Esports are competitive games that feature bustling, competitive scenes, millions of dollars in prize money and dozens of iconic players. They operate very similarly to traditional sports but with a few key differences. Firstly, esports is incredibly diverse. Competitive titles range from sports simulation titles like FIFA and Madden to complex fantasy battle arenas like League of Legends and Dota 2.
Naturally, the traditional sports betting industry has strived to integrate esports. Their popularity isn’t just limited to big names; many independent esports-only betting sites have launched in recent years. More companies than ever are trying to attract esports bettors. As the esports industry grows further, both bettors and oddsmakers will have more opportunities to make money.
While the betting side of esports works very similarly to traditional sports like basketball and soccer, there are a few key differences that you should know before beginning your esports betting journey.
Understanding the esports betting industry
If you’re familiar with traditional sports betting, esports betting will be easy to understand. There are only a handful of differences between the two. The actual act of placing money on a match is still ultimately the same, but the actual rules of the games vary wildly from title to title.
The most significant difference lies in how esports events are structured. Instead of a centralized league with a predetermined weekly schedule, esports tournaments feature teams playing multiple matches in a single day. The normal format is a round-robin group stage followed by a double-elimination bracket, but bracketed preliminaries and single-elimination playoffs aren’t unheard of. While basketball or hockey only feature a few games during one season, esports tournaments pack months of action in just a couple of weeks.
That pace is also great for bookmakers, as the sheer volume of esports matches dwarfs most conventional sports. International tournaments can feature dozens of match-ups in a single day, and that’s just for one game. There are tons of different esports to bet on, and each one comes with its own rules, systems and culture. It’s best to stick with games you’re more familiar with before branching into other esports.
Is it too late to start betting on esports in 2024?
The esports world moves at a breakneck pace, with new players, teams and tournaments appearing all the time. Esports fans are generally more willing to accept new technology, so new online tournament services and stream services are introduced all the time. While it might seem like a lot to get into, esports’ constant evolution provides more opportunities to join the fun.
Another important difference between sports and esports is that new titles are continually releasing. Video game developers know that esports titles are incredibly lucrative, so they try to design new esports and then support them after release. Some do well, some don’t, but all provide a new game to join right at the start. A handful of titles make it into the sportsbooks every year. These offer an excellent opportunity to jump into the esports betting indutry.
If you’re interested in long-running esports titles like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and League of Legends, it will be a while before you understand how the game works at the highest level. Historical references from the commentators might go over your head initially, but learning about esports’ history is a lot of fun in its own right.
There’s plenty of recorded information across the internet to help you learn more about esports history. Gamepedia and Liquipedia both host user-created wikis with player info, previous matchup records, and general game knowledge to get you up to speed. Most longtime esports enthusiasts are also very welcoming to new fans.
How to pick a website for esports betting
Choosing an esports betting site can be difficult. There are many things to consider, including coverage, odds, bonuses and deposit options. The most crucial factor is whether you plan to bet solely on esports or also on traditional sports. Esports dedicated sites like Rivalry focus their entire site on gaming, so they’re able to cover more tournaments than a less specific site. If you plan to play casino games or bet on sports, I’ve personally had a good experience on Bovada. Remember that the games available in the sportsbook can vary from site to site, so always check their odds before making an account.