eSports Odds and Betting
eSports is riding the crest of a wave right now and is quickly becoming one of the most popular sports on the planet, particularly with younger people. Thanks to its popularity, it’s now possible to place bets on the multitude of eSports events that run throughout the season, whether you’re a League of Legends or Dota fan.
Here, we explain everything you need to know about eSports odds and betting types and answer some frequently asked questions that will help you place your bets on the various esports markets available from online sportsbooks.
How to Bet on eSports
Betting on eSports is essentially the same as betting on any other sport, for instance, American football or baseball. You decide on the outcome that you think will occur, and you place a bet after considering the odds offered by the sportsbook.
When betting on eSports markets in the US, the odds are typically presented in the American format, so you will see the favorite given negative odds and the underdog given positive odds. But what does this look like in real life? Let’s take an upcoming League of Legends match as an example:
Team Heretics (-145) vs. Cute Cats (+130)
In this example, the sportsbook has identified Team Heretics as the favorites, as you can see by their negative odds. The odds show that in order to win $100, you would need to place a wager of $145. Conversely, if you fancy the Cute Cats to win this League of Legends match, a $100 bet would return $130.
While the odds will change throughout the season, the odds given to the favorite always show how much you need to place to win $100, while the underdog’s odds always show how much you stand to win from a $100 bet. Simple enough, right?
This is an eSports line and is the simplest way to bet on eSports. But it’s certainly not the only type of bet you can place! In the following section, we dive into your eSports betting options to help you understand the various wagers you can place.
The Most Popular eSports Odds and Betting Explained
eSports tournaments run throughout the year, with each game having a World Cup or something similar that draws huge crowds and massive potential winnings for the teams that compete for the crown.
For instance, the League of Legends World Championship and Dota 2’s International are among the biggest tournaments in the world of eSports. They present sports bettors with various odds and bet types to choose from.
As with all sports, there are multiple ways to bet on the outcome of eSports matches and tournaments. We run through some of your options below:
The most common type of eSports bet is to pick the match winner. We’ve touched on this bet type above, but let’s look at another example to ensure that you’re clear on how match-winner bets work. Here’s what a line could look like when betting on a fixture in Dota 2’s Spring Regional League:
Evil Geniuses (-190) vs. Dogchamp (+185)
As one of North America’s leading Dota 2 teams, Evil Geniuses are clear favorites to win the matchup, as indicated by their negative odds, and you would need to place a wager of $190 to return $100 in profit. If you’re just getting started with eSports, match-winner bets are the best option.
But what if you want to spice things up a little? Let’s look at some other eSports bets to consider.
Much like the spread in other sports, you can place a handicap bet on eSports. The favorite will be given a handicap before the match begins, while the underdog will be given a headstart.
As most eSports contests are tight affairs, the handicap might only be 0.5 points, but it can make a big difference to the outcome of your bet slip. Opting for a handicap bet can be a great way to access better odds if there’s an overwhelming favorite for a match.
Futures (outright winner)
Given the huge number of eSports leagues and tournaments that run throughout the year, you have many choices regarding futures markets. Before a tournament begins, you can bet on the team you think will emerge victorious. For instance, here’s what futures betting might look like for the League of Legends Worlds:
JDG Intel eSports Club +350
Royal Never Give Up +650
Edward Gaming Hycan +770
In this example, JDG are the favorites for the tournament, and backing them before the action gets underway is a good way to get them at reasonable odds. When the tournament starts, the odds will change to reflect each team’s performance.
Game-specific prop bets
One of the most enjoyable ways of betting on eSports is to place some prop bets. These differ from tournament to tournament, but they’re instances that occur during gameplay, and they’re not tied to the final outcome of the match or tournament. Some eSports prop bets that you can place on Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, include:
First Blood - which team scores the first kill?
Knife Round - which team scores the first kill of the knife round?
Map Winner - Which team wins the specified map?
Each eSports has its own prop bets that you can place, so it’s worth checking out what a sportsbook offers before the action begins. Prop bets are typically available for the bigger tournaments on the calendar and won’t be available for all regular season events.
Most eSports tournaments follow a format that consists of groups followed by knockout fixtures. Therefore, placing a number of group bets to spice up your betting slip is possible.
The obvious bet is backing which team you think will win each group. You can place individual bets or bring them together in a parlay, offering much better odds, albeit with greater risk.
You can also bet on the group of the tournament’s eventual winner. This is a smart bet if two of the pre-tournament favorites are in the same group, to begin with - or if a particular team has an easy group to navigate. It can be a great way to back a tournament winner without making it a single selection.
As many eSports feature first-person shooter games, one of the most common total bets you can place is the total number of kills by a player or team.
The sportsbook will set a totals line, and your job is to place a wager on whether a team (or an individual player) will achieve more or fewer kills than the line set.
For instance, in a League of Legends tournament, the sportsbook might set the individual kill line at 3.5, inviting you to predict whether players will land more or fewer kills in a round.
Like game-specific prop bets, totals bets are a great way to place wagers on the action as it’s unfolding, as opposed to sticking to who you think will win a match or tournament.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is betting on eSports legit?
When you place a bet on an eSports tournament, know that you’re betting on a regulated sport subject to strict participation criteria. Professional eSports players are extremely talented and play to win big prizes, as is the case with professional football, soccer, and baseball players. Therefore, betting on eSports is legit, and you can expect the same trials and tribulations associated with other sports betting.
How is eSports betting different from other sports?
The premise of betting on eSports is exactly the same as betting on football, baseball, or basketball. However, there are slightly different markets due largely to eSports tournaments and teams’ unique format and structure. It’s really important to understand the nuances between eSports competitions before placing a bet, as there are so many formats to consider, such as single-elimination, double-elimination, round-robin, and swiss, all with different rules.
Which eSports games can you bet on?
The beauty of eSports betting is that you can place wagers on a huge variety of games, including CSGO, League of Legends, Dota 2, and FIFA. You can place bets on standard season matches and major tournaments and back your favorite esports teams across different sports. In other words, you have a huge amount of choice when it comes to betting on eSports.
What’s the best eSports bet to place?
This depends on so many factors. When you’re new to eSports betting, we recommend sticking to the basics, and betting on the match winner is the ideal way to begin. However, when you become more familiar with the formats, players, and games, you can bet on props, totals, and the various other betting markets available.