Esports and Betting: A beginner’s guide to Esports betting in 2020

July 20

Betting on Esports is a big thing right now. This (relatively) new type of betting got off to a slow start, but it has gained a lot of traction over the last couple of years. The growth has been so explosive that it’s been estimated that the global Esports betting market will be worth nearly $30billion by the end of the year.
That’s a massive figure, especially when you consider that Esports are still “under the radar” to some extent. The Esports fanbase is huge these days, but it’s nowhere near as big as the fanbases for traditional sports such as soccer, football and tennis. Most people outside of those types of fanbases don’t have any idea what Esports are all about. They certainly don’t know anything about betting on them.
So then, what are Esports? And how does Esports betting work?
You’ll find the answers to these questions (and more) in this guide to Esports betting. There is a section dedicated to explaining all about Esports, and another one that covers how the betting works.
There are also some basic betting tips for beginners, along with some more advanced strategy advice. We have also recommended the best Esports betting sites, too, and there’s a section for all the latest news as well as details of upcoming events.

All about Esports

The term Esports is short for electronic sports, and it refers to competitive video gaming. So, we’re basically talking about people playing video games against each other in a competition. This is nothing new in itself of course, as it’s been happening in people’s homes ever since the first home computers and gaming consoles came out.

Millions of people all over the world enjoy playing their favourite video games against friends and family. There was a time when the only way to play video games against “real life” opponents was to sit in front of the same machine. These days, however, we can also play games over the internet. This means we can play against someone from anywhere in the world while sitting at home.

According to reports, more than one billion people – one-eighths of the world’s total population – takes part in video gaming in one form or another. This is an amazing statistic, and shows just how popular video gaming has become. Not all of these gamers play against other players of course, as some people still enjoy solo gaming, but there’s no doubt that playing against real life opponents is preferred by many.

Most of these gamers are what we call “casual gamers.” Casual gamers tend to play video games solely for fun. Many of them enter online tournaments and play in organized contests, but they’re ultimately playing for the fun of it. Although these casual and informal contests are still technically classified as Esports, the term is typically used to refer to the professional scene.

Yes, there really is a professional video gaming scene as well. This might surprise you if you are new to Esports, but it’s 100% true, and it’s a major scene too. If you’re a gamer yourself, then you’ll know that casual gaming can be very competitive, but professional Esports are on a whole other level. Some of the biggest contests see teams and players competing for millions of dollars in prize money.

Professional Esports contests are often played out in front of live audiences in stadiums and arenas.

These contests don’t just attract live audiences, they are also watched by millions more fans worldwide via online streaming services such as YouTube and Twitch.tv. Even the big TV networks have got in on the act, with broadcasters including ESPN showing Esports contests on their channels.

So, like we said, the professional Esports scene is a pretty big deal. We’ll discuss it in much greater detail below.

Before you start betting on Esports, it’s absolutely vital that you have a proper understanding of at least some of the video games that are played. There’s no way you’ll be able to make good betting decisions if you don’t. It’s not necessary to be a genuine expert, but you certainly need to understand how the games are played and some of the strategies involved.

Although there are dozens of different Esports games, the majority of professional contests are played using just a few popular titles. Here’s a list of the ones that are featured most often:

List of popular Esports games

It’s equally important that you understand the structure and format of any Esports contests you plan to bet on. Again, this helps with making good betting decisions. There are literally hundreds of tournament and leagues held around the world, but it’s probably best just to focus on the biggest ones to start. Here’s a list of the highest profile Esports contests at this moment in time:

List of popular Esports tournaments and leagues

Once you understand what Esports are all about, you’re ready to learn about the betting side of things. There are several different ways to bet on Esports. Here’s a list of the most popular options.

Real money betting

This is the form of Esports betting that’s closest to traditional sports betting, which works in largely the same way as betting on football games, boxing matches or golf tournaments.

Here’s a screenshot showing some of the betting markets available for an upcoming match in a League of Legends tournament. As you can see, we place real money wagers at agreed odds, and get paid out if our selections are correct. We can bet on all kinds of different outcomes, including the winners of individual matches and the overall winners of tournaments.

There are usually several betting markets available for individual Esports matches.

Skin betting

Skin betting, also known as item betting, is very popular among Esports fans. A lot of modern video games feature virtual currencies and other items that can be transferred between players, and this property is often highly sought after among committed gamers. As a result, there are many auction and trade websites where players can buy, sell and swap items and currencies for several of the most popular video games.

There are also betting sites where players can use items and currencies to gamble with. They can use them to bet on the outcome of Esports contests as a replacement for real money, and they can use them for other forms of gambling, too. For example, there are sites where items can be used to play games of chance such as roulette, or even a simple coin flip.

Some sites run jackpot games where a number of players put their skins into a pot and a winner of the whole pot is chosen at random.

Social betting

Social betting is quite common in the Esports community where friends or online contacts place informal wagers on the outcome of events between themselves. These wagers CAN be for real money, but they’re usually for skins or other items. The terms are agreed on between the two parties, and then settled accordingly.

This is not a form of betting we recommend getting involved with, since betting with “real world” friends is rarely a good idea, as it can lead to petty arguments and falling out. And betting with people that you only know online is risky, as you can’t be sure you’ll get your winnings.

Fantasy betting

This is not technically betting at all, since it’s just like daily fantasy sports for traditional sports, but we build our rosters using Esports players instead.

Challenge betting

Also known as head-to-head betting, this is where gamers compete against each other for real money or items and skins. A lot of gamers simply organize wagers among themselves, and then settle up once their contest is over. There are also websites that organize things a little more formally where the players and/or teams pay entry fees to enter a contest, and the winner(s) are rewarded from the proceeds of those fees.

These different options are all worth exploring, although some might be more suitable for you than others. There’s not much point getting involved with challenge betting, for example, if you’re not much of a gamer yourself.

For most people, it’s real money Esports betting that represents the best chance of making regular and consistent profits. We’ve made it the main focus of this guide for that exact reason. The tips and strategy advice we offer in the next section all apply primarily to this form of Esports betting.

Betting tips and strategy advice

Knowing how to bet on Esports is one thing, but knowing how to make money from betting on Esports is something else entirely. There’s a lot you need to know if you’re going to beat the bookmakers and turn an overall profit. You’re also going to need plenty of patience, and you must be prepared to put in plenty of time and effort.

Also, remember that betting on Esports doesn’t have to be about making money. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with just betting for the fun of it.

The first thing to mention is that there are a lot of similarities between betting on Esports and betting on traditional sports. For this reason, there are a few concerns that people interested in betting should take care of. We have listed them below, and although they are all written with traditional sports betting in mind, the information and advice they contain will definitely help when it comes to betting on Esports.

  1. Understanding odds and calculating pay-outs
  2. Bankroll management and simple staking plans
  3. Finding value in betting odds
  4. Effective research and analysis
  5. Record keeping and performance analysis
  6. Comparing odds and line shopping

 How to recommend Esports betting sites

It used to be a real challenge to find a good Esports betting site because there simply weren’t that many of them around. Thankfully, that’s no longer the case. There are TONS of new Esports betting sites have launched in recent years, and several existing sports betting sites have started offering Esports betting as well.

Although the increase in the number of sites is a good thing, it’s also created a different kind of challenge – Which sites do you use? There are so many to choose from that this is not an easy decision.

One piece of advice that we repeat throughout our entire website is that you must be cautious when it comes to choosing which gambling sites to use. This applies as much to choosing an Esports betting site as it does to choosing an online casino or an online poker site.

Some sites are genuinely top quality, but some are of much lower quality. There are some sites that you shouldn’t even trust with your money, so it’s important that you don’t just sign up at any random Esports betting site. You need to make sure that you use top-quality ones that can definitely be trusted. Here are some of our recommendations for sites that meet that criteria.

The sites which pass the qualifications listed above, are not the only ones that are worth using, but they’re definitely among the best. We rate them very highly, and we’re confident that you’ll have a good experience at any one of them.

A final word

The Esports industry is still very young, and it is growing at an incredible pace, so you really need to keep up with what’s happening if you have aspirations of being a successful Esports bettor. The more you know about what’s going on, the better your chances are of finding profitable betting opportunities.

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