eSports betting is an emerging market that’s raking in billions of dollars every year. What started out as an informal system of betting between friends and acquaintances is quickly evolved into a billion-dollar industry, with bettors spanning the world.
However familiar you are with eSports like League of Legends and Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), eSports betting is a whole different ball game. It requires paying a bit more attention to the eSports betting market. Betting on eSports has many advantages when compared to regular sports betting. Unlike regular sports, which has seasons, eSports run all the time. You just have to keep an eye out on which game is having its moment.
Following your favorite eSports which you have wagered on is also a lot easier now. There are many free live streaming platforms that show most eSports matches on almost all eSports betting sites. Furthermore, betting on eSports can be done with more than just real money betting.
Best eSports Betting Sites for the US
We’ve rounded up some of the best and safest online sports betting sites for eSports betting. Also, we’ve included a breakdown of how we identify the safest sportsbooks.
What you’ll find in this eSports betting guide:
- How to Find the Best eSports Betting Book
- eSports Betting Market Size
- Types of eSports Bets
- eSports Betting: How to Place Bets
- What to Avoid When Betting on eSports
Below we give you a list of criteria that we use to find the best and safest online sportsbooks. You can use this list when shopping for other sports betting sites to help you identify which one you can trust.
1. What kind of bets can I place at the sportsbook?
When looking at different online sportsbooks, we noticed that the quality and number of bets available differs from betting site to betting site. Currently, the most popular type of bet is the match bet – betting on the outcome of a match. However, not all sportsbooks offer odds on all events so there won’t be a wide range of events to choose from.
2. Can I trust the sportsbook?
This is a very important factor to take into consideration. Afterall, you’ll be giving them your hard-earned money. To find out if you should trust an online betting site, test the following:
- Their regulation: check which jurisdiction the sportsbook is licensed in. if they’re trust worthy, this information is easy to find and it’s usually at the bottom of the page. If there have been player issues with sites regulated under that jurisdiction, that should be easy to find out with a bit of research.
- The social proof: go to gaming forums to check what people have been saying in reviews about the site. Are they also easily accessible through their customer support and social media platforms?
- Your experience: if an online sportsbook has passed the first two tests, make a small deposit and a small bet with them. Should you experience any problems or have any questions, use their customer support and test their response and willingness to help. Also, take note of how you experienced withdrawing your winnings.
3. How good are the eSport betting prices?
Because all sportsbooks are different, the odds you’re likely to find there will be different. Shop around at first to find the eSports betting sites that have what you like. Sometimes you may feel like not looking around for the best odds but believe us when we say it’s a great habit to get into. It will help you save, and make money in the long run.
4. What bonuses and promotions do they have?
You’ll find that online sportsbooks offer welcome bonuses to new players to get them to join their site. Also, there are more types of bonuses, promotions, and even free bets that you can take advantage of to improve your payouts. Just make sure you read the terms and conditions of the bonuses and promotions before using them.
Because of the semi-private nature of eSports betting, it’s hard to tell the exact size of the betting market. But studies predict that it will be a $20 billion industry by 2020. As we move more and more online, and the rise of internet gaming continues, then it can be safe to assume that eSports and betting on it will be an extremely lucrative type of industry.
Reportedly, there are about 145 million eSports enthusiasts and a major audience tuning in to watch the tens of millions of events being streamed. In 2015, studies estimated that over one million bettors wagered real money on eSports.
The leading eSports betting traditional sportsbook Pinnacle, has processed millions of eSports bets over the years. It’s important to note that eSports aren’t a new trend. The earliest known video game competition happened in 1972 at Stanford University. They’ve been around for decades with the oldest popular one – Counter Strike – being around since 1999.
There isn’t any definitive data on which regions place the most eSports bets but we can infer based off the general level of eSports participation.
The major regions for eSports betting based off SuperData reports are:
- Asia: 61%
- United States: 23%
- Europe: 12%
- Rest of the World: 4%
There are a variety of bets available to US eSports bettors online. Let’s take a look at the most commonly played bets in the eSports betting market.
These bets are placed before the match starts. Most eSports bettors like to bet on who the outright winner of the tournament or match will be. Others include which team will move onto the next stage, or who will be out before the next stage.
This is a pretty interesting eSports betting market. This is because there are a variety of bets that you can make in the betting specials bet type. Bet on who the first team to slay a dragon, team to win the first map, MVP, and even the over/under total number of kills all fall under this market. Some very interesting and fun bets can be made here.
As the name suggests, this is a bet on what you think the correct final score will be. For instance, you think that Team Liquid will win 2:0 against Invictus Gaming. The odds on that outcome will be around 2.00. however, if you’re more into backing the underdog – Invictus in this instance – to win by that very same score then the odds are at 6.00 or 7.00.
Handicap bets are about choosing between only two possible outcomes. However, the oddsmaker tries to cancel out a player’s or team’s advantage by giving the other team an advantage or head start. So, for example, Team Liquid are the top team in a match up against Invictus Gaming. They are expected to win 2:0. So, they will give Invictus Gaming a +1.5 head start therefore cancelling Team Liquid’s advantage. They will now have to win by 3.5 points or more for bets on Team Liquid to pay out.
Comparatively like a handicap bet, the match winner is also about picking only one of two outcomes – which team you think will win. The odds in this eSports market are fixed meaning they are set by the oddsmaker a couple of days before the match starts. In the event of bets being placed only on one team to win, then the odds will be low or equal to one.
In eSports, a totals bet market is about predicting how many times something will occur in a game. Usually, this is Maps where you bet if there will be more or less than 2.5 maps being played in a specific match.
There are many ways to place bets on eSports matches and tournaments. There are three basic types:
- Traditional eSports Betting
- Fantasy eSports Betting
- Item & Skin Betting
Let’s take a look at each of them below.
1. Traditional eSports Betting Books
This is betting on eSports at your traditional sports betting site that take bets on traditional sports. Some traditional sportsbooks do offer eSports betting markets but the quality and quantity vary.
The pro to using traditional sportsbooks is that you know they’re credible. But, because they’re just getting into the eSports betting industry, they may have bad stakes and wagers.
2. Fantasy eSports Betting
Especially popular here in the US, it generally works like other fantasy sports betting. Opposing players build a fantasy line-up of players for a major event. Fantasy eSports betting is that it’s easily available and legal in most states. However, it’s not quite the same as betting on actual outcomes of an eSports match. There aren’t many options.
3. Item & Skin Betting
Item betting refers to betting that takes place within markets for in-game items. This type of betting is very popular and anecdotal figures put it in the tens of thousands of participants. It doesn’t involve the use of real money but rather bettors exchange in-game property such as weapons or abilities. However, some of these items are exchangeable for money at a third-party site, making some wonder how legal this type of betting is. It’s a relatively simple way of betting and you can get some value for items you don’t need. On the other hand, there’s little to no regulation so you don’t know if they will payout your winnings.
Let’s take a look at what not to do when betting on eSports.
1. Don’t Go for Favorites in Best of One Matches
In Best of One (BO1) matches, don’t go for the heavy favorites. In these matches, there is a high level of unpredictability which means that bets can easily go wrong. Moreover, even if you do get them right, the payout you’ll get will be very small. Also, the unknown side may actually be very good, which is quite common in eSports betting.
2. The Danger of Unknown & Lesser Teams
Generally, it’s advisable to steer clear of unknown teams until they’ve become a bit more established. If there isn’t a history of form to look at, then you might as well pull a name out of a hat. Furthermore, big upsets aren’t that common in eSports so keep an eye on them until you can tell what they’re about.
3. Keep an Eye on Roster Changes
Finally, watch out for any changes to the player roster. In games that are reliant on strong teamwork between players, like League of Legends, DotA 2, and CS:GO, this has a major influence. eSports teams are constantly looking to evolve and replace weaker players with stronger ones. Much like a football team buying a new player, watch for teams buying new players from other teams (did they buy their strongest?). Generally, avoid betting on sides that have made a recent roster change. Give them some time to see how the new player integrates into the team.