Esports and esports betting have been in the news over the last few years. But if you’re not familiar with esports, you might wonder what all the fuss is about.
On this page, you’re going to learn what esports is and everything you need to know about betting on esports.
While esports might seem different from other sports, when it comes to betting, it’s pretty much the same.
What Are Esports?
Esports is the name used for electronic sports. The most common form of esports competitions are video game contests.
If you’re over 35 or 40 years old, you might not know much about esports. It’s a sport dominated by people in their teens and 20s. But this really isn’t much different from other professional sports. While some players in their 30s compete in other sports, most of the players are younger.
Esports isn’t a single sport. It’s the name used for a wide range of electronic game competitions. Some games are first-person shooters, some are multiplayer online battle arena games, called MOBA, and others are fighting games or real-time strategy games.
See the list of popular esports leagues below to learn more about the games and contests.
What Is Esports Betting?
If you think about a football/soccer game, you know you can bet on which team wins. And you can bet on other things about each match.
And if you think about any sporting tournament, like the March Madness NCAA basketball tournament, you know you can bet on individual games and/or on a team to win the tournament.
Esports is a lot like betting on any other sport or sporting event. You can bet on individual matches, whether it’s between individual players or teams, and you can bet on tournaments.
Odds provided by sportsbooks on esports are the same as odds on other sporting events.
How to Bet on Esports
Esports are no different from many other sports you can bet on. Teams or individuals compete in matches or tournaments. The sportsbooks set lines, and you bet on the team or individual you think is going to win.
Here’s an example:
In the League of Legends PG Nationals, the Samsung Morning Stars are competing against Atleta. The Samsung Morning Stars are listed at 2.80 and Atleta is listed at .25. Or, if you prefer fractional odds, the Samsung Morning Stars are 15/5 and Atleta is 1/4.
In addition to betting on a team to win, some matches have other betting options. For example, here are available bets on a Dota 2 Pro Circuit match:
- Handicap Winner
- Over Under Match Winner
- Winner Map 1
- Winner Map 2
- Winner Map 3
You bet on esports the same way you bet on other sports. Find a sportsbook with lines, find the lines you want, make a bet, and wait to see if you win.
Where to Bet on Esports
The easiest way to bet on esports events is through an online sportsbook. But you can also use land-based sportsbooks in some places.
Your options depend on where you live. The next section covers the legality of esports betting. And the legal status of esports betting plays a big role in where you bet on matches and contests.
If you have an account in an online sportsbook, the odds are good you can bet on esports. Open your sportsbook and look for the esports lines. If the lines are available, you can bet on esports.
However, if you don’t have a sportsbook account, or the book you use doesn’t offer esports, you have other options. Most of the sportsbooks listed on this site have esports betting lines.
Is Esports Betting Legal in South Africa?
Esports betting is legal in South Africa as long as the bets are placed with a locally licensed bookmaker. Worldwide, the legality of esports betting isn’t as easy to cover. In some areas, there are laws allowing esports betting. In some areas, there are laws against esports betting. And in all other areas, there either aren’t laws about esports betting or the laws are vague.
Esports betting is still new in the gambling world. And the laws frequently change. Depending on where you live, the same things happened with casino gambling, poker, and sportsbooks in the past. The big hold-up with esports betting in some areas is the percentage of esports players who are under legal betting age.
I’m not giving you legal advice about esports betting because I’m not qualified. But here’s what I do. If I have access to a sportsbook I trust, and they offer lines, I bet on what I want. And this includes esports.
If you want to know if esports betting is legal where you live, speak with a local gambling law expert.
Should You Bet on Esports?
Asking should you bet on esports is the same as the question about betting on any other sport. Maybe the question should be: Why do you want to bet on esports or any other sport?
Gamblers bet on sports for many reasons. Of course, when you bet on sports, you want to win. But do you know how to win? In other words, are you a good handicapper?
If you want to bet on esports, you need to learn how to handicap esports events. If you’re not an esports fan, it’s difficult to learn how to handicap the events. However, if you’re a fan, it’s easier to handicap events.
I don’t recommend spending too much time with esports if you’re a good handicapper of other sports. But if you’re an esports fan, start learning how to handicap events.
The only thing you need to know is there have been some match-fixing scandals in the esports world. It’s easier to fix esports matches than on most other sports. Match fixing is one of the worst things sports bettors face. So, make sure you do some in-depth research before jumping into the esports betting market.
Match-fixing also happens in other sports. But there’s a higher chance in esports than in most other sports.
You can bet on a wide range of esports tournaments and events. The esports listed below aren’t even close to all the available esports. However, these are the most popular esports. And these are the esports that most sportsbooks offer lines on.
League of Legends
League of Legends, also called LoL, is the most popular esports game. It’s a multiplayer battle game designed by Riot Games.
The game came out in 2009 and is played entirely online. Even though it’s over a decade old, it’s still a leading esports game and looks like it will be for years to come.
The Dota series is a collection of online strategy games. Dota 2 is currently the most popular Dota game for gamblers.
The games are owned by Valve and have been available since the first Dota game, called Defense of the Ancients, came out in 2003.
Overwatch is a first-person shooter game released in 2016. Two teams of six players each compete against each other using heroes.
The game is owned and run by Blizzard Entertainment, a big name in the electronic gaming world.
Also owned by Blizzard Entertainment, StarCraft is a science fiction themed esports game.
StarCraft is set in the 26th century, and the latest release is StarCraft: Remastered.
Counter-Strike, sometimes just called CS, is a first-person shooter where a team tries to create and carry out acts of terror and another team tries to stop them.
The competition between the two teams makes a perfect esports environment.
Call of Duty
Owned by Activision, Call of Duty is a first-person shooter. The first game came out in 2003, and it’s still one of the most popular esports games.
The original game was based on WWII, but over the years many other wars are covered, including future wars, crossing into the science fiction realm.
Fortnite: Save the World is a cooperative survival game that came out in 2017. The current version is Fortnite Battle Royale.
The game is owned and published by Epic Games, and is a popular esports game.
Many esports competitions have teams. And many teams are competing for prizes. Here’s a list of some popular esports teams. But this is far from a complete list. New teams form and old teams disband frequently.
- 100 Thieves
- Team SoloMid
- FaZe Clan
- Evil Geniuses
- G2 Esports