The electronic sports, or simply ‘esports’ industry is among the fasting growing in the world of sport. Each esports event sees the very best professional gamers pitted against one another, competing on multiplayer video games such as Overwatch, Starcraft 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO). Much like any other sport, fans flock to the bookies looking to put their esports knowledge to the test, spice up their viewing experience and of course, land a profit! Not sure where to start when it comes to betting on esports? Let us take you through everything you need to know before you head to the bookies!
The Story So Far
While the popularity of esports has skyrocketed in recent years, competitive gaming is nothing new. Players went head to head in gaming tournaments such as the Space Invaders Championship as early as the 1980s! Of course, gaming has come a long way since then, with online gameplay allowing players across the world to face off pretty much whenever and wherever they please. The turn of the millennium saw the launch of the largest esports league today – Major League Gaming, as well as the Electronic Sports World Cup.
The emergence of online streaming services like Twitch has done wonders for the popularity of esports, with millions of viewers tuning in to watch the top esports competitions. Physical viewership numbers have seen a similar spike – 2013’s Season 3 League of Legends (LoL) World Championship took place in a sold-out Staples Center! With over 100 million esports fans across the globe and cash prizes in the seven-figure region, it’s safe to say esports has well and truly arrived, earning its place alongside more traditional sports like American Football. In fact, viewership for League of Legends and DOTA 2’s most prestigious tournaments, such as The International has trumped huge sporting events including the NBA Finals and MLB World Series in the past.
Esports Betting Markets
As every major tournament passes, the hype train surrounding esports only picks up speed. The prize pools become more lucrative and the view counts continue to grow at an astronomical rate. It should come as no surprise then, that a huge number of esports punters speculate on the outcomes of esports games, much like fans of football and horse racing.
Of course, any esports bettors wants to see the returns of their successful predictions. In search of potential profit, punters head to the top online betting sites, looking for wagers that return great value. The betting markets on offer vary depending on the game of your choice, however, there are a number of common options that you’ll find when betting on just about any esports game. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular esports betting markets.
- Outright betting – The outright betting markets of any sport simply allow you to place wagers on the outcome of a particular event. An example of an outright esports bet would be backing the winner of the League of Legends World Championship.
- Match result – Often referred to as the ‘money line’, placing this wager simply means betting on the outcome of a match. Here, you’ll almost always be required to choose between two individuals or teams.
- Handicap – In esports matches between two teams or individual gamers, you’ll usually find that there’s a bookmakers favourite. In other words, one side is deemed as most likely to win. In these instances, you might struggle to find good betting value. To level the playing field and attract bettors, esports betting sites place a negative handicap on the favourites and a positive handicap on the underdog.
- Totals – Commonly known as the over/under, these markets allow punters to bet on the number of specific events –such as kills or map rounds– being over or under a predetermined figure set by esports bookmakers.
Live Esports Betting
Early esports bettors were limited to pre-match betting markets, but today you can expect to find a number of live markets available at the best esports betting sites! You’ll be able to place wagers on markets such as the match result and totals while your favourite events take place. Savvy punters often turn to in-play betting when looking for more favourable betting opportunities, depending on how a game is unfolding.
Settle Your Bets Early
Most bookies will offer cashout on some esports markets, much like traditional sports betting. Cash out allows you to settle your bet early, claiming a portion of your winnings before the end of the event. The size of this payout will vary depending on the time elapsed and score at the time of cashing out.
In our February 2021 interview with leading iGaming software supplier EveryMatrix, Malte Hegeler, Head of Product Development OddsMatrix, shared some insight into why cash out isn’t as popular in esports as it is in traditional sports betting.
“Cashout is considerably less used in esports, where the esports ratio between cashout bets and overall stakes is half of the same ratio in traditional sports betting. That happens because cashout is much more frequent for pre-live bets, while in esports live betting has a 93% share, and things happen much faster.”
Compare Welcome Bonuses
When choosing between the best bookies that offer esports betting, the odds and betting options on offer often don’t vary enough to filter your shortlist down to just one. While you may be able to find the best odds for an esports tournament at one bookie, there’s no guarantee they’ll offer the best odds for the next event, as bookies price competitively. Looking for a game-changer? Keep an eye out for the welcome bonus. As its name suggests, this bonus offer is reserved for new customers only and is used by just about every gambling operator to attract new bettors. These bonuses come in various forms, from huge matched first deposits to free bet offers. While it may be tempting to pick out the biggest bonus, it’s important to choose an offer that suits your betting style. Before signing up, always take a look through the terms and conditions to figure out if a welcome bonus is really as enticing as it appears to be.
How to bet on esports for real money
Choose a top online bookmakerWhile esports is definitely growing in popularity, esports betting is still in its infancy. With that in mind, choosing the right online bookmaker is very important - not every sports bookie provides comprehensive coverage. Fortunately, we’ve done the legwork for you. Rather than going from one site to another looking for the best esports coverage, you can simply choose from our list of the top licensed betting sites. Our expert team has carried out research and scoured the internet to find out exactly what bettors want and which bookies cater to their needs best. All you need to do is pick your favourite esports bookie.
Sign up and deposit to claim your bonusThe hard part is over. You’ve chosen your bookmaker, now you just need to sign up. You can do this via a desktop or mobile platform. All you’ll need to do is provide some personal details like your name, phone number and email address. This is for security purposes and is standard practice at almost every betting site. With that part cleared, it’s time to make your first deposit. All the bookmakers on our list offer a variety of options ranging from cards and e-wallets to prepaid vouchers. If you’ve signed up to a bookie that offers a deposit bonus, your account should be credited immediately.
Pick an esports game and choose your marketChoose from the list of esports usually found on the home page and pick an event if you fancy a flutter. You can take your pick from ongoing tournaments or events in the near future. Once you’ve found a game or match up you like the look of, check out what markets are available. Remember, you’re not restricted to just betting on the outright winner. Delve deeper and see if you can find some value in other markets.
Live streamsSome bookmakers now offer you the option of watching live esports. So, you can watch the action unfold and watch your bets play out in real-time! Not only is this great entertainment but it also helps to develop your understanding of the sport if you’re a beginner. You might pick up some useful insight that you can put to use next time you place a bet.
Compare & Bet
Place Your Bets
Now that we’ve taken you through the ins and outs of betting on esports titles and the various bonuses on offer, you’ll know exactly what to expect when you place bets on esports matches. Whether you’re an avid Call of Duty fan or a complete newcomer to the scene, our carefully curated list of top esports betting sites is sure to provide you with a new favourite. Once you’ve picked out an option that ticks all your boxes, all you need to do is sign up, claim your exclusive bonus and bet on esports today!
Your Questions Answered
Can I place an accumulator bet at the top esports betting sites?
Yes. To build an accumulator all you need to do is add multiple bets to your betslip. The great thing about accumulators is the potential to land huge wins from small stakes.
Why are some esports betting markets handicapped?
As with any sport, there’s often a clear favourite and an underdog. With low odds on the favourite and the low likelihood of the underdog pulling off an upset, betting sites use handicaps to level the playing field. Let’s say you’re betting on Rocket League, you can bet on your favourite with a handicap of -9.5, for example, which would require them to win by at least 10. Likewise, you can bet on the underdog with a handicap of +9.5, which would mean they need to avoid losing by more than 9.
Can I bet on esports on mobile?
Yes. Our top esports betting sites offer full support for mobile devices such as mobile phones and tablets. You’ll never need to rush home to place a bet, you can bet wherever you are.
Can I bet on esports in-play?
Yes. In-play betting is a great way to make money from a game that’s in progress, especially if you’re watching a live stream. You can assess what’s happening in the match and make your predictions on the outcome. This is a great option for players who know their stuff, as they can often read the game and predict when the tables will turn. New players can get in on the in-play action too, if you have a hunch and fancy a flutter on the team that looks down and out, you’ll be able to back them to win with esports in-play betting.
How do I win a handicap esports bet?
This depends on whether you decide to back the bookies favourite, with a negative handicap, or the underdog, with a positive handicap. To win a bet placed on the negative handicap, your pick was win by more than the handicap figure chosen by the bookie. To win a wager placed on the positive handicap, your chosen team must avoid losing by a value that is equal to or more than the handicap figure.