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A Beginner’s Guide to Esports Betting

Date Posted: November 16, 2018

As the world transitions to the digital age, the sports betting industry goes beyond the bounds of traditional sports to welcome the world of esports. While traditional sports require more physical skill, agility, and immersion, esports require online gaming skill.

Esport is a competition for professional video gamers. Despite the name, esports are games that are not played in hard courts or wide fields. They are played on a screen through avatars. These competitions need the players to employ video game strategies that will lead them to beating the rival players.

The esports industry is not something one should underestimate as its players can earn millions just by playing video games.  According to BBC, the industry is seen to have an annual income of about £1 billion by 2020.

Not only the esports players but also punters can profit from the esports industry. Punters just have to bet on who they think will win the competitions, though winning on a bet still requires knowing how to smartly place wagers. Esports betting is still similar to traditional sports betting when it comes to odds format. But before placing a wager, punters must get to know first the ins and outs of the industry of esports betting.


Popular Esports Video Games

There are a lot of video games out there, but only popular games make it to the esports category of top sportsbooks. Punters place wagers on popular kinds of esports like Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas (MOBA) and First-Person Shooters (FPS)


MOBA games are team-focused strategy games that usually consist of five players, each controlling a single unit. Here are some examples of MOBAs:

  • Defense of the Ancients (DotA) 2 – The goal of the game is to destroy a large structure called the Ancient. Two five-player teams compete as one team to destroy Ancient and the other to defend Ancient.

  • League of Legends (LoL) – A team of five players, each taking the role of a uniquely skilled character, strategically work together to defeat the opposing team’s “nexus”, a structure protected by each team.


FPS games, on the other hand, are played at a first-person perspective. These games most of the time simulate gunfights between either individuals or teams. Here are popular examples of FPS games:

  • Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) – Part of the Counter-Strike series, CS:GO revolves around two teams being either the Terrorists or Counter-Terrorists. There are eight game modes. Depending on the mode, the Terrorists either defend hostages or plant a bomb while Counter-Terrorists either rescue hostages or defuse the bomb.

  • Overwatch – Players are divided into two teams of six, and all of them choose from the game’s selection of over 20 characters with unique skills. The aim of the players is to work together to either escort a payload across the map within a limited amount of time or secure and defend control points in the map.

All of these games require intricate strategies in order to win. There is a lot a player should be familiar with to be able to comfortably play. So as a bettor, one should know the ropes of these games as well to be able to pick the right teams to place wagers on.


Different Betting Types

There are a lot of classifications of esports betting types. Some are like those in traditional sports betting and some are specifically made for video gaming bets.

Fixed Odds Esports Betting

This is the typical bet one does on sportsbooks. One picks a game or a tournament, and then strategically chooses which team or player will win based on the given odds. Within this betting type are more ways to place bets. Here are the kinds of bets under fixed odds esports betting:

  • Money Lines – betting on who will win the game: Team A vs Team B
  • Handicap – betting on different outcomes by giving or taking a team’s advantage
  • Totals – betting on the specific game status like total kills, total rounds, or total maps played
  • Prop Bets – betting on situations that will not affect the game’s final outcome like first to 10 kills, destroy first tower, or kill next dragon

Item/Skin Betting

This type of bet is used mostly in CS:GO as items can be priced at around thousands of dollars. Skins refer to the visual customization of the player’s characters, weapons, and other virtual goods.

An example of a site that offers skin betting is SkinGame. It offers skin bets on games like CS:GO, PUBG, and DotA 2.

Skin Game Skin Bet

The reason items are priced so high is they have high levels of rarity. Obtaining these hard-to-earn items will give the player an edge during the game and a high social status.

Aside from real money, players consider skins as virtual currency in betting. Some sites allow players to bet skins from their inventory which will then be placed on the gambling site’s account. When a player wins, the site returns the wagered skin and rewards the player with the losing players’ skins.

This type of betting is considered casual fun for bettors who are engaged in esports themselves. Usually, skin betting appeals to underage gamers, which is why only a few sites offer this betting option.

Fantasy Esports

Much like traditional sports, fantasy esports consist of a punter building a team of esports players that are all participating in the same tournament. After creating a team, the punter earns points based on how his chosen players perform. It does not matter which team wins the tournament as points are scored per kill, assist, or tower destroyed, to name a few. The fantasy team who has the highest points by the end of the tournament wins.


The Right Sportsbook

To place bets, punters must choose which platform to place bets on. There are sites that are centered exclusively on esports like Unikrn. Meanwhile, there are sportsbooks that have esports listed under its categories along with traditional sports.

Exploring the esports section of a sportsbook is one way to familiarize oneself with the industry. Online bookies like Bethard, Ladbrokes, and Skybet offer competitive odds covering the industry’s top tournaments.

Bethard Odds

Esports odds are usually presented in decimal, fractional, or moneyline format, much like traditional sports odds. One way to find the right sportsbook is to compare the sets of odds revealed by the different sites to know which bookie has the best payout. The best possible odds are the ones that have low-profit margins that can make the punter and not the sportsbook get the most profit on a bet.


In-Depth Research on Teams and Players

Esports betting research is also recommended to punters before placing bets. At each game, one must look into the team’s or player’s history to know if they are worth placing bets on.

Teams’ social media accounts are also something one should check. The latest updates and announcements of the team are made through their social media profiles. So if they have roster changes, it is important for the punter to know if it will affect his/her bet.

Teams can also announce new player additions like what the London-based esports organization Fnatic tweeted on October 22, 2018. It read:

“We welcome the newest members of Fnatic! Fnatic Rules of Survival is now ready for @RoS_Mobile Global Series!”

Previous results of a tournament can also be a helpful factor to influence your bets. For example, a team who had won half a million dollars in a huge tournament may not give their best at a small tournament with just a 100k prize pool.


Game Involvement

The best way for a punter to understand the game is through playing the game himself. Esports games are hard to understand on paper, which is why one must play the game to get what strategies are needed to win. Plus, involving oneself in the game adds appreciation and a better understanding of the esport.

One can also watch other gamers play the game through online streams in sites like Mixer, Twitch, or YouTube Gaming.

Dota 2 Stream

Bettors can also watch gamers in actual play in real time by attending tournaments either within their online community or in huge events held in arenas.

For newbies in the esports industry, it is important to have basic knowledge of the esports community before placing bets. There are still a lot of things to learn beyond these five points as the popularity of esports continues to rise.