In the same way, you have professional athletes who play basketball and football; there are also professional “gamers” who compete in a large variety of video games in what is known as the esports scene. Although you can argue whether esports is a sport or not or whether anyone deserves to be paid to play video games, there is no denying that the esports scene has grown exponentially in the last decade and is one of the largest industries in the world. Learn more about Esports picks in this analysis.
There is no exact date of when esports began. Some dates point way back to October 19, 1972, when Stanford University students competed in Spacewar, but while this might be the first known esports tournament, the whole scene did not take off until the early 2000s.
The biggest handicap that prevented the esports scene from taking off was poor internet connectivity, limiting esports competition to LAN events organized mainly by individuals. However, things changed for the better thanks to the improvement in technology and mass building of broadband internet networks following the Asian financial crisis in 1997, allowing esports competition to feature global tournaments.
The growth of esports can largely be attributed to South Korea and the Korean e-Sports Association, which was founded in 2000 and served to promote and regulate esports in the country. It all began with the fighting game and StarCraft tournaments. Still, more esports titles joined in just a couple of years, while the appeal of the competitive video game scene expanded outside of Asia and into the Western World.
Over the next ten years, the esports scene continued to develop, but it wasn’t until the 2010s that it started experiencing tremendous growth, with increased viewership and prize money for its competitions. The expansion of the scene has not stopped since, and we’re not at a point where esports is not only a known industry but one of the largest in the world.
Nowadays, the popularity and viewership of esports tournaments can be comparable to some of the most significant sporting events, while the prize pools often reach millions of dollars.
One of the biggest milestones in the esports world that proved esports is more than just kids playing video games happened in 2019 when the League of Legends World Championship had over 100 million viewers – more than the Super Bowl.
Meanwhile, Dota 2’s The International in 2021 – equivalent to the World Championship tournament – broke the record as an esports tournament with the largest prize pool with $40,018,195 and $18.2 million winner’s share.
However, the most impactful event in the esports industry happened in September 2021, when the Olympic Council of Asia announced that eight games would be medal events at the 2022 Asian Games.
It’s hard to say what exactly was the catalyst to esports’ exponential growth over the last decade, but the improvements to the technology and the changing demographics indeed had something to do with it. But whatever it was, it’s hard to ignore how prevalent esports has become and its importance in the betting industry.
Esports Betting Picks
Esports does not include only one or two games, but rather a large selection of diverse video games, from racing games to first-person shooters, Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) games, and even card games. Of course, with so much diversity also comes a large selection of bets you can place.
Although the most common bets such as moneyline, handicaps, and totals are available in almost all esports titles, each has its own selection of special markets and proposition bets that will rarely be the same.
And since we’re talking about a large selection of different games, each with its own leagues and tournaments, you can also rest assured there will be something to bet on any day of the year. And no matter where you live, you will have something to bet on any time of the day, either at noon or in the morning or in the middle of the night.
One thing to note is that while esports tournaments run daily, 365 days a year, the major competitions have a break in the final weeks of December, during the Christmas and New Year festivities. Still, even then, some second-division leagues continue to run.
Betting on esports can be done in three ways. You either bet on a single game, tournaments (outrights), or in-play. So in terms of the types of bets available to you, there are no differences between esports and sports.
Generally, the bets you can place on esports are much different from those you would place on sports since there is nothing similar between League of Legends and basketball. However, there are some exceptions, including esports titles that are essentially sports simulations.
That includes Madden NFL, NBA2K, FIFA, and F1, which are video games of NFL, NBA, soccer, and Formula One. For example, in NBA2K, you can bet the same bets you would on the NBA, while Madden NFL esports games accept the same bets you can place on the NFL games.
These sports simulation esports titles also have leagues and seasons that are similar to the traditional sports – the Formula One esports seasons happen on the same tracks as the “real” Formula One.
So if we draw a line, you can bet on esports the same way you would on sports. While most esports titles introduce completely new versions of bets, the betting markets on some esports titles are exactly the same as in their “traditional sport” counterparts.
Esports Betting Odds
When looking at esports odds, you will quickly realize they will differ depending on which esports title you will bet on. For example, while you can bet on goals in Rocket League, you can only bet on kills on League of Legends and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
But while the bets are different across esports titles, the general idea behind them remains the same. Moneyline bets are still the same as with traditional sports, and the same holds true for handicaps, totals, futures, props, and so on.
But before you can bet on esports – or even sports – you need to know what do the odds mean, how to read them and what different bet types represent.
Reading the odds is likely the easiest thing to learn. Even though there are three different ways to write them (American, Decimal, Fractional), learning one should be enough since all sportsbooks allow you to change how the odds show on the site.
After you learn that, you should know what it means if Team A is priced at -150 and Team B is priced at +200. To give you a hint, in this example, Team A is the favorite, while Team B is considered as an underdog.
You can quickly read that by looking at which mathematical sign is ahead of the odds. The plus (+) indicates the underdog odds, while a minus (-) represents the favorite’s odds. Beyond that, the numbers also show how much money you can expect to win betting on either of the two teams.
In this instance, you would need to place a $150 wager on Team A (-150) to win $100. Meanwhile, a $100 bet on Team B (+200) will earn you $200.
This example might sound very simple, and it is. But the best part is that reading odds doesn’t get much more challenging than that, and it shouldn’t take you more than a day to learn everything there is to know about how to read betting odds.
Even learning what different bet types isn’t complicated, mainly because there are only four main ones you need to understand – moneyline, handicaps, and totals.
So as long as you have a basic understanding of how the betting odds work and do they mean, you should be set to bet on any esports title. That is, as long as you take your time to learn about the game, how it is played, and what is the end goal of the game.
Esports Betting Stats
Information and stats are your biggest friends when betting on esports. As with any aspect of our lives, knowledge is power, and that couldn’t be more true than in the world of betting.
Having access to information and stats about the players and teams is critical to your success as a bettor since you can’t bet on something you know nothing about. Likewise, you can’t properly evaluate the teams’ or players’ strength if you don’t have access to their stats.
Even though esports is relatively young, it’s straightforward to gain access to vital stats. Like there are websites with NBA or NFL stats, you won’t struggle to find websites with esports stats that will provide you with all the needed information to place bets.
But when it comes to esports betting, you will have to search for different stats depending on which esports title you bet on. While some games such as League of Legends and Dota 2 have very similar statistics that are useful when betting on either of the two, the stats you should look out for when betting on LoL are much different from the stats that are important when betting on CS:GO.
Like with anything, there are exceptions. Even though kills are not the primary goal of League of Legends, the number of kills a team averages per game can be as important as the average number of kills of a CS:GO team.
If you were to bet on Rocket League, you wouldn’t be searching for average kills since the players don’t kill each other in this esports title. Instead, you would be looking at teams’ average goals per game.
With so much diversity in the esports scene, there are different stats that are important, depending on the esports title you wish to bet on. And while that might sound overwhelming, it isn’t, as long as you understand what you’re betting on and which information you should be searching for.
Betting trends are just as prevalent in esports as they are in sports. And they can be dangerous, especially if you use them to wrongly justify a wager on a team.
That is not to say trends can’t be used efficiently, but you need to know where to look and how to interpret them, and only this way trends can get you a better insight into what it’s worth betting on. Most importantly, bettors should be able to spot which trends fall into what category and which are useful for betting.
An example of a trend is that an esports team usually does better on LAN than online play and is 10-5 on LAN, but only 6-7 in online play. Bettors might see this as an opportunity to bet on a team if the next game is played offline, but it’s important to consider when and how the team achieved their 10-5 record.
If the said team won 10 of their 15 LAN games, but only against weaker squads, their record might not hold as much weight. What’s more, the team might have achieved the 10-5 record in the previous split or before the game went through an update, so perhaps the team was not more efficient on LAN but were rather more efficient in the last game patch.
That is not to say that comparing the teams’ performances on LAN and online isn’t valuable, but you should keep in mind other factors. For example, did the team make changes to their roster, did they change their playstyle, or was there a game-changing update that shifted the meta – those are all things you need to consider when evaluating the team’s performance.
Admittedly, some teams are better on LAN than online. But most of the time, the meta shifts impact the teams’ performances more than the changing of the environment in which they compete.
How to Bet on Esports
Esports can be highly enjoyable to watch, but you can make the experience even more exciting by placing bets on the games. Although betting on esports can seem difficult for those unfamiliar with the competitive video game scene, that’s hardly the case.
Admittedly, it takes some time to learn the basics about the esports title you wish to bet on, but once you get the basics down, betting on esports is just as simple as betting on basketball, football, ice hockey, or any other traditional sport.
And since the basics behind betting on esports and sports are similar, the steps you need to take to make your esports betting endeavor profitable are also the same.
First and foremost, you need to register at a reputable sportsbook that offers markets on esports games. You should also pick a sportsbook with generous bonuses and promotions, preferably on esports titles.
The second thing is to learn about the esports title you wish to bet on and learn how to read esports odds. This step is arguably the most time-consuming, but since all esports titles are fairly easy to understand, it shouldn’t take you too long.
Lastly, you need to learn how to manage your bankroll as the most important step towards a lucrative betting journey. Only by managing your bankroll and not overbetting you will survive long dry streaks, which will happen no matter how good you are at betting on esports.
Esports Betting Frequently Asked Questions
Depending on where you live. Although betting on esports is legal across most of the world, some U.S. states might have laws prohibiting esports betting.
There are numerous esports titles out there, and you can bet on most of them. The selection of esports betting market will vary depending on the bookie you choose, but there should be at least a dozen markets to choose from.
The bet types on esports are the same as you would find betting on esports. Moneyline, to spread betting, handicap betting, totals, and prop bets are all available when betting on esports.
League of Legends, Dota 2, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive are three of the most popular esports titles amongst viewers and bettors.
The most recognizable and most successful esports organizations include G2 Esports, Natus Vincere, Team Vitality, G2 Esports, Fnatic, and OpTic Gaming.
The League of Legends World Championship and Dota 2 The International are two of the biggest esports tournaments in the world.
While LoL Worlds is the most-watched esports tournament, The International holds the record as the esports tournament with the largest prize pool in history (+$40 million).
Although Fortnite is technically not an esports title, you can bet on Fortnite tournaments that happen throughout the year and have odds available on almost all bookmakers.
CDL or Call of Duty League is a professional esports league for Call of Duty. It runs every year between February and August.