It is safe to say that interest in esports is hitting an all-time high. Increasingly, sports fans are turning their heads towards esports competitions. Likewise, in recent years, esports betting has become more and more popular. In this article, we will show you the ins and outs of esports and give you practical tips on esports betting.
Best Esports Betting Site: DraftKings
DraftKings has long been one of the most popular daily fantasy sites in the US. With their recent rollout of sports betting, the popularity has only continued to grow. DraftKings is currently the best place for esports betting in the states where it is legal.
DraftKings covers most of the major esports tournaments. Fans of League of Legends, for example, can bet on matches from the LCS, LEC, LCK, LPL, and the World Championship. The website also offers excellent promotional offers to both new and existing users.
Online Sportsbooks with Esports Betting
Here is the list of the top esports betting sites, together with the welcome offers you can get once you register. Note, esports betting events are sporadic in the US, with state-level regulators often requiring sportsbooks to receive special permission to offer esports odds and betting lines. Likewise, right now, it is only in Nevada and New Jersey that you can bet on esports. That said, fantasy esports is up and running at the top US DFS site, DraftKings.
What are Esports & How do I Bet on Esports?
Before we can talk about real money esports betting, we should start with the basics. So, what exactly are esports? Simply put, the term “esports” covers competitions where teams or individual players compete against each other by playing video games.
Esports tournaments are held around the world throughout the year either online or in venues. Although it might sound like a new trend, professional esports competitions have been around for nearly 20 years.
Much like with regular sports, there are regional leagues and world championships where professional esports teams compete in a variety of games. Some of the most popular ones include CS:GO, League of Legends, Dota 2, Overwatch, Fortnite, and Rocket League.
Fighting game tournaments with games like Super Smash Bros, Street Fighter, and Mortal Kombat are also hugely popular. Finally, although they’ve always had a loyal fanbase, titles like NBA 2K and FIFA have recently spiked up in popularity.
The list of games is by no means exhaustive, as new esports-focused titles are being developed all the time. It’s only a matter of time before the next one takes the industry by storm.
Esports attract massive amounts of viewers who fill out tournament venues or tune in through live streams. This is one of the main reasons why esports have turned into a billion-dollar industry, with massive sponsorships and tournaments offering millions in prize money.
Most of the major bookmakers have been offering esports gambling alongside regular sports for a couple of years now. However, it appears that they have only recently begun taking the market seriously. By now, most sportsbooks cover a wide range of games and tournaments, with competitive esports odds.
Next, we’ll discuss some of the ways esports betting might be different from traditional sports betting.
Esports Betting vs. Traditional Sports Betting
Generally speaking, there is very little difference between betting on traditional sports and esports betting. The procedure is basically the same. You select the market you want to bet on, build a bet slip, enter your stake and submit a bet. If you’ve ever placed a bet at an online sportsbook, you will know how to bet on esports.
To find the differences, you will need to scratch under the surface. For starters, while in-play ( or live) betting is quite common for traditional sports, it is not always allowed for esports.
Then, there are prop esports bets. Just like with traditional sports, betting on the outcome of a match is simple enough, but for prop bets, you need to dig deeper into the rules and strategies.
Since there are many different esports games, the variety of prop esports bets can be difficult to grasp. To the uninitiated, common esports terms like “first blood” or “1v3 clutch” can, understandably, sound extremely vague. Later on in the text, we will go through some of the most common esports betting types you can encounter.
Esports to Bet on in 2020
As we have said, esports gambling is currently going through an expansion. In particular, there is an increased interest in games based on real-world live sports.
Some of your favorite sports stars are getting in on the esports action, including the NBA 2K, and NASCAR in the form of virtual races. The matches and races are even being broadcast on ESPN and FOX Sports respectively.
NBA 2K Betting
NBA 2K by Electronic Arts is the most popular basketball video game. The franchise has been around for years, with EA coming out with a new iteration annually since 1999.
Recently, bettors had the chance to wager on the NBA 2K20 Players Tournament. The tournament featured 16 NBA players who competed against each other virtually in 1-on-1 games.
Although Trae Young and Kevin Durant were the early favorites, the Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker ended up winning. If you are planning to bet on NBA 2K, make sure you shop around with different sportsbooks for the best esports odds.
Although eNASCAR wasn’t on virtually any esports fan’s radar, recently it burst into the spotlight in a big way. It all started on March 29, when a virtual Texas Motor Speedway race drew record viewership for a televised esports event.
Around 1.3m viewers tuned in. Granted, the numbers pale in comparison to 100 million viewers who tuned into the League of Legends World Championship in 2019, but they were impressive nonetheless.
Fast forward to only a few days later, and we saw the birth of the 2020 eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series. NASCAR fans got the chance to see their favorite stars compete in virtual races. So far, there are races scheduled until early May, and we have seen a number of sportsbooks offer eNASCAR odds. FS1 has the broadcasting rights to all the races.
How Safe Is Betting on Esports Online?
One of the main concerns for many bettors is whether real money esports betting is safe. Although the industry isn’t immune to occasional cheating scandals or issues with data reliability, esports are generally at least as safe as traditional sports. If this doesn’t discourage you from betting on traditional sports, then there is no reason not to bet on esports.
How Do I Know Esports Tournaments Aren’t Rigged?
All of the major esports tournaments are strictly regulated. The esports industry as a whole is operating at a professional level, with regulations, rules and its own code of conduct. There is a lot riding on the success of esports teams and individuals (including lucrative sponsorship deals), so there is little incentive to intentionally throw matches.
Furthermore, apart from a good deal of oversight, the biggest esports tournaments attract millions of viewers. As a large portion of the viewers are gamers themselves, attempts at rigging a match or cheating can be relatively easily spotted.
If any rigging incident did happen, it is likely that the esports bets would be declared void, and that the sportsbook would issue refunds.
Bet Types in Esports Betting
Finally, we come to esports betting types. As promised, we will go through some of the most common betting types and give you a brief explanation of each one. Again, you should keep in mind that some of the betting types are specific to a particular game genre.
Whether we are talking about basketball or League of Legends betting, betting on the outright winner is one of the simplest betting types. As you might guess from the name, it refers to betting on the outright winner of a tournament. For example, LoL odds for outright winner depend on the number of participants and how far before or into the tournament you place your bet.
Although simple, betting on the outright winner of a tournament means that you will have to wait quite a bit before you find out if you won. That is, if you are lucky and the team you bet on lasts until the finals!
The term “first blood” is characteristic of MOBA games, like League of Legends or Dota 2. It’s when a team scores the first kill in a match. First kills can be pivotal in the early game, which is why they are especially important in competitive matches.
This is why you’ll always see LoL odds listed for this bet type. Additionally, this is one of the betting types which is resolved the quickest. This is because it usually happens within the first few minutes of a match.
First Team to Score 10 Kills
This one is more or less self-explanatory. In most esports, the number of kills usually corresponds to a team's success. So whether we are talking about Dota 2 betting or CS:GO betting, this is a betting type you will often encounter.
A head-to-head winner bet is basically the same as the outright winner, except it’s used when there are only two players or teams.
Most esports are played in several rounds, for example, best of 3, 5 or 7. When you bet that a team will win a map, you are actually betting that they will win a particular round or set of rounds.
Best of 3, 5, etc.
As we’ve said, best-of-3 and best-of-5 matches are very common in esports. Apart from the overall Bo3 or Bo5 winner, you will also be able to bet on the correct final score in a matchup.
Favorite vs. Field
You will see favorite vs. field bets when there is a clear tournament favorite. With this bet type, you are betting that any of the other teams will win the tournament instead of the favorite.
Mobile Esports Betting
Since most online sportsbooks offer sportsbook apps, betting on mobile is very common. Esports are usually part of the standard sports betting service, so you commonly won’t find a dedicated esports betting app. Nevertheless, even without a dedicated esports betting app, most major sportsbooks provide a seamless mobile betting experience.
League of Legends Betting
League of Legends is currently the most popular esport. In fact, LoL has reigned the esports scene for quite some time. Naturally, this has also made it very popular when it comes to esports betting. LoL Worlds betting attracts a huge number of bettors, every year.
You will usually have the opportunity to bet on regional leagues, like the LCS, LEC, and LPL, as well as the World Championships. Some of the specific LoL Worlds betting types include first baron or dragon and first inhibitor or tower. There are plenty of League of Legends betting tips and guides available online to help you get started.
CS:GO is the most popular competitive first-person shooter. The ESL Pro League is the most popular competition, where 24 teams compete against one another. Some of the popular CS:GO betting types include over/unders, total rounds, group winners and region winners.
Dota 2 Betting
Dota 2 betting has an extremely loyal fan base, so you will find Dota 2 odds in most online sportsbooks. Dota 2 and LoL belong to the same genre: MOBAs, or Mobile Online Battle Arenas. Therefore, you can expect similar bet types between these two games.
Many of the League of Legends betting tips can also be applied to Dota 2. That’s something you should have in mind when you bet at a Dota 2 betting site.
Rocket League Betting
Although not as popular as the other esports we have listed, Rocket League betting attracts a fair amount of interest. Rocket League betting usually includes betting on the Rocket League Championship Series. Since this is a soccer-style game (but with rocket cars), you will see bet headers like match winners, number of goals, assists, etc.
Biggest Esports Events
Here is a list of 10 of the biggest esports events you should be on the lookout for.
Top Esports Teams in 2020 to Watch
We’ve talked a lot about esports teams, so it’s time we introduce the 5 of the biggest ones.
Based in London and founded all the way back in 2004, Fnatic started off as a League of Legends team. In 2011, Fnatic players managed to win the first LoL World Championship. Apart from LoL, Fnatic also has one of the strongest CS:GO teams.
Newbee is a Chinese esports team that competes in Dota 2, LoL, and Hearthstone. Dota 2 is definitely their specialty, having won them more than $12m in prize money so far.
Team OG is another team that specializes in Dota 2. Although relatively young, this European team burst onto the scene by becoming the first team to win two major tournaments (Frankfurt and Manila). They have been going strong ever since.
Now, we come to a North American team. Evil Geniuses are true industry veterans, having been founded back in 1999. Over the years, the team has had major success in several esports including Dota 2, StarCraft 2 and Call of Duty.
Finally, Team Liquid is currently the biggest esports team around. Their success in Dota 2, Counter-Strike, and StarCraft 2 has cemented this Netherlands-based team as one of the greatest ones of all time. Currently, they also hold the title of the highest-earning team.
Top 100 Esports Teams by Earnings
To give you an idea of how the top esports teams stack up, we have listed the top 100 teams based on their earnings.
Esports Betting FAQ
Here's a list of some frequently asked esports betting questions.
Where can I bet on esports?
At this point, esports betting is legal in Nevada and New Jersey.
Is it legal to bet on esports in my state?
If you live in Nevada or New Jersey, then the answer is yes. However, that doesn’t mean there’s always esports betting available. Both states require special permission for sportsbooks to offer esports betting lines, so check your favorite online sportsbook often to see what’s on.
What are the most popular esports to bet on?
Some of the most popular esports include League of Legends, Dota 2, CS:GO, Overwatch, and Rocket League.
What’s the biggest esports tournament in the world?
League of Legends World Championship, The International (Dota 2), The Overwatch League and Fortnite World Cup are some of the biggest esports tournaments.
Can I bet on esports with cryptocurrencies?
Some sportsbooks, like FanDuel, have introduced bitcoin deposits, however, cryptocurrencies still aren't widely accepted in US online sportsbooks. Most online sportsbooks prominently list the supported payment methods, so you can easily check whether cryptocurrencies are included.
Now that you have an idea of how to bet on esports, you can start by finding a Dota 2 betting site with good Dota 2 odds and placing a bet. GLHF!