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10 Online Betting Tips for Beginners: Learn How to Make Good Bets

Betting on sports is something you can now legally do online. Punters now have a world of opportunities to place bets and win real money from the comfort of their own home or even on their smartphones while on the go. Bettors that have good knowledge about certain sports, events and sporting leagues/competitions can put their predictions to good use by making bets and reaping the profits.

Even if you’re not exactly a sports pundit, you can get good at it with some practice and keen observation. Instead of making mistakes and losing money while betting, you can learn from the mistakes that others have made. There are some golden rules to abide by, especially at the beginning of your online betting adventure. We are experts in the field of online sports betting, and in this article, we reveal some of the top tips for a successful online betting journey.

Tip #1: Choose a Trusted Betting Site

If you have any experience betting on sports via traditional betting shops/parlors, you will know that not every bookmaker is the same. This holds true on the internet as well. In fact, the variance on the internet is even more amplified. Some online betting websites are safe, licensed and offer the best odds, while on the other end of the spectrum, there are unregulated websites that might straight out cheat you and swindle money. 

If you want to have a safe and pleasant sports betting experience online, the first thing you need to pay attention to is the sports betting website you choose. It is important to only play at licensed, tried and tested sportsbooks. 

Not sure how to identify good sportsbook websites? Worry not, for we’ve done all the groundwork for you! Here’s a list of our top online sportsbook websites particularly for South African punters. These are all licensed and thoroughly tested by our team of sports betting experts. 

Tip #2: Start Small

Betting on sports is all fun and games, but there is real money at stake. With the right strategies and sound decision-making skills, you stand to make a lot of money, but you could also lose a lot of money in the chase. Inexperienced bettors should not start right away with bigger bets, especially when they are still on the learning curve. 

It is much more sustainable and easier on your pockets to bet small until you are comfortable with how the betslip works, which bet markets mean what, how to read odds and various other nuances. Once you’ve learned the ropes and feel confident backing a team or bet market, you can certainly up the ante. 

Tip #3: Learn the Terms

When you start online sports betting, you might come across plenty of nomenclature that may sound all Greek to you. You will naturally pick up the terminology as you continue betting, but it is even better to proactively seek the meaning of these terms and understand them. This way, your odds of finding and placing winning bets gets a slight boost. Below, we’ve chosen only a few fundamental sports betting terms to familiarize yourself with even before you get the ball rolling. 

  • Bookmaker/Bookie: A website or organization that accepts bets and pays out winnings as per the published odds 
  • Bet/wager/stake: Backing a prediction with a sum of money in order to win money if true 
  • Bet amount: The dollar amount of the bet 
  • Betslip: A ticket that contains your bet/s information such as market, odds, stake, potential payout 
  • Odds: The ratio of bet amounts that each party has placed, depending on the predicted likelihood in either direction.
  • Parlay: A string of wagers in which each subsequent wager includes both the initial stake and any gains. Typically, all bets have to win in order for payouts to occur.
  • Bet limit: The maximum bet value allowed on a single bet 
  • Live betting: Betting on sporting events that are underway or in progress at the time the bet is placed
  • In-play Betting: Same as live betting
  • House: Same as bookmaker 
  • Over under: The odds on how many points or goals will be scored overall during a sporting event, with bets placed on whether there will be more (over) or less (under) goals or points scored.
  • Point Spread: Commonly known as simply the "spread." To odds or betting line used to figure out the favorite and the underdog. 
  • Hedge: Most frequently used as a risk control strategy and with parlay betting. By placing a bet on the opposing side of the initial wager, you may secure a profit by hedging your bet. Another option is to place a hedge bet to mitigate the loss of a potentially unsuccessful gamble.

These terms are just the tip of the iceberg and some of the most basic ones to start with. There are lots of terms for each sport and bet type which one will grow familiar with as they start betting and learning. 

Tip #4: Understand Odds

In gambling, odds refer to the proportion of stakes made by participants in a wager or bet. Odds of 3 to 1 therefore indicate that the bookie has invested three times as much as the bettor. British fractional odds, European decimal odds, and American moneyline odds are the three primary categories of betting odds. These variants present the same information in different ways or formats. 

Decimal vs Fractional Odds

Decimal odds basically tell you how much money you will win if your bet wins for every $1 or 1ZAR you wager. The total payout = wager amount * decimal odds number 

Example: The decimal odds for Arsenal to win a football match are 2.5 and you back it with a $100 wager. If Arsenal ends up winning you will receive 2.5 times $100 = $250 winning. 

Fractional odds, on the other hand, represent the ratio of profit to the wager. British and Irish bookmakers frequently use fractional odds. In fact, fractional odds are also known as British odds. Usually, a slash or hyphen is used while writing fractional odds. A fractional odds of 3/1 entails that you win $3 for every $1 wagered and you also get your wager amount back. 

Example: The fractional odds for Arsenal to win a football match are 5/1 and you back it with a $100 wager. If Arsenal wins the match, you will get a $500 profit and your $100 wager back, so the total payout is $600. 

Tip #5: Learn the Bet Types

In sports betting, there are several ways to skin a cat. You don’t always have to simply bet on who will win. There are hundreds of different types of bets you can take depending on which sport you are betting on. You could bet on the exact score, you could bet on who would score first, you could bet on what the score would be at half-time and lots more. 

Below, we go over some of the most basic sports betting bet types, which is a good place for beginners to get going. 

Sport Bet Types

Head - to - Head

In head-to-head betting, the bookmaker sets a market for the two probable results of a match: a win for X or a loss for Y. It is the most widely used type of sports wagering. Three possible results can occur in head-to-head wagers in some circumstances. Soccer is one sport where this is clearly possible, with the draw being a possible outcome as well. 

Sport Bet Types

Line or Handicap Betting

By offering a virtual advantage or disadvantage to specific contestants in order to level the playing field, a bookmaker may transform a sporting event with different odds into an equal money match through handicap betting. In point-based sports including football, rugby, basketball and tennis, handicap betting is prevalent. It is also often utilized in racing competitions, notably horse racing.

Sport Bet Types


An over-under wager is one on whether a particular game statistic will be greater or lower than an established figure. A total bet is another name for this kind of wager. The most popular over-under wager involves the total score of two teams in a game. In this scenario, a bettor will bet on whether the final score of the game will be higher or lower than a certain number of points/goals.

Sport Bet Types

Outright Betting

The simplest kind of bet is an outright bet. Outright bets can apply to a variety of different bet types, but the most popular definition is when a punter backs a person or team to win the competition or event outright.

Sport Bet Types

Other Types of Bets

The bet types mentioned above are just a few of the most fundamental ones. The sports betting market is home to hundreds of other types of bets, some that are exclusive to a certain sport only. A few other more-common bet types that you may look up and read about are parlays, futures bets, total line bets, money line bets and teaser bets.

Tip #6: Have a Bankroll and Use a Staking Plan

Betting should be for entertainment and must be done within one’s limits. Any form of gambling, sports betting included, can insidiously develop into a full-blown addiction. Right from the get go, it is vital for punters to have a planned budget even before they start betting and stick to that budget no matter if they are winning or losing. Very often, they may end up losing a lot of money trying to chase losses instead of throwing in the towel when their betting budget runs out. 

You can set yourself a betting budget for every session, day, week or month and play accordingly. Licensed sports betting websites will have various responsible gambling features that you can leverage to make sure you gamble within your limits. These features include custom deposit limits, wager limits, loss limits and even session time limits. If you reach the limit, you will not be able to play any more and you cannot change the limit at that moment either. 

Tip #7: Bet on Familiar Sports

Just because you got a tip or you have a hunch about something, it’s simply not a good enough reason to make a bet on a sporting event that you are not well versed with. If you’re someone that has in-depth knowledge about football, then stick to football and leave horse racing alone and vice versa. 

You may get lucky once or twice when you bet on a sport that you are not familiar with, but over the long run, you are only fighting a losing battle. If you are interested in betting on another sport, start with very small bets and spend time learning the sport, the teams, strategies, bet types and more before you make bigger bets. 

Tip #8: Research the Best Banking Methods

When betting online, you will need to be able to add and withdraw real funds. If you choose the wrong banking method, you might end up paying fees for each transaction and it might not be the fastest option either. Take some time to check which banking options are available and which ones are best for you. 

Some of the popular banking options offered at online sportsbooks include:

Tip #9: Stay Safe and Check Licenses

When you visit a sports betting website, make sure it is a licensed one. 

Usually, you can scroll down to the footer section of the website’s homepage and the licensing details are published there. You can then note the license number and confirm its validity directly with the issuer. 

Tip #10: Stay Disciplined

If you want to have a long and fruitful betting career, you need to be disciplined and follow the rules mentioned here. You’ll save a lot of money and have lots of fun along the way. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel, just stick to these thumb rules and all will be well. 


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What is the easiest bet to win?

This depends on which sport you are betting on. If you’re confident on one team to win a game, simply backing the team outright may be a safe winning bet, but the odds may not be great if you’re backing a favorite. 

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Is online betting safe?

Yes, as long as you are betting at a licensed and trusted online sports betting website. Choose one of the sportsbooks featured on this page for assured safety and security. 

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How do you bet without losing?

Winning and losing are both part and parcel of sports betting. If you bet long enough you are bound to lose. Just like your favorite sports team, you cannot win every single time. However, you can use promotions like free bets to bet without risk of losing money, but this won’t work indefinitely. 

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Which betting site has the best odds?

All of the betting websites listed on this page have the most competitive odds you’ll find in the market. This holds especially true for popular sports like football, cricket, rugby, tennis, basketball, horse racing, etc.

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