eSports is something that’s starting to feature within the betting menus of more and more online bookmakers and sportsbooks in recent years. In some cases eSports enjoys prime real estate yet, remarkably, very few people seem to know what they are or how to bet on eSports.
One thing is for certain, with $1billion predicted to be gambled on eSports annually by 2020, more and more people are going to find out.
eSports is the collective name for a large collection of competitive computer games, played by individuals one-on-one or by teams.
The most popular games are called:
Many eSports games, particularly those you can bet on, are staged in arenas and stadiums and consequently a fair number of those fans in the audience will have their mobiles at hand ready to place their eSports bets live in-play.
Betting on eSports is very straight forward. There are a lot of similarities to tennis betting with most matches being staged over a best-of-three format (only Wimbledon, and the US, French, Australian Opens are the best-of five formats).
So you can back teams to win, correct scores, under and over a number of sets (which are called ‘maps’ in eSports) and there are also handicap markets where the underdog will receive a virtual head start.
Simply head to the betting menu (in app, on mobile or desktop) at your favoured online sportsbook and all these options should be available to you particularly on League of Legends (LOL), CS:GO (Counter-Strike: Global Offensive) and DOTA 2 matches which are the chief eSports in terms of betting popularity.
Odds on individual eSports matches can often be very one sided. To combat these seeming mismatches eSports bookmakers will often handicap games to make them more attractive as betting mediums.
In addition to individual matches there are ante-post lists on the major competitions and the eSports odds on both feature over-rounds and betting margins which are in line with those found amongst other sports. That’s a ‘take out’ of around 3% per ‘runner’.
eSports betting is becoming a popular genre with ‘in-play’ punters. It is a lot of fun as an in-play betting medium as the action is fast moving and so are the odds.
There’s lots of eSports betting tipsters out there and many of them have found themselves a job with some of the major online sportsbooks writing for their blog sections.
These eSports blogs provide an excellent insight into these fast moving games with the slightest change to an eSports teams squad / roster often having huge consequences in terms of odds and results. If you are going to take betting on eSports seriously, as with football, our advice is to keep well abreast of all the latest team news. If one key player is missing the whole team can seriously under-perform.
Almost four out of every ten bets on eSports are placed on League of Legends (LOL) games. Similarly CS:GO betting makes up three bets out of every ten and DOTA 2 claims 18% of the market. Overwatch, Halo, FIFA and Hearthstone are others you can bet on albeit not all online bookmakers offer betting opportunities on these games.
Unquestionably the biggest eSports tournament in the world is ‘The International’ – a DOTA 2 competition which takes place annually in Seattle, USA. In 2016 the 16-team eSports event featured a prize-pool of $20 million with the winning team, China’s Wings Gaming, taking home $9.1 million of it.
The League of Legends’ World Championship is also one of the biggest competitions. While the overall prize pool isn’t as large as ‘The International’ Riot Games, the game’s developers, have recently introduced crowd funding which could boost the prize money to similar levels.
The Championships are hosted in a different region each year, with every stage of the tournament being held in a unique city. Surprisingly the largest prize pool that doesn’t involve LOL or DOTA 2 is the Halo World Championship. In 2016 the prize pool was $2.5 million and involved 16 teams with first place taking home $1million. This is the culmination of a year-long season and the best opportunity for many eSports teams to make a serious amount of money.
Similarly Counter Strike: Global Offensive and Overwatch are definitely larger eSports titles than Halo however they don’t have a World Championship tournament with an extremely large prize pool. Instead they have multiple tournaments throughout the year with prize pools between $1million and $1.5 million. This is a different format and offers teams many opportunities to win as opposed to one major tournament.
Such colossal prize-pools means eSports bettors should have no concerns about the integrity of games and the fiercely competitive nature of them.
Most major online bookmakers are now offering eSports betting. Some are doing a better job of it than others. For the most markets on the most games and competitions bet365 is probably your first port of call.
Betway also comes highly recommended. They have embraced eSports betting and have added an excellent dedicated eSports section on to their sportsbook. They also sponsor major events and are backing ‘Ninjas in Pyjamas’, a top team within eSports.
Ladbrokes, William Hill and Sky Bet are all major players in eSports but it is worth shopping around when placing your eSports bets because you will often find some of the smaller sites offering prices which are out of line with the bigger and better known operators.
No online bookmaker which offers betting on eSports have excluded it from their mobile interface or mobile betting app, so any eSports betting opportunities can always be snapped-up quickly.
eSports betting could be described as being in its infancy but it is already generating millions in turnover. Unlike other sports all major competitions can be watched free and live. This is done through Twitch TV and bookmaker’s own live streaming service.
Make no mistake eSports require high levels of skill and the very best players cost teams veritable fortunes to acquire and they, in turn, are as valuable as top-flight soccer teams.
With so many bookmaking firms scrambling over themselves to get a piece of the eSports betting pie it should come as no surprise that mistakes are being made and there is frequently outstanding betting value to be had.