eSports Betting: More Popular Than Ever
eSports wagering, though gaining in popularity, was a bit of an unknown for most sports bettors until the recent shutdown of major sporting events. Now, everything has changed.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc on world sporting events, a bigger interest in eSports and the gambling opportunities presented by the sport emerges.
While sports bettors can’t wager on the NBA, NHL, or MLB, they can wager on eSports matches. Most online sportsbooks have shifted gears from offering traditional wagering options to those for some of the top eSports.
Here’s what you need to know about competitive eSports, the fastest growing segment in the sports betting industry.
4 Top eSports Games
Those who wish to explore wagering on eSports must first familiarize themselves with the top four eSports games. Although wagering on Madden, NBA2K, and NASCAR iRacing has become popular, those aren’t the most important eSports for you to be familiar with. If you really want to become an eSports wagering expert, you must know about League of Legends, Counter-Strike, Dota 2, and Overwatch.
League of Legends
How popular is League of Legends? Would you say that a sport that attracts more than 100 million viewers for it’s championship game is popular? That’s how many fans LoL, as League of Legends’ fans call it, attracted for their 2019 title match. League of Legends remains one of the most popular eSports in the world.
The thing to know about League of Legends game play is that success relies on a team effort. Right now, SK Telecom T1 is the top squad on the planet. SK plays in the Korea Championship League. Other squads in the Korea Championship tear it up as well. Gen.G, Afreeca Freecs, and KT Rolster are all excellent LoL squads.
Also, don’t forget about the Chinese Lol League. SK Telecom 1 beat FunPlus Phoenix, the 2019 Chinese Lol League Champions, last year for the world title.
There’s nothing difficult about Counter-Strike. Perhaps, the most difficult thing for bettors to understand is why it’s called CS:Go. In Counter-Strike, one team tries to detonate a bomb. The other team tries to stop them from detonating a bomb. That’s it.
Let’s break it down! Counter strike and go detonate or turn off that bomb. Sounds simple enough; but it isn’t! The top eSports players from the United States are often Counter-Strike players. One of the reasons is because CS:GO is one of the earliest eSports that had tournaments on which people could wager.
Counter-Strike even has their own dynasty. Astralis from Denmark has won 3 straight CS:GO championships. They often offer odds at around -1000 or lower to beat their opponent.
Dota 2 has a yearly tournament that takes place in August called The International. It’s one of the top eSports tournaments on the planet. It draws the best teams from all over the world and provides a purse of $2 million. That’s a lot of bucks for an eSports tournament.
Where there's money in a tournament, there are wagering opportunities. That’s the same thing for eSports. How do you play Dota 2? Although it’s not all that important for you to know, the game is sort of like Counter-Strike. The “bomb” in this case is called the Ancient.
This past summer Nintendo released an Overwatch game for the Switch. The Japanese company was one of the last console makers to have an Overwatch game. Overwatch has been one of the most popular eSports games for years. In the early years, console owners played online with other similar console owners. XBOX owners played with XBOX owners. PS4 owners played with PS4 owners.
Nobody wagered because, well, Overwatch tournaments weren’t organized the way Dota 2, League of Legends, and Counter-Strike tournaments were. That changed about 3 years ago. Sports owners like the New England Patriots’ Robert Kraft created teams to compete in the Overwatch League.
The Overwatch League consists of 20 teams that play matches on a weekly basis. There’s a regular season just like the NFL. At the end of the regular season, the league has a playoffs and then there’s a championship.
eSports Tournament Happen Every Week
Three of the four eSports highlighted above have both leagues and specific tournaments. Only Overwatch primarily has a league. But for the other three eSports, you can find matches almost every day of the week.
All you must do is check your sportsbook for that day’s matches, do your handicapping, and place your wagers.
How to Handicap and Wager on eSports
If you’re familiar with soccer wagering, you know how to bet on eSports. You can wager on either a handicap or on the moneyline. Handicap wagers are for games. In eSports matches, teams often play more than one game. It’s usually best of three or best of five. Here’s an example:
Astralis -2 +110
mousesports +2 -125
Or, you can wager on the moneyline for the match.
Switch Your Players to eSports
If you’re a pay per head bookie, the PPH company you work with should offer eSports wagering. You can keep your players entertained by introducing them to eSports; at best, you’ll add a new interest to their regular repertoire of gaming. At worst, you’ll keep them busy during this regular sporting events downtime.
Also, don’t forget that major sports leagues like NASCAR, NFL, and NBA have gotten into the eSports game; make sure your per head partner also offers wagering on traditional sports e-matches, sometimes called simulated sports, where betting is plentiful.