How To Bet On Esports In 2022
Betting on esports might sound like a new thing for those unfamiliar with competitive video games, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Esports betting saw its beginnings in the early 2000s and has since developed into a massive multi-billion dollar industry that took over the betting world.
While the popularity of betting on esports has been growing over the years, it has experienced exponential growth in 2020 and 2021, largely thanks to the COVID pandemic, which shut down most traditional sporting events while keeping the esports scene relatively untouched.
But while esports are different from conventional sports, mainly because esports can happen online, betting on either of the two is relatively similar.
Is Esports Betting Like Traditional Sports Betting?
Betting on esports is very similar to betting on traditional sports since the markets are usually comparable or the same.
However, it’s still a much different experience, mainly because esports are generally more fast-paced while the games can turn upside down in a matter of seconds.
How Do I Bet On Esports For The First Time?
Before you can place your first bet on esports, you naturally need to register at a bookie that will accept your bet.
Finding an esports bookie isn’t difficult since most bookmakers accept esports bets, but finding a good one takes a bit more time.
When picking a sportsbook, you should look for a few things, but most importantly, it needs to be a licensed and legal sportsbook.
Beyond that, the bookie you pick has to have competitive odds and a generous selection of betting markets, as only this way you can ensure a good betting experience.
Once you narrow down the list of legal bookies with good odds and market selection, it’s wise to check for betting bonuses and promotions.
Although not as crucial as the quality of the odds, bonuses, and promotions can add a lot of value to your betting endeavor and should never be overlooked.
The last step to betting on esports is the simplest one.
Once you register on a bookie and have funded your betting account, all there is left to do is find a match you want to bet on and place your first wager.
Which match you want to bet on is completely up to you.
But it helps if you only bet on games you’re familiar with or have enough information to make a smart bet.
Esports Tournaments & Events
The esports industry has been growing exponentially over the last decade, and with it also came bigger and better tournaments.
Nowadays, there is no shortage of esports tournaments that attract thousands of viewers, the viewership of some even exceeding that of major sporting events.
League of Legends World Championship
The League of Legends World Championship is the biggest and most popular esports tournament in the world.
It features the best LoL teams who compete for the Summoner’s Cup and to have their name engraved in the history books.
Traditionally held in October-November of each year, LoL Worlds regularly attract millions of viewers (+70 million in 2021) and features a prize pool of roughly $2 million.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Majors
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive does not have a tournament akin to a World Championship, but it has two Majors per year held to the same status.
Like a World Championship, CS:GO Major welcomes only the best teams in the world who compete for the highest prestige that is a Major title.
CS:GO Majors have traditionally been held in Winter and Autumn, and they historically featured a $1 million prize pool.
In 2021, the prize pool was bumped up to $2 million in 2021 due to the cancellation of Majors in 2020.
Call of Duty League
The Call of Duty League is not a tournament but rather a league for professional Call of Duty Teams.
The league is traditionally held between January and July, with a $2.5 million prize pool reserved for the Call of Duty League Championship stage.
Dota 2 The International
Behind the LoL Worlds, Dota 2’s The International is the largest esports tournament in the world.
And while it doesn’t boast as many viewers as League of Legends, TI is widely known as the most lucrative esports tournament in history.
Known for upping its prize pool every year, The International 10, held in 2021, had over $40 million in the prize pool.
The tournament is held at the end of the Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) season, traditionally in August of each year.
2022 FIFAe World Cup
The FIFAe World Cup is an esports version of the traditional football World Cup tournament, which welcomes the best FIFA players in the world, who represent their nation and compete for the gold medal.
The prize pool of FIFAe World Cup is not as large as with other esports titles, but it can reach upwards of $500,000.
ESL Pro League
ESL Pro League is a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament and ESL’s premier event of the year.
Each competitive season traditionally holds two ESL tournaments, with prize pools of $750,000.
ESL Pro Leagues are held in March and August of each year.
However, tournament organizers reserve the right to shift the dates by a couple of months.
How To Bet On Esports
Betting on esports is very similar to betting on sports, in a way that there are many different ways for you to wager on your favorite team or a player.
Although it wouldn’t be fair to say that there are significantly more options to bet on esports than on sports, the former does include a much larger selection of competitions to bet on.
Real Money Betting
Real money betting is the most common type of betting on esports.
And not only is it the most popular, but it’s also the safest and most regulated form.
The most significant advantage of real money betting is that it’s available on all sportsbooks and is the safest way of betting.
In contrast, its downside is that it can get boring for those looking for more excitement.
Fantasy betting is an alternative way of betting on esports where you’re not betting on which team or player will win but instead on how well they will perform.
Fantasy betting is less popular than real-money betting, but it has a large following in the United States and has already found its place across all regulated sportsbooks, most notably FanDuel and DraftKings.
The biggest advantage of fantasy betting is that it provides you with a new way of betting on esports and sports.
However, its downside is that it can be very challenging for casual bettors and those not highly knowledgeable about the esports they’re betting on.
Betting On Streamers
A little-known secret in the betting world is that you can also bet on streamers, and considering the growing popularity of streamer betting, it could soon become a new trend.
Most regulated sportsbooks, such as FanDuel, 888sport, and Bet365, have taken notice of that, and nowadays, it’s not that difficult to find betting odds on streamers.
Admittedly, betting on streamers is still in its early stages, but we can expect it to grow and become one of the most popular ways of gambling in the coming years.
Item & Skin Betting
Skin betting started off as a very shady business, but those days are long gone, so you can feel safe betting with your in-game skins as long as you do it on a regulated and licensed betting site.
The biggest advantage of skin betting is that anyone can do it and that it’s a wholly new and unusual way of approaching betting.
On the negative side, it can be risky if you don’t do it on a regulated website.
How To Pick An Esports Betting Site
When picking the right esports betting site for you, there are a couple of things you need to look out for.
Most importantly, the bookie needs to be legal and regulated, as only this way you can ensure the safety of your money and personal information.
You also need to keep an eye on the quality of the betting odds and the market depth – whether the bookie covers the esports you want to bet on and whether it has enough bet types on offer to satisfy your needs.
Beyond that, the bookie you choose needs to have good bonuses and promotions on offer, as well as a solid website and a functional mobile betting app.
Lastly, you should always pick a bookie that offers reliable banking options, meaning it has enough deposit and withdrawal methods to allow for easy and safe transferring of funds from and into your betting account.
Making Use Of An Esports Betting Bonus
Betting bonuses are an excellent way to get a bit more value from betting on an esports bookmaker, and you should always look to use them fully.
Depending on the bookmaker, you will get presented with different bonuses, but they usually fall into one of the three categories.
The no-deposit bonuses are the most straightforward.
As the name suggests, they get awarded to your betting account without needing to deposit any funds on the bookie.
Most bookmakers will offer a risk-free bet, which is essentially a bonus that will refund your wager on a selected match if your bet loses.
Deposit Match Bonus
Deposit match bonuses are prevalent across all bookies and are generally also the best of the three.
With a deposit match bonus, the bookmaker will match your first deposit by up to 100%, effectively doubling the amount of money you deposit into your betting account.
Although bonuses are an excellent way to begin your betting journey, most will have some requirements you will need to fulfill.
Most commonly, those will come in the form of a rollover.
Rollover is a wagering requirement imposed by the bookie that you need to bet before you become eligible for the free bet or to be able to withdraw the bonus.
So if you got a $100 in bonus and the rollover is 5x, you will need to bet $100 five times before you can withdraw it.
Esports Betting Market
Betting on esports can be an exciting journey, mainly because of all the different ways you can approach it.
Obviously, you can bet only on the match-winner and call it a day, but there are far more betting approaches.
Like sports betting, esports betting offers a plethora of different betting markets, which includes (but is not limited to): handicap betting, totals betting, proposition betting, outright betting, and much more.
Exploring different markets will introduce a bit more flexibility to your betting and expand your options.
And that is definitely something you want to have when finding the best bets.
Match Winner Esports Bets
Match winner bet is the most straightforward bet you can make on esports.
It works the exact same way for every esports title and is a simple “who will win” bet, which you use to predict which team or player will win a given match.
Outright Esports Bets
Outright bets are a form of future bets used to predict an outcome of an event that will finish in the future.
Most commonly, with outright bets, you will be wagering on which team or player will win a given tournament.
The outright bets are very popular, mainly due to the generous odds they provide.
The only negative is that they tie up your wager for months, or at least until the tournament/competition ends.
There are several different esports titles you can bet on, and since not all esports are the same, the betting markets offered on them will also differ.
Although the most common bets (winner, outright) are the same across all esports titles, there are a few esports-specific bets you will encounter.
First Drake in League of Legends
Although not the game’s primary goal, drake kills are an important element of League of Legends, and as such, you can bet on them.
With the “first drake” bet, you’re predicting which team will kill the first drake of the game.
Total Goals in Rocket League
Unlike LoL, Rocket League does not have in-game kills, but it does have goals, and as you might have guessed, you can bet on it.
Like you would bet on total goals in soccer, you can also bet on total goals in Rocket League.
To Go To Overtime in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Overtimes are rare, but they can happen in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive games if the teams are tied after 30 rounds of play.
This bet works the exact same way as betting on overtime in soccer, but it’s an exclusive bet for CS:GO as one of the few esports titles that have overtime.
Live Esports Betting
Live betting is a unique and exciting way of betting on esports, allowing you to bet on the games as they happen.
It might take a bit more knowledge about the games, but live betting can be highly profitable if done correctly.
If you wish to start live betting on esports, it’s essential that you find a regulated sportsbook that offers in-play betting and has live streams of the games.
Some of the most notable examples include 888sport, William Hill (Caesars), and Bet365.
Top Tips From Our Expert’s Esports Betting Guide
Anyone can start betting on esports, but it takes time to get good at it.
But while you won’t become an expert on esports betting overnight, you can get there quicker by following five simple steps.
Find A Solid Sportsbook
As already mentioned, finding a solid sportsbook is the first and essential step you must take before you start betting on esports.
Luckily, there are plenty of good esports sportsbooks to choose from, but you should take your time finding the right one.
Learn The Basics
If you want to bet on esports, you need to understand the betting basics.
That includes understanding what the odds mean, how to read them, and what different bet types are available.
Familiarize Yourself With The Game You’re Betting On
You should never bet on an esports title you know nothing about, and you should only start betting on an esports once you are comfortable about your knowledge of the game, the teams, and the players.
Follow Game Updates And Patches
When betting on esports, you must know if a game has recently undergone a significant update and how the update will affect the game’s meta and effectively the teams’ performances.
Learn To Manage Your Bankroll
This tip is just as crucial for betting on esports as it is for betting on sports or any other form of investment. Know your limits, set your goals, and never overbet.
Learn Esports Betting Odds
Before you can start betting on esports, sports, politics, and even TV shows, you need to understand what betting odds mean.
Although a lot of depth goes into understanding the odds, the simplest way to explain what they mean is that they represent the implied probability of something happening.
Once you understand that, it’s easier to get familiar with all the available bet types, and while there’s a wide selection of bet types, the most common include moneyline, point spread, over/under, and props.
To access the different odds and bet types, you need to visit an online betting site, but while you do so, it’s essential that you only consider legal, licensed, and regulated sportsbooks.
There are plenty available, but some of the most well-known names in the betting industry include Bet365, DraftKings, FanDuel, Betway, Unibet, 888sport, and William Hill (Caesars).
How Do American Odds Work?
There are three ways to write betting odds, and depending on where you live, you will see one of the three versions.
The U.S. sportsbooks will use American Odds, which show the same thing as the decimal and fractional odds – but differently.
The American odds are written with a positive sign (+) or a negative sign (-) next to the number, indicating which team is expected to win.
The favorites will have a minus, while a plus sign accompanies the underdogs’ odds.
So if Team A is priced at +200 and Team B is priced at -150 – the former is considered the underdog, and vice versa.
The plus and minus signs show which team is expected to win and indicate how much money you can expect to earn with your bets.
- A bet on Team A at +200 means that a 100$ wager will earn you $200 in payout ($100 in profit)
- A bet on Team B at -150 means that you need to place a $150 bet to earn $100
What Are Decimal Odds?
Decimal odds are used in almost all parts of the world outside of the U.S. and UK and are arguably the most straightforward odds to read.
Instead of plus and minus signs, the decimal odds are written in decimals and, like the American odds, show which team is the favorite and which is the underdog.
The simplest way to know which team is expected to win is to compare the odds, where the team with higher odds is the underdog.
Even calculating how much money you can expect to win from your bet is very simple – you need to multiply your wager with the decimal odds.
If Team A is priced at 2.50 and Team B at 1.40:
- A 100$ bet on Team A will earn you $250 (100*2.50)
- A 100% bet on Team B will earn you $140 (100*1.40)
Fractional Odds Explained
Fractional odds are mostly used only by UK bookmakers and are the least popular of the three.
However, while fractional odds may seem like the toughest to understand, they’re straightforward once you get familiar with the basics.
In simple terms, Fractional odds (6/1, 10/11) show the ratio of the profit won to the stake.
The underdogs will always be priced with the huger fraction (6/1), while the favorites will be priced at a lower fraction (11/10), following the same rule as the decimal odds.
If Team A is priced at 6/1 and Team B at 11/10:
- You will win $6 for every $1 placed on Team A
- You will win $11 for every $10 placed on Team B
How To Calculate The Expected Value?
Expected value is fundamental to understand for any bettor as it measures what a bettor can expect to win or lose per bet placed on the same game at the same odds.
The formula for expected value is as follows:
(Money won per bet * probability of winning) – (Money lost per bet * probability of losing)
To better illustrate how the formula works, we can take an example of a coin toss, where there’s a 50/50 chance that you correctly predict where it will land.
Since there’s a 50/50 chance, the probability of winning and losing will be 0.5 (50%), and assuming you’re betting $10; it would look as follows:
($10 * 0.5) – ($10 * 0.5) = 0
A more realistic example would have teams priced at 1.90. Assuming both teams have a 50/50 chance of winning, the formula would result in a negative expected value.
In this case, you can expect to lose money in the long term:
($9 * 0.5) – ($10 * 0.5) = -0.5
What Are Arbs?
Arbitrage betting is a betting system that bettors use to place multiple bets that guarantee profit.
For arbitrage betting (or arbing), you need access to multiple sportsbooks to take advantage of odds differences.
To better illustrate how arbing works, we will look at a match between G2 Esports and Vitality and look at the odds from two bookmakers.
Bet365: G2 Esports (1.50) – Team Vitality (2.50)
William Hill: G2 Esports (1.80) – Team Vitality (2.20)
You could bet $55.5 on G2 Esports at William Hill to win $100 and 40$ on Team Vitality with Bet365 to win $100 if they win.
In this instance, you would break even no matter which team wins, but the magic of arbing is to find a match where the odds difference is significant enough to end up with a profit no matter how the game ends.
How Are Esports Odds Calculated?
Bookmakers set their own odds on esports events depending on their information, resulting in inconsistent prices on the same game.
This is why you need to have several accounts on different bookmakers to shop for the best odds.
If you can bet on Team A at 2.00 on Bookie 1 instead of betting on the same team at 1.90 on Bookie 2, there is no reason not to bet at better prices and set yourself up for higher payouts.
Besides odds shopping, you should also keep an eye on boosted odds.
As the name would suggest, boosted odds increase the odds on specific games, as a promotion the bookies use to attract more bettors.
Regulation, Safety & Legality
Esports betting might be unknown for some, but this is a legal and safe form of betting, as long as you’re of legal age to bet and live in a country where esports betting is not prohibited.
Even though some countries do not allow esports betting, the industry’s explosive growth suggests that it’s only a matter of time before it reaches the same status as sports betting.
Admittedly, esports betting has had a very shady history since it started on unregulated and illegal betting sites.
But we have come a long way since then, and the industry as a whole has changed drastically.
Nowadays, you can bet on esports on all big-brand sportsbooks that are regulated, licensed, and, most of all, provide a safe betting experience.
Depending on the sportsbook you choose to bet on esports, you will get presented with a large variety of deposit methods.
And while most bookies will offer some of the most common deposit methods in PayPal, Skrill, and wire transfer, a new form of deposits has recently started to pop up.
Most esports bookmakers will also accept deposits with crypto, which has become a modern payment method in recent years.
You will even find bookmakers who work exclusively with crypto and allow you to bet with crypto on the site.
And while betting on esports with crypto can be exciting, you should only do it on regulated websites.
There is no shortage of shady crypto betting sites, and the only way you can ensure the safety of your money is to stay clear of websites you don’t know and only settle for reputable and regulated bookies.
Customer Service Options
Customer support is an essential feature of any reputable sportsbook, and while you will likely rarely need to contact agents, it’s nice to have the option to do so via email, phone, or live chat.
All regulated sportsbooks will have a dedicated customer support department that will help you if you encounter a problem, whereas you might struggle to find one on unregulated bookies.
The Future Of Esports Betting
Esports betting has experienced tremendous growth over the last decade, and if the expert projections are correct, we’re only at the start.
The rise of esports popularity, the introduction of new esports titles and tournaments, and heavy investments into the industry are three major factors driving the esports scene forward.
Beyond that, the technological improvements have further broadened horizons, opening new avenues for the esports scene to grow.
Just recently, the mobile esports scene kicked off, and it didn’t need long to emerge as one of the biggest industries in the world.
And with the improvements to Virtual Reality, it’s only a matter of time before we will see the VR esports scene pop up.
There seems to be no limit to how big the esports scene can become, and as long as the esports industry continues to grow, esports betting will follow suit.