Despite being a relatively new concept in the betting arena, you’ve probably heard a lot about eSports in recent times. It’s exponential growth has been so quick that experts predict the sector will be worth $30 billion annually by the year 2020. So, whether you’re a new gambler or an experienced punter, it’s only natural that you’ll want to join the action. Frankly, there’s never been a better time to do it.
Here’s all you need to know about the eSports industry and, more importantly, how to make money from betting on the outcomes.
What Are eSports?
In its simplest form, the term eSports (otherwise known as Electronic Sports) describes competitive gaming.
Popular games include first-person shooters (FPS) and strategy games like Counter Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2, and League of Legends.
Meanwhile, the big sporting simulators like FIFA have started to run big competitions too with many professional clubs now associating themselves with eSports gamers. Although betting on those events is still very limited, it’s clear that it will follow the same path as some of those aforementioned gaming titles.
While the early stages of tournaments are often held online or at a local LAN venue, the final stages of big events like the Dota 2 International and LoL World Championships attracting thousands of spectators in huge arenas and millions of viewers via live streaming. The prize pools for those major events can stretch to eight figures, with the world’s best players earning millions each year.
Incredible, there are serious proposals about introducing eSports to the Olympic Games too!
Why Bet On eSports?
While millions of bets have been placed on eSports over the past few years, the fact remains that both the sport and the concept of betting on it are still in their infancy. For those in the know, this creates a truly magnificent betting environment in which gaining an advantage over the bookmaker is perhaps more likely than with football or tennis betting.
The sports trading teams don’t know the industry quite like they know traditional sports, which can lead to pricing errors. Likewise, the fact that eSports are growing so rapidly means that new teams can emerge from nowhere to join the top table of gaming royalty. If you cotton onto this before the bookies, the opportunity to gain huge ROIs becomes colossal.
It’s a fast and frantic environment that has gained a global buzz, even if outside audiences are almost oblivious to its growth. This, combined with the expanding betting avenues makes it a truly fascinating arena for any punter.
The Terminology Of eSports
To truly enjoy eSports (as a fan as well as a punter), it’s imperative that you understand a few basic terms. Otherwise, you’ll never know what’s going on, which makes it impossible to follow the action or the progress of your betting selections.
Here are the key terms you need to know, when watching or betting on eSports.
Bo1 / Bo3 / etc. : The term ‘Bo’ is short for ‘Best of’, and the number shown relates to the games played in any given match. So, in a Best of 1, there is a single game on a single map. Generally speaking, this is where the underdogs are more likely to cause an upset. A longer format should see quality prevail.
Meta: The metagame, competitors reference their strategies, for multiplayer games using this.
Ban: Linked to the metagame, bans are a type of strategy where competitors can ban certain classes to aid their own game plan.
Buff/Nerf: A buff is where an aspect (spell, creature, etc.) is made stronger and given extra power. A nerf is the opposite of this.
Rekt: derived from the word ‘wrecked’, it means a player or team is losing badly.
There are various other terms that you’ll learn over time. Being receptive to them when watching streams or reading match reports can make a world of difference to your betting activities.
Where To Bet On eSports?
The eSports market is still growing, particularly on a betting front and is yet to reach all bookmakers. Nonetheless, several of the major players do allow members to place wagers on their favourite eSports matches and tournaments.
Here’s where you are most likely to get your bets on:
- Bet 365
- Sky Bet
If you’re planning to add eSports to your betting repertoire, having an account with at least one of those is vital. However, given that the odds will regularly fluctuate between bookmakers, it’s probably best to have several accounts.
What Markets Are Available For eSports Betting?
When betting on eSports, understanding the markets is arguably the most significant step before placing your bets. This knowledge won’t just enable you to know what you’re doing; it’ll also allow you to analyse the possibilities before finding the best value.
As with most sporting events, several options are available. Here are the main markets that all punters should be aware of:
Money Line: The most basic eSports betting selection out there. Quite simply, you are betting on which team will the match. Note that this is the entire match, and not just a specific map or game.
Outright Markets: When betting on the big tournaments, you can also back the player or team that will the whole event. This is similar to betting on a tennis player to win Wimbledon, for example.
On the big tournaments, you can also back the region of a winner or back a team/player to reach the final.
Handicap Line: Like football and other sports events, the bookies will give a hypothetical advantage to the underdog. Your job is to decide whether the favourite can overcome this. So if you expect a favourite to win by at leat 3 points, you’d back them on the -2 line. If you think the underdog could cause an upset but don’t want to back them on the Money Line, the + handicap line is your friend.
On some events, you may find handicaps lines for the Kills registered by each team.
Totals: In a similar way to the goal line in a football match, you can back on the Total Kills or Total Rounds in a match. The element you bet on will depend on the genre or title of game that is being played. Either way, you’ll be backing Overs or Unders. For example, you may bet a Counter Strike match to last Over 2.5 rounds.
You may also be able to bet on the number of kills registered by a specific team or player depending on the event.
Map Bets: As well as betting on the winner of a match, you can also predict the outcome of a specific map. Alternatively, you can bet on the race to 10 kills, or which team will achieve certain things first. An example of this would be backing backing which team will Slay the First Baron on a LoL map.
So, you now know a little more about eSports as a whole, not least with regards to the markets and how to place a bet. However, as with traditional sports betting, understanding the betting industry is far different from actively turning a profit. To do that, head over to part two of this guide to learn about building your strategy.