Australian Betting Guide

Australian Betting Guide [Beginners MUST READ]

This Australian betting guide is perfect for anyone who’s either:

  • Never placed a bet before but wants to start matched betting
  • Has bet casually before and wants to quickly remind themselves about the fundamentals.

Betting in Australia can be a complicated world to explore, with unique language and acronyms that make it difficult for beginners. This article will give you a beginners intro and give you confidence to place your first bets. If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to use the comments section at the bottom.

What is Sports Betting?

Let’s start by looking at what we mean by a bet or a wager. The two terms can be used interchangeably.

risk a sum of money or valued item against someone else’s on the basis of the outcome of an unpredictable event such as a race or game.

Oxford Dictionary at

Simplified, you’re risking your own money against someone else’s based the outcome of a sports event.

Let’s imagine you’re having a debate with your friend who’s a massive Sydney Swans fan. They’re playing against Essendon at the weekend and you’re arguing that the Swans have no chance of winning! Your friend thinks you’re crazy so he challenges you to put your money on the line for $10. You both put $10 into a pot and the winner takes the full $20.

You’ve just placed a $10 bet on Essendon beating the Sydney Swans. There are two possible outcomes:

  • Essendon win the match and you get the $20.
  • Sydney Swans win the match and you lose your $10.

On any bet you place, you’re either going win money or lose your money. The money you’re putting at risk is called your Stake. In this case, it’s $10. We’ll talk about how much you win a little later on.

Bookmakers and Exchanges Explained

Betting against your friends can be really fun and make your rivalry more interesting. However, most people would see this purely as a bit of fun and there’s no guarantee your friend will want to bet against you. That’s where Bookmakers come in.


A bookmaker is a company that allow you to bet on the outcome of sporting events. They take the role of your friend in our previous story, allowing you to easily place any wager you want.

Placing a bet with a regulated bookmaker becomes a formal agreement. This gives you peace of mind to know they’ll definitely pay your winnings if your bet wins.

Some of the most well known bookmakers in Australia include Ladbrokes, Neds and TAB.


In contrast to a bookmaker, the Exchange allows you to bet directly against other people. Instead of having just one friend to bet against, imagine having thousands of friends all with different opinions. When you bet on an exchange, your money is actually being matched against somebody else who has the opposite opinion.

The only betting Exchange in Australia is Betfair. They’re a reputable global betting exchange with hundreds of thousands of customers, so you can be just as confident that they’ll definitely pay your winnings.

If you want to learn about Betfair, OzProfit has the most extensive Betfair Australia guide in the world.

Australian Betting Odds Explained

Now that you know who you can bet with, it’s important to know how placing a bet actually works. The most important part of this is the odds. These give you the total amount of winnings if your bet wins.

Australians are lucky that betting odds are really simple and use the Decimal System. That is, all odds are presented as a number such as ‘1.8’ or ‘5.5’. To work out how much you could win, just multiply your Stake by the Odds.

In our previous example of the Essendon v Sydney Swans match, I was betting $10 and could potentially win $20. The equivalent odds for this would be 2.0. If I multiply my stake ($10) by the odds (2.0) then I get my potential win of $20.

Let’s take a look at another example.

I see a bet on the Sydney Swans to win the AFL league and a bookmaker is willing to offer me odds of 8.5. If I place $10 on that bet, then I get a calculation of stake ($10) x odds (8.5) which would result in me winning $85.

Payout vs Profit

What you’ll probably have noticed in the above example is that you’re winning $85 but actually $10 of that is your own money coming back to you. That’s why it’s important to distinguish between your payout and your profit.

Payout – The amount of money returned to you when you win a bet.

Profit – The amount of money that is more than you started with.

To calculate your profit is incredibly easy. Simply take your original stake value away from your payout.

In our example betting on the Sydney Swans to win the AFL, that makes our total profit $75 ($85 – $10).

Implied Probability – Chance of Winning

I believe it’s important for anyone new to betting to understand exactly what those odds really mean. When you express odds as a purely decimal number, they have quite an abstract meaning and this leads to people betting based on the following:

Am I happy with the amount of money I get if my bet wins?

This is a slightly backwards way of looking at betting on something. Instead, you should be thinking about odds as referring to the chance of that event happening. In normal life, we would always think of this as a percentage.

Let’s say you’re debating with your friend on where to go for dinner. You’ve narrowed it down to 4 options but can’t choose which one. To help, you put their names in a hat so you can draw out just one of them. Intuitively, we all know that the chance of each option has a 25% chance of being selected.

Now, we can theoretically bet on which dinner option will be pulled out of the hat. What odds should we give each one?

There’s a simple formula: 1 / (%Chance / 100). Applying that to our example gives us 1 / (25 / 100) = 4. If we place a $10 bet on event with a chance of happening of 25%, we get $40 returned to us if it wins.

We can use a reverse formula for converting back from Odds to a Percentage: (1 / Odds) * 100. Using this for our Sydney Swans AFL League example gives us (1 / 8.5) * 100 = 11.7%. Do we think the Sydney Swans really have an 11% chance of winning or not? This should dictate whether odds are ‘good’ or not.

Whenever we bet, we need to be comfortable asking the following:

Am I happy that the probability of my bet happening is fair?

Main Bet Types Available

So far in this article, I’ve written about bets that focus purely on selecting the winner of a single event. Really, this is only scratching the surface of what’s possible when placing bets.

There are plenty of different bet types you can place, although matched betting primarily focuses on those Win bets. Below, I have looked at some of the other popular bet types available. I have split Horse Racing out separately as there are a few unique options.

Sports Bets

Win Single – Betting on a team/player to win the sporting event.

Multi’s / Accumulators – Where you include multiple different bets into one single bet. All the different outcomes need to win for you to win the Multi bet.

Handicap – Betting on a team/player to win the sporting event with the score having a handicap. If you bet on a team to win +4 then they could actually lose by 3 and your bet will still be a winner.

Winning Margin – Betting on how much the winning team will win by.

Total Points – Betting on the total amount of points scored in a game, regardless of who wins.

First/Last Goalscorer/Tryscorer – Betting on which player scores the first or last goal or try.

Half Time / Full Time – Betting on who’s winning at Half Time then Full Time. Be aware of confusing this with winning either or both halves, they are different bets.

Horse Racing

Win Single – Betting on a horse to place 1st in the race.

Place Single – Betting on a horse to ‘place’ in a race. This could be top 2, 3 or 4 depending on how many runners are in the race.

Trifecta – Betting on which horses will come 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the race. You must get them all right to win the bet.

Quinella – Betting on which horses will come 1st and 2nd but can be in any order.

Quaddie – Betting on the winner of 4 chosen races. You must select the winner of all 4 races to win this bet.

Introducing Tote Betting

Tote betting adds an extra dimension to betting at the bookmaker by being able to bet against a pool of other people. This is very similar to the way the exchange works, however it differs in one key aspects:

  • The exchange allows you to make a fixed odds bet where someone bets against you at the same time.
  • The tote collects all bets at the start of the event and calculates the payout for the winning result based on the total pool of money.
    • This means you only find out the odds after the race has run.

Tote betting in Australia is only available on Horse Racing markets and is available on both Win and Place bets.

Due to the variable odds nature of Tote betting, it’s not suitable for matched betting. However, for regular gambling it’s often possible to beat bookmaker odds by betting on the tote, especially for unfancied horses at longer odds.

I personally recommend that only advanced bettors should be Tote Betting.

Matched Betting – Guaranteed Profit

If you’ve never heard of matched betting before, let me introduce the concept.

By taking advantage of bookmaker promotions, you’re able to guarantee yourself a profit from betting 100% risk free.

We do this primarily by betting on an event to happen at the bookmaker using free bets whilst also betting against it on the Betfair Exchange. With this approach to betting, it’s possible to make over $1000+ every month!


Gambling in Australia is heavily regulated by the Federal and State governments. All bookmakers must hold licenses that hold them to exceptionally high standards around customer data and funds. Ultimately, these regulations are to protect people like us and the money we place with online gambling sites.

Online Pokies / Slots are banned. It is not possible to play casino games online for cash in Australia.

Bookmaker Welcome Offers are banned. Bookmakers are not allowed to incentivise customers to open new gambling accounts through a welcome offer. However, many bookmakers do still make promotions available after you sign up.

For more reading about the laws and regulations surrounding betting in Australia, I recommend reading this article from iclg which covers everything you could possibly need to know.

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