Esports are growing in popularity at an incredible rate. When I was growing up, the notion of esports didn’t exist. Everyone knew of the crazy StarCraft tournaments in South Korea. These were considered other-worldly and futuristic. Video games were most popular with children and a limited group of adults. Competitive gaming often translated into a long Mario Kart 64 session with some friends at a sleepover. Barring the crazy Quake and Street Fighter enthusiasts, major competitive events were rare at that time.
Today the scene is entirely different. The spectrum of people curious about video games is broader than it ever has been. Esports tournaments and events around the world attract massive live audiences and even larger streaming audiences. Last year, esports took in a staggering $696 million with over 385 million viewers worldwide. Naturally, the interest in gambling on Esports is growing proportionally.
Many people expect epsorts betting to snowball. This Forbes article surveyed a group of esports websites and found that 100% of the responding sites thought esports wagering was bound to grow in 2018. Naturally, excitement is high, and those interested in gambling are looking at esports as a new horizon.
So, you’ve taken an interest esports gambling. Where do you begin? How do you establish a strategy that will make sure you’re not wasting both your time and money?
Esports don’t behave exactly like other sports, but they do have some similarities. Accordingly, my most significant tip for betting on esports will sound familiar to anyone who often gambles on sports. There’s one fundamental rule that I’ve found everyone should follow: gain a deep familiarity with one game first, then expand out to other games when you become confident in your betting.
I’ve broken this one concept out into smaller parts to tackle one-by-one. First, I’ll explain why you need to consider each esport games differently. Next, I’ll talk about how to expand your strategy once you start seeing success. To wrap up, I’ll go over some games you can try out first-hand. This will speed up the process of learning the game and give you the key, useful insights for betting.
By the end of this post, you should understand why initially focusing your betting on one game will help you gain profitability and consistency.
Know How the Game You’re Betting on is Unique!
Some of you are probably rolling your eyes at me. This does seem like an obvious tip. Hear me out! It’s tempting to look at the esports gambling scene as one huge, homogenous glob. After all, they’re all video games, right? How different can they be?
It’s true that the action across certain games can look quite similar. The objectives and strategy behind each of these games can be immensely different, however. Each game in the esports scene has a significant level of depth and nuance. You’ll need to tailor your gambling strategy to each accordingly. Different games highlight different qualities in players. You’ll need to focus in on one game initially to start understanding what you’re looking for in a skillful player.
This probably comes as second nature to those who play a lot of video games. For gamblers looking in from the outside, it’s forgivable to look at the scene as a group of similar games. NFL and college football are dramatically different also, but many betting strategies can be applied to both. However, lumping esports together with your betting strategy will not work.
Look at a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS: GO) match and compare it to a game of Defense of the Ancients (DotA). The games hardly look similar. From the players’ perspective, the differences are only more significant. In keeping with this, the strategic nuance that makes a player or team worth betting is different between the two games. Both focus on quick decision making and reaction times, but the nature of how teamwork operates can vary drastically. DotA also contains a much more extensive element of long-term planning, while CS: GO favors short-term, quick planning.
The process of identifying a team with a strong sniping game in CS: GO takes an entirely different frame of reference from finding a DotA team with great teamwork. The concerns that go into playing each game are altogether different.
When two teams go against each other, studying their previous matchups can provide a crucial edge. The same is true of any gambling sport. You know that pretty much any team in the NFL is going to beat the Browns. You also know that a weak defense meeting an efficient offense will often lead to the offensive side winning. With esports, matchups can have different value based on which game is being played.
Another exciting game to look at is Overwatch. This is a game that has a much more structured league and approach than some other esports. The players take home full salaries, benefits, and play as a full-time job. This is entirely different from some other games. Other esports can be filled with players that are closer to hobbyists than full-time players. Personality and age can influence these sports more since they’re mainly freelancers. It’s a small example, but it illustrates just how different the scene around each game is.
The better you understand how the rules and objectives of a game function, the better you can evaluate each player and team. The only way to achieve real success in gambling is by identifying odds that are worth your money. Identifying value comes down to understanding which teams have the edge over the others. You may have some success without a deep knowledge of the game being played, but you’ll have a much harder time anticipating outsider wins or rising strategic trends.
Expand Your Range with Your Success!
You’ve taken the time to learn a single game. You’re starting to win some bets regularly and are making some money. You may think you’ve got a game nailed down and are ready to expand to other esports. Try to take it slow.
Different playing strategies in games come in and out of fashion. Games are often tweaked and changed to make sure there’s a balance between competitors. The game developers have no incentive for making one key strategy to winning a game, so they play with the formula every so often. This means that how effective certain teams are can change dramatically. If you don’t understand how the game you’re betting on functions, you won’t anticipate how the changes impact your betting model. One dependable bet can change into a long-shot overnight if you’re not aware of what’s going on with the “meta-game” as it’s often called.
You’ll find that focusing in on the detail of one game will also help you figure out the others. The best way to expand your betting range is to follow your success. Don’t go rushing into another game too quickly. Wait to find some level of consistency and let it form your expectations. Take your time! Once you see your strategy panning out well with one game, you can start applying your approach to other games.
Teamwork is a huge part of esports. Once you start getting a grasp on how collaboration manifests in one game, it will be easier to catch the signs of a solid team in a different game. The specific elements differ, but you’ll find it easier to pinpoint the deficiencies or advantages of a team in a new game if you’re already familiar with what made the team good in a different game.
Think of it is this way: football and basketball are almost utterly different games requiring entirely different skillsets. If you have a deep understanding of what makes a football team successful, you’ll have a better chance of identifying how those same factors work in a basketball team.
While a player’s ability to catch may not be quite as big of a deal to a basketball team as opposed to a football team, a player in either sport that’s in a contract year will perform better. This cross-sport strategizing takes time to develop. If you tackle each game individually, it’ll ensure you don’t overextend yourself.
Play the Game!
The best way to develop a deeper understanding of your chosen game is to play it. This may seem like another painfully obvious tip. Bear with me.
After all, it’s understandable that some gamblers may think of esports as too esoteric for them to take a swing at. It’s true that most of these games have a steep learning curve for players. While the likelihood of instantly understanding a game after just a couple of hours is slim, it can help you round out your understanding of the game’s nuances.
Some of the most prominent games in the esports world are free-to-play. Two of the biggest games in the esports community is DotA and League of Legends (LoL). The barrier to entry for these games is non-existent. Granted, you’ll have to invest time into understanding the mechanics of both. Fortunately, they are both based on the same core model of gameplay. It’s a great example of how zeroing in on a sector of esports helps with understanding different games and how to bet on them.
If you dip your toes into one of these games, it will at least help you develop a critical lens for evaluating different teams and their gambling odds. Playing the game gives you insight into what each player is doing.
It doesn’t take a drastic amount of time to gain this foundational knowledge. I’d highly recommend checking which games are available for free before you decide where you place your bets. Betting on a free-to-play game can give you an inside edge and help you develop a consistent strategy quicker.
That was a lot of information and opinion in a short period, so let’s do a quick recap to emphasize the biggest points.
The best way to win consistently is to develop a deep understanding of a single game. It’s as simple as that. If you try to bet on multiple games at once, you’ll split your attention. Dividing your attention means increasing the time it takes to develop a critical, insider’s eye for odds. You won’t be maximizing your strategy or your luck.
Once you have a complete understanding of one game’s mechanics and player strategy, you’ll have an easier time developing the details of your plan for other games. Some games have overlapping techniques and mechanics; some don’t.
Another huge part of understanding a single game is spending some time with it yourself. This will help you identify the elements of an individual gamers strategy that sets them aside from the more average competitors.
Stick to this principle, and you’ll be on your own to developing a consistent strategy for esports betting!