As the world of online betting has expanded to the extent of covering almost every type of professional sport, it was inevitable that sooner or later esports would draw the attention of major bookmakers. Even if your views on what is considered a “sport” border between traditional and conservative, you have to agree that two teams battling each other on an arena of sorts, looks awfully familiar to any other team sport. Although e-sports were barely a thing 20 years ago, primarily due to poor internet connections, nowadays they are a multimillion business with countless of die-hard fans from everywhere around the world.
From obscurity to prominence
The first multiplayer video game (esport) that managed to draw large crowds of fans was Valve’s, Counter Strike, during the early years of the millennium. Although various tournaments were organized on other video games which had a significant player base at the time (Starcraft, World of Warcraft 3), only CS boasted professional players that actually made their living thanks to sponsors. It was also at this time that many cable channels from around the world started transmitting live action from major and minor tournaments. Such paid channels were nonetheless shut down, as free online streaming services like twitch, took over.
Organized betting became a part of esports around 2006, as bookmakers saw the potential of the then untapped market. Today many betting firms include e-sport matches on their sportsbook, while some, such as NetBet, even offer hefty bonuses specifically to esports bettors. Besides Counter Strike, DOTA (World of Warcraft Defence of the Ancients) and LOL (League of Legends) became the other two most recognisable titles, that have managed to attract the fans’ interest, to this day.
What can you bet on?
Although there are countless multiplayer games offered on dedicated e-sports betting platforms, we will focus on those offered mostly on sports betting bookies.
League of Legends (LOL). Two teams consisting of five players, battle each other in a 2d arena, split in 3 lanes. Whichever team destroys the enemy base, wins the game.
World of Warcraft Defence of the Ancients 2 (DOTA 2). Similar to LOL, it consists of two 5 member teams fighting each other in order to clear the enemy base. Due to better coverage and the higher prize pools, bettors tend to prefer watching and wagering on DOTA instead of LOL.
Counter Strike:Global Offensive (CS:GO). This is the title that made esports mainstream. Two teams (terrorists & counter terrorists) are pitted against each other, usually consisting of 5 players, although certain tournaments may have different rules regarding this number. The aim of the terrorist team is to successfully place and detonate a bomb on a specific site. Counter terrorists are tasked with either eliminating the opposition before they can place the bomb, or defusing the bomb before it detonates. If one team manages to kill all the opponents in the game at any time, they win the round.
Another game that is currently on the rise but has not yet found itself on major sportsbooks is Rocket League. This game combines racing and football, as players control a sports car on a football pitch, with the aim of putting a giant sized ball in the opponents’ net. A sizeable fan base has already been created, consisting of thousands of punters who try to predict the winner of each match.
The most common markets on e sport betting include:
Match winner. This one is pretty obvious, as you must correctly predict which team will end up as winners. If the difference between two teams is significant, then a handicap will be offered, where the line concerns the final score (kills/deaths)
Map betting. Similar to the match winner, you must pick which team will win on a separate map. You can also bet whether a certain team will have more or less kills on an over/under market.
Special bets. These include which team will get the first kill (first blood) or who will kill first a certain special creature (baron, dragon etc.) Finally, you can bet on the exact score of a match, meaning that you must predict both the number of rounds and the match winner.
E-sports betting tips
Like on any other form of gambling, the age old motto applies to esports betting: Prepare and prevent, don’t repair and repent. This means that you should have an extensive knowledge on how a game is played and know each team’s strengths and weaknesses before you decide to place a bet on them. The good thing about e-sports is their coverage, which means that you can make a thorough investigation on the previous meetings between two teams and see how they perform when picking certain “heroes” on LOL or DOTA. We also advise that you seldom place your bets before the start of a match, unless a truly profitable opportunity is there for the taking. This is due to the fact that on certain video games, the first few minutes can influence the outcome of the entire round.
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