What is eSports Betting?
eSports (Electronic Sports) betting is placing bets on professional, highly-competitive video game competitions and tournaments. eSports are played either on consoles (Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch) or on PC.
Once we get past what eSports are as well as the different games and their genres, betting on eSports are incredibly simple. It may seem impenetrable to some, but once you take some time to understand the eSports title itself, it shares many parallels to traditional sports.
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eSports Gambling: Popular Games & Markets
League of Legends
People will argue that Legends (LoL) is the reason eSports are the juggernaut that they are today. The game originally launched in 2009 by Riot Games and was received with a lukewarm reception upon release. However, the company decided to pivot their business model to release LoL as a Free to Play game and has been growing ever since.
League of Legends is the most watched eSports game in the world with their world finals attracting nearly 100 million unique viewers throughout the event.
Betting Markets: Outright winner, match odds, first blood, first team to destroy tower, to reach final, correct map score, team to score most kills.
Defence of the Ancients 2 or DOTA 2 is sometimes considered as the “other MOBA”. Don’t expect this game to live in the shadow of League of Legends though. DOTA 2 features the largest event in terms of its prize pool every year with The International. In 2018, The International featured a prize pool of over $25 million.
Betting Markets: Outright winner, first team to 10 kills in a map, map winners, first blood, destroy first tower, first to slay Roshan.
Out of all the major eSports titles, Overwatch is the most heavily invested in the industry. Becoming one of the first franchised eSports leagues with the Overwatch League, to building its own arena on the grounds of game publisher Blizzard Entertainment, Overwatch has staked its claim as one of the eSports big dogs as well as setting an example of how others should follow.
Betting Markets: Outright, Stage Winner, Match winner, Map Winner, Correct map score.
Counter-Strike has been a mainstay in eSports since the late 90s with titles like Counter-Strike Source and 1.6. However, it’s the newest iteration, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) that has catapulted the popularity of this title into the eSports mainstream. With regular seasons and leagues being put on by major eSports organisers including ESL, CS:GO has become a staple of the industry.
Betting Markets: Outright winner, to reach final, region of winner, correct map score, round winner, match handicap betting.
Rainbow Six Siege
Like most popular eSports games, Rainbow Six Siege has had a slow burn to eSports prominence. In its fourth year, the eSport is bigger than ever. The team-based tactical shooter features the Rainbow Six Pro League which is watched by hundreds of thousands of people regularly.
With new operators released on a steady basis, the game’s meta is consistently shifting, changing strategies within the game, and forcing bettors to looking at the betting trends and strategies in order to place a winning bet.
Betting Markets: outright winner, match winner, map winner, correct map score.
If you’re a gamer or even a casual eSports watcher, you’ll know Fortnite. Played by upwards of 7 million people a day, Fortnite is simply a behemoth in the online gaming world. There have been some eSports tournaments held since its release in September 2017 but 2019 will be the biggest year in eSports history, partially due to the Fortnite’s World Cup with a prize pool of $100,000,000.
Betting Markets: Outright winner, highest kill count per match, points scored, top 3 finish.
Following a surprise release in February 2019, the game was downloadeded over 50 million times in just four weeks, making it the fastest growing online gaming community in history, dethroning Fortnite. It was only a week after the game’s launch that the first eSports tournament worth $200,000 occurred, called “Twitch Rivals”.
It’s still early in the game’s life but expect Apex Legends betting to be a major thing in 2019.
Betting Markets: outright winner, top of the league, most kills in a match, top 3 finish.
eSports Betting Tips & Winning Strategies
1. Master the meta – The most important thing to look at first when considering what teams to back is by understanding how the meta is currently functioning in the eSport title itself. As games get older, developers will introduce new maps, new character classes, abilities and more to freshen up the meta or balance it to make it feel fairer.
2. Check the roster – Teams and their roster change a lot. With the introduction of franchising to some leagues and titles, the roster changes are happening less but it is still a vital strategy to consider for placing winning bets.
3. Watch the players stream – With online live streaming platforms like Twitch, many of the eSports athletes will actually stream their training (scrimming) in order to practice and may be obligated to due to sponsorship deals either with the team or on a personal basis. This is an excellent way to see their current form and how they are handling any changes to the meta or patches that have changed stats.
4. Play the game – The moment you pick you the controller and rest your fingers on W, A, S, and D keys, there’s something to be learned. Don’t be intimidated by the skill ceiling or even your own ability because every button press, movement, and understanding of the map, objective, and characters is vital information when it comes to placing a bet on who will win.
Can eSports Gaming Attain Mass Popularity in the Future?
Short answer: DEFINITELY. Not only can eSports gain attain mass popularity in the future but it has already in a lot of circles and will only grow from there.
From being featured on ESPN and BBC, to major deals being signed including a reported $90 million media rights deal for Twitch to exclusively air the Overwatch League, there is already major investment being spent on the future of eSports.
With new technologies being introduced, the possibilities and markets to bet will only expand and become more accessible as eSports titles become more viewer friendly with middleware tools professional presentation.
Words: Jason Redmond