Esports was one of the lesser-known sports until the pandemic a few years ago. The esports industry gained millions of fans during this time, increasing its popularity in folds, thanks to games like Call of Duty, Fortnite, CS: GO, and League of Legends. Today, the industry is worth over $1.3 billion, and there are indications that the esports market will only get bigger. With this increase in popularity and projected future success, it’s no surprise that sportsbooks now offer betting markets on esports matches, tournaments, players, and teams.
In this article, we delve into everything you should know about esports and the type of bets you can have on this sports genre.
What Is Esports?
Esports, fully known as electronic sports, is a sports competition where teams play video games in designated tournaments. Usually, the tournaments come with pool prizes in millions for the champion, and a few following positions get to share. The highest recorded pool prize was in 2021 at The International (DOTA 2 tournament) with a massive sum of $40 million. Esports started decades ago but gained mainstream popularity in the early 2000s.
Today, the esports team has thousands of professional players, showing skill and expertise in different games and tournaments. These players have teams with massive sponsorships from world-class brands. Some of the most popular tournaments in the esports industry include the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Majors, DOTA 2’s The International, The League of Legends League Champion Series (LCS), Valorant’s Champion Tour, the Overwatch World Cup (OWWC), and the Fortnite Champion Series (FNCS), among others.
The above-listed games are role-playing games where each player in a team plays a different character. Each character will have a set of skills, power-ups, and weapons, tasked with a function in a battle against the opposing team. Other games not in the role-playing category but popular in the esports industry include the FIFA series, Pro Evolution Soccer, NBA 2K, Rocket League, Madden NFL, Formula 1, Kart Rider, iRacing, Trackmania, and Gran Turismo Sport, among others.
The seasonal tournaments on these sports are held yearly in spectacular arenas around the world. Each year, teams gain and lose players, learn new skills, gain sponsorships, and participate in numerous events and matches. All factors make for an excellent betting market in sportsbooks. Currently, the sports genre has over a dozen types of bets on different events and teams.
What Are Some of The Most Popular Bets In Esports?
Depending on the sportsbook, you’ll find many of the following betting markets on esports. You can check out this online casino in India for the best markets and odds on esports matches and tournaments. They work pretty much like your traditional bets on football and basketball. Also, the kind of bets you’ll encounter in a tournament like CS: GO might be different from the ones in the League of Legends. Regardless, the following headings highlight and detail the most common bets in the esports scene.
For world-class tournaments like The International, CS: GO Majors, and League Champion Series, you can bet on the outright winner for that season. This is a popular bet as it has some of the best odds in esports. Odds are higher when you bet on a team to win before the tournament even starts. This is because a lot can change in teams and the players, putting you at a higher risk of losing your wager. However, if you predict right and win, the returns can be quite massive.
Winner Of The Match
This rivals the tournament winner bet in popularity, occurring as one of the simplest and most profitable bets in esports. Compared to the tournament winner, you can make this bet when you’ve observed a few matches from the team you want to bet on. Their odds are not as high as the tournament winner, but if you do your research, a win is almost guaranteed. These bets can be made in advance or live while the game is playing for sites that offer in-play betting.
Bracket Or Group Winner
In many esports tournaments, teams are selected into groups or divisions to compete. As these teams conquer their groups, they move on to higher stages to compete for the pool prize. With this, bracket or group winner bets are quite common in esports. They’re not as lucrative as the “tournament winner” bet, but you can make decent winnings.
You have to be confident and knowledgeable about the competing teams to carry this bet. It involves predicting the exact score of the teams after a match. You can make this bet before the match starts or live as it plays. The former takes on much better odds than the latter since you’re at a higher risk of losing such a wager.
Most Voted Player/Top Player
This bet is for individuals who want to bet that a player will emerge as the best in a match or tournament. You must be well-involved in the team and player’s past performances to make this bet. Also, you should know what their character is capable of in terms of skills and power-ups if it’s in role-playing games.
First Map Bets
In tournaments such as CS: GO, Valorant, League of Legends, and DOTA 2, you can bet on what team will win the first map. A map is a terrain packed with obstacles that teams are supposed to fight on and conquer each other. There can be up to three maps in a match, and betting on the first map is a common bet in esports.
First Blood and First Kill
In well-established esports betting sites, you can bet on the team to draw first blood or make the first kill in a match. Of course, to make this bet, you must be familiar with the level of expertise and skill of the competing teams.
Over and under bets are common with esports matches, where you can predict how many maps a team will win in a match. For instance, most matches hold three or five maps, and you can wager on a team to win more or less than three.
What Are The Risks Attached To Esports Betting?
Betting on esports has almost the same risks as betting on traditional sports games. It’s either your preferred team wins the match/tournament or not, or your chosen player doesn’t play up to expectations. Although these bets are simple, a common problem attached to esports betting is understanding the games. Several games are from different developers, each with a unique storyline, objective, and gameplay. It can become quite challenging to master what teams play excellently in one game while keeping up with another.
With esports, tournaments can be played concurrently, and you might not get the chance to pay attention to your favourite teams to make the right betting decisions. Also, there’s the use of “skin betting”, which can confuse beginners in the field. Skin betting is seen in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS: GO), where betting players can wager on certain actions using game skins of knives, guns, and other accessories. To participate in skin betting, you must also be a CS: GO player yourself, as you can exchange skins you’ve acquired from the game on the skin market.
Lastly, there’s the risk of gambling addiction in esports betting. Esports is a new and exciting category with many betting opportunities. Like your traditional games, you can always follow live updates of the games on different streaming platforms, leaving you with a wealth of information for gambling. The accessibility you have to these games’ betting markets and information can have you hooked and gambling recklessly.
What Is The Future Of Esports Betting?
Esports is a fast-developing sports scene, garnering millions of followers as its popularity increases. Today, you’ll find esports tournaments even in the mobile gaming scene, with games like Battle Royale, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, Fortnite, and Call Of Duty Mobile. These popular games have the backing of streaming platforms and social media, attracting enthusiasts worldwide. As this industry grows, the esports betting scene will also benefit by gaining more players who want to bet on their favourite teams and matches. Soon, there’d be whole websites dedicated to esports betting only, along with mobile apps and live updates.
Also, since it’s partly a virtual sport, it leaves room for technological advancements in the betting scene. We expect virtual and augmented reality on esports with websites that offer in-play betting.
Esports betting is a haven for users who love professional gaming and gambling. The betting option has brought something new and revolutionary to sportsbooks, offering betting markets with lucrative odds. However, as this betting category is only still developing, you must be watchful and patient to get the gambling sites with the best odds. Be sure to research your favourite teams and players before you make your wagers on any esports betting market. When in doubt, keep your bets small and explore more of the live betting options.