South African Bookmaker Odds Compared

Most casual punters have their favorite bookmaker, and one rarely sees somebody willing to change their betting habits. Maybe they like website design of their favorite bookmaker, maybe the betting shop is located near their home or work, or they simply believe that their favorite bookmaker is the best. Other punters put more weight in the bookmaker odds, which is what we’ll be looking at today.

Punters from South Africa are no exception. Sunbet, Sportingbet, Hollywoodbets and Betway all have numerous customers, but for example Sunbet fans are reluctant when it comes to betting on Hollywoodbets and vice versa.

However, professional bettors know how to take advantage of better odds and better betting margins at a particular bookmaker or betting market. We’re going to have a closer look at how betting margins work and how you can get the best odds in South Africa.

Understanding Sports Betting Odds

When some huge sports event takes place, such as the World Cup, every bookmaker in the world offers promotions and tries to lure potential customers. Most of them are claiming to have the best odds on World Cup, but how will we know who is telling the truth?

Every bookie makes a profit by offering odds higher than the probability of every particular outcome, for example, in a football game. That difference between the odds and the actual probability is called the betting margin. The odds on a particular market are better if the betting margin is lower.

Betting Margins Explained

Imagine that you are betting on the result of a coin toss. Both heads and tails represent a 50% chance each. That means that if you win the bet, the bookmaker will pay you double. However, in real life the things are different. In a two-way market type, such as tennis, you won’t see even 2.00 odds for both players winning the match. That would mean that the betting margin for that market is zero. Instead, you will see 1.92 or even 1.95 for both players at the best bookmakers, or around 1.85 at the worst.

Seeing better odds when both tennis players are equally favored to win the match is easy, but how will you know which odds are better in other cases? You can calculate betting margins using a simple formula in each case. For easier calculation, use decimal odds.

For a two-way betting market the formula is:

(1/decimal odds) *100 + (1/decimal odds) *100 = Betting margin

For a three-way betting market the formula is:

(1/home odds) *100 + (1/draw odds) *100 + (1/away odd) *100 = Betting margin

Now that you know how to calculate betting margins, we can check the margins at the most popular South African betting sites: Sunbet, Sportingbet, Hollywoodbets and Betway.

Best Soccer Odds in South Africa

Now when we know how to calculate betting margin, we will easily check which South African bookmaker has the best odds across several markets. We will take a look at Sunbet, Sportingbet, Hollywoodbets and Betway and check their English Premier League odds and tennis odds.

Soccer Betting Odds Compared

Of course, we will check the odds for the same matches across all bookmakers. For example, let’s take a look at the match at the Emirates stadium, between Arsenal and Wolves.

If you choose to place your bet with Sunbet, you will get 1.70 for Arsenal victory, 4.00 for a draw, and 4.90 for Wolves win. That means Sunbet betting margin is 4.23%.

Sportingbet gives 1.67 for Arsenal win, 4.00 for a draw and 5.00 for a surprising Wolves victory. So, the odds for home win are slightly lower, but if you think that Wolves can upset Arsenal at the Emirates, you can back them up at higher odds. Sportingbet betting margin is 4.88%, slightly higher than Sunbet’s. This means that Sunbet has slightly better odds on football market, but not by a great deal.

If you want to bet at Hollywoodbet, you will get 1.7 for Arsenal win, 4.00 for a draw and 4.80 for Wolves win. Hollywoodbet betting margin is 4.66%, which puts them between Sunbet and Sportingbet.

Finally, Betway offers 1.69 for Arsenal win, 4.01 for a draw, and the odds for Wolves victory are 4.81. Their betting margin is 4.90%, which is narrowly the worst among these four bookmakers. However Betway make up for this by offering several boosts and multiple bet incentives.

On the other hand, as you may see, their football margins are really similar, and to capitalize on Sunbet’s slightly better odds in comparison to Betway’s, your stakes need to be really high. So there isn’t that much between them at the end of the day.

Tennis Bookmaker Odds Compared

When it comes to tennis, as an example of a typical two-way market, we will take a look at the match between Ashleigh Barty and Naomi Osaka.

Sunbet offers 1.8 for Osaka win, while the odds for Barty victory are set at 2.02. Sunbet betting margin on tennis market is 5.06%, which is higher than their margin on football betting market.

Sportingbet offers 1.85 for Osaka win, while on Barty the odds are significantly lower – 1.91. The betting margin on Sportingbet’s tennis market is 6.41%, which is a lot higher than Sunbet’s betting margin.

Hollywoodbets offer 1.8 for Osaka win and 1.9 for Barty win. After a first look at the odds it is clear that Hollywoodbets is not the right choice for betting on tennis, since their betting margin on this market is 8.19%, which is considered as fairly high.

In the end, Betway pays Osaka win 1.82, while the odds for Barty victory are 1.89. Betting margin on Betway tenis is 7.86%, which is slightly better than Hollywoodbets, but worse than Sunbet’s or Sportingbet’s margin.


In this article, we’ve learnt about betting margins and how to use them. Even if you are a casual bettor and you might think it is irrelevant where you lay your bets, choosing the best available odds will make a difference eventually.

Also, the bettors need to pay attention on particular markets. If one bookmaker is the best option for football, it doesn’t mean they have the best betting margins on tennis or some other sport as we saw in the example above. By using betting margins in your advantage, you will certainly become more successful.

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