One of the most anticipated StarCraft 2 tournaments is just around the corner, with the world's best players getting ready to fight for their share of $500,000 in prize money.
A legendary esports event, the Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) Katowice is a CS:GO tournament held in Poland. In this guide, we'll go over all the participating teams, details about the schedule, as well as everything you need to know about IEM CS:GO betting!
The Dota Pro Circuit is in full flow. The next big tournament in this seasonal circuit is the PGL Arlington Major. Texas is the location, Esports Stadium Arlington is the venue of choice, and seventeen brilliant Dota 2 teams will be eyeing their chances here.
The LEC (League of Legends European Championship) is entering a new decade starting with the inaugural Winter split. From team rosters to an all-new tournament format, the league will be seeing much more competition.
The fun of betting on esports can quickly fade when you start losing your hard-earned money because you, frankly, don’t know what you’re doing. The right esports betting strategies can act as guidelines to help you win more and stop you from blowing through your savings in one afternoon. For that reason, it’s important to know the basics and what you should and should not do.
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Esports betting has become quite the industry in this day and age, giving gamers even more incentive to root for their favourite teams while watching them go at it live on-stream. Whether you are a beginner learning the ropes or a veteran needing a fresh perspective, you’re here because you want to learn about what betting strategies you need to take your game to the next level. But before that, you first have to master the basics.
There’s a ton of stuff you can bet on in esports, where each genre and game has its own respective, unique betting markets. Today, the available betting options far exceed the likes of just match winners and spreads. We are looking at a vast array of futures, totals, and props that can even wage on the most specific of outcomes inside a game.
Of course, betting lines and odds available depends on the game you wish to bet on and what tournaments are currently in-play. Tier 1 esports titles such as Dota 2, CS:GO, and League of Legends usually have the most markets available across several bookmakers.
Nevertheless, no matter what game you follow, esports betting has come a long way so that anyone and everyone can get in on the fun!
Before anything else, we must first establish that just because you live and breathe esports does not mean that you are going to be a natural at betting. When you are betting, you are facing odds against bookmakers who have near-unlimited resources to determine the best odds that are profitable for them. As such, placing real-life stakes on pro-level competition is a difficult undertaking that requires a lot of discipline, research, patience, and a good dose of luck.
But do not fret, as there are tried-and-tested ways of increasing your odds of turning a profit in the long run. Here are the fundamental esports betting strategies that pros have mastered to win bets, bounce back from setbacks, and ultimately, beat the bookmaker.
Before you even think about placing a single bet, you need to do your homework and extensively research the esport you want to invest in. This begins by familiarising yourself with the game and learning all its ins and outs by playing and watching pros. Then, once you’re all caught up, you can start getting to know the teams and players of the tournaments you want to bet on.
One of the many esports betting tips we can give you is to check the past results, as they typically bear the most importance for upcoming matches. These dictate esports bookmakers’ odds and paint a picture for what to expect coming into high-stake matchups. For example, you could look into past head-to-head records to help you unearth potential high-return upsets.
To start, Liquipedia and Fandom should be more than enough for learning about past match records of teams you want to bet on. These wikis are the absolute authority when it comes to finding up-to-date information about upcoming and ongoing tournaments, as well as teams’ recent performances.
But while the past can be a hint of how a team will perform, it is never definitive and can be an outdated lens to view a team’s strengths.
If you want to be a successful punter, you need the ability to look at player and team stats and draw logical conclusions from them. Learning a game’s fundamentals is one thing, but understanding the numbers that can help you predict winning wagers is another beast altogether.
Stat lines give you a better idea of teams and players’ playstyles and form in past seasons. Learning how to navigate these complex stats can help you gain an edge in betting markets like totals where stats are indicative of bet outcomes (e.g., average game time, number of kills, etc.). Which is why each esport has its own dedicated stats platform that tracks the latest performance of teams and players across different regions and leagues.
Thankfully, you don’t have to do this alone as there is a wealth of resources on Twitter, Reddit, or streaming platforms like YouTube and Twitch to help you understand the story behind the numbers. By taking ideas from the professional opinion of analysts, retired and current pros, or high-elo players, you can get a rough idea of the pros’ sentiment towards teams and players and make better informed decisions on your bets.
After understanding the relative strength of teams and players, make sure that you are always caught up on all the happenings inside the league. Follow all the roster changes that take place across the season as even a single change can drastically affect how teams play, as these influence which champions, agents, heroes, or compositions teams go for which can affect how they perform.
Another crucial part to understanding the current state of pro competition is staying on top of the meta, which stands for “Most Effective Tactics Available” and as it implies, it is defined as the most optimal way to play a game. At the highest level, whether a player feels comfortable playing meta strategies can be the difference between winning a championship and getting knocked out before playoffs.
Bankroll management represents the art of managing your betting funds in a responsible and strategic way. At its core, effective bankroll management is nothing more than setting a budget for your bets and not betting more than you can afford to lose to the point of financial ruin.
A good bankroll management strategy hinges on determining a set budget that does not harm your finances. This will be your betting bankroll. Next, decide on the amount of money you are willing to bet on each wager, otherwise called a unit. This usually is around 1 to 5% of your bankroll and will serve as your standard for placing bets.
Once you have set your betting limits, have a record of all your placed bets where you can analyze your performance over time and help you adjust your approach accordingly. This record should at the least include the amount wagered, type of bet, the odds, the outcome, and whether you took a profit or lost the bet.
Altogether, bankroll management helps you stay disciplined and combats the nasty habit of chasing losses. This means resisting the compulsion to recoup your lost bets by placing bigger yet, usually, riskier bets. If you can properly manage your betting bankroll, you will never find yourself in a position where you have gone beyond your budget and can no longer afford to place another bet.
Value betting is a strategy that takes advantage of opportunities where a bookmaker is offering lop-sided odds which make them more favourable than they should be. This strategy is possible because the odds that are offered by bookmakers are decided by what they think are the chances of a team winning the match. But in reality, whilst being very rare, bookmakers can make mistakes and misprice their offered odds.
In practice, value betting involves determining the ‘true’ probability of a bet’s outcome versus the bookmaker’s odds. This means doing the leg work to determine a team’s true strength and how they will match up against their opponent. Once you have your own probability, you then calculate the expected value of your bet to see if it is a bet that will return dividends over the long term. This can easily be calculated by multiplying the probability of each outcome by the payout or reward for that outcome, and then summing those values. Which will result in a positive or negative numerical value that dictates if a bet is worth investing time on.
A concrete example of this would be the opening match of FlyQuest versus Cloud9 in the 2023 LCS Spring split. For this match, bookies offered odds of 1.74 (57.47%) for FlyQuest and 2.03 (49.26%) for Cloud9, giving the edge to FlyQuest. However, after much research, you believe FlyQuest has a much higher probability to win after recruiting all-star talents to their team. After doing your calculations, you realize that this is a bet worth placing with a positive expected value. For those who predicted right, they effectively had a relatively safe bet with an easy opportunity to nearly double their money.
Closely related to value betting, you have the concept of line shopping which is simply the process of comparing odds across bookmakers to find the best value. For each esport and its respective betting markets, bookmakers will offer odds according to their own independent research and analysis. For instance, say the bet placed on FlyQuest earlier was done on a bookmaker who better gauged their strengths with odds at 1.60 (62.5%). Then, you would have gained a smaller payout for the same won bet.
To help you find the bookmaker with the highest odds, you can compare odds using services offered by Oddspedia or OddsPortal. This way, you can further increase your potential payout and minimise losses in the long run.
Remember, however, that finding value in a bet does not guarantee its win. A bet’s expected value only increases the odds that you make a profit over time if you consistently make that bet. It is still crucial to be prudent with the bets you place by betting with intent.
Building on what we already know, we have learned the value in knowing the ‘true’ probability of a team winning a match. Upsets, after all, are where you will find the most value from your bets. As such, what better way to know the ‘real’ strengths and weaknesses of each competing team than to specialise on an esport of your choosing and from there, choose a region or tournament to further focus on.
If you are betting on esports with seasonal regional tournaments, choose from one of the established major regions and invest all your energy into learning everything about its teams and players. Tournaments like League of Legends’ LCK, the VCT: Americas League in VALORANT, or the ESL Challenger Leagues in CS:GO are among a few of the regularly held circuits that you can bet on. In this way, you have the knowledge to make much more informed decisions to win more bets.
Much like traditional investing, hedging is a risk-management strategy that can be equally worthwhile in esports betting. You hedge your bets by placing additional bets to offset the risk you take in that bet, similar in the way that you don’t put ‘all your eggs in one basket’.
There are various ways you can hedge your bets in esports. One of the most popular being arbitrage betting where you exploit the discrepancies in odds between different bookmakers, much like in value betting. The difference, however, is that in arbitrage betting, you place bets on all potential outcomes of a game which thereby guarantees a profit regardless of the result. This strategy requires considerable betting know-how as arbitrage opportunities can be hard to come by and requires wagers to be perfectly calculated.
On the other end of the equation, you have matched betting which makes use of bonuses and promotion to turn a profit in betting. In matched betting, you place bets on opposite outcomes of the same match with one side of the bet on a bookmaker of your choice and the opposing bet on a betting exchange. A betting exchange is a platform that allows peer-to-peer betting, where bettors bet against each other instead of a bookmaker.
By wagering a matched bet, you can guarantee that you will breakeven regardless of the game’s outcome. Besides that, whatever you reap from bookmakers’ available bonuses and promotions is your profit. After that, you can keep using that profit to make even more bets to get even more of a profit.
The downside of these betting strategies, however, is that they are prone to human error and are sensitive to abrupt changes in odds. If you miscalculate, then you lose the smallest of margins you were playing around to get ahead of bookies. Furthermore, do it blatantly enough and you are likely going to be faced with a ban from bookmakers. This is because hedging more or less eliminates risk and bookies cannot allow that because that is exactly where they get their profits from.
There is an abundance of esports betting lines and markets available across bookmakers. Each of these types of bets has different odds and its own risks. This means that match winners are not the only bets you can make a profit off. All it takes is understanding the nature of each bet and take advantage of its pros and cons.
Handicap betting is more commonly known as point spreads in traditional betting. Here, bookmakers give point advantages and disadvantages to both sides which is represented by the ‘handicap’ or spread. Handicaps can often be set in the form of maps, kills, and round handicaps.
Put it simply, with handicaps, you are betting on how hard a team will win or lose a given match. Thus, handicaps can reward bettors who have a good idea of the skill gap between two competing teams. If you think a team is significantly better than the team they are against or have a distinct strategic advantage over them, then you can predict by how big of a margin will there be in maps or rounds won or kills secured.
While it is easy to mistake that live betting is no different to pre-match betting, odds for live or in-play bets are constantly changing based on the game and match state. If you believe in your ability to ascertain a team’s chances of winning based on the changing game state, live betting can be a massively profitable betting market.
As an example, knowing the chances for a team to make a comeback can be incredibly helpful in betting on moneylines live. In VALORANT, perhaps a team has a defender-sided team composition coming into the next half. Or in Dota 2, a team has a hero like Medusa or Anti-Mage that scales very well into the late-game. Despite being at a setback early, these teams can easily turn it around if they play their cards right and if you manage to spot these opportunities, you can win big by betting against the crowd.
An accumulator bet is when you bet on multiple events in a single betting slip. The odds on the slip multiply and the overall return is typically massive. These types of bets are incredibly risky, though as they require you to correctly guess all entries. Miss one, and the accumulator is down and out.
But a common strategy to take advantage of accumulators (or accas) is to bet on a small, limited number of bets that have a high probability of winning, even if the returns are not big to begin with. Still using the principle of value betting, put together a few bets here and there to ‘guarantee’ yourself a small, yet still positive, net return.
Thinking back to matched betting, you don’t have to make use of this strategy to take advantage of esports betting bonuses. You can simply qualify for offers and promotions made available by bookmakers and add it to your bankroll. These bonuses can come in the form of free bets, cashbacks, and deposit bonuses that can either be unique to each esport or tournament.
Just a simple reminder however to always read the fine print. Each bonus has its own unique conditions to be activated, whether it be a required rollover or only using particular payment methods. Remember to carefully read the terms and conditions of each bonus before hastily making a deposit only to find out that you are ineligible to claim it.
Just like how there are good betting strategies, there are also certain wagers you should avoid. These bets might seem appeasing but are just not worth your time because they’re way too they’re way too risky to be worth the investment.
Treat your betting as if it were a business and approach it with a level of professionalism and discipline. You don’t get into an investment spending your own hard-earned money based on a ‘hunch’ or gut feel. You do meticulous amounts of research and remain patient. When you see your strategy isn’t working, you analyse your mistake and change it. You don’t get carried away by emotion and foolishly double down on it.
Overvaluing favourites in pro-level competition is a natural tendency because of how we default to judging a team’s strengths based on their past performances. But by doing this, we inadvertently neglect to see a team’s potential and tend to see favourites through rose-tinted glasses which can make us biased in our predictions. Much like betting on our favourite teams, we fail to consider all sides of the equation.
So, as tempting it is to bet on our favourites, it is generally a bad idea to bet on your favourite team. As a matter of fact, it is precisely because the crowd overvalues favourites that the strategy of betting against the public exists. By overvaluing favourites and undervaluing the underdog, this can create value through inflated odds that bettors to take advantage of.
If it’s good to be true, it probably is. Betting strategies such as the Martingale’s system, where you double your bets every time you lose, or the Fibonacci betting system can easily lead to financial ruin. These betting strategies hinge on the gambler’s fallacy where people mistakenly believe that previous outcomes will affect future outcomes. But the truth is, we could go on an unprecedented loss streak by chasing these losses and eventually, lose all our money in the process. As such, since we do not have access to unlimited resources, we have to be careful with the money we do place on betting.
So far, we’ve gone over the universal guidelines of good betting strategies to follow. But we can always go deeper. As you may have noticed, betting lines and markets will generally be similar across esports titles under the same genre. Now then, we can get into a few approaches that work well for each esport.
MOBAs are unique because you can choose from over a hundred champions or heroes to play which creates endless strategic possibilities and depth. There are so many factors that make every game unique within itself and thus, incredibly replayable.
For games like Dota 2 or League of Legends, therefore, one key difference that separates them is how team compositions drastically affect the outcome of a game. Each character has its own set of abilities that has distinct strengths and weaknesses. Pit these unique characters in a 5-on-5 and you will see how a game is played change based on the heroes and champions that players pick.
Know which characters work well against each other and learn when they are at their strongest (e.g., early versus late game, carry versus tank, etc.). Using the power of stats and your own analyses, figure out what comps teams and players gravitate to pre-match and during drafting and predict how these mismatches will affect the match at hand.
This, however, can apply in a much more limited sense to tactical shooters like VALORANT and Overwatch which has agents and heroes that each has a unique arsenal of abilities to bring to the table.
FPS, unlike MOBAs, have more than one map that is played in professional matches. Games like CS:GO and VALORANT have a map pool of 7 maps in competitive play. Meanwhile, Rainbow Six Siege and Overwatch have maps made for each game mode with 9 and 12 maps in their roster respectively. These map pools also change on a yearly or seasonal basis.
Each of these maps features its own unique layout and terrain which changes up the strategy used to win the game. Aside from the raw mechanics required to tap heads, shooters are, in fact, heavily strategy-oriented games. Therefore, not every team and player can play equally well on all available maps.
For example, in the VALORANT map Breeze, an agent like Viper is deemed necessary to allow her team to enter sites smoothly. Meanwhile, CS:GO maps are naturally counter-terrorist sided. Once you do your research on which maps teams specialise in and are weak at, you can have a better idea of how a best-of series will go based on the competitive map pool. For more stats about these we refer you to check again the table of platforms.
Lastly, for sports simulation games like NBA2K, FIFA, or even Rocket League, it becomes even more important to analyse the rosters of each team and their recent performances. With these games, you generally have a good idea of how these are played where you simply get the ball into the goal or basket.
So, you should get to know the players competing in the league by understanding their respective skill level, playstyle, and strengths and weaknesses. You can achieve this by watching previous games to help you dissect their play and identify their patterns.
To conclude our guide. esports betting strategies are helpful guidelines to maximise your chances of winning esports related bets. Some of the most effective strategies consist of: researching teams & players, analysing match-ups and past results, as well as planning out your bankroll and setting a budget. Similar to any other sports related betting, esports betting involves risks and it is advised you always bet responsibly.
Among the top esports games to bet on are League of Legends, Dota 2, CS:GO, and VALORANT. But you should always bet on esports titles you are passionate about, the ones you actively follow and play.
Develop your own analyses by researching teams and players for yourself. Understanding the game at a high level can allow you to better predict game outcomes and win more bets from the get-go.
Do not chase losses. Chasing losses can quickly turn a fun hobby into a dangerous habit. Be wary of the gambler’s fallacy, always be on top of your bankroll, and always bet responsibly!
Managing your bankroll starts with setting a budget that does not hurt your finances followed by keeping a record of your bets to analyse them for later on, and lastly, to never chase losses.
If you want to be good at betting on esports and actually win money, you’ll need to extensively use platforms that offer in-depth player and team statistics. A few reliable places for doing research are Liquipedia, Games of Legends, Dotabuff, HLTV, and VLR.GG.
Through our in-depth guides and reviews, we are focused on providing the best insights into esports betting.