What is eSports?
Esports is the collective phrase for competitive computer games and video gaming. Be it FIFA football or the popular CS:GO (Counter Strike, Global Offensive), most people in the UK and Europe have played one such eSport at some time or other.
But eSports has spread well beyond the luxury of peoples front rooms and bedrooms – leagues and competitions now require stadiums to facilitate a massive fan-base which follow the major teams.
Players are looked on like rock stars and live streams on ongoing eSports matches attract hundreds of thousands of viewers (often millions).
Meanwhile, eSports betting is enjoying phenomenal growth amongst young men (aged 18-35) helping it to rise to the sixth most popular ‘sport’ in terms of betting turnover.
‘League of Legends’ (aka LOL) is the game where most people like to place their bets. Currently almost four out of every 10 eSports bets is placed on it.
CS:GO claims 29% of eSports placed every year while a third game, DOTA2 takes 18% of the market. Collectively these three eSports games, which account for the majority of the market, are referred to as the ‘Big Three’.
By the year 2020 it is expected eSports betting will turnover €27 billion annually and it will become the fourth most popular betting sport.
eSports betting sites
Most, if not all, major online sportsbooks are offering odds on eSports matches nowadays. Some firms have taken eSports more seriously than others though, with bet365, SkyBet, DafaBet and Betway probably offering more markets on more matches than their rivals.
Betway actually have a dedicated eSports section on their popular online sportsbook which features news, blogs, results and betting previews. Generally there is plenty of information out there allowing punters to make informed betting decisions.
With eSports betting being a relatively new betting medium it is well worth shopping around (at all sportsbooks) for the best prices about your selections. That’s because the odds on offer can vary wildly from site to site.
Another great thing about eSports betting is the ability to bet on a match live ‘in-play’. Not only can you do this, you can also watch the action live either through a bookmakers live stream or at the popular Twitch TV. Live eSports is a thrilling spectacle making betting on it great fun.
eSports betting odds
The best eSports bookmakers offer markets on a host of different outcomes within every match.
Those markets are very similar to those offered on tennis: Outright Winner, Correct Score set betting (sometimes called ‘Map Betting’), and also Handicaps.
There are others betting options such as ‘winner of the first map’, the first team to ‘draw first blood’ and even the first team to register ten ‘kills’. Furthermore, there are ante-post lists and outright odds on competition winners.
You have to shop around when betting on eSports, it would be a crime not to! That’s because, unlike football and horseracing, there is a big contrast amongst advertised prices from one online sportsbook to another. It is even possible to find ‘arbs’ which is the ability to back both sides of a bet and still make a small profit.
Not all online sportsbooks offer in-play betting but those that do feature fair margins and you can back or lay your fancies (and non-fancies) in-play on some matches at the popular Betfair betting exchange.
eSports Free Bets
There are also eSports free bets and just like more established sports, online bookmakers are happy to give away free bets to entice new customers.
Furthermore, there are no qualms about free bets being placed on eSports matches.
There are normally stonking free bet offers when major competitions are about to get underway and bet loyalty bonuses apply to eSports as much as any other field of betting / sport.