How to bet on eSports

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• eSports
• Sports Betting

How To Bet On Esports

Betting on esports is a concept that has been around for a while, but has only recently gained a lot of popularity in the betting world. As one of the few industries that were not heavily affected by the 2020 pandemic, esports not only allowed betting enthusiasts to satisfy their needs but also made many realize that it can be a very lucrative journey.

Transitioning from betting on “traditional sports” to esports may seem difficult to some, but it gets significantly easier once you get a grasp of the basics. In this esports betting guide, we will take a look at a few key aspects of esports betting that will teach you how to bet on esports.

Ever since the beginning of esports, esports and betting have shared an interesting relationship. Over the years, esports betting has moved from very shady days of unregulated CS:GO skin betting towards a highly regulated and prosperous betting world akin to that of traditional sports and has since even branched out into the esports fantasy betting.

But as it’s the case with all things, before you can understand what esports betting is and how to approach it, you first must know the history behind it.

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History Of Esports Betting

Esports betting has been around for quite a few years. Esports were officially recognized as a "real sport" in 2000 by the South Korean government, which can be marked as the year when esports officially came to be. In the early days of esports, competitions were rare with low prize pools. 

The lack of popularity deterred betting operators from offering betting odds on esports events, which led to the rise of esports skin betting, which at the time was the only form of betting available. Unfortunately, it was also completely void of any regulation.

Skins betting was available in only a few games (most notably Counter-Strike: Global Offensive), where players could acquire the in-game cosmetic items, or "virtual goods," that could be later sold for cash or in this case used as a currency for betting. Skin betting was, in a way, the beginning of CS:GO esports betting.

It was mostly happening on third-party websites that weren't certified betting operators, nor did they take any measures to prevent underage individuals from placing an illegal wager. What's more, many bettors on these websites were also the players who participated in the matches they bet on, which became a huge problem.

Despite small snags - esport is a fast growing betting market

Because of all those problems, skin betting was quickly recognized as a very shady form of betting, which cast a huge shadow over the then-developing esports industry. Many esports stars and organizations were fighting the seemingly never-ending battle against unlicensed betting operators.

That was, until 2016, when Valve stepped in and put a stop to the esports skin betting by suing all third-party betting sites that accepted bets with their Steam items.

Today, esports skin betting is largely a thing of the past. While there are still a few websites that offer regulated skin betting, they're by in large only a reminder of a dark age in esports betting world.

Esports betting vs. sports betting

In a broad sense, esports betting and sports betting are fairly similar, meaning any seasoned betting veteran or an individual who has a basic knowledge about betting should have no issues understanding how betting works in esports. Having said that, there are two key elements that separate sports and esports betting.

Different terms and slang

Just like there are numerous terms and slang words that are exclusively used only in sports, each esports title has its own dictionary of terms that might not make sense to someone who is not familiar with the game.

Much like a League of Legends player who never watched nor played football would not understand terms such as end zone, drive and backfield, an experienced football player who never played LoL will have a hard time making sense of Dragon control, Turret Plates and Inhibitor. Although most of the terms used in esports titles are rarely used in betting, knowing what they mean and their significance to the outcome will play a crucial part in understanding LoL betting odds and choosing your own esports betting tips.

Meta or metagame

The biggest factor that separates traditional sports to esports is metagame or simply referred to as the meta. As the name suggests, meta is something that is happening beyond the game itself, and, in simple terms, dictates how the game is played via game updates that force the players to change their approach for achieving the said objectives.

If we put that into perspective, if there was metagame in football in the same sense as it's in esports, the NFL would change the shape of the ball or reshape the field into a circle every few months, which would have a significant impact on the strategy and the overall approach to the games.

Understanding the current state of the game is an important element esports bettors have to excel in since some esports athletes strive in certain metas while they struggle to perform in others, which can have a significant effect on the outcome of the matches.

Esports Betting: Game titles to bet on

Esports betting is a much broader concept than betting on basketball, betting on football, or betting on any other traditional sports, since it includes all esports titles. Three of the most popular esports titles amongst viewers and esports bettors, however, are Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, League of Legends and Dota2, which combine approximately 85% of the global betting volume.

Although those three are the most popular, that does not necessarily mean they are the only viable esports titles for you to bet on. Overwatch, StarCraft II, Rocket League, Rainbow Six Siege, Hearthstone PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds and Arena of Valor are all extremely popular esports amongst bettors and should be considered as options to expand your esports betting portfolio.

Esports betting types

Esports offers a large variety of different betting types, which will be affected based on which esports betting site you choose to bet on. Understanding the types of bets you can make on any esports title will play a vital role in your betting endeavors. 

Since most of the esports bet types are the same as in traditional sports, getting a firm grasp of them should not pose any problem for anyone with a basic understanding of betting.

Here we will look at some of the most common betting types found at top esports betting sites.

How to Bet on Esports Moneyline/Outright

Esports moneyline bets are the most basic form of betting and the easiest to understand. Moneyline bets are also known as outright bets, which, as the name suggests, is a bet where all you need to do is predict the winner of a match.

Odds on moneyline/outright bets will differ depending on whether you're looking at the odds on European or US esports betting sites, with the former using decimal odds, whereas US bookmakers use moneyline odds.

Here is an example of a moneyline betting odds in a match between Royal Never Give Up and PSG.LGD.

Royal Never Give Up+100(2.00)
PSG.LGD-140(1.72)

In this Dota2 game, PSG.LGD is priced as the favorite, meaning a winning bet on them would pay out less than a winning bet on Royal Never Give Up. In this case, a $140 bet on PSG.LGD would earn you $100, whereas a winning $100 bet on RNG would earn you $200.

How to Bet on Esports Spread

Spread betting is one of the most common bet types esports bettors tend to use in their betting endeavors, and it's easy to see why.

With spread betting, you can either give the stronger team a handicap they need to overcome to win the match or give the underdogs an advantage that will help them defeat their opponents. While the spread betting in sports usually uses points spreads, such as +/- 5.5 points in a basketball match, esports titles offer a few more varieties.

Depending on the esports title you bet on, you will see different types of spread bets, kills, rounds, goals and maps.

As an example, we will take a look at League of Legends match between G2 Esports and Vitality:

G2 Esports-10.5 kills-110 (1.91)
Vitality+10.5 kills-110 (1.91)

In this example, you do not bet on the final outcome of the game, but instead, on the number of kills, the teams will secure once the game ends. If you bet on G2 Esports and they end the match with an over 10 kills advantage, your $110 bet will earn you $100.

In most esports titles, the number of kills doesn't necessarily mean the team will win the match, as kills are rarely the main objective of the game. This is also one of the main factors why spread esports betting is extremely popular amongst esports bettors.

How to Bet on Esports Totals

Totals bets are often referred to as an over/under bet, where you, as a bettor, are predicting whether the combined number of a certain element of the game will exceed the line set by the bookmakers. Like it was the case in spread betting, totals betting can either refer to the number of total kills or goals scored across both teams or the number of rounds/matches played in the series.

Most esports bookmakers will offer lines at around -110 (1.91) for both sides, with some offering slightly lower odds, which is why when deciding where to bet on esports and with which esports bookmaker, you choose a very important step in a successful betting journey.

How to bet on Esports Futures

Just like moneyline betting, the future bets are easy to understand, since you are predicting which team will win a certain competition or the league. Some esports bookmakers also allow you to bet on which team will reach a certain stage of the tournament or league, while other bookmakers even offer bets on which player will earn MVP award by the end of the season.

Future bets are very appealing to many esports bettors, however, can also be very difficult to predict, since the meta can shift drastically mid-way through the season, which that can either harm or help the team/player you pick as your future bet. Having a strong understanding of the game, however, can help you cash in big since bookmakers generally offer generous odds on all future esports bets.

Esports Betting: Where to Bet

Now that you understand the basics behind esports betting, we come to the most important part of your esports betting journey, which is picking the best betting sites for esports.

Many sites offer odds on esports events and while simply searching googling "CS:GO esports betting sites" might get you the results you're looking for, more thorough research is crucial, as finding the best esports betting website for your needs will play a pivotal role in your betting success.

Some of the best bookmakers include Bet365, Bet-at-Home, LOOT.BET and Betfair.

Esports Betting Tips 

Everyone has their own unique strategy when it comes to betting, and there are countless betting strategies available out there, some more successful than others. Here we won't be looking over strategies, but instead will look over three techniques and approaches you should use when constructing your esports betting predictions.

Understand the game

Before you start betting on an esports title, you should have at least a basic understanding of how the game is played. As is the case with many things, trying out something for yourself is the best way to learn, and esports is no exception to that rule. 

Although playing the game might be the fastest way to learn the basics, watching professional games and getting a feel of how the games are played is a great start.

There is no such thing as too much research

Having a reliable source of information about anything that is happening in the esports world should be your number one priority as an esports bettor. While injuries are extremely rare in esports, it's the internal drama and players' conflicts, that play a significant role in the esports ecosystem. 

Since those are extremely delicate topics that are often exaggerated by many media outlets, having a reliable source of information becomes that much more important.

Learn the difference between Online and LAN tournaments

Understanding the difference between esports games that are played online and in a LAN environment is an often-overlooked skill every esports bettor should have. LAN matches/tournaments are widely regarded as the only matches that count and show the true strength of a team since they have to perform under the pressure of spotlight and cheering fans. 

Online matches, on the other hand, are played entirely online, with no added pressure. For that reason, online matches have become notorious for upset wins, where an underdog team outperforms a clear favorite, and any esports bettor will take note of these fixtures since it can earn you a huge payout by siding with the underdog.

How to Bet on Esports FAQ

Can I make money with esports betting?
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Yes, esports betting can be highly lucrative if you approach it the right way. Understanding the market and the game you plan on betting on, finding the best site for esports betting, and having the right mindset are all key factors that will make or break your betting endeavor.

Although there is much more that goes into having a successful betting experience, getting a firm grasp of the basics will go a long way.

Is there a "best" esports title I should bet on?
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There is no such thing as the best esports game to bet on. While the most popular esports titles tend to provide you with more competitive odds, betting on some lesser-known esports titles can be a solid journey to take, that is, if you’re prepared to do more individual research on some lesser-known teams and players.

Do I need to play the game to be good at betting on it?
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Yes and no. You should have at least a basic understanding of the game, and since playing it yourself will make the learning process significantly faster, you should at least consider trying out the esports title you wish to bet on. However, you don’t need to be good at it, just like you don’t need to be able to dunk to be a successful basketball bettor.

Can I buy esports betting tips?
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Yes, anyone can buy esports betting tips, although that does not necessarily guarantee you will win all of your bets. While there are a few reputable esports betting services out there, understanding how to bet on esports and approaching the task yourself is often a much better option.

Will the esports betting industry last, and is it worth investing my time into it?
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Although the esports industry and consequently esports betting industry had a slow and tedious start, it has been growing exponentially over the past five years, with statistics showing esports has reached over 500 million fans globally. Meanwhile, esports betting statistics show there has been over $23.5 million wagered on esports worldwide at the start of 2020.

While it remains to be seen what heights the industry will reach and when the growth will stop, but if there is one thing we can say for sure: esports is here to stay.