Expert Guide to Esports Betting in 2018

Betting on esports is a BIG thing right now. This (relatively) new type of betting got off to a slow start, but it has gained a lot of traction over the last couple of years. The growth has been so explosive that it鈥檚 been estimated that the global esports betting market will be worth nearly $30 billion by the year 2020.

That鈥檚 a massive figure, especially when you consider that esports are still 鈥渦nder the radar鈥?to some extent. The esports fanbase is huge these days, but it鈥檚 nowhere near as big as the fanbases for traditional sports such as soccer, football and tennis. Most people outside of those types of fanbases don鈥檛 have any idea what esports are all about. They certainly don鈥檛 know anything about betting on them.

So then, what are esports? And how does esports betting work?

You鈥檒l find the answers to these questions (and more) in this comprehensive guide to esports betting. It鈥檚 been carefully compiled by our team of experts to help ANYONE with an interest in wagering on esports. There鈥檚 a section dedicated to explaining all about esports, and another one that covers how the betting works.

There鈥檚 also some basic betting tips for beginners, along with some more advanced strategy advice. We鈥檝e recommended the best esports betting sites, too, and there鈥檚 a section for all the latest news as well as details of upcoming events.

We can definitely help you to have a lot of fun with this form of betting, and our advice may even help you to make some money. You can read through the page for more details of what鈥檚 included, or use these links to go straight to what you鈥檙e looking for.

All About Esports

This section of our esports betting guide is for those of you who are completely new to esports, and where we explain all about this sport genre and what鈥檚 involved. Let鈥檚 start with a quick overview of what exactly esports are.

The term esports is short for electronic sports, and it refers to competitive video gaming. So, we鈥檙e basically talking about people playing video games against each other in a competition. This is nothing new in itself of course, as it鈥檚 been happening in people鈥檚 homes ever since the first home computers and gaming consoles came out.

People playing video games at home.

Millions of people all over the world enjoy playing their favorite video games against friends and family.

There was a time when the ONLY way to play video games against 鈥渞eal life鈥?opponents was to sit in front of the same machine. These days, however, we can also play games over the internet. This means we can play against someone from anywhere in the world while sitting at home.

According to reports, more than ONE BILLION people take part in video gaming in one form or another. This is an amazing statistic, and shows just how popular video gaming has become. Not all of these gamers play against other players of course, as some people still enjoy solo gaming, but there鈥檚 no doubt that playing against real life opponents is preferred by many.

Most of these gamers are what we call 鈥渃asual gamers.鈥?/div>

Casual gamers tend to play video games solely for fun. Many of them enter online tournaments and play in organized contests, but they鈥檙e ultimately playing for the fun of it. Although these casual and informal contests are still technically classified as esports, the term is typically used to refer to the professional scene.

Yes, there really is a professional video gaming scene. This might surprise you if you are new to esports, but it鈥檚 100% true, and it鈥檚 a MAJOR scene too. If you鈥檙e a gamer yourself, then you鈥檒l know that casual gaming can be very competitive, but professional esports are on a whole other level. Some of the biggest contests see teams and players competing for millions of dollars in prize money.

Many professional esports contests are held in front of live audiences.

Professional esports contests are often played out in front of live audiences in stadiums and arenas.

These contests don鈥檛 JUST attract live audiences, they are also watched by millions more fans worldwide via online streaming services such as YouTube and Twitch.tv. Even the big TV networks have got in on the act, with broadcasters including ESPN showing esports contests on their channels.

So, like we said, the professional esports scene is a pretty big deal. We’ll discuss it in much greater detail in the following article. This is a must read if you want to truly understand what esports are all about.

The above article covers all the important aspects of esports that you need to know. There are a few ESPECIALLY important aspects that we鈥檝e covered in even more detail on other pages. These are as follows:

  • Esports games
  • Esports tournaments and leagues
  • Esports teams and players

Before you start betting on esports, it鈥檚 absolutely VITAL that you have a proper understanding of at least some of the video games that are played. There鈥檚 no way you鈥檒l be able to make good betting decisions if you don鈥檛. It鈥檚 not necessary to be a genuine expert, but you certainly need to understand how the games are played and some of the strategies involved.

Although there are dozens of different esports games, the majority of professional contests are played using just a few popular titles. Here鈥檚 a list of the ones that are featured most often.

Popular Esports Games

Battlefield
Battlefield
Call of Duty
Call of Duty
Counter-Strike Global Offensive
Counter-Strike Global Offensive
Dota 2
Dota 2
FIFA Football/Soccer
FIFA Football/Soccer
Halo
Halo
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft
Heroes of the Storm
Heroes of the Storm
League of Legends
League of Legends
Overwatch
Overwatch
PUBG
PUBG
Rocket League
Rocket League
Smite
Smite
Starcraft II
Starcraft II
Street Fighter
Street Fighter
Super Smash Bros.
Super Smash Bros.
World of Tanks
World of Tanks

Remember, you don鈥檛 need to learn about ALL of these games. You should definitely learn about any that you plan to bet on, though. We can help with this, as we鈥檝e provided comprehensive guides to each and every one of the games listed above. Please see the following page for more information.

It鈥檚 equally important that you understand the structure and format of any esports contests you plan to bet on. Again, this helps with making good betting decisions. There are literally hundreds of tournament and leagues held around the world, but it鈥檚 probably best just to focus on the biggest ones to start. Here鈥檚 a list of the highest profile esports contests at this moment in time:

Major Esports Tournaments & Leagues

The International Dota2 Championships
The International Dota2 Championships
ELEAGUE
ELEAGUE
Capcom Pro Tour
Capcom Pro Tour
Call of Duty Championship
Call of Duty Championship
eGames
eGames
Evolution Championship Series
Evolution Championship Series
Major League Gaming
Major League Gaming
Intel Extreme Masters
Intel Extreme Masters
Battle.net World Championship Series
Battle.net World Championship Series
Halo World Championships
Halo World Championships
League of Legends World Championships
League of Legends World Championships
World Electronic Sports Games
World Electronic Sports Games

Please see the following page for more information on these contests (and others too).

You also need to learn about the players and teams that take part in esports contests, which should be obvious, really. Would you bet on a football game between two teams you know nothing about? How about on a tennis match between players you鈥檝e never heard of? We鈥檇 like to think that you wouldn鈥檛, and you shouldn鈥檛 bet on an esports contest without knowing all about the participants either.

The following page features details of the esports teams and players that are currently the best around. Please note that we keep this page as up to date as often as we can, but we recommend doing your own additional research as you go along, too. Things can change VERY rapidly on the esports scene.

There are three more pages to mention in this section of our guide. To be honest, We don鈥檛 consider these essential reading, and there鈥檚 nothing here that you NEED to know. They just cover some related topics that we think you might be interested in, and they鈥檙e well worth a read in our opinion. So, please, do take a look if you have the time.

Esports Betting for Beginners

Once you understand what esports are all about (or if you already do), you鈥檙e ready to learn about the betting side of things. We suggest starting with the following article, which explains all the basics of esports betting that you really need to know.

There are several different ways to bet on esports. Here鈥檚 a list of the most popular options.

  • Real money betting
  • Skin betting
  • Social betting
  • Fantasy betting
  • Challenge betting

Now here鈥檚 a brief overview of each of these options.

eSportsReal money betting

This is the form of esports betting that鈥檚 closest to traditional sports betting, which works in largely the same way as betting on football games, boxing matches or golf tournaments. We place real money wagers at agreed odds, and get paid out if our selections are correct. We can bet on all kinds of different outcomes, including the winners of individual matches and the overall winners of tournaments.

Here鈥檚 a screenshot showing some of the betting markets available for an upcoming match in a League of Legends tournament.

There are usually several betting markets available for individual esports matches.

We cover real money esports betting in more detail in the following article.

EsportsSkin betting

Skin betting, also known as item betting, is VERY popular among esports fans. A lot of modern video games feature virtual currencies and other items that can be transferred between players, and this property is often highly sought after among committed gamers. As a result, there are many auction and trade websites where players can buy, sell and swap items and currencies for several of the most popular video games.

There are also betting sites where players can use items and currencies to gamble with. They can use them to bet on the outcome of esports contests as a replacement for real money, and they can use them for other forms of gambling, too. For example, there are sites where items can be used to play games of chance such as roulette, or even a simple coin flip.

Players can use in-game items to gamble on the simple flip of a coin.

Some sites run jackpot games where a number of players put their skins into a pot and a winner of the whole pot is chosen at random. You can read more about this form of betting on the following page.

EsportsSocial betting

Social betting is quite common in the esports community where friends or online contacts place informal wagers on the outcome of events between themselves. These wagers CAN be for real money, but they鈥檙e usually for skins or other items. The terms are agreed on between the two parties, and then settled accordingly.

This is not a form of betting we recommend getting involved with, since betting with 鈥渞eal world鈥?friends is rarely a good idea, as it can lead to petty arguments and falling out. And betting with people that you only know online is risky, as you can鈥檛 be sure you鈥檒l get your winnings.

EsportsFantasy betting

This is not technically betting at all, since it鈥檚 just like daily fantasy sports for traditional sports, but we build our rosters using esports players instead.

Not familiar with daily fantasy sports? Don鈥檛 worry, you don鈥檛 need to be. Just read the following article and everything will become clear.

EsportsChallenge betting

Also known as head-to-head betting, this is where gamers compete against each other for real money or items and skins. A lot of gamers simply organize wagers among themselves, and then settle up once their contest is over. There are also websites that organize things a little more formally where the players and/or teams pay entry fees to enter a contest, and the winner(s) are rewarded from the proceeds of those fees.

These different options are all worth exploring, although some might be more suitable for you than others. There鈥檚 not much point getting involved with challenge betting, for example, if you鈥檙e not much of a gamer yourself.

For most people, it鈥檚 real money esports betting that represents the best chance of making regular and consistent profits. We鈥檝e made it the main focus of this guide for that exact reason. The tips and strategy advice we offer in the next section all apply primarily to this form of esports betting.

Betting Tips & Strategy Advice

Knowing how to bet on esports is one thing, but knowing how to MAKE MONEY from betting on esports is something else entirely. There鈥檚 a lot you need to know if you鈥檙e going to beat the bookmakers and turn an overall profit. You鈥檙e also going to need plenty of patience, and you must be prepared to put in plenty of time and effort.

Are you up for the challenge? Great! Then we can definitely help you. Just remember that betting on esports doesn鈥檛 HAVE to be about making money. There鈥檚 absolutely nothing wrong with just betting for the fun of it.

With that point made, let鈥檚 look at how we can help you. The first thing to mention is that there are A LOT of similarities between betting on esports and betting on traditional sports. For this reason, there are a few articles in our main sports betting guide that we recommend reading. We鈥檝e listed them below, and although they are all written with traditional sports betting in mind, the information and advice they contain will definitely help when it comes to betting on esports.

Understanding Odds & Calculating Payouts

Odds are odds, regardless of what you鈥檙e wagering on. Here we explain the basics of odds, how they work and also teach you how to calculate potential payouts.

Bankroll Management & Simple Staking Plans

Proper bankroll management is essential for all gamblers, and this article offers some useful advice on how to manage your money properly and avoid going broke.

Finding Value in Betting Odds

The concept of value is something that all bettors should understand, so we鈥檝e put together this article to explain this concept in detail and teach you how to identify value when betting.

Effective Research & Analysis

In this article, we explain why betting is so much easier when you鈥檙e working with good information. We also have some advice on how to interpret relevant information in the right way.

Record Keeping & Performance Analysis

Keeping detailed records and analyzing your betting performance can be extremely beneficial, and here we teach you how to do this effectively.

Comparing Odds & Line Shopping

This is one of the easiest ways to improve your betting results, so we鈥檝e put together a detailed guide on what you need to do and why.

We鈥檝e also written a couple of articles with advice that is specific to betting on esports. One features a collection of fairly simple tips that are easy to follow, and the other is more advanced with details about all the strategy involved in betting on esports.

Recommended Esports Betting Sites

It used to be a real challenge to find a good esports betting site because there simply weren鈥檛 that many of them around. Thankfully, that鈥檚 no longer the case. There are TONS of new esports betting sites have launched in recent years, and several existing sports betting sites have started offering esports betting as well.

Although the increase in the number of sites is a good thing, it鈥檚 also created a different kind of challenge 鈥?Which sites do you use? There are so many to choose from that this is not an easy decision.

One piece of advice that we repeat throughout our entire website is that you MUST be cautious when it comes to choosing which gambling sites to use. This applies as much to choosing an esports betting site as it does to choosing an online casino or an online poker site.

Why do you need to be so careful?
Because not all sites meet the same standards.

Some sites are genuinely top quality, but some are MUCH lower quality. There are some sites that you shouldn鈥檛 even trust with your money, so it鈥檚 important that you don鈥檛 just sign up at any random esports betting site. You need to make sure that you use top-quality ones that can definitely be trusted. Here are some of our recommendations for sites that meet that criteria.

RankGambling SiteDeposit BonusGet Started
#1Betway Sports Logo
Betway Sports
100% Up To $50Visit Site
#2888sport Logo
888sport
100% Up To $200Visit Site
#310Bet Logo
10Bet
50% Up To $100Visit Site

These sites are not the ONLY ones that are worth using, but they鈥檙e definitely among the best. We rate them very highly, and we鈥檙e confident that you鈥檒l have a good experience at any one of them. Here鈥檚 a list of reasons WHY we rate them so highly.

  • Established sites with good reputations
  • Reliable and trustworthy
  • Good bonuses and rewards
  • Easy to use
  • Good coverage of events
  • Variety of wagering options
  • Competitive odds and lines
  • Lots of deposit methods available
  • Fast withdrawals

We provide more details on our recommendations on the following page, and we also answer some frequently asked questions relating to online esports betting.

In addition to these recommendations, we鈥檝e also compiled rankings of the best sites for betting on specific games. You can find these on the following pages.

Latest News & Upcoming Events

The esports industry is still very young, and it鈥檚 growing at an incredible pace, so you really need to keep up with what鈥檚 happening if you have aspirations of being a successful esports bettor. The more you know about what鈥檚 going on, the better your chances are of finding profitable betting opportunities. That鈥檚 why we鈥檝e included this section in our esports guide.

Here, we report on all the important latest news from the esports industry. We let you know about game developments, emerging teams and players, rule changes and much more. We also preview all the major events, with betting advice and tips where appropriate, and basically tell you what you need to know, when you need to know it.