What makes a good Esports betting site? How does one bookmaker differ from another and what should you be looking for? It’s actually quite simple:
How many times have you whipped out your tennis racket and played a few games with friends? How many rugby balls, footballs, and American footballs do you own? The answer is probably very few, and you’re not alone. The average person betting on these games and others like them doesn’t actually play them. You might have a kick about with friends every now and then, and maybe you played in your youth, but that’s just one or two sports. And if you are playing to a semi-pro or professional level, you will actually be forbidden from betting.
One of the great things about Esports is that most bettors are players themselves and some even have an intimate knowledge of the game’s mechanics. Esportsbooks are also newer than their traditional counterparts, and so they are working harder to attract customers, which tends to produce some interesting offers and free bets. More importantly, they are less restricted by traditional customs and practices, and so they tend to be more innovative and have more freedom to explore.
Esports are often considered to be a single betting category, not unlike football, rugby, or basketball. In actual fact, it’s a term that defines a wide range of sports, games, and betting opportunities, and that’s something that you just don’t get with traditional sports. With Esports you can move from football (FIFA) to strategy (Starcraft 2). You can move from single-player armed combat (Call of Duty and Counter-Strike) to futuristic team games (Rocket League).
That’s one of the great benefits of Esportsbooks, but there are more, including the fact that many of these games are played during the same tournament or event and, in some cases, are contested by the same (or similar) groups of players. The Fnatic team, for instance, is best known for playing League of Legends, but it also competes in Dota 2, Counter-Strike, Apex Legends, and a host of other games.
Video gaming trends come and go with alarming regularity, but popular Esports tend to stick around for the long-haul. In fact, games like StarCraft 2, League of Legends, and Counter-Strike have been around for years, and even Overwatch and Dota 2 can’t be classed as “new” in the rapidly changing Esports industry.
Dota 2 is a multiplayer battle arena game that was published by Valve back in 2013. It is one of the biggest games on Steam and once had over 1 million concurrent players. As an Esport, Dota 2 offers many of the same betting opportunities as League of Legends (discussed below), including team-based and player-based markets. It is contested between 2 teams of 5 players, both of which compete to destroy a large structure that is defended by the opposing team. It’s relatively easy to follow as a new player, but the speed at which experienced players play the game means you may need to watch a few in advance before you get to grips with the rules.
StarCraft 2 was first released in 2021. The Blizzard Entertainment title followed the release of the original StarCraft way back in 1998. It’s a real-time strategy game that follows a similar format to other RTS classics like Command & Conquer and Age of Empires. The genre experienced a golden age during the early 2000s and while it is no longer as popular as it once was, StarCraft 2 is still a force to be reckoned with in the Esports sector.
Despite its age, StarCraft 2 remains immensely popular in the esports industry and will likely hold onto that popularity for many years to come. Not only does it sate the need that some players and fans still have for the RTS genre, but it has received a few major updates and expansions over the years.
Initially launched in 2015, Overwatch has been described as a “hero shooter”. It was tailormade for the Esport generation and unsurprisingly, it has become one of the industry’s most popular titles. Overwatch is a first-person shooter but it focuses more on team combat than other similar types of games. It is available on most consoles but the biggest Esport events tend to focus on PC, as it allows for more customisation and greater power.
In recent years, Overwatch’s popularity has faded somewhat and it has struggled to maintain the longevity of classic FPS games like Counter-Strike. Fortnite, Apex Legends, and other FPS titles have knocked it off its perch and the general public’s hunger for Overwatch has subsided. It’s likely that Overwatch 2 will provide a huge spark for the community and see the game return to the top, but despite being first announced back in 2019, Overwatch 2 has yet to materialise as of 2021.
For many years, FIFA battled with Pro Evolution Soccer to be called the biggest football franchise in the world and while many still argue that PES is the better option, FIFA has been winning that race for years. It sells far more copies and has done more to attract online players (through its Ultimate Team) and Esports betting sites. There are online and offline events, including the FIFAe Club World Cup, and it has gotten so big that Premier League clubs are even signing their very own Esport players. In fact, Manchester City signed its first Esports player way back in 2016—a veritable lifetime ago in the gaming industry.
One of the great things about betting on FIFA is that it’s just like betting on football. You can wager on Total Goals, Correct Score, Eventual Winner, and more. You can even place Accumulators and Outright bets. Just like in the real FIFA World Cup competition. But that doesn’t mean that FIFA games will replicate the real thing. In some games, you’ll see more goals than throw-ins, something that would never happen in real football. Red cards are also quite common, and it’s not uncommon to see multiple reds, because it just takes one angry or mistimed button-press to anger to ref. Still, making the transition from traditional football betting to FIFA Esport betting is relatively easy.
When you look at where Call of Duty is now—a console shooter with a massive online following—it’s hard to imagine that it began life as a fairly modest game focusing on accurate representations of the World Wars. Call of Duty is probably one of the world’s biggest first-person shooters and it has taken the Esports world by storm. Not only are new games added to the series on an annual basis, but with the introduction of Warzone and subsequent updates, Call of Duty has been able to compete with the likes of Counter-Strike, Fortnite, PUBG, and pretty much all other FPS titles on the market.
It is a behemoth and it is steamrolling the Esports industry, with no signs of slowing down. One of its many benefits is that most players are familiar with the game and so you can bet on it and watch it without feeling confused or overwhelmed. If you’re lucky (or unlucky, depending on whether or not you’re a good loser) you could even bump into a few professional players during one of your own online games of CoD.
Many bookmakers use the same software, offer similar markets, and have many of the same payment methods. Bonuses are one of the few differentiators, and they are also the most important. A bonus is your incentive to join and stick around, and if used properly, it could get you off to a running start. There are several different types of bonus offered by Esports betting sites:
Esports betting markets can be similar to traditional betting markets. The FIFA Esport markets aren’t all that different from football, for instance, as they are geared around Handicaps, Totals, and Match Results. However, there are some massive differences elsewhere and you’ll find markets that just wouldn’t exist in the traditional betting industry.
For example, you can bet that one player will kill another, blow up a building, take control of a map, or even blow themselves up with a grenade. MMA, Aussie Rules, and Rugby Union can be pretty brutal, but even they don’t go that far. What follows is a list of the unique betting options and markets that you can find on Esports betting sites.
Skins Betting was initially used as a way of circumventing online gambling regulations, as bettors would wager “skins” and other in-game items in place of real money. “Skins” are basically the colours and designs that fit over certain characters and weapons. As the Esports industry becomes more regulated, skin betting will likely fade away and players will make a transition to the real thing.
Fantasy sports are popular in countries where gambling is tightly controlled, but they are also played all over the world. You create teams of top players and earn points when those players excel. If you’re the biggest point scorer for a day, week, or season, you earn money.
Which team or player will score the highest points, claim the most territory, and ultimately win the map? These bets are available for first-person shooter games and team games like Call of Duty.
The term “Proposition Bet” or “Prop Bet” is not as common in the UK as it is in the United States, but it is still used. In the UK, it is used to describe a unique bet and one that typically has an “A” or “B” outcome. You may see proposition bets relating to extremely unlikely scenarios, such as a player in a first-person shooter dying from their own grenade or a FIFA player being shown the red card. You will also find bets that have simple and frequent outcomes, such as “Which team/player will score first”. Many Esportsbooks also use the term “Special Bets” in place of “Proposition Bets”.
First Blood actually takes on a couple of different meanings in an Esports context. One of those, FirstBlood, is a community for pro gamers and aspiring pro gamers. In a betting context, First Blood typically refers to the “first kill”. It’s a term that has been used for years, right back to the early Team 17 Worms games, when the little creatures would shout it when they blasted another player off the map. Although it depends on the game, the market, and the context of the bet, you’re essentially betting on a certain player or team making the first kill or connecting with the first shot.
Although competitive gaming seems like a relatively modern invention, it actually dates back to the early 1970s. One of the first recorded events occurred in 1972 when university students played a game known as Spacewar. The early video game industry was also highly competitive, with certain arcades and players receiving a lot of press following record-breaking scores on games like Pacman.
The first major event took place in 1980 during the Space Invaders Championship, and within a couple of decades, they became a regular thing, with first-person-shooters like Quake and real-time-strategy games like StarCraft becoming dominant in the late 1990s.
StarCraft, and its sequel StarCraft 2, actually paved the way for a lot of games and tournaments. These games, and the events that surrounded them, became huge in South Korea and Japan and this influenced the competitive gaming industry in Europe and the USA. Today, Esports are massive, and thanks to Twitch, YouTube, and other streaming sites, there is an entire generation of players who have the same reverence for gamers that previous generations had for football players.