A Gamer’s Guide to Esports Betting

in Video Games

With another Dota 2 International on the horizon, the gamers aren’t just looking for ways to attend the biggest esports event (virtually or in-person) but also to earn some cash on the side while they watch the game.

You see, betting on esports has become quite a thrill for many. It’s not just a way to potentially “get free money,” but to test your knowledge of the game, teams, and leagues. Many just want bragging rights, showing their fellow gamers that they know Dota 2, CS:GO, or League of Legends inside and out.

So, betting slips are being purchased, betting strategies devised, money is on the line, and all that’s left is to sit back, turn on the stream on Twitch, and reap the winnings. At least, that goes for people that know how to bet. But what if you’re entirely new to this whole “game within a game” and are unfamiliar with the terminology, sites, and games?

Read on, then, as we’ll guide you through the exciting world of esports betting, one step at a time.

Pick Your Game

Obviously, you want to bet on games and esports events you’re familiar with. Many sports bettors believe they need to be actively playing the game to have a proper grasp of it, but that’s not a necessity.

You just need to learn about the game’s competitive format, what specific events during a match exist – e.g., first blood or half-time scoring – and you’re already good to go. There are all sorts of things you can bet on, like which team will win an eco round in CS:GO, who can take down Baron Nashor in League of Legends, or whether there will be a demolition within a given amount of time in Rocket League.

If you’re already spending a lot of time watching, say, Rainbow Six: Siege tournaments, you probably have a good understanding of the teams’ strengths and weaknesses. You might even have favorite teams and players, so the only thing left is to look at the tournament schedule, decide who you’ll be betting on, and, finally, choose a site to place your bets.

Here are some popular esports games that people are betting on right now:

  • Dota 2
  • League of Legends
  • Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
  • Valorant
  • Call of Duty
  • FIFA
  • Rainbow Six: Siege
  • Rocket League
  • Fortnite

Understand Your Odds

If you visited a betting site, you might’ve seen some numbers next to each match, but also next to each team’s name and various events that can happen during a match. These are called odds, and they represent the chance of a particular team winning the match, or a specific score difference occurring.

The odds are a multiplier, so the higher they are, the bigger your winnings will be should the event transpire. At the same time, lower odds for a team mean that the team has a better chance of winning and that they’re the favorite in that matchup, and therefore betting on them isn’t particularly lucrative. It’s a balancing act: You want to improve your winnings, but at the same time, betting on outcomes with ludicrously high odds is not always smart – unless you also like to live dangerously, that is.

You can place different bets simultaneously and before the matches begin, and these all go onto your slip, which you then pay for. Sites usually have a limit on how much you can bet. Total potential winnings are calculated by multiplying all the odds on your slip and then multiplying the money you’ve placed on that bet by that number.

Betting Lingo

Aside from knowing what to bet on, it’s good to learn a few important phrases, too. People who bet on sports (and esports, too) call themselves “punters,” at least in Britain.

The amount of money you have for placing on bets is often called your bankroll. As mentioned, you gather all your bets on a betting slip and the betting site, bookie, sportsbook, or bookmaker, offers various games to bet on.

Outright winner is the simplest type of bet, as in you pick which team will win the match. Over/Under means you’re betting on a specific statistic – e.g., total rounds won in CS:GO – and then choosing whether the team will go over or under that number. When you can place bets during a match, that’s called in-betting. Finally, accumulator bets – “acca” for short – are what we’ve described earlier: When you place 4+ bets on a single slip and then need all outcomes to be in your favor to collect your winnings. Logically, a single bet is when you pay separately for each individual bet instead of a group.

Your First Betting Site Experience

You’re now ready to place your first esports bet. All that is left is to make an account at one of many betting sites that offer esports betting and start punting.

Betting sites will usually offer some welcome bonuses for new players. Those are usually virtual money rewards that multiply your deposit. You can use that extra cash to play even more, but do note that you won’t be able to cash it out until you meet some requirements. But that’s a topic for some other time – for now, have fun and happy punting!


Image Credits: SteelSeries

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