ESL One Cologne Drives Record Betting Handles
Esports Betting Report

ESL One Cologne Posts Some Of 2016’s Largest CS:GO Skin Betting Totals

ESL One Betting

The eyes of the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive world were on Germany this past week, as SK Gaming won ESL One Cologne, a tournament whose matches produced some of the year’s largest skin betting handles to date. 

Some of 2016’s largest skin betting handles

The new-look SK squad took down Team Liquid in the final to win the $500,000 first prize. The match also generated bets by nearly 84,000 people that involved 321,000 skins, according to data provided by skin betting site CS:GO Lounge.

A recent sample of Lounge data would indicate those figures are the highest betting totals for any CS:GO match in 2016, topping the previous high of 307,000 skins wagered on the Apr. 3 MLG Columbus final between Natus Vincere and Luminosity Gaming, the latter of whose players now all play for SK.

DateTeam%OddsTeam%OddsPeopleItems
Final - July 10SK (win)611.61Liquid392.3983943321155
RR Day 3 - July 7Liquid (win)551.76mouz452.1771020272428
Quarterfinal - July 8Na’Vi701.41Liquid (win)303.0864675254382
Semifinal - July 9SK (win)751.32Virtus.Pro253.6964777242746
Semifinal - July 9Fnatic691.41Liquid (win)313.0663522240792

On the Lounge, bettors wagered an average of 178,000 skins per match across the Cologne’s 27 matches.

That figure marks one of the highest reported average skin totals ever recorded for a tournament. By comparison, Turner and WME/IMG’s 10-week long ELEAGUE has produced an average skin betting total so far of just under 57,000 skins per match, according to Lounge data. 

Cologne marked the ninth major in organized CS:GO history, and its $1 million prize pool is tied with MLG Columbus’ earlier this year as the largest prize pool offered at a CS:GO tournament in 2016. 

The ELEAGUE will eclipse that figure, offering $1.4 million.

Liquid’s Run Drives Strong Wagering Activity

Four of the top five skin betting totals for the tournament came in matches involving underdog side Liquid, whose improbable run to the final defied the (betting) odds. While Liquid went 4-2 for the tournament, three of its four wins came opposite a favored team and netted strong payouts.

Its win Thursday against mouz drew 272,428 skins on the Lounge, the tournament’s second highest total.

Its quarterfinal upset win against Na’Vi took in 254,382 skins while its semifinal upset win over Fnatic took in 240,792 skins. Both wins paid out at over 3-to-1 odds for the American side.

Interestingly, Liquid’s matches in tournaments like ELEAGUE and MLG Columbus had drawn some of the lowest skin betting totals in those events.

Round Averages Best MLG Columbus, ELEAGUE

The five-day tournament saw betting averages rise proportionately with the round the matches were featured in. Even its preliminary round-robin matches, though, netted a total skins-bet-per-match average of 162,000, a mark that exceeds the same-match average from the previous CS:GO major (MLG Columbus) and is nearly three times that of similar ELEAGUE matches. 

ESL one Betting Chart

A total of 482,000 skins were bet on Cologne’s two semifinal matches. That figure exceeds the 437,000 total skins bet on the Columbus semis.

This apparent rise in betting volume from other major CS:GO tournaments so far this year speaks to a growing industry expected to generate a handle of $7.42 billion in 2016, according to a report from Narus Advisors and Eilers & Krejcik Gaming.

Those projections might only be bolstered if skin betting handles continue to grow at other significant CS:GO tournaments later this year, including ESL One New York, the Intel Extreme Masters XI and DreamHack Winter 2016.

Image credit: Helena Kristiansson / ESL

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Will Green
- An analyst at the intersection of gambling, entertainment, and esports, Will worked as a writer and producer at Sports Illustrated, where he covered the sports gambling and daily fantasy sports industries. His work is currently featured at SI, as well as Fortune.com, Legal Sports Report, ESBR, and many other publications.