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Top 3 Sports You Can Place Bets on in South Africa

Written by

Kelvin Jones
clockReading time 5 minread

Sports around the world foster national pride, help to unite people, and provide incredible opportunities for athletes to put their talents on display nationally and internationally. South Africa is no different, and sports have a massive following here.

What’s more, betting has opened up a whole new level of enjoyment for sports fans. Sports betting gives fans a chance to get to know sports on a deeper level, because knowing the details can mean the difference between winning and losing. Plus, when you’ve bet on a certain team or player, you’re that much more invested in how the game goes.

What is the most popular sport in South Africa? Read on to find out!

What Are the Most Popular Sports in South Africa?

Online sports betting has experienced a massive boom in recent years, and millions of people are now placing wagers using their cell phones and computers. With so much money and sensitive personal and financial information exchanged online,sportsbooks take cybersecurity incredibly seriously. They’ve implemented measures like boundary firewalls, endpoint detection and response, internet gateways, password policies, patch management, secure configuration, and user access control. This means that betting on sports online is safe, secure, and stress-free.

The list of best-loved sporting events includes athletics, basketball, boxing, motorsports, and tennis, but soccer (football), rugby, and cricket are by far the most well-liked.

Top 3 Sports to place bets on in South Africa

  1. Soccer

Soccer is the national sport of South Africa. SA was the proud host of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, and according to Statista’s March 2023 report, 77% of people in this country are interested in soccer. Popular events include The Telkom Knockout Cup, Premier Soccer League matches, and First Division games. 

We’ve got not 1 but 2 national teams, Bafana Bafana, the men’s team, and Bayana Bayana, the women’s team. We also birthed soccer superstars like Benni McCarthy, Doctor Khumalo, Lucas Radebe, Mark Fish, and Percy Tau.

Types of Bets You Can Place on Soccer Matches

  • The Double Chance

Double Chance wagers are considered very low risk, so it means they’re low reward too. You’ll pick 2 out of 3 possible outcomes: a home win, an away win, or a draw. 

  • The Draw No Bet

The Draw No Bet is a simplified version of the 3-way Moneyline where you choose which game will end up winning a game. A Draw isn’t an option: if this happens, the bet pushes, and you’ll get your money back. 

  • Half-time/Full-time Bet

These bets ask you to predict what the game’s outcome is at halftime and the end of the game. You can wager that the 1st ½ will end in a draw, but the away team will win the game or any other combination. These are tough bets with potentially great returns. 

  • The 3-Way Moneyline Bet

The most popular bet in soccer is a Straight-Up, where you’re predicting which team will win the game. But because a draw is always possible, you can also wager that that’s what will happen. That’s why this is called a 3-way Moneyline. Remember that, generally, if there are penalties or extended time, the outcome is registered as a draw.

  1. Rugby

After soccer, rugby is the second top sport in South Africa, with a following of nearly 10 million in a population of almost 60 million. Some of the top events in this category include the Currie Cup, Varsity Cup, Gold Cup, Craven Week, and the Super Rugby Currie Cup. 

While it may not be the national sport of South Africa, rugby is very close to that, and the South African rugby team, the Springboks, are respected internationally. Who can forget our hosting and incredible win of the 1995 Rugby World Cup? And we also came out on top in the 2007 and 2019 Rugby World Cups!

Rugby heroes include Bryan Habana, Francois Pienaar, Joost Van Der Westhuizen, Os Du Randt, and Victor Matfield. 

Types of Bets You Can Place on Rugby Matches

  • First Scoring Play

There are 4 possible ways of the score opening in a rugby match: drop goal, penalty, penalty try, or try, which makes this market an interesting one to dabble in. Waiting until the game begins to see which team will be kicking off can be a good move here since the First Scoring Play will be impacted by this. 

  • First Try Scorer

This bet asks you to predict which player will be the first one to score a try and it doesn’t matter when in the game this takes place. You may find variants of this wager like First Try Scorer from each team, each half, and the position of the First Try Scorer.

  • Handicap Bets

Bets on Match Results are 3-way wagers, with a win, draw, or loss as possible outcomes, Handicaps introduce a margin that the team or player you’re betting needs to beat. 

  • Match Result

Here you’re betting on a team to draw, win, or lose the game. Bear in mind when considering this wager that upsets in big international matches are not that common. Generally, the favourite will take the game, resulting in lower odds on your return unless you pick a winner long before the match is set to unfold. 

  • Winning Margin

Winning Margin wagers are similar to Handicap bets in that you’re betting a squad will win by a certain number of points. The difference is that odds on Winning Margins are often higher than handicaps because you’re betting on a Winning Margin inside a particular window. It’s riskier than the Handicap, but it’s also potentially more rewarding.

  1. Cricket

    46% of South Africans are avid cricket fans, and the major domestic competitions are the CSA 4-Day Series and the Momentum One Day Cup. We hosted the Cricket World Cup in 2003, which Australia won, and the first-ever World Twenty20 in 2007, where India took the trophy.

Although this is certainly one of the most popular sports in South Africa, our cricket team has seen plenty of ups and downs. They’ve got a cumulative win rate of just under 50%, and we’ve famously never won an ICC World Cup in any format, despite arriving at these tournaments with incredibly strong squads. We tend to fare better in the T20 format, and we also have an excellent record in One Day Internationals, which is possibly the reason cricket is one of the top sports in South Africa.

The list of the Best-Ever South African Cricketers includes AB De Villiers, Allan Donald, Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, and Shaun Pollock.

Types of Bets You Can Place on Cricket Matches

  • Coin Toss

To win this bet, you’ll need to correctly predict which team will win the coin toss at the beginning of the game. 

  • Highest Opening Partnership

Guess which squad's two players will score the most runs before they lose their first wicket. 

  • Match Winner 

You’ll need to nominate a team to win the game. In ODI and T20 cricket games, either Team A or Team B will win. But in Test matches, a draw may also occur. 

  • Team with Top Batsman

Predict which team will have the batsman that manages to rack up the most runs in the game. 

  • Team with Top Bowler

Chom, this one has two parts to it. You’ll need to guess which team will have the bowler who not only gets the most wickets but also concedes the fewest runs during the match. 

Now you know what the top sports in South Africa are, you can get in on the action too. Sign up at one of the best sportsbooks and back your favourite team to win.

Kelvin Jones

Kelvin JonesVerified

Senior Editor & Product Owner


When he was still at varsity, Kelvin started out as a freelance writer for random online gambling sites. That’s until he chanced on PlayCasino and became one of our lead writers – a whole decade ago – and an expert on the fastest-paying online casinos. Since then, Kelvin has been one of the most instrumental personalities in shaping South Africa’s online gambling landscape.

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