How to bet on eSports

Real money eSports betting isn’t yet a mainstay on most popular sports betting websites. Often lines on eSports are hard to find because some (or many) of the participants are under 18

However, DraftKings Sportsbook did offer a market on the League of Legends finals in November. So, assuming regulations will continue to iron out we will explain how you can bet on eSports online.

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Online eSports Betting

Real money eSports betting isn’t a mainstay on most popular sports betting websites just yet. However, as has happened with FanDuel, sportsbook operators are benefitting from offering eSports gambling to their users.

There are plenty of sportsbooks out there, and as operators start to offer eSports betting, it might be difficult to choose. Here’s a breakdown of popular sports betting sites and their introductory offers for new customers:

What are eSports?

To understand the growing popularity of eSports betting, simply take a look at video games as a trend. According to statistics, the value of the global video game market doubled from $50 to $100 billion from 2012-2017. It’s expected that the market will take in about $152 billion in 2019. Compare that to 2009’s figure of $19.7 billion.

With the advent of the Twitch platform in 2011, gamers across the world found a new platform to share and stream their games. Of course, this wouldn’t be possible without 2010’s era internet speeds and video compression technology, so the recent explosion of eSports is a consequence of both interest and modern tech.

eSports wagering

eSports Betting vs Traditional Sports Wagering

If you’re looking for how to bet on eSports, it’s relatively straightforward. Real money eSports betting has a lot of betting types which will be detailed later in the article. Be aware, however, that it’s not like sports betting: you can’t bet on props or parlays.

There are a lot of similarities between eSports betting and traditional betting, however. Both involve outright winner bets (called totals in sports betting), and both require an in-depth knowledge of the eSports teams you’re following.

When betting on eSports, as with any real money betting, it helps to be a fan. Watch the streams, read more articles on how to bet on eSports and where to find your favorite teams. Better yet, play the games– there are several modern, massively popular multiplayer games that are totally free to play.

Is Betting on eSports Safe?

Absolutely, as long as you’re going through a trusted provider. Check out legal betting sites to find where you can wager safely. Make sure you’re not betting on any site that lists European currency like pounds sterling or the Euro, because betting in any foreign currency is illegal.

Though it’s a new endeavor, eSports are just as rigorously examined for cheating as any other sport. Your personal data should be safe as well – every eSports betting app is certified by the state Gambling Enforcement board and has protections to keep their customers safe.

How Can I Be Sure eSports Tournaments Aren’t Rigged?

Cheating is much more cut and dry in the world of eSports than it is in regular sports. There hasn’t been a performance-enhancing drug issue in the world of eSports, though eSports teams have been required to take drug tests since 2015.

Additionally, you can’t deflate a football or cork a baseball bat in eSports: the equipment and experience are incredibly standardized, so getting an edge by manipulating your gear is difficult. Lastly, all modern multiplayer video games have anti-cheating software like VAC, Punkbuster, and many more to ensure that no players are running third-party plugins to give them an edge.

eSports Bet-Types

If you’re wondering about how to bet on eSports, it’s helpful to have some experience with multiplayer video games. If you’re coming in with experience betting on sports, eSports odds are the same as sports betting odds: positive or negative figures in terms of $100 bets.

Here’s a list of common bet types in real money eSports betting. It’s helpful to play a few rounds of your favorite multiplayer games to get an idea of what these bets actually mean.

Outright Winner

This is an obvious one– just pick the team that you expect to win the overall tournament or set. eSports tournaments run similarly to college basketball: there are groups based on overall record, and these teams go head-to-head in a tournament bracket using swiss, GSL or round-robin systems. Betting on the outright winner is a bet on who will take home the #1 trophy.

First Blood

“First Blood” is a common voiceover that you’ll hear in modern multiplayer games. It comes initially from the early days of Quake Arena and has been a mainstay of multiplayer gaming since the 2000s. When you’re betting on “First Blood”, you bet on which player or team will make the first kill or score in a given match.

First Team to Score 10 Kills

Another straightforward bet, simply place a wager on the team that is expected to score 10 kills first. Keep in mind that “kills” simply refers to points scored, and assists do not count as kills in most modern multiplayer games (unless enough damage is dealt).

Head-to-Head Winner

The head-to-head winner, whether in Hearthstone betting or any number of one-on-one games, is the winner of a mano-a-mano match. Two gamers enter; only one leaves. It’s important to have a good knowledge of your preferred player’s match history before placing one of these wagers.

Map Winner

This is much like a best of 3 or best of 5 competition but is restricted to specific maps in a given game. For example, in CS:GO betting, some players are used to playing Dust II, while others tend to train in Train or Nuke. The Map Winner is the player or team with the best record on a specific map, and often will determine the outright winner of a best of 3 or 5 series.

Best of 3, 5, etc.

“Best of” bets simply pit two teams or players against each other for a given number of matches. Unlike the map winner, these best of bets are not area-specific. These bets can end a contest between two teams relatively quickly, as a team can show dominance by winning more than half the matches.

Favorite vs. Field

A simpler way to think about this bet would be to call it an “underdog” bet. Either you can bet on the favorite team to win, or you can place a bet on the “field of competitors”. Placing a favorite vs. field bet is a great way to potentially add some extra payouts to a win.

eSports Gambling

League of Legends Betting

League of Legends is the most-watched esport out there, so it’s natural that you’d want to do some League of Legends betting! Betting on any MOBA, or multiplayer online battle arena, involves having a good quality stream and betting on everything from first blood to the outright winner.

LoL is known as one of the most-watched eSports because it is so fast-paced and the watching experience is a dynamic one. Surprise attacks, upsets, and even last-minute turnarounds are all possible in LoL, so it’s important to have a good sense of the underdog and the favorite. Be prepared for teams to employ unexpected tactics to catch you off guard.

CS:GO Betting

CS:GO betting is a bit easier to wrap one’s head around than betting on MOBAs or frantic, battle royale-style games. In CS:GO, it’s generally clear when a team has the advantage.

Because it is such a tactical game, CS:GO matches tend to be either evenly matched or one-sided: there are no special items that might give you an advantage in the late game. When you’re betting on CS:GO, knowing how your team performs when they’re at their best (and more importantly, when they’re not) can be the difference between a successful and unsuccessful bet.

Dota 2 Betting

Dota 2 is a MOBA like League of Legends, but is a bit more complex and fleshed out. This makes DotA 2 a great game for focused players, but also leads to Dota 2 not having the same market pull as League does simply because of the latter’s ease to pick up and play. (Dota 2 is like the PUBG to LoL’s Fortnite, if that makes sense.)

Therefore, Dota 2 betting will naturally require one to be pretty well versed in the game to fully understand the action. It’s not as simple to notice who has the upper hand in a match, because players are also constructing and upgrading abilities and weapons as the match progresses.

Hearthstone Betting

Interestingly, there’s a pretty decent market for Hearthstone betting. While other eSports are fast-paced action games, Hearthstone is a bit more meditative. If you weren’t already aware, Hearthstone is the fantastically popular card-based mobile game from Blizzard Entertainment.

While betting on the previous eSports is easier if you’ve played the games, with Hearthstone, previous playing experience is essential. There’s something within tactical games like Hearthstone that is called the “metagame”: essentially, there generally are a few accepted decks that will be the top competitors, and each player has to play that deck perfectly to win.

Ofter, you’ll see strategies come to the forefront when new cards or sets are released, and these strategies tend to take over as the favored strats for pro players. If you’re betting on Hearthstone, you’ll need to understand these metagame strategies.

Overwatch Betting

Overwatch is Blizzard Entertainment’s answer to the spate of popular battle royale based games. It immediately has become one of the most-watched eSports, simply because it is a well-designed IP with easily recognizable characters.

Overwatch betting is like any battle royale betting: you’re going to want a good connection to stream after you’ve placed your bets, because things happen fast. Often, a streamer will go on a hot streak and become the popular streamer and competitor for a while, so keep your eye on Twitch if you want to make a successful Overwatch bet.

More popular eSports

eSports events are some of the fastest-growing events in the last decade in terms of both cash and viewership. It’s expected that most sports betting platforms will add eSports bets to their apps and websites in the near future, simply because not doing so would be to “leave money on the table”.

Fortnite Betting

Fortnite betting isn’t as popular, and that’s because it is largely marketed towards folks who aren’t old enough to drive, let alone bet. Still, there are people betting on Fortnite, and it’s expected that Fortnite could be added to most betting platforms offering eSports events.

Rocket League Betting

Rocket League is the clearest direct line between sports betting and eSports betting other than sports video games themselves. Interestingly, sports-based video games don’t have much of a footing in the eSports market. Rocket League is an easy-to-play game with an established Championship League, so Rocket League betting is a likely addition to coming eSports betting platforms.

Starcraft II Betting

StarCraft and its successor StarCraft II are absolute titans in the eSports market. It’s been said that StarCraft is one of the first games to be widely played on more than a casual level: a young man played the first StarCraft for over 50 hours without stopping, and subsequently passed away as a result!

StarCraft II was perhaps one of the first true eSports as we understand them now: hugely-followed games with a base of professional players, tournaments, and even national teams. StarCraft II can also be one of the most fast-paced, intricate, and hard-to-follow games out there, so make sure you’re well versed in the game if you’re going to put your money on it.

Biggest eSports Events

Here are the biggest eSports events in the world, in order of popularity in the US:

  • Fortnite World Cup
  • League of Legends World Championship
  • PUBG Global Championship
  • Fortnite Secret Skirmish
  • The International (Dota 2)
  • IEM Katowice
  • Call of Duty World League (CWL)
  • The Overwatch League
  • Dota 2 Asia Championships
  • HALO World Championship

Top 5 eSports Teams

As eSports gets bigger and bigger, we’re going to see eSports go from a fringe sport to a televised event in most American homes. Keep an eye out for these names in the future, as they’re the top 5 eSports teams of 2024:

5. Fnatic

Fnatic is a London-based eSports gaming powerhouse. Originally a Counter-Strike team, Fnatic has winners in everything from League of Legends to Rocket League and more. When Fnatic creates a team, they hand-pick top players from the amateur rosters and train them to be a member of this well-oiled eSports machine.

4. Team SoloMid

As the name indicates, Team SoloMid (from “going to solo the mid lane”) is a LoL team that has since branched out into numerous games. At the moment, their specialty is League with 6 career wins, but they have competitive teams playing Apex Legends, Super Smash Bros, and more.

3. Cloud9

Cloud9 has divisions in all the top games of today and is the result of absorption of the famed LoL team Quantic Gaming. In 2019, Cloud9 had a rough showing at the Rocket League Championship Series but has cemented their place in the tournament for next year.

2. Team Liquid

Holland-based Team Liquid takes the training experience incredibly seriously, landing them at #2 on the list. Recently completed, the Alienware Training Facility is one of the first of its kind, training Liquid’s recruits in everything from CS:GO to Street Fighter and more.

1. FaZe Clan

FaZe started as a Call of Duty clan, but have now branched out into many popular competitive eSports. They’ve earned over $3 million in prize winnings for CS:GO alone, with many wins anticipated in the future. While not top grossing of all time, FaZe clan certainly has created an international reputation for winning.

Top 100 eSports Teams by Earnings

RankTeamTotal Prizes# of Tournaments
100ALTERNATE aTTaX$934k376
99Vancouver Titans$950k4
97Meet Your Makers$999k266
96Yoshimoto Libalent$1m1
95Team Reciprocity$1.01m65
94Vega Squadron$1.02m159
92Hero JiuJ$1.04m4
91paiN Gaming$1.08m102
89Team Kinguin$1.1m100
88PENTA Sports$1.12m248
85Denial Esports$1.14m178
84FunPlus Phoenix$1.18m10
81ROX Gaming$1.24m55
80Keen Gaming$1.24m32
79Russian National Team$1.25m24
78New York Excelsior$1.3m15
76Incredible Miracle$1.31m166
74Rise Nation$1.337m71
73LeStream Esport$1.39m62
72ahq e-Sports club$1.45m75
69CJ Entus$1.5m185
68Taipei Assassins$1.52m24
67San Francisco Shock$1.55m5
65London Spitfire$1.57m12
63Epsilon eSports$1.67m221
62Four Angry Men$1.73m18
61Echo Fox$1.74m341
60Team DK$1.76m42
58COGnitive Gaming$2.01m164
57ENCE eSports$2.03m180
56Tempo Storm$2.1m394
55Ghost Gaming$2.2m137
54Flash Wolves$2.24m196
53World Elite$2.29m199
52Jin Air Green Wings$2.39m323
50Gambit Esports$2.5m120
49Team Vitality$2.6m161
48Team Empire$2.8m411
47KT Rolster$2.89m216
46100 Thieves$2.9m32
45eStar Gaming$3.1m50
44Cooler Esport$3.17m9
42EDward Gaming$3.28m103
39Luminosity Gaming$3.4m238
38CDEC Gaming$3.6m43
37compLexity Gaming$3.67m549
36Team Dignitas$3.7m565
34TnC Gaming$4.3m50
33Ninjas in Pyjamas$4.38m286
31Royal Never Give Up$4.479m51
30NRG Esports$4.5m250
29Chaos Esports Club$4.6m43
26Counter Logic Gaming$4.97m413
23Team SoloMid$5.34m518
21SK Gaming$6.29m650
20Team Envy$6.54m333
19G2 Esports$6.8m376
18OpTic Gaming$7.8m293
16FaZe Clan$8.6m294
15Paris Saint-Germain Esports$9m59
13SK Telecom T1$9.5m262
12Wings Gaming$9.7m27
11Natus Vincere$10m440
10LGD Gaming$10.7m131
9Team Secret$10.9m213
8Invictus Gaming$11m442
7Vici Gaming$12.6m278$13m478
3Evil Geniuses$23m814
1Team Liquid$34m1644

eSports Betting FAQ

Can I bet on eSports?

If you’re of legal betting age (21+) and are physically located in a state that allows sports betting, you can bet on eSports as long as your chosen sportsbook has lines on the games you want.

Is it legal to bet on eSports in my state?

With the repeal of PASPA, sports betting is now legal in many states and more are regulating. eSports is not always included in the standard sports betting legislation so please check the rules for your state before signing up with the intent to bet eSports online.

Which eSports can I bet on?

At the moment, only the biggest eSports are getting coverage. This means League of Legends, DotA 2 and Overwatch are the most common eSports that one can find available betting. Though other sports pull in plenty of players, League of Legends tournaments tend to be the most-watched esport.

What’s the biggest eSports tournament in the world?

This depends on your perspective. The most-watched eSports tournament in the world is probably the Mid-Season Invitational, a League of Legends tourney which recorded 60 million viewers in 2018.
However, in terms of the prize pool, The International (a DotA2 tournament) had an overall pool of over $30 million in 2019, making it the largest tournament in terms of dollars. The winner of the 2019 tournament, OG, took home over $15 million in winnings!

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