Esports is the fastest growing gambling sport of all. Millions of people are now playing an esport game of some description and many of those are avid viewers of their favorite games via Twitch TV and online bookmaker live esports streams.
A remarkable 100 million people play the most popular esport game of all, ‘League of Legends’ (LOL) and that is 1% of the world’s population.
The biggest matches and leagues now attract massive viewing figures and with it substantial betting turnover. With a young fan-base esports has brought new people into the world of gambling and the online esports betting sites are scrambling to accommodate them with free bets on the most popular esports leagues and games.
Here we will take a look at the best online sportsbooks to place esports bets, get free esports bets and esports betting tips.
What are Esports and what is Esports Betting?
Esports is the collective name for a large collection of competitive computer games, the most popular of which are: DOTA II, Hearthstone, Starcraft II, League of Legends (LOL), Hearthstone, Call of Duty, CS:GO (Counter-Strike: Global Offensive) and FIFA.
Remarkably most people in the UK and Europe have played one such esport at some time or other. But this is a global industry with league finals and competitions taking place in stadiums before a live audience of thousands and global viewing audience of millions.
The best esports betting sites will take bets on all the major games albeit three specific video games have captured the betting public’s imagination above all the others, these are: League of Legends (which takes 38 per cent of all esports bets), CS:GO (29 per cent) and DOTA 2 with an 18 per cent market share.
Most major online bookmakers and sportsbooks will accept esports bets of some kind on the biggest matches within these three fields. The bigger online bookmakers will also offer opportunities on other esports – Starcraft II is the fourth most popular taking around 7 percent of all esports bets – while the best esports betting sites feature a good number of betting opportunities.
Esports also provides an excellent in-play betting medium. As the live action is fast and furious the esports betting markets can fluctuate wildly and quickly.
The best esports betting sites offer markets on a number of different outcomes within every match. These betting markets are remarkably similar to those offered on tennis, for example: Outright winner, correct set betting (called map betting in esports) along with handicaps etc.
How to Place an Esport Bet
Like any sporting type that is new to you, the best way to proceed as a novice esports bettor is slowly and for small stakes.
In fact, why not head to the live ‘in play’ section of your preferred bookmaker – bet365 offers one of the very best esports betting experiences – and watch a few games while checking out the esports betting options available to you?
Otherwise simply click the ‘Esports’ tab on the homepage of your esports betting site – it is top and center of the Betway web site who are an excellent esports bookmaker with in depth coverage and dedicated esports blog section.
You can find esport betting opportunities on the match result, the match result with a team receiving a handicap start, correct scores, a team to win at least one ‘map’ (which is the same as a set in tennis), the team to get the first ‘kill’ and the first team to get ten kills when it comes to League of Legends.
New customers at Betway can also claim a €10 free esports bet when you stake €25 on esports bets although you must remember to opt in to the promotion.
All the functionality is the same as that found with other sports and, like we say, the betting markets on offer are very similar to those of say tennis or snooker. As with those games a degree of knowledge can be very helpful.
Bets are normally struck at prices determined by a single odds compiler and if your understanding and insight of a particular esports team or game is better than theirs, you are sure to fare very well with your esports betting in the long run.
Others may make use of mathematical and statistical formulae to make their esports bet selections while others will go the good old fashioned approach of simply supporting their favourite esports teams.
In addition to match betting the best esports betting sites offer outright prices on competition outcomes. Ante-post esports betting is an excellent betting medium with shrewd punters forming a ‘portfolio’ and often in a ‘win-win’ situation long before the final match starts.
Get Educated Esports Betting Tips
A number of bookmakers and online sportsbooks now sponsor a high-profile esports team. This gives them access to exclusive news and blogs from the major players within that team. Such an insight can prove invaluable to esports bettors.
Dafabet have been associated with the esports team Fnatic which are considered to be the most famous esports team in the world and Betway sponsor another high-profile outfit, ‘Ninjas in Pyjamas’.
Pinnacle and GG Sports are other online sportsbooks now sponsoring esports teams but, in truth, there are several such relationships ongoing and more are about to be announced.
Amongst the online sportsbooks Betway probably offers the best insight into forthcoming esports matches as it offers betting previews and esports betting tips from respected industry professionals in an dedicated esports area of their web site. For newcomers and experienced esports players it makes for some fascinating and invaluable reading.
Then, as you would in football, you can also visit the official websites of the major teams to get the latest news on team selection and roster changes.
bet365 is the undoubted industry leader when it comes to the number of betting opportunities on esports matches and the number of betting markets within them. But, with this sport, as a betting medium still in its infancy, it is always a good idea to shop around for the best esports odds.
Sky Bet, Betfair and Ladbrokes have all been known to offer up some pretty outrageous prices on the odd occasion which informed punters like to refer to as ‘ricks’.
Betting on esports may be a relatively new phenomena but it looks set to continue it’s rapid growth in popularity especially after the recent crackdown on the controversial ‘skin betting’ (betting on esports games using valuable in-game items such as weapons).