common questions we see beginners ask sharps (professional bettors). It should help you gain some momentum if you’re brand new to this betting thing.
There isn’t a right answer. It depends on several variables, such as these.
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again – you should have your money in as many sportsbooks as your bankroll can handle. That’s because line shopping is one of the most important skills you can master and will trump handicapping or the “best” sportsbook in most cases.
Absolutely. One extreme example is Billy Walters. He bets hundreds of thousands of dollars at a time. He bets so much that he can manipulate the lines so that he can bet the opposite side for a profit when the lines are favorable.
For someone like you, your best bet is to get good at line shopping. We’ve seen professionals state that there are far more profitable bettors due to line shopping than handicapping or other betting strategies.
This depends on the odds you’re getting.
For example, say you’re getting the industry standard of -110. Do the math (110 / (110+100)), and you’ll see that you need to win 52.4% of your bets to turn a profit.
You need to win more than 50% of your bets because you need to overcome the sportsbook’s vigorish (vig). This is the -10 in the -110 you pay to place your bet.
In other words, you might be making a 50/50 bet, but you’re not getting even (50/50) odds. You need to win a little extra to overcome that disadvantage.
Here are a few recommendations for books that are well worth reading.
Those books will cover the fundamentals such as thinking like a sharp, the math behind sports betting, and how sportsbooks work.
You can deposit as little as $5-$20 at most sportsbooks. If that’s all you can afford, then start there.
That said, a good rule of thumb is to make bets no larger than 1%-2% of your bankroll. Since most sportsbooks have a minimum bet limit of $1, a bankroll of at least $50-$100 would be ideal.
No. Most of the services that offer picks exaggerate their win rates. Sharps say that there are few if any services truly worth paying for. A key reason they give is because if someone is that good, they’re going to exploit edges themselves for thousands of dollars instead of selling picks for a fraction of that.
You also don’t need to buy picks because there are tons of people who give them away for free online. They’re incentivized in other ways, such as getting people to join a sportsbook for a commission. But they bet sports regularly themselves and have no reason to fake their record.
Finally, it makes far more sense in the long run to learn how to handicap sports yourself. Get good at this, and you’ll have no problem making money.
Here are a couple of tips that should help you out.
Live and breathe the sports you want to bet on. You want to know who the teams are, what their weaknesses are, what their strengths are, and more. This will help you spot lines that are far off from what they should be.
This is why we stress choosing only one sport to bet on to start. That way, you can become intimately familiar with the ins and outs, as well as how the sportsbook prices them, when they post their lines, and so on.
Don’t bet huge units. A unit is another way of saying how much you’re betting. The recommendation we gave above is to bet in 1%-2% units. This will allow you to withstand some negative variance (losing bets) without busting your bankroll. If you have only $100 to bet and are making $25 or $50 bets, you won’t last long.
Learn how to arbitrage. Arbitrage is simply betting on both sides of a game to make a profit (or at least prevent you from losing).
We’ve seen it suggested multiple times that learning how to arbitrage (as well as line shop) is far more profitable than handicapping.
Learn from everyone. Take every opportunity you can find to learn from someone else.
For example, we posted a guide on arbitrage earlier. We also posted several book recommendations above. There are also several forums on the internet with good sports betting information (twoplustwo.com is a good place to start).
Start with those resources, and you’ll be well on your way.
We also saw a suggestion from a bettor that you should write a summary about your pick and why you chose it. This will do a couple of things for you.
People in this industry don’t share a ton, so you need to be proactive in asking questions, combing forum posts, reading books, and so on if you want to become a better sports bettor.
Practice these four tips religiously, and it’d be difficult not to improve as a sports bettor.
South Africa is a sports paradise. There are so many sports to watch and play here. That’s why it comes as no surprise that many of our South African readers want to learn how to bet these sports online.
This guide has shown you how to do that. We started by explaining how the “village idiot” would choose a bookmaker and what you should do different – which is usually the exact opposite.
Next, we went over the most popular sports in South Africa, including where they got their start and how well the country’s teams have done at each of them.
Then we wrapped things up with a short FAQ where we answered the most common questions we see newbs ask professional bettors.
The bottom line – if you want to find a trustworthy sportsbook online and consistently make profitable bets, you have everything you need at your fingertips to accomplish that.
The first step is to get yourself a sportsbook account. Just scroll to the top, choose a sportsbook from our list, and you’ll be well on your way.