Go back a year or two, and the term 'eSports' would have had most people - even sports bettors - scratching their heads. In reality, 'eSports' back in 2013 were played by a selection of hardcore video players, but just for kudos rather than competition or cash. Now eSports are definitely big business – for players, fans and punters alike. Take a look at the best esports betting sites below.
Not all games are suitable for eSports enthusiasts – it's hard to imagine anyone getting excited about a Tetris or Angry Birds tournament, after all. Here we will give a quick run down of the most popular titles when it comes to eSports tournaments.
This game is the one that's really been the main reason why eSports have become so popular, as it is just as entertaining to watch as it is to play. Players take on the role of a 'champion' that fights and competes against other champions in a unique, fantasy world. The 2016 LoL World Championships had a prize pool of over $6 million.
Defence of the Ancients II actually began life as a modification of the popular MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) fantasy strategy game, World of Warcraft. DOTA 2 is more of an arena game, where teams battle each other within an arena, using tactics, weapons and spells to beat their opponents.
Of all the longest-running eSports games, Counter-Strike is the most ancient, having been around in some form or another since the late 1990s. This is a squad-based first-person shoot-em-up, in which teams compete with each other in a style which will be popular with fans of Battlefield or Call of Duty … oh, and 'GO' stands for Global Offensive.
Still going strong after seven years as a popular eSports title, this game has set all records for the most players online and the biggest prize pools. Starcraft II is possibly the most complex of all the most favoured eSports titles, which means it can be quite difficult to follow at times, especially by those not familiar with the game.
Other popular games for eSports betting include Heroes of the Storm, Hearthstone, Overwatch, Smite and Street Fighter V.
There are two main ways you can bet on eSports – betting on teams, or betting on individuals.
In games such as CS:GO two teams are in competition against one another, just as with any team-based sporting contest. To place a bet, you simply find the eSport you are most interested in and find out what matches are forthcoming. Leading eSports matches are competed by teams from all over the world – some games take place at specific venues, while others are played 'online' with teams signing in from their various geographical locations.
Once you find a match the interests you, you'll see the odds given for each team to win. Simply back the team you think will cause the most mayhem and bloodshed, and place your bet accordingly.
You may be disappointed by the lack of markets available when it comes to eSports, as they pale in comparison to the markets available for, say, football. This is because eSports betting is a relatively new endeavour, and sports books are a little bit unsure about the discipline. When it comes to a football match you can usually bet on the number of throw-ins, the time of the first goal, the half-time/full-time score and so on. When it (currently) comes to eSports, you'll be hard pressed to find a sports book that offers odds on the number of points scored or games won, or the margin of victory. This is likely to change in the future.
Betting on individuals is practically the same as betting on teams. You will only likely find odds available on the winners of individual tournaments or matches.
Go back a couple of years and you'd be hard pressed to find any sports betting site that offered ways for you to be able to bet on eSports, but all that is changing. Nearly all of the major sports betting sites on the internet, along with many of the lesser-known names, now offer eSports betting. Here are what we think are the best betting sites for eSports:
The sports betting site Betway has probably the best coverage of eSports betting on the internet. All the most popular eSports are covered here, including CS:GO, League of Legends and Dota 2. Daily tournaments and games are available, and there's an eSports blog for you to peruse if you really want to get in the know about this particular wagering niche.
Mr Green is a lover of many things, including sports betting and eSport betting. Via the simple Mr Green interface you'll be able to find all the up-and-coming eSports games and tournaments. At the moment Mr Green is following the standard trade of only allowing simple win/loss betting on eSports events.
Want to boost your betting ability? Our eSports tips page will guide you through the best ways to boost your profits.