eSports betting is almost the same as betting on traditional sports events on most betting sites. In eSports betting, the most common form of betting is betting on the winner of a match, also known as the outright or the moneyline. The concept is easy to understand: a bettor places a wager on the team they think will win the match.
The betting odds are provided by the betting site, and represent the likelihood of victory. Odds can be presented to you in one of three different ways, and that will depend on where you’re betting from. eSports is and has always been an international pastime, and so is eSports betting. Odds can be expressed as: American (a.k.a. moneyline), decimal, and fractional. Most sites display odds in decimal format, as they’re considered to be the easiest to understand. We’ll use decimal odds in our examples below.
* Please note that international laws require users to be over the age of 18 in order to sign up to online betting sites and to place bets of any kind.
For our beginners’ example of match win betting, we’ll place a bet on a Counter Strike: Global Offensive match between Cloud9 and Faze Clan. There are three essential, basic things that every bettor needs to think about before putting down any wagers:
For our example, these three factors will be as follows:
We decided to put a $100 bet on FaZe clan to win.
What the betting site does to calculate our potential returns on this bet is they multiply our bet by the odds that were offered. It’s a simple calculation: Wager x odds = expected return. In our case, we wagered $100, and the odds were 2.50. Our expected returns would be $100 (wager) x 2.50 (odds) = $250 (return if it’s a winning bet). This is inclusive of the original bet, so of the $250, $100 was our original bet, and the remaining $150 would be our total profit.
If we want to calculate our profit, we can either do what we did above, which is calculate total returns and then subtract the wager from the result; or a simpler calculation. All we need to do is subtract one from the given odds, and then do the same initial calculation as above.
Taking our example bet of $100 on FaZe clan, the odds on that bet were 2.50. If we subtract 1 from the odds, we’re left with 1.50. If we multiply our bet by these odds, the result will be the pure profit potential of the bet: $100 (our wager) x 1.50 (odds of 2.50 – 1) = $150.
The odds that bookmakers and betting sites offer are in direct relation to the perceived probability of that being a winning bet. The lower the odds (i.e. the lower the return), the more likely the bet is to succeed according to the bookmaker (i.e. the lower risk involved in betting). The higher the odds (i.e. the higher the return), the less likely the bet is to succeed (i.e. the higher risk involved in betting) according to the bookmaker.
In the example bet we’ve been using so far, a successful bet on Faze Clan would yield much higher rewards than a successful bet on Cloud9, as the bookmaker had pegged Cloud9 as much more likely to win. IWe can see this by using our original formula:
$100 (our bet) x 1.60 (odds for Cloud9 to win) = $160
$100 (our bet) x 2.50 (odds for FaZe to win) = $250
Using our profit-calculating formula makes this difference even more clear:
$100 x 0.60 (odds for Cloud9 – 1) = $60
$100 x 1.50 (odds for FaZe -1) = $150
This large difference here, as we said above, is due to the difference in the likelihood that the team would win. Betting on Cloud9 would arguably be a better bet, as the bookmaker has predicted that they would have a 62.5% chance of winning, while FaZe only had a 37.5% chance of winning. The reason betting on FaZe in this hypothetical match would potentially yield much higher returns is because it is a much bigger risk, and the likelihood of the bet yielding those returns is much lower. Betting on Cloud9 in this hypothetical match might yield lower potential returns, but bettors are far more likely to actually see those returns and the risk involved is much lower.
eSports betting works just like betting does for traditional sports, races, and any other category that people bet real money on. A wide variety of factors influence bettors decisions, such as their knowledge of the teams involved, their skill levels, their personal quirks, and even which teams happen to be their favorite. While it might seem easy to just place bets on the lowest odds, as that’s what the bookmaker interprets as the lowest risk bets, we’d like to remind our readers that bookmakers do not actually have the ability to see the future, and have indeed been wrong many times. For this reason, we strongly encourage our readers to take the time to get to know the teams, the games, and to do any research they can before placing wagers to avoid disappointment.
Taking the hypothetical match between Cloud9 and Faze that we’ve been using so far: while the bookmaker might have rated Cloud9 as far more likely to win based on their recent matches and the previous times Cloud9 and FaZe had faced off. However, we as bettors might have noticed that Cloud9 needed to use two back-benchers in their match roster, and that these particular replacement players are new to Cloud9 and might not work as well in a team as FaZe clan’s roster of players who have been playing together for months. This change in player lineup might actually mean that FaZe clan is a lot more likely to take home a win than the bookmaker’s odds reflect, meaning the amount of risk associated with the bet is lower than it seems, and the potential return is still quite high.
Before we go into more detail and start directing you to our betting guides, player profiles, and operator reviews, let’s take a look at the types of bets that you’re likely to see being offered on eSports betting sites.
You’ll see a lot of reference to “betting markets” on our site, and some of you may be wondering what they are. These are basically bets on specific things that might happen during a match, or bets on winners of individual rounds as opposed to the match as a whole. Here are some common betting markets that you’re likely to see on a variety of games:
First Blood: This is placing a bet on which team will get the first kill of the match or round. This is applicable to most games that can be bet on, with Counter Strike: Global Offensive, League of Legends, StarCraft II, and Dota 2 being the most common games to feature this betting market.
Map Winner: Most eSports Tournament matches consist of a number of rounds, and each round is generally played on a different map. This betting market deals with betting on which team or player wins a specific round or map, as opposed to winning the match as a whole. Counter Strike: Global Offensive, Rocket League, League of Legends, Overwatch, Dota2 matches all regularly feature this betting market.
Kill Count >x: A lot of eSports titles involve players directly taking each other out. Some games have the player’s characters respawn, and in other games character death means remaining dead until the next round. This type of betting market can either be betting on which team gets the most kills, or betting on a team getting more than a certain number of kills. Games like Fortnite, Overwatch, and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds are all prime contenders for this betting market.
Every licensed and regulated online betting site will have a variety of trusted banking methods for depositing and withdrawing funds so you can start your eSport betting with peace of mind. The most common methods would be using credit and debit cards such as Visa, Maestro, and MasterCard due to how common they are and the security they provide.
Many eSports betting operators also use digital wallets such as PayPal, Skrill, Neteller, AstroPay, and PaysafeCard, which also adds another layer of protection to your payments, though these digital wallets may have their own fees for processing transactions.
A growing number of eSports betting operators are also beginning to accept cryptocurrency payments. The most commonly accepted cryptocurrencies that are accepted tend to be BitCoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH), however some betting platforms have even created their own cryptocurrencies for an added layer of security. As cryptocurrency transactions all run on blockchain technology, these are potentially the most secure payment options that users can find.
Know the game: As we said above, looking at odds can be a great indication of where is best to play your bets, but eSports betting operators aren’t infallible. The more you know about how the game works and what the game mechanics are, the easier it will be for you to make decisions on the fly during live eSports betting. This is why each one of our game overviews and betting guides includes a section explaining gameplay.
Learn about the players: Just like when betting on traditional sports, remember that every eSport is played by eAthletes. Different eAthletes have different playstyles, relationships and dynamics with other team members, map preferences, etc. Each of our game overviews and betting guides includes a section on the top live streamers for each game, which will help you with both the point above and with getting an opportunity to watch the players in action before betting on them. We even have a section of the website dedicated to in-depth profiles of live streamers and eAthletes