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The Complete Beginners Guide to Esports Betting
Esports quietly evolved over the last decade to become the fastest growing sport in America, alongside Major League Soccer. With the pandemic forcing the normal 2020 MLS season into taking a back seat and more people staying at home under lockdown – Esports saw a massive jump in viewership.
With real sports stadiums only opening in a few select states in 2021 and to limited crowds, the real sports world is still suffering the effects of the pandemic.
However, Esports continues to see a rise in new players, leagues, and competition across the globe, with some big-money tournaments attracting millions of viewers and players on streaming platforms.
Estimates show esports betting revenues in 2020 are up 39%, thanks to the pandemic, with total revenues approaching $343-billion. That’s a huge overshoot of the original $200-billion projection for industry revenues by 2022.
Today, esports tournaments continue to attract players from the US and worldwide, with some impressive prize money up for grabs. As a side note, The International 2019 DOTA 2 Championships offered gamers a huge prize pool of over $34-million.
Over the last decade, we’ve seen a huge impact of technology in every aspect of our lives, and it seems like the human race is moving everything online. The recent surge in “NFTs” shows people are willing to pay for virtual ownership. From the price of some of the NFTs, it’s clear that some people take the virtual world very seriously.
So, we can expect to see the continued rise of the esports trend over the next decade. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise us to see more corporate sponsors entering the industry, making it comparable to competing in real-world sports with top-paying salaries like European professional clubs.
However, it’s important to note that esports was on the rise long before the pandemic arrived. What’s causing the shift to the tech-inspired universe?
The Impact of Gen Z on Esports
“Generation Z,” otherwise known as “Gen Z” or affectionately as the “Zoomer” generation, is causing the massive uptick of tech into culture and society. These individuals now represent a significant percentage of people moving into adulthood over the next twenty years.
This generation grew up with smartphones in their hands and broadband access with a click. As a result, Zoomers have a natural integration of tech into their lives, amplifying its effects in society.
It’s no coincidence that the majority of users on streaming platforms like Twitch are Zoomers. The growth of Generation Z correlates to the growth in esports. These individuals have no problem playing or watching FIFA online or a real premier league game on cable.
To them, it provides a very similar experience. The key is in the gaming experience. Zoomers rely on engagement in games. When they participate in the digital universe, like in FIFA, they feel they have a vested interest in the outcome. They also feel like they have the power to control the experience.
In reality, they have both.
The growth in esports comes from its ability to offer more user engagement than traditional sports. Zoomers and millennials are all about “engagement.”
Fortunately, along with the growth of esports comes a growth in esports betting. Today, there are bookies online taking action on esports events. You get the same experience as gambling on real sports but in a virtual environment.
This is a complete guide for esports betting.
Influencers Driving Esports to Global Acclaim
As mentioned, esports are a Gen Z game; they have the keys to the empire. Generation Z is the first “influencer” generation, with some esports personalities having millions of dedicated followers. In fact, some esports players have better social followings than some of the top professional real-world sports stars.
These influencers also reach out into the community, attracting society’s elite into their circle, further expanding their celebrity status. A great example is “Faze Clan.”
The Clan originally started as a “Call of Duty” team. However, they evolved over the years to turn into one of the most dominating teams in various esports categories.
Faze Clan has celebrity status on platforms like Twitch and Instagram, with millions of followers. With a net worth of over $300-million, it’s safe to say they have enough influence to bend society.
A good example is the induction of Bronny James, son of NBA star LeBron James. The youth famously joined Faze Clan to boost his profile in the esports community.
What are the Most Popular Esports Games and Leagues?
So, now that you have some more history on esports, it’s time to understand the playing field. Esports tournaments occur in physical locations or online. In 2020, the industry moved to an almost exclusively streaming-based model, and it didn’t seem to have any adverse effect on the viewing numbers.
In fact, the industry grew in numbers as more new users decided to check out esports in the wake of their favorite professional sports leagues closing in the wake of the pandemic.
Esports offered a hygienic, safe alternative to sitting in a crowded stadium or competing with a team of athletes. However, esports doesn’t only encompass sports games like football. In fact, the most popular games don’t have a sports theme at all.
The most popular games all hold tournaments each year to uncover the top dogs in the gaming world. These tournaments are for elite players only, and the prizes reach millions of dollars.
Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf (16-years old at the time) famously won the Fortnite World Cup in 2019, netting himself $3-million in prize money.
Some of the most popular esports tournaments include the following.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CSGO)
As the fourth title in the Counterstrike series, CSGO offers players one of the most exciting esports experiences available.
The game involves terrorists, and counter-terrorists pitted against each other in combat. The two teams of operators eliminate each other while completing other objectives during the game.
League of Legends
With over 8-million users, League of Legends offers players the chance to develop “Champions.” Each Champion has unique abilities, allowing players to battle individually or as teams.
As the second part of the DOTA series, this game is one of the most lucrative for players. The game involves teams of five players, with teams defending bases from attack while destroying the opposing players “Ancient.”
Fortnite Battle Royale
Fortnite Battle Royale is the top-trending game in the Fortnight series. The game offers you individual player mode or team mode with up to three other players.
Fortnight has some incredible tournaments with excellent prize money and one of the biggest followings of any esports game.
FIFA isn’t only for the Xbox or PS$. It’s now a global game with teams playing against each other around the globe.
Some of the top teams in the world receive excellent sponsorships, and prize money in top tournaments is astronomical.
Are there Any Other Popular Esports?
While we just discussed the “big 5” of esports, plenty of others offer excellent viewing and player opportunities. Some of the other well-known esports games offering tournaments include the following.
Call of Duty
Everyone knows the Call of Duty series. While CSGO is the preferred option for most players, COD still has a huge following online.
This fantasy strategy game is another top contender in the esports space. The game has a cult following and offers a follow-on series from the hugely popular StarCraft: Brood War.
This racing game has rocket-powered vehicles in teams of up to four players locked in competition. It’s a thrilling and exciting esport to play and watch.
Heroes of the Storm
This battle-based game has plenty of in-game transactions, and the team-play of the game has you destroying the opponent’s “Core.”
This online card game involves a Hero and a deck of cards. However, it’s not your traditional card game. Players use Mana Crystals for summoning minions or abilities for attacking the opponent’s Hero.
What are the Noteworthy Esports Tournaments?
Esports continues to grow in popularity around the world. There are hundreds of esports tournaments streamed live throughout the year on different platforms. If you’ve never witnessed an esports event, then your first one is a sight to behold.
An esports event offers the players prestige in the gaming community and plenty of prize money. Famously, UFC superstar Sean O’Malley is an avid gamer, competing in esports, and he’s even won large tournaments.
Competing in esports for prize money is a full-time occupation for many gamers, like the Faze Clan. Competing and placing consistently in top tournaments means that players get a reputation and a decent income from competing in tournaments involving their passion in life.
Here are some of the top esports tournaments offering the highest viewership and prize money.
This tournament is for the DOTA 2 game, funded and organized by the game developers. The Valve Corporation also allows for crowdfunding during the contest through the sales of in-game Battle Passes.
The International was the most anticipated esports tournament of 2020, but it never took place. With the pandemic coming to a head in many nations around August, the Valve Corporation decided to call its Stockholm event off.
It’s a shame because it’s the first time the International would take place in Europe since 2011. The International is like the Olympics of the esports world, but there’s no information online about plans to host it in 2021.
Fortnite World Cup
The Fort Night World Cup is another hugely popular event in the esports world. Hosted by Epic Games, this Fortnite Battle Royale tournament is currently the most-viewed esports event in history. The 2019 World Cup had more than 2.3 million users streaming the finals on YouTube and Twitch.
The venue sold out 23,700-tickets, offering a $30-million prize pool for players. However, the pandemic caused the interruption of the Fortnite tournament in 2020, with many players moving online to different, smaller tournaments.
ESL Pro League
This league is for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament players and spectators. The ESL Pro League is under organization by the E-Sports Entertainment Association League (ESEA) and the Electronic Sports League.
This tournament doesn’t offer players the largest prize pools, but there is still plenty of interest from players worldwide. The industry regards it as the premier Counter-Strike: Global Offensive league in the world.
The 2019 ESL Pro League offered players a total prize pool of $600,000, which pales compared to the prize money on offer at the International or Fortnight tournaments.
League of Legends World Championship
Riot games organize the LOL world championships, with a decent prize pool of $2,225,000 for the 2019 event.
The LOL World Championships scheduled for Shanghai in 2020 never happened, thanks again to the pandemic, and there’s no word on a date for the next tournament.
How Do I Stream Esports Live?
So, you can see that esports are popular, and the competitive side of it offers some serious prize money in the bigger tournaments. There are two primary platforms used for streaming the events – YouTube and Twitch.
Twitch is the go-to platform for streaming live esports events. There are over a billion hours of content digested through the platform every day – that’s a staggering amount.
After its acquisition by tech giant Amazon in 2014, Twitch became one of the biggest players in the esports streaming market, offering a massive variety of esports. From popular options like CGSO, League of Legends, and Fortnite, to other games and smaller events.
You have the option of watching professional tournaments of matches or watching your favorite influencers prepare for an upcoming tournament. Many users enjoy watching their favorite influencers play a random game online during the week, and thousands of streamers make a living this way.
Twitch also offers users chat rooms where they can communicate with other viewers during a live stream. As a result, Twitch was the first platform to improve the “engagement” for Gen Zs to start getting more value out of the site.
YouTube Gaming is catching up to Twitch as the leading streaming site for esports. While it’s the next best option compared to Twitch, you don’t get as many options for streaming tournaments.
The reason for the lower viewership is that most professional gaming corporations that organize the tournaments see Twitch as the more accessible and popular platform.
Interestingly, YouTube doesn’t have more popularity with streamers. The platform offers live streaming tools, and it also lets users upload streams and store them in their channel for viewing at a later stage. YouTube also provides better buffering for mobile streaming compared to Twitch.
Still, Twitch remains the leading streaming platform for esports. We don’t see this changing anytime soon, and there aren’t really any competitors to Twitch on the horizon right now.
How Do I Bet On Esports?
So, now you understand more about esports, the top games, leading tournaments, and the best streaming platforms. Now it’s time to look at betting on esports.
Esports not only offer huge prize money opportunities for players. It also provides betting opportunities available for those individuals that want to watch live.
The amount of money in esports is staggering, and the betting industry around it continues to grow at breakneck speed. There are several betting platforms online working with esports.
The place a bet, you’ll need to understand how everything works.
The betting odds on your esports game represent the bookie’s probability of the expected outcome. In esports betting, that means the team you’re placing your money on. The odds can reflect differently depending on your location around the world and the betting platform.
Since esports are international, there are several formats of displaying odds on different betting sites. For example, the top three used in esports are the American or moneyline, the decimal, and the fractional systems.
The most common betting odds used on international sites is the decimal model. We’ll give you an example of how this works.
If we take an example of betting odds for beginners, we’ll say we want to place a bet on Furia vs. Astralis in a game of CSGO, with Team Astralis to win.
There are three basic components of every bet.
- The Platform – The format chosen by the bookie (fractional, decimal, or American).
- The Odds – The bookie’s payout to you based on the platform.
- The Bankroll -The money you’re betting on your esports tournament.
In our example, we would look at it like this.
Esports Bet Example
The bookie we choose uses the decimal odds format. The odds are 1.60 for Astralis to win, compared to Team Furia at 2.50 odds.
The money in our bankroll allows us to pace a $100 bet (remember to set yourself a maximum bet limit). We choose to place our bet on Team Furia for the win.
The bookie calculates our potential winnings against our betting ticket, multiplying the $100 by the odds they have on offer.
It’s a simple formula; bet x odds = potential return.
In the case of our example, it’s 100 x 2.50 = $250.
So, if Team Furia wins, we land payment of $250 from the bookie for our winnings.
This sum includes the original bet, known as the “stake,” and the $150 profit. To calculate your potential gains, you’ll subtract the bet from the odds. Therefore, the formula adjusts to the following:
Bet (stake) x (odds – 1) = your actual profit. For this example, it’s 100 x (2.50 – 1) = $150.
The bookie will offer you odds based on the implied probability of the favored outcome. If the odds are low, there’s a higher probability the team will win in the eyes of the bookmaker.
So, for our example, we’ll win significantly more by placing a bet on Team Furia than on Team Astralis. With the 1.60 odds with Team Astralis, the formula looks like this.
100 stake (bet) x 1.60 (odds) = 160 (potential return). detracting one from the odds, multiplying it with the stake grants us a profit of $60, provided we have a winning wager.
The bet on Team Astralis is the better option of paper, considering they can win the match.
However, the return is lower. Therefore, if you have inside knowledge of the teams or know the history that Furia is usually an upset bout with Astralis, you could reap a handsome profit from betting against the odds.
Sometimes, the odds change during the week leading up to the tournament as more news comes regarding the payers and teams. Keeping an eye on the odds helps you get a feel on the expected outcome, and when you get an A+ betting opportunity, you can’t pass up.
Strategy Tips for Betting On Esports
Are you thinking about using your stimmy check to fund your start at your esports betting career? Sure, there are plenty of gamblers out there that make a living at betting, so why can’t you?
The reality is, being a professional gambler is a challenging career choice. It’s a lot of pressure, and you need to have your finger on the pulse of the gaming world 24/7.
Most people who attempt to make a living out of betting on esports eventually fail, but why?
The reason why some people fail with betting, and others make a ton of money consistently – is the strategy they use when betting.
Less than 0.01% of all betters that want to choose it as a career path end up failing, and it’s because they can’t have a strategy.
A strategy is a set of rules or ideas that help the career gambler find the right betting opportunities. It takes years for these individuals to hone and fine-tune their strategy to produce consistent results.
With the right strategy, you can avoid the pitfalls facing newcomers to career gambling. Strategy is also useful for your hobbyist gambler that only wants to place a bet now and again.
To get you off the ground, we’ll give you a few strategy tips and some advice for betting on esports.
Research Your Esports
If you want the best chance of success with your bets, you need to know the ins and outs of your esports. You’ll need to get on top of the industry jargon and slang, how to compare odds, exploit bonuses, and more.
However, nothing will account for the experience you accumulate when placing your esports bets. The more bets you place, the more your mind becomes accustomed to betting and understanding betting rules on esports.
It’s like anything else in life; the more you understand a topic, the better you perform with it. If you want to know about premier league football, you spend hours dissecting team performance, player stats and transfers, and more.
It’s the same with esports. You need to understand every aspect of the game by expanding your knowledge base. Read everything you can on esports websites, and watch esports channels on YouTube to optimize your knowledge base.
Don’t Overthink the Bet
Doing your due diligence on the bet is important. However, it’s important not to overthink your bet, or you might talk yourself out of it.
If the bet meets the parameters of your strategy, and you have the due diligence to confirm your betting decision, place your bet and move on to the next one.
If you start dwelling on your decisions, you’re going to end up second-guessing yourself. As a result, you might switch your bet at the last minute, losing out on the win and the profits.
Even worse, you could end up winning after switching the bet. That would further confuse you, making you think your strategy doesn’t work.
Understand the Principles of Bankroll Management
Bankroll management is a critical aspect of betting. It’s also referred to as “risk management.” This strategy stops you from “going all in” with your bankroll, taking a catastrophic loss where you can’t recover your finances.
Bankroll management helps you create your rules for how much you can afford to place on a bet. You’ll always be thinking in terms of what you can afford to lose or your “risk tolerance.” In other words, if you have $100, are you comfortable with losing all of that on one bet? That’s you’re risk tolerance.
If $100 is all you have for the month, and you want to take four bets in four weeks, your risk tolerance would be $25, or 25% of your total bankroll.
Study the Esports Event Calendar
Don’t start betting on esports matches blindly. Professionals map out every game in the season, and they monitor the event schedule leading up to each tournament. The top betting specialists will analyze player performance leading up to matches, seeing if any team has the edge over another.
Betting on random matches is the easiest way to beat down your bankroll into oblivion. When you don’t have an edge in the bet, then there’s no point in placing any money on the action – you may as well drop it in a slot machine at the casino. Without a strategy, you have no edge, and you’re relying on lady luck.
Try Esports Special Bets
Ensure you look at your betting options before ending up in a perpetual cycle of match-winner bets. If you find match-winners frustrating, you’ll prevent any opportunity of a good bet variety in your wagers.
Whether we’re discussing your totals, your player vs. player bets, or the handicaps, esports specials offer you the difference for filling in your accumulator the gaps.
If you have a good eye for finding value, you’ll eventually stumble on a great opportunity now and then.
What are the Most Common Newbie Esports Betting Mistakes?
Newbies to esports need to understand the importance of strategy in betting and how it affects their outcomes.
However, there are plenty of other mistakes newcomers can avoid making with a little research before they get their feet wet in the betting market.
Avoid Playing with the Blinkers On
Most people placing bets in the esports world look at games like CSGO and DOTA 2 for betting opportunities. While those tournaments do offer great bets, there are also plenty of options in other esports.
Branching your interest into other esports may help you find a market you have better success in betting on at the bookie.
Unless you already have a significant amount of time invested in due diligence in a specific game, maybe it’s a good idea to look for alternatives before committing to one avenue.
Many newcomers to esports betting enter knowing not what to expect from the experience. They might get a win and decide this is for them, and they are now a betting guru. This kind of overconfidence can cause them to make catastrophic mistakes.
The overconfidence might cause them to throw bankroll management out of the window. As a result, they end up taking a loss which wipes them out.
Esports Betting FAQs
What are the biggest Esports games in 2021?
There are dozens of top esports titles to stream, play, or spectate. Some of the most popular esports titles include Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (GCSO), Fortnite, League of Legends, and DOTA 2.
What are the top Esports tournaments?
Some of the top esports tournaments in the world include The Fortnite World Cup, The International, and the League of Legends World Championship.
Which sites are the best for streaming Esports?
YouTube and Twitch offer you the best streaming venues for esports tournaments and gameplay. However, Twitch is the leading platform, with most corporations choosing it for streaming events.
Can I make a living betting on Esports?
Yes, there are plenty of people making a living with esports. However, being a professional gambler isn’t the best career choice for everyone. Very few professional gamblers end up staying profitable for long periods in their career.
Is betting on Esports events legal?
Yes, betting on esports is entirely legal. Many of the same venues that take legal action for real sports will also offer you esports options.