Best eSports Betting Sites 2018
eSports betting is still in its infancy but it continues to increase in popularity. It is now offered by the majority of online bookies and is extremely popular in Sweden, Japan, Canada, the USA and the UK and continues to grow at an alarming rate. If you strip it back down to the basics, eSports is an organised form of watching two players compete in a video game format. These competitions can vary greatly and are generally organised months and possibly even years in advance which gives plenty of notice to those who are planning to have a bet on a particular contest.
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These events can be made up of either teams or individuals. It is ideal for gamers and gaming obsessives but sports fans who are looking for something a little different can enjoy all of the action too. Some events have been transferred to arenas whilst others regularly attract audiences of over 5 million whilst Prize pools can vary from $1,000 to an eye-watering $20,000,000. Bookmakers now offer markets on events throughout the year and are seeing increased interest in the product each year.
How to Follow eSports
There are various ways of following your favourite tournaments and players and there are dedicated online television channels and streaming services such as Twitch which show the majority of contests including the eSports Olympics.
There are numerous Youtube channels also streaming competitions throughout the year with thousands of subscribers glued to the screen each week watching the action unfold. In the USA, ESPN have also dedicated airtime to showing eSports contests.
Where to bet on eSports
All major bookmakers have now added eSports to their extensive selections of sports and events. It is extremely popular and sites such as Ladbrokes, Paddy Power and Betfred have all decided to capitalise on this.
There is a dedicated section to eSports with all upcoming competitions listed. Each individual match within a particular competition is listed with odds on either side to emerge victorious. Just like betting on football, basketball or cricket, one side is like to take the majority of the money and there can often be a short price odds-on favourite.
Tournaments are usually divided up and have been split into national, international and even localised variants which helps narrow down the field and saves time extensively searching for a specific competition.
Types of Bets Available
The majority of eSports contests only have the match betting market available but additional bets may become available on popular competitions or match-ups.
Match betting is simply a case of predicting which side will prevail and is a 50/50 split. Handicap betting is also available on high profile games and this is where one side is given a head start (based on points). This will often help level the contest and bettors regularly use this market to back against overwhelming favourites.
Outright winner markets are available on annual events and competitions such as the League of Legends World Championships or the eSports Olympics. This is simply predicting which team/player will emerge as the victor across the whole of the event. Unfortunately this will require waiting a little longer before collecting your winnings but will hopefully be worth the wait! Odds will shorten on your chosen team as they progress through each round.
Correct Score betting can sometimes become available for LOL contests during tournaments. If you fancy Team A to beat Team B 2:0, it is possible to wager on this with numerous bookmakers. Bigger prices are available on this market.
Finally, Totals are another way of getting involved without having to commit to selecting a winner. This is simply predicting how many maps will be played (Over/Under 2.5 for example)
eSports Betting Odds
The odds work in exactly the same way as traditional sporting odds. Prices such as 8/13 and 2/5 may be common for odds-on favourites whilst the outsiders will often be available at around 4/1.
If you bet £10 on one team to win at 8/13, you would receive £16.10 if they are successful (including the £10 stake)
Major eSporting Events
There are a number of eSports leagues and Championships which take place each and every year and the number is continually increasing. Some examples include Battle.net World Champion Series, Halo World Championships, Evolution Champion Series and Intel Extreme Masters.
Tips for Betting on eSports
eSports are constantly evolving and changing and its highly recommended to get a feel for each game before placing a bet on other players or teams. If you are familiar with the level, the difficulty and possible tactics which may be deployed, that will surely help you make an informed decision.
Study how a team works together or how a particular player performs as the favourite/outsider in any given contest. With eSports still being a relatively recent additions to sportsbooks, traders don’t have too much history to base their prices on so it’s advised to always look for teams or players who may be overpriced. A lot of the odds are formed as a result of expected popularity and how the bookmakers believe punters will bet so always bear this in mind.
Sometimes new teams can be much better than expected and it can pay to take a risk on unknown players prevailing against their more experienced counterparts. This is far more common in eSports than in football, tennis or even Ice Hockey. Although making money is a punters prerogative, it’s important to enjoy the spectacle as well. Only bet on games you understand and enjoy. If you didn’t understand the rules of a particular sport, you wouldn’t bet on it! The same applies for eSports.
Finally, odds can greatly vary between bookmakers so it’s imperative to make sure you have multiple accounts and you’re able to shop around for the best possible price before placing a bet. Don’t miss out on superior odds just because you only have a single betting account. Some bookmakers offer special sign-up bonuses for eSports players.
eSports is extremely popular and isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. It is quickly becoming one of the staple products available with online bookies who regularly price up tournaments and competitions throughout the course of the year. It takes time and dedication to succeed with eSports betting but it can extremely profitable if you can find a way to unearth value.
Two of the Most Popular eSport Games are:
League of Legends
League of Legends is by far and away the biggest betting event and the most watched eSports game. They have a League of Legends World Championship which takes place each October. The basic premise of the game is two players compete head to head across various different battlefields and realistic terrains. The game is fraught with danger and offers a fantasy element featuring monsters and mythical creatures as an integral part of the plot. Gold is earned from taking down various enemies and structures as players progress through the levels.
There are numerous tournaments taking place within the community each year and it doesn’t take long for new players to get set up quickly. It is regularly abbreviated to LOL eSports on many betting sites (just to avoid any confusion!) There is a Japan League and a Continental League within the game which are both extremely popular and continue to attract interest.
Dota 2 (Defence of the Ancients 2) is a competitive multiplayer game which is extremely popular with gamers and eSports bettors. Each player is a ‘hero’ who is tasked with destroying other player’s settlements (known as an ‘Ancient’) where various combative scenarios will inevitably take place. Different costumes and weapons are available as each ‘hero’ can be built up across a number of rounds.
It is notoriously tricky for new players to comprehend so many punters opt to watch the experts in action as opposed to getting involved themselves.
There are numerous teams who are renowned for their ability within this game including OG and EG who often start as favourites for each competition the play.
The game is usually played in a best of three format hence the ability to bet on handicap, totals and match winner markets. Major leagues and competitions specialising in Dota 2 include The International, DreamHack and SLTV Star Series.
Other Popular eSport Games
New games are being created all the time with some taking off and capturing the imagination of eSports players whilst others never quite catch on. Popular games include League of Legends, Dota 2, (which we have already brushed upon) (Hearthstone, World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Halo, Streetfighter and CrossFire. The majority of games are first person shooters or involve multiplayer battle arenas but racing and sports titles have also captured the imagination of eSports players.
In 2017, Dota 2 has attracted over 120 different tournaments all of which have been available to bet on with online sportsbooks whilst League of Legends has proved the most popular betting heat hosting 100 tournaments in the space of 12 months.
The more popular the game, the more betting options offered by the bookmakers. In much the same way as betting on football works, sportsbooks will priorities those events which are likely to attract more interest.