ABCs of esports betting

Even if you don’t understand the intricacies of traditional sports betting – odds, under/over, etc – you know that it’s an accepted part of fandom to bet on your favorite player, team and turn of events at a retail or online casino sportsbook.

Today, the rising popularity of esports – video game competitions – has put esports on the leaderboard as an accepted sports bet. Anyone under the age of 30 has grown up surrounded by the computer gaming culture and many of these people want to bet on digital sports. Now, even  older people are joining the welcome bonus casino and joining in.

Bookmakers have been paying attention to the rising popularity of esports and are responding. That means that esports competitions are making their way into the sportsbooks’ offerings. Especially now, in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, when esports’ popularity rose after it dominated the sporting scene for many months, esports is finally taking its place as a recognized feature of sportsbooks around the world.

Betting on an esporting event isn’t much different from betting on football or basketball or any other sport. But there are some tips and tricks that will help you maximize your esports wagers.


The first esports tournament was held in 1995. At that time, prizes were non-monetary. Now, wherever you are in the world, at any time, you can find a tournament happening with the prizes becoming more lucrative from one year to the next and the number of participating teams increasing.

Once, almost anyone could sign up to play in a tournament but today almost all tournaments are open only to teams who have passed a qualifying stage. When a team beats other teams in their home country they receive a ticket to play in the big tournament. eSports tournaments have become huge spectator sports and the volume of bets will soon rival bets placed on NFL games.

There are several types of basic esports bets:

  • Bets on the team  that is the tournament winner. It’s harder to make this bet than with traditional sporting events because there are so many participants.
  • Bets on wins and losses of teams that have some type of handicap – includes betting on handicaps on cards
  • Bets on team victories in certain cards – known as “result on cards.”
  • Bets on which of the teams will pass on in the playoff net or take a higher place in the standings. If there are identical indicators of teams, the bookmaker returns the bets.
  • Bets on the total number of points that are made by both teams or the total of one of the teams.

Betting on eSports

Betting shops are still unfamiliar with esports which is why they often put up odds with high margins when it’s not indicated. You may also find bookmakers who accept draws and give lines that include valuable markets.

eSports shares a number of similarities with traditional sports betting but it’s also different.

For one thing, the formats are different. Traditional sporting events generally involve a league-based format (NFL, NHL, MBL, etc) and the leagues organize the playoffs that lead to the decision about which players will vie in the final tournament. That league format gives the team franchises the chance to realize better profits and keep fans’ interest.

eSports features many titles with robust competitive scenes such as Overwatch, League of Legends, Dota 2, CS:GO and more. Tournaments have traditionally used a mixture of knockout and league formats such as DOTA 2 and CS:GO’s’s double-elimination GSL format  and the league system used by the Overwatch and Call of Duty Leagues. The combination of titles in each tournament changes the betting field so bettors must keep an eye on whether the game is league-based or has a different tournament structure.

Types of eSports Bets

In traditional sports, bets usually involve Money Line wagers and a few handicaps which limits the options available to bettors.  eSports is a bit different.

For instance, CS:GO is a first-person shooter game but you can wager on smaller handicap bets as well – round handicaps, defuse handicaps, bomb plant handicaps, etc.

Tips for eSports Betting

If you’re getting on a traditional sporting event you can bet on basic outcomes -- number of goals, total score, number of baskets, etc. In esports betting there are more options so users have more chances to achieve higher profits – if their bet is researched well and timed well.

Of special interest are bets based on injuries and fatigue.  Watch to see whether the players on a team are exhibiting proper posture, working out regularly and exercising their wrists and hands. Read up to see whether the team has nutritionists and physiotherapists on board to see to the players’ health.

If you’re just betting for fun or to support a certain team, go ahead and bet on your preferred team. But if you are placing a bet with the goal of winning money, you should only bet on games with which you are familiar. The difference between one esports game and another can be as wide as the difference between football and baseball – each game has its own rules and nuances so if you want to succeed in your bet you need to be aware of them.

Just as you need to stay abreast of traditional sports’ athletes’ injuries and characteristics, you need to do the same when betting on esports.  You need to follow statistics and other data because, in the same way that one player can make or break a team in traditional sports, the same is true of the importance of each team member in esports. Every player impacts on the overall performance of the team.

Another important tip involves learning about teams’ patterns of behavior in different situations by watching recordings of previous games of the team on which you’re considering betting. Consider players’ ages – research has shown that reaction time decreases with age. If the game involves the need for fast decision-making, the higher the number of under-30s on the team, the better the advantage the team will have.

Finally, it’s not only the physical state of the participating players that is important. Read recent interviews with the players to find out how they’re doing emotionally, whether they’re recovering from some kind of illness, whether they’re struggling with a family matter, etc.  The better shape that the players on a team are physically AND emotionally, the better they will perform.



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