People have been betting on sports through internet sportsbooks since the mid-1990s. Therefore, it may seem like there aren’t any new options in terms of games you can wager on.
But one newer betting category that’s popping up at online sportsbooks is esports. Competitive gaming is bigger than ever today, which is why it’s now featured on many betting sites.
Of course, you may be apprehensive about wagering on video games if you’re used to traditional sports gambling.
But you might be surprised to find out that it’s easy to transition from regular sports betting to esports. Keep reading as I discuss 9 reasons why you should consider esports gambling.
1 – You Can Bet on a Wide Variety of Games & Leagues
One thing that makes sports betting exciting is that you have so many different sports to choose from. You can wager on popular sports like basketball, football, and soccer, and to more obscure games like badminton, darts, netball, and water polo.
What’s more is that you’re also able to gamble on many different leagues within the popular sports. For example, basketball features the NBA, EuroLeague, Liga ACB, and Lega Basket Serie A.
Esports is much the same in that it offers a variety of games, leagues, and international events. Here are the main games that are available at online bookmakers:
- Dota 2
- League of Legends (LoL)
- Call of Duty
- Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO)
- FIFA Soccer/Football
- Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft
- Heroes of the Storm
- Rocket League
- Starcraft II
- Street Fighter
- Super Smash Bros.
- World of Tanks
This wide variety gives you an opportunity to gamble on one or more of your favorite games. You can also familiarize yourself with the different leagues too.
For instance, CS:GO offers leagues like ESEA MDL Europe, ESL Australia & NZ, ECS North America, and the NoxFire League.
Esports is also full of big tournaments that draw countless viewers. Dota 2’s “The International” and League of Legends’ (LoL) “World Championship” are global spectacles.
2 – The Same Style of Odds Are Used
You’ll have little difficulty moving from sports betting to esports when considering that the same types of lines are used. Bookmakers attach either American, decimal, or fractional odds to esports lines.
Here’s a quick recap of each type of odds if you’re unfamiliar with one or more of them.
American odds are usually found at North American-facing sportsbooks. These odds indicate favorites and underdogs with plus and minus signs, respectively.
Here’s an example:
- Serral -150
- Dark +120
Serral’s (favorite) odds are expressed in terms of how much you need torisk to win $100. You must wager $150 to win a $100 profit in this case.
Dark’s (underdog) odds indicate how much you’d win for every $100 wagered. You can win $120 for each $100 bet in this line.
Decimal odds are popular at European-facing betting sites. These odds represent the total amount of money (profit + stake) you’ll win.
Here’s an example:
- Natus Vincere 3.5
- Infamous 1.35
You’d win $1.35 ($0.35 profit + $1 stake) for each dollar bet on Infamous (favorite). You can earn $3.50 ($2.50 profit + $1 stake) for every dollar wagered on Natus Vincere.
Fractional odds, which are common at UK-based sportsbooks, use a forward slash to separate how much you’re betting versus the profit you can earn.
Here’s an example:
- HeroesHearth 2/1
- Team Liquid 2/3
Betting $3 on Team Liquid (favorite) would yield a $2 profit. Wagering $1 on HeroesHearth (underdog) would result in a $2 profit.
3 – The Betting Types Are the Same
Online sportsbooks offer various types of wagers, including moneyline, point spread, totals, live wagering, and prop bets. You can expect the same kinds of bets inesports too.
Here’s a quick recap of the main wagers and prop bets that you’ll find throughout esports:
A moneyline is a straight-up wager on which team will win a match. Odds are used to make both the favorite and underdog seem attractive.
Here’s an example:
- Tigers 2.3
- Royal Never Give Up 1.6
You can win $1.60 for every dollar wagered on Royal Never Give Up. Meanwhile, you stand to earn $2.30 for every dollar bet on the Tigers.
Point spreads see each team handicapped in a way that they have to win or lose by a certain number of points. The goal is to bet on the team that can cover their handicapped score.
Here’s an example of a point spread:
- OpTic -3.5 (1.9)
- BIG +3.5 (1.9)
OpTic (favorite) has a -3.5 point spread, meaning they must win the match by 4 points or more for a successful wager. BIG’s point spread is +2.5, and they must lose the match by 3 points or less (or win).
The 1.9 in parenthesis means that you stand to win $1.90 for every dollar wagered.
Totals (a.k.a. over/under) is a bet on whether two teams’ combined score will be over or under a given line.
Here’s an example:
- Number of rounds played in a CS:GO match.
- Over 25.5 (1.9)
- Under 25.5 (1.9)
Betting the over means that you need 28 or more rounds to be played to win. Taking the under means that you need 27 or fewer rounds to happen.
Tournament Winner (Outright)
Tournament bets (a.k.a. outrights) see you wager on which team can win a tourney. These bets stand a smaller chance of success compared to moneyline wagers, because your team must win the entire event.
Here’s an example of an outright:
- Team to win tournament:
- Team Liquid 1.85
- Atralis 2.6
- MIBR 3.0
- Natus Vincere 3.5
- North 6.0
- BIG 10.5
- NRG 12.0
- Fnatic 12.0
Moneyline, point spread, and totals wagers must be placed prior to a match. Live wagering (a.k.a. in-play) differs, though, because this allows you to bet on live outcomes.
Here’s an example on how live bets work:
- Cola (2.3) is playing Aurora Esports club (4.4).
- Aurora Esports club takes a big lead early on.
- The site offers a new moneyline for Cola (3.5) and Aurora Esports (1.7).
This is just one example of the many ways that bookmakers can create live bets. You’ll find a wide range of live wagers offered during bigger esports tournaments.
Proposition (“prop”) bets are based on outcomes that aren’t tied to the final score. Examples include the first team to X kills, first blood, and first team to reach a specific objective.
Wagers on the first team to get X kills are popular in LoL and CS:GO. One of these bets could see you wager on which squad will be the first to reach 10 kills, for example.
An objective-based bet involves which team will complete a specific objective. These are common in multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games like Dota 2 and LoL.
An example involves which Dota 2 team will be the first to get an Inhibitor Takedown.
First blood bets revolve around wagering on which squad will get the first kill of a match. Aggressive teams are usually favored in these prop wagers.
4 – You can Use Strategy to Win More Money
One attractive quality to sports betting is that you can win long-term profits. Handicapping, which helps you assess value in betting outcomes, is one of the most important skills to beating sports gambling.
Handicapping also plays a major role in esports betting. The idea is the same, where you look at different variables to figure out which team has the best odds of winning a match/tournament.
Chances are that you won’t be an expert esports handicapping right away. But the rewards are great if you improve to the point where you’re able to consistently find value in lines.
Here’s a closer look at key factors that you want to consider when handicapping esports matches and tournaments.
Head to Head Histories
Checking out teams’ overall records is an obvious way to assess their chances of winning. But a further look into their head-to-head history against an opponent can reveal more.
Sometimes you’ll find that a certain squad outperforms or underperforms their record against a certain opponent. Finding these instances can help you gain more value by betting on the team that’s historically prevailed in the matchup.
Against the Spread Records
As covered earlier, point spreads see each team/outcome receive a handicapped score based on their odds of winning. The favorite needs to cover more points, while the underdog is spotted points.
Certain betting sites keep track of how esports teams perform against the spread (ATS) throughout the year.
ATS records relate more specifically to betting than a regular win-loss mark. These records show how a squad performs in relation to the bookmakers’ lines.
You’ll want to consider wagering on teams that are performing exceptionally well ATS.
Home and Away Records
Homefield advantage plays a big role in any sport. The same is true in esports, where teams tend to perform well in their home city and worse on the road.
However, you’ll sometimes notice that a certain squad plays better than expected at home or away. These anomalies can lead to finding additional value in lines.
Esports teams have to travel hundreds or even thousands of miles away to compete at certain events.
This might not seem like a huge deal when considering that they’re only playing video games. But jet lag and fatigue can take its toll on players’ alertness.
Meanwhile, teams that don’t have to travel far will have a slight advantage. They’ll be better rested and readier to compete.
Competitive gamers aren’t subject to the rash of injuries that basketball players are. But there are still things that can keep them out of matches.
Wrist injuries, finger injuries, and illness can all sideline a player. Depending upon the gamer’s skill level; it can have a big impact on their team.
Stayed tuned to Twitter feeds of major esports news sites in order to catch any potential incidences of key players missing a match.
Esports teams go through high and low points throughout a season just like traditional sports franchises. These streaks can be caused by good/bad chemistry, roster changes, more/less practice time, and a heavy/light travel schedule.
Paying attention to these trends can help you decide if a team is worth betting on based on their winning or losing streak.
Most gamers don’t need to get psyched up in the locker room beforehand. But motivation can lead to gamers playing better than usual.
Motivational factors that can cause a team to raise their level of play include rivalry matches, playing in front of home crowds, and trying to earn extra points for tournament qualification.
The latter is especially important because teams are more focused when they’re in danger of missing a major tourney.
5 – Many Reputable Bookmakers Offers Esports Lines
Earlier I mentioned how esports are becoming bigger and bigger. Esports may not be quite mainstream yet, but it’s trending in this direction.
Therefore, it’s no surprise that many of the world’s biggest and most-reputable bookmakers are now covering lines on video games.
Bet365, William Hill, and Bovada are some of the biggest names that now feature esports betting. You can expect plenty of other bookmakers to cover esports in the future.
Gambling on video games still isn’t at the same popularity of major sports like baseball, basketball, football, hockey, and soccer. But it could one day become one of the most popular betting activities.
In any case, it’s nice to see that a number of reputable bookmakers offer esports lines. This allows you to place wagers on video games with more confidence.
6 – You Can Shop Around for the Best Esports Lines
A key strategy to winning in sports betting involves shopping for the best prices online. Here’s an example on how this works:
- You see that the Dallas Cowboys have +175 odds at sportsbook A.
- You find that the Cowboys have +150 odds at sportsbook B.
- You want to bet on the Cowboys at sportsbook since they’re offering more value.
The same type of scenarios happen in esports matches, where you’ll find differences in prices as you move from site to site.
Some bookmakers have already developed a reputation for offering the best esports odds. Betting at these sites allows you to consistently take advantage of quality lines.
If you really get into esports gambling, then you can sign up at multiple sites. Doing so allows you to jump on favorable odds quicker, rather than having to sign up and deposit first.
7 – You Can Get Free Bets & Online Deposit Bonuses
Many internet sportsbook offer free bets and/or deposit bonuses in order to draw new customers. Esports sites do the same thing by offering similar promotions.
For example, you might find a bookmaker that’s featuring a free $25 esports bet. This free wager allows you to win money without taking any risk.
Deposit deals offer a match percentage bonus based on your deposit amount. Here’s an example on how this works:
- A bookmaker is offering a 100% match bonus up to $50.
- You deposit $30.
- You’re now eligible to earn a $30 bonus.
The catch with esports bonuses is that you need to meet terms and conditions before the money is actually yours. Here are the main terms you must meet:
- Wagering requirements – You must wager a certain amount of money before withdrawing free bet winnings or a deposit bonus (e.g. 10x your bonus amount).
- Minimum odds – Your bets must be at a certain odds level (e.g. 1.6 or above).
- Time to meet wagering requirements – You only have so long to satisfy wagering requirements (e.g. 60 days).
- Max bet – All bets must avoid going over a specific amount (e.g. $50).
- Minimum withdrawal – You need to have enough money to meet the minimum cashout in order to withdraw your bonus.
You may not like the idea of having to satisfy terms and conditions before earning bonus money. But this shouldn’t bother you too much if you’re already going to be betting on esports.
8. You Can Watch Esports Competitions after Betting on Them
One of the driving forces behind sports betting popularity is that you can place a wager and watch the game afterward. It’s exciting to see your bet play out live.
Esports betting offers the same opportunity because you can watch matches and tournaments after making wagers.
ESPN televises matches for some of the biggest leagues, such as the League of Legends Championship series and Overwatch League.
Of course, esports doesn’t draw the same amount of TV coverage as football or basketball. But you can find a number of streaming sites that are dedicated to video gaming.
9 – Esports Is a Growing Industry
Esports tournaments used to be held in small venues that only seated a few hundred people or less. But the industry has grown immensely over the last 15 years, which means that major events are now hosted in giant arenas.
This is just one sign of the immense growth that esports have experienced over the past 15 years.
Another sign is that more people are viewing live streams of major esports matches than ever before. The 2018 Mid-Season Invitational drew 127 million viewers, which is more than the Super Bowl.
Of course, the mere fact that esports is growing isn’t a good reason to bet on it. But the industry’s growth does mean that there’ll be far more money involved on the gambling side in the future.
Research indicates that online bookmakers will earn $23.5 billion from esports alone by 2020. This figure is only expected to continue increasing over time.
This means that you can look forward to more lines, more games/leagues covered, and bigger deposit bonuses.
You may bet on sports simply because you enjoy watching traditional sports. But if you also love chasing profitable opportunities, then esports betting is right up your alley.
You won’t have much difficulty transitioning to esports gambling, because the odds and bet types are the same. Furthermore, a number of popular bookmakers are offering esports lines.
Esports also give you the opportunity to use strategy in order to win more money. Your profits should increase as your handicapping skills improve.
You can get off to a good start at your chosen betting site with a free bet or deposit bonus. Many esports gambling sites are offering the same type of bonuses as sportsbooks.
Another reason to appreciate esports is that the industry is growing by leaps and bounds. Once a tiny niche, esports have achieved far more global popularity over the last decade.
That being said, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to make money with esports gambling.