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Esports betting is one of the fastest-emerging betting markets in the world today.
There is a growing global market for esports and as these games and the individuals that play them gain more fame across the globe, so the market for betting on the outcome of the top esports matchups also grows in size and scope.
For someone who perhaps took their first steps into the realm of online betting by wagering on sports, it can seem a large shift in culture to effectively be betting on the outcome of a computer game between two individuals or teams of competitors.
In truth though, the difference when it comes to betting on esports compared to sports is generally very small (we’ll get more into the divergent points below) and is no different to the distinctions you would find betting on football versus baseball.
Some bets are universal to esports betting and sports betting, while some bets are entirely contextual based on the game itself.
One of the most common bets you can find on esports betting, as well as sports betting, are money line bets. Indeed, when it comes to esports betting, these are arguably the most popular type of bets placed on esports.
So how can you read money line bets and how do they work when it comes to esports? Let’s take a closer look and find out.
It should be noted here that money line bets do differ from country to country and in this article, we are focusing on the money line bets you can find on esports in the UK, with providers such as Bet365 Sport.
A money line bet is simply a wager on which of the two teams competing in the esports event will win. The shorter the esports betting odds of a team, the greater their chances of winning (in the bookmakers’ view), while the longer the odds of a team, the less chance they have of achieving victory.
Rather than use the term money line, lots of UK esports bookmakers will either have a match result, or match result handicap market instead – the difference between the two being that on the second a handicap is applied to each team to bring the odds of each selection closer to even.
For example, in the example above Samsung Galaxy may be given a +1.5 map handicap, while Rox Tigers may be given a -1.5 map handicap, and the odds on each team with their handicap applied is then adjusted.
In the UK, money lines are predominantly used on US sports betting, but occasionally you can see the term used for esports. Regardless of the terms used, these are the most popular bets on esports you can place.
The first thing to note here is that esports betting is still very much an emerging market and as such, many esportsbooks are offering an increasingly wide number of bets as they become more familiar with betting on these events.
The most common bets are available across almost every esport, including money line betting outlined above. However when you get down to more the context-specific bets that relate to a particular esport or tournament, then the bets offered from esportsbooks do vary considerably.
What you will tend to find is that specialist esports betting sites will likely offer a wider choice of markets and lines than non-specialist, however there are an increasing number of sites (such as Pinnacle, Betway and SkyBet) who are offering an extensive range of esports betting lines as the specialist esports betting sites.
It is important to remember that esports betting should, to a punter who is aiming to return as great a profit as possible, be approached in exactly the same way as any other form of betting. This means that for a wise punter, odds and value will be foremost when looking for a bet to place.
The first thing that makes choosing the right sports book important is linked to this. You want a sports book that offers not just an extensive esports service, but one that also has a proven tradition of offering good value odds most of the time.
In the long run, that will save you a lot of searching around looking for the best odds on a bet.
Another issue to consider is the scope of bets offered. If you are not going to bet with a specialist esports betting provider, then the amount of esports betting offered by more general sports books does vary considerably from one site to the next.
Some sites only offer a very small esports betting service; others offer a service comparable to the specialist sites.
Finally, if you are going to be placing in play bets on esports, then you need to ensure your chosen site offers this service. Once again, this is not available across all esports betting providers at the moment, so it pays to do a little research to ensure these bets are available if you want to bet in play.
The good news for esports betting fans is that the range of esports bets you can now place in addition to money line bets is increasing and that more sports books are carrying a greater range of esports bets than ever before.
Many of the bets you can place are dependent upon the particular tournament and esports in question as they are context-specific, but in addition to money line bets, you should be able to find the following type of bets readily available across most esports betting providers:
As we have said previously however, the esports betting industry is still very much at a nascent stage. The likelihood is that there will soon be many more different types of esports bets regularly available across a wider range of tournaments over the next couple of years or so.
Few betting markets have undergone such a rapid expansion as esports betting. Just a couple of years ago, this form of betting was almost unheard of.
Since then, the explosive popularity of competitive gaming and the accompanying development of a burgeoning betting scene alongside it has seen an increasing number of sports books offering esports betting to customers.
However, on the face of it, esports are radically different to a typical sports betting market. Yes, each is a contest of sorts between individuals or teams, but how these events are played out is very different. Most sports involve physical prowess in some form or another, or a particular skill and betting on these events is well-established.
Anyone can pick up a game pad or load up an esports game on the PC and play, so how can it be possible to bet on esports with the same degree of confidence as you can sports betting?
This is a fair question and one that can only be answered by gaining a greater understanding of how esports are organised and regulated and which esports events betting companies will offer markets on.
When you place a bet on a sports event, you know that you are placing a bet on a professional or semi-professional event that is subject to stringent criteria about participation. As such, you can be confident that the persons or teams competing are doing so entirely focused on achieving a win.
The biggest mistake a punter can make about esports betting is to assume that betting on esports is different. You are not betting on how two teenagers playing in their bedroom will do battling against each other, but instead you are betting on some of the world’s best esports players competing in some of the most regulated and high-profile tournaments around the world.
Indeed, such is the popularity of esports nowadays that the prize money on offer in some events is on a par and often in excess to what is available in some sporting events. For example, the 2016 World Championship Snooker tournament in Sheffield had a total prize pool of £1.5m. Compare this to the Dota 2 tournament The International 2016, which boasted a prize pool of more than $20 million.
To summarise, when you bet on an esports market with a top bookmaker, you are betting on the highest level gamer, many of them professional, in the top tournament events around the world that have the same strict rules and regulations regarding competition as any sporting event.
When you compare the range of bets available on esports to those offered on a mainstream sport, one thing is key and that is context. However, that is true when you compare one sport to another sport in terms of betting markets. You can’t after all bet on the number of touchdowns that will be scored in a baseball game.
Context is key for esports as the bets available differ from one esport to the next because each game is different to the next. Nonetheless, there are a number of common bets which are available across almost all esports (and also on sports betting).
This includes bets on who will win the match, match handicap bets and what the correct score of a game will be.
What other markets are available on esports are generally context specific, as they are for other sports bets. So for example, in soccer betting, you may bet on the first goalscorer, the correct score, who will score the first goal, which player will receive the first yellow card and so on.
In esports, there are a number of other bets available depending on the game in question and the prestige of the tournament involved. The bigger the tournament and the better the teams participating, then the more chance you’ll find bets available such as which team will draw the first blood on Map 1 and then Map 2, which team will slay the first dragon and so on.
In truth, bookmakers have only just started to explore the wide range of different esports betting markets that are available across the full range of titles. It is still very much an emerging market that now offers a myriad of more choices than it did 12 or even just six months ago.
No, in all the different sports book sites that offer esports, every one has allowed its customers to place bets on esports in exactly the same way as customers place a bet on traditional sports. This is usually done by clicking on the odds of a bet, which adds it to the bet slip, then entering your odds and then placing the bet.
Furthermore, you can also bet on some of the top esports events as they happen via in play betting with some of the top sports betting sites. In addition, specialist esports betting sites like Pinnacle and Unikrn also offer more extensive in play betting.
Once again, you place bets in play on esports in exactly the same way as you would on any other sport.
As you would expect, the odds on offer for esports betting are pretty much exactly the same as you would find for comparable sports betting bets. For example, if you have an American football game between the Denver Broncos – current Superbowl champions – and the Tennessee Titans, the worst team in the NFL last season, then you would expect the Broncos to be hot favourites.
In esports, it is exactly the same. If one team is markedly stronger than its opponent, then you will have comparable odds on that team winning as you would a mainstream sports team doing so.
In truth, esports betting is almost identical to sports betting in every respect. The only difference is that the context for esports allows for different bets in much the same way you can bet on different markets for American football as you can for boxing.
If you have bet on sports before, then you will have absolutely no issues enjoying a flutter on any of the top esports betting sites available.