How To Bet On Esports (The Last Guide You Will Need)
Betting on esports has been around for decades, yet it's still a niche thing in the eyes of many bettors, who are either unfamiliar with esports or prefer to bet on sports. But regardless of how you look at betting on esports, it's undeniably a massive market and definitely a new betting category that is here to stay.
Largely thanks to the changing demographic and, in part, technological advancements, video games, particularly esports titles, have contributed to a rise of a new industry of competitive video gaming. And as with any activity that involves competition and an undetermined result, the betting industry didn't need long to get involved.
Nowadays, most betting websites, including traditional bookmakers, offer esports betting, which has become more of an industry-standard than anything else. But while esports markets are readily accessible, we still need to figure out what it is and how the esports betting industry works.
What Is Esports Betting
As the name suggests, esports betting is placing bets on esports, more precisely, on professional video game competitions. Admittedly, there are thousands of video games of any genre you can imagine, yet only a small portion is considered an esports title.
The main thing that differentiates a simple video game from an esports title is whether it is a competitive game, but more so, its popularity which eventually leads to the development of an esports scene. Some of the most notable games that check those marks are Dota 2, League of Legends, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, the "Big Three" esports titles that drive the esports betting industry forward.
Just like sports competitions, esports titles also feature professional players or competitive teams competing against each other to achieve a certain goal. And naturally, you can bet on that - just like you can bet on which football team will win the next fixture, you can bet on which Dota 2 team will win their next match.
Even though sports and esports are not the same, their betting scenes are very similar. Moreover, the same bet types you'll come across while betting on sports will also largely be available for betting on esports. So if you have a rudimentary understanding of how sports betting works, then you should also know all the basics of online betting.
Types Of Esports Betting
Just like there are different types of betting on sports or politics, there are also different ways you can approach wagering on esports. You can even say that you can approach betting on esports with a way more diverse approach than you would traditional sports betting.
Real Money Betting
The simplest and most straightforward way to bet on esports is real money betting. As the name suggests, this is betting on esports events, matches, or esports teams with real money, by visiting a traditional or an esports wagering site, funding your account, and placing a bet.
As the simplest way to bet on esports, real money betting is also the most popular, mainly because it's far more accessible than other available options. We must also touch on crypto betting, which technically falls under the same category and is available on various crypto betting sites such as CloudBet, Gamdom, Duelbits, or Stake.
Item & Skin Betting
Item and skin betting was never heard of before video games and esports became a thing, and it's not difficult to see why. Item and skin betting is fundamentally the same as real money betting; however, instead of using real money, you would use in-game items and skins that hold some monetary value.
Notably, skin and item betting are not as popular as real money betting because it's not as easily accessible. You not only need to actually hold in-game items but also use skin betting sites, which there aren't that many of (CSGOEmpire).
Fantasy Esports Betting
Fantasy betting, while an alternative form of betting, is nothing new, and it definitely isn't as closely tied to esports as skin and item betting are. But they hold one similarity in that they're not as accessible as real money betting.
Moreover, fantasy betting is not exactly betting on esports games as it is placing an esports bet on teams' or players' performances. So instead of betting on which esports team will win, you're instead placing esports bets on how well a team or a player will perform.
Betting On Streamers
Technically, betting on streamers isn't esports betting, but it somewhat is, allowing esports fans to bet on their favorite streamers and whether they'll win or lose their next match. The only reason why you could consider betting on streamers as a form of esports betting is that streamers mainly play esports titles.
Types Of Bets In Esports
As we have touched on already, the esports industry is not that much different from the sports industry, at least as far as betting on either of them is concerned. That definitely has its advantages, mainly for people familiar with sports betting who want to get into esports betting.
The switch between the two is fairly quick since the esports bet types you'll come across on esports bookmakers will be very similar or exactly the same as the bet types you are using to bet on sports. Admittedly, some esports betting markets are somewhat different, but the bet types are the same overall.
Basic Bet Types
If you want to engage in online esports betting, you first need to get familiar with all the bet types that are available to you. Luckily, that is pretty straightforward if you have some understanding of basic bet types, which we will look at here.
Moneyline bet or match winner is a straightforward bet, where you simply have to predict which player or a team will win the next match. This is the most basic bet type available on any gambling site, and the simplest to use since it doesn't matter how the team/player wins, how long it takes them, or by how much they do it – the only thing that matters is the final result.
A bet on a draw in esports works the same way as a bet on traditional sports and needs no extra explanation. However, it's important to note that very few esports games can end in a draw – one of the most notable exceptions are Bo2 matches in CS:GO, Dota 2, or FIFA.
Over/under betting (or totals) is one of the most popular bet types available on any online sportsbook. With it, you're placing a bet on a number of betting websites offered on a specific statistic in the game and predicting whether the actual number in the game will be higher or lower.
You'll find many variations of over/under bets when exploring online sportsbooks, but most commonly, the esports betting market will offer totals on kills or the game's score.
Handicap betting is one of the most popular esports bet types, which allows you to bet on teams and/or players by giving them an imaginary advantage or disadvantage – also known as a handicap.
With handicap betting, betting sites will give the unfavorable team an imaginary advantage in a bid to level the playing field, most commonly in maps or kills. So if Team A is expected to defeat Team B in a Bo3 series, online betting sites will offer a +1.5 handicap on Team B or a -1.5 map handicap on Team A.
If you then bet on Team B, you are predicting that they'll win at least one map, while a bet on Team A means you're predicting that they'll win 2-0.
Outright winner is one of the simplest esports bets, available only before and during esports tournaments. With it, you're predicting which team or a player will win the entire event instead of betting on individual matches. Outrights are very popular among esports bettors mainly due to the generous odds they offer, which can easily reach double or triple digits.
While most of the basic bet types you'll find when betting on esports work the exact same way as sports bets, special bets don't. That's because esports is different to sports, so it's only fair that esports have their own bets.
As the name suggests, first blood is a bet you can place on which player or a team will secure the first blood in a game in all MOBA and most FPS games, including PUBG. Although you won't find the same bet when betting on traditional sports, this wager works very similarly to the first goal in football or when betting on FIFA.
Knife kill is a special bet type only available in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Valorant since there are no knife kills in Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) games or other genres. Again, the bet is pretty self-explanatory, allowing you to place bets on which player or a team will get a knife kill.
On the other side, the first turret or first tower is a bet not available in Valorant and CS:GO, but only in MOBA games such as League of Legends, Heroes of the Storm, or Dota 2. Much like the knife kill, the first turret is self-explanatory – allowing you to bet on which team will destroy the first turret.
The Best Esports Betting Sites In Our Opinion
Once you understand how esports betting works and which bet types are available, you can start betting on esports, but first, you need to find a solid betting website. Naturally esports bookmakers you intend to join need to be legit, safe, and legal, as only this way can you ensure that your personal information and your money won't be at risk.
Locating a solid esports bookie isn't that difficult if you know where to look and what to look for. Or you can check our in-depth reviews of esports betting sites and find one that suits your needs.
We reviewed a plethora of bookmakers and compiled a list of the best esports betting sites any bettor should know about. All of our recommended esports betting sites are safe and legit and offer competitive odds and deep betting markets, allowing you to bet on whatever you like. To learn more, you can check out our reviews of ThunderPick, GG.Bet, LOOT.BET, Luckbox, and Midnite. If you're more into gambling, then you might want to check out Bandit Camp and other PUBG gambling sites.
What To Look For In A Esports Betting Site
With so many bookmakers offering esports betting, it's often hard to find one that will suit your needs. Moreover, it's very easy to come across a shady website that is up to no good, so you have to know what to look for in a betting site and how to find the best esports betting site.
Safety – Any bookmaker, either a traditional sportsbook or esports bookie, needs to be legit and safe, as only this way can you enjoy a safe betting experience. The most obvious sign that a bookmaker is safe is to see whether it holds a valid gambling licence, usually indicated by a logo in the footer.
Competitive Odds – no matter which bookmaker you choose, you have to ensure that it offers competitive betting odds, and you should never settle for anything less. Competitive odds are critical to your long-term success as a bettor, so make sure to compare the prices and pick a bookmaker that can deliver.
Enough Betting Markets – If you want to wager on esports, you have to have access to a bookmaker that can provide you with the option to do so. Most importantly, it has to have coverage of esports tournaments and enough bet types, so you can bet on whatever and however, you like. In-play betting markets are always a plus!
If you've read through our article, you should now know everything there is to know about betting on esports, what it is, how to approach it, and where to find the best betting sites for the job. We encourage anyone to try betting on esports but remember to gamble responsibly.