eSports is officially online bookmakers fastest growing gambling sport. Many online sportsbooks have declared it is about to move into fourth place in terms of bets struck and one online sportsbook is on course to take their 10 millionth eSports bet during the early part of 2018.
So, not only are millions of people now playing an eSport of some kind, but many are watching major games live on the internet and placing eSports bets on the action.
The entire eSports business is colossal. Just consider that a remarkable 100 million people play the most popular eSport of all, ‘League of Legends’ (LOL) and that is about one percent of the world’s population or almost three times the population of Canada!
In 2017 the final of the Intel Extreme Masters World Championship, staged in Poland, was witnessed by a live audience of 173,000 people. That’s about 100,000 more people than was at the Superbowl.
What’s more, 46 million individuals tuned in to watch some of the competition’s action on the Internet. That’s over ten million more than Donald Trump’s Inauguration Broadcast garnered.
Consequently all of the biggest eSports matches and leagues attract massive viewing figures and substantial betting turnover. With a young fan-base eSports has brought new people into the world of gambling per-se and the online eSports betting sites are scrambling to accommodate them with free eSports bets on the most popular eSports leagues and games.
Here is a run-down on the best online sportsbooks to place eSports bets, get free eSports bets, eSports betting tips and even eSports news.
What are eSports and what is eSports betting
eSports is the collective name for a large variety of competitive computer team games, the most popular of which are: DOTA II, Hearthstone, Starcraft II, League of Legends (LOL), Hearthstone, Call of Duty, CS:GO (Counter-Strike: Global Offensive) and FIFA.
Remarkably the majority of people in the western world have played one such eSport at some time or other. But this is a global industry with league finals and competitions taking place in stadiums before a live audience of thousands – and global viewing audience of millions.
eSports betting sites
The best eSports betting sites will take bets on all the major games albeit three specific games have captured the betting public’s imagination above all others. These are: League of Legends, DOTA 2 and CS:GO betting which collectively own an 85 percent market share.
As with “regular” online sports betting, all of the major online sportsbooks will accept wagers on the biggest eSports matches involving these three games. The bigger online bookmakers will offer opportunities on other eSports – Starcraft II is the fourth most popular taking around seven percent of all eSports wagers – while the best eSports betting sites feature a good number of different market types and eSport betting opportunities.
eSports is an excellent in-play betting medium too as the action is quick and the markets can fluctuate wildly and quickly; it’s like basketball. The best eSports betting sites offer markets on a number of different outcomes within every match. These markets are remarkably similar to those offered on tennis: Outright Winner, Correct Set Betting (called ‘Map Betting’ in eSports), Handicaps, etc.
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How to Place An eSports Bet
Like any sporting type that is new to you, the best way to proceed as a novice eSports bettor is gradually and for small stakes. In fact, why not head to the live ‘in play’ section of your preferred bookmaker – bet365 offers one of the very best eSports betting experiences – and watch a few games while checking out the betting options available to you? You will quickly get an understanding and feel for price fluctuations as the action unfolds.
Alternatively simply click the ‘eSports’ tab on the homepage of your eSports betting site – it is top and center of the Betway (who are an excellent CS:GO betting website) homepage – and see what options are available pre-match.
You can find betting opportunities on match results, the match result with a team receiving a handicap start, correct scores, a team to win at least one ‘map’ (which is the same as a set in tennis), the team to get the first ‘kill’ and the first team to get ten kills when it comes to League of Legends.
All the functionality is the same as that found with other sports and, like we say, the markets on offer are very similar to one-on-one sports such as tennis or darts. As with those games a degree of knowledge and insight can be very helpful. With bets normally being struck at prices determined by a single odds compiler, if your understanding and insight of a particular team or game is better than theirs, you are sure to fare very well in the long run.
Others may use a mathematical and statistical formula to make their selections while some will go the good old fashioned approach of simply supporting their favorite team.
In addition to match betting the best eSports betting sites offer outright prices on competition outcomes. Ante-post or ‘long list’ betting is an excellent betting medium with shrewd punters forming a ‘portfolio’ and often in a ‘win-win’ situation long before the final match starts.
For the League of Legends World Championship, in addition to betting on the outright winning team, you can also place bets on the ‘winning region’ and the ‘player of the tournament’.
Esports Betting Tips
A number of online sportsbooks now sponsor a high-profile eSports team. This gives them access to exclusive news and blogs from the major players with that team. Such an insight can prove invaluable to eSports bettors.
Dafabet have been associated with team Fnatic which are considered to be the most famous eSports team in the world and Betway sponsor another high-profile outfit, ‘Ninjas in Pyjamas’. They also sponsor competitions such as the ESL Pro League.
Amongst the online sportsbooks Betway and Pinnacle probably delivers the best insight into forthcoming eSports matches as they offers eSports betting previews and eSports betting tips from respected professionals in an eSports dedicated area of their site. For newcomers and experienced eSports players it makes for some fascinating and invaluable reading.
Then, as you would in hockey and NFL, you can also visit the official websites of the major teams to get the latest news on team selection and roster changes.
The industry leading bookmaker, when it comes to the number of betting opportunities on eSports matches and the number of markets within them, is undoubtedly bet365.
But with this ‘sport’ as a betting medium still in its infancy, it is good to shop around as many major online sportsbooks have all been known to offer up some pretty outrageous prices which informer punters can profit from.