Competitive video gaming, or eSports, has exploded from niche hobby to mainstream entertainment sensation over the last decade. Along with its soaring popularity, eSports betting has become a thriving new vertical in the sports gambling industry. But for newcomers, it can seem intimidating to dive into wagering on competitive gaming.
In this comprehensive guide, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know as a beginner to start betting on eSports tournaments and leagues across popular titles like League of Legends, CS:GO, Dota 2 and more.
A Quick Introduction to eSports
eSports involves professional gamers competing against each other in multiplayer video games, either individually or in teams. With the rise of live streaming technology, major eSports events today are spectated by millions of viewers online and packed stadiums worldwide.
Just like physical sports, eSports have leagues, structured tournaments, World Championships, all-star players earning millions in salaries from endorsements and prize money, dedicated fans and of course, betting markets.
Some of the most popular eSports titles for betting include:
- League of Legends (LoL)
- Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO)
- Dota 2
- Rainbow Six Siege
Betting Markets Offered on eSports
While not as diverse as traditional sports, key betting markets offered by bookmakers on major eSports tournaments are:
- Match Winner (Moneyline)
- Handicaps (Spreads)
- Totals (Over/Under maps, rounds etc.)
- Correct Map Scores
- Prop Bets (First to X Kills etc.)
- Futures (Tournament/League Winner)
- Outrights (MVP, Top Team etc.)
These core markets are available for pre-match and live in-play betting. Compared to traditional sports, eSports matches move rapidly, meaning live betting is very popular as odds shift as the action plays out.
Choosing a Good eSports Betting Site
When selecting a sportsbook for eSports betting, consider these key factors:
- Licensed and regulated site for security and fair play.
- Competitive odds on major eSports and titles you follow.
- Wide coverage of leagues, tournaments and matches.
- Live streaming capability ideal for eSports.
- Lucrative betting bonuses and promotions.
- Reliable payouts and banking options.
I recommend established brands like Betway, Bet365, GG.bet and ArcaneBet which check these boxes and provide a great user experience.
Understanding eSports Formats and Metrics
Being familiar with eSports tournament formats, scoring systems and metrics for titles you bet on will give you an edge in making smart wagers:
- League formats like LCS, CDL – STandings, schedule, playoffs.
- Tournament formats like ESL One, The International – Bracket stage, qualifiers, prize pool.
- Maps played in matches for games like CSGO, Valorant, Overwatch.
- Rounds in matches alongside the map scores.
- Kills, Deaths, Assists, Creep Score are key individual player stats.
Getting this context will allow you to make insightful matchup assessments between opponents.
Betting Tips and Strategy for eSports Beginners
Apply these tips to become a profitable eSports bettor:
- Start with titles you actively play and follow to leverage knowledge.
- Temper expectations – Upsets are common compared to traditional sports.
- Bet smaller amounts as you assess volatile markets.
- Focus on pre-match betting before trying live.
- Hedge bets across multiple markets and sites to minimize risk.
- Shop for best odds at eSports-focused books like GG.bet.
- Keep a cool head – it’s a rollercoaster.
While very entertaining, eSports can be high variance, so dedicate a separate bankroll and bet responsibly.
Common eSports Bet Types to Know
Here are some of the most common eSports bet types to understand:
- Moneyline – Betting on straight-up match winner.
- Spreads – Betting on advantage given to underdog to level the field.
- Totals – Betting whether total rounds, maps, kills etc will go over or under.
- Props – Betting on player performances like kills or other match events.
- Futures – Betting on longer-term outcomes like tournament winner.
- Parlays – Combining multiple picks for higher odds.
These represent just a subset – study more advanced bet types to gain an edge.
Getting Started with eSports Betting
Follow these steps to start your eSports betting journey the right way as a beginner:
- Find a licensed, trusted betting site that offers odds on major eSports titles.
- Sign up for an account and make a real money deposit into your bankroll.
- Study upcoming match schedules, standings and odds movements to gain context.
- Place small wagers first focusing on straightforward match winner and handicap bets.
- Don’t chase losses – stick to your bankroll management system.
- With experience, expand your bets into futures, props and live betting.
- Always gamble responsibly and see eSports betting as entertainment.
By following these eSports betting basics, you’ll be equipped to explore the wide world of competitive gaming odds for an exciting new way to engage with eSports as a fan. Stay informed, bet selectively, manage risk, and have fun!