Esports betting has taken off considerably since the esports scene first developed. With esports sites popping up in numbers over the years and traditional sports bookers getting involved in the space, there are now many options to choose from when it comes to picking a site to bet with.
This guide will take you through the ins and outs of esports betting in 2021. We will be giving you our top tips when it comes to picking an esport betting site, the differences between esports bookers and sports bookers, the top esports titles to bet on in 2021, and the different odds and markets presented on these esports sites.
Why trust our recommendations?
When it comes to ranking esports betting sites, one must consider many factors. For one, it is not as simple as choosing a site that offers the most competitive odds. We look at esports betting sites closely, ensuring the ones we are recommending have a good reputation among the community, offer customer support and are user friendly, present markets for a range of esports titles, and if there are any good promotions on offer to new customers.
Because we look at these operators in detail and make sure each one recommended, whether big and small, are all legit esports betting sites, have the necessary licenses, and offer a multitude of useful features that will benefit beginners and experienced bettors alike. We assure you that our recommendations are well rounded and suitable for pretty much everyone, saving you the time and effort of doing all this research yourself.
Now, strap yourself in because we are about to give you ALL you need to know about the world of esports betting.
Key features of good esports betting sites
Our golden rule for choosing the right esports bookie is pretty simple: A good betting site must be reputable with all licenses needed for online gambling and provides you with competitive odds, a user friendly site, a range of esports betting titles, and customer support.
While these points are simple in theory, it can be tedious to find out exactly what you are meant to be looking for to make sure the one you decide to pick is a legit betting site and is offering you services that actually benefit you.
That is why we have made it simple for you. Below, we have listed exactly how to research each of these vertices so all you need to do is pick a site and follow the steps below to ensure they are checking off each point on the list.
Reputation is king
As with any site you look to purchase something from, the reputation of the company is one of the top things you consider before pressing the checkout button. Because of the online world we now live in, it is not only important to discover a site’s reputation for peace of mind, but also to figure out how a company deals with any hiccups that a customer has.
This is no different when it comes to esports betting sites and we consider it to be an essential part of your research for the best esports betting site for you due to the level of trust you give them when choosing to spend your hard earned money with them.
We know full well that online reviews are plagued with fake recommendations but that does not mean you can completely abandon them. It is still extremely important to do your due diligence when it comes to researching what other customers have to say about a site you are considering using. When looking at these online reviews, pay close attention to the types of comments that are being placed. Are the reviews repetitive in nature? Are there any specific reviews that set off alarm bells in your head? How many reviews are there and how far apart are they placed from each other? Considering these questions when checking out reviews will help you distinguish between authentic reviews and those created by employees to boost the site’s ratings.
The legal stuff is kinda important
Esports betting has come a long way since the introduction of skins betting early on in the esports life cycle. Developers and tournament organisers have made huge strides in supporting and ensuring the betting markets are regulated and suitable within the space. Betting in clearly-regulated markets such as the United Kingdom have made esports betting readily available for those looking to place wagers in the region. If you reside in the UK, you are pretty much ready to go with whatever betting site you choose, as long as you ensure their license is legit (we have a section below telling you how to do this).
However, in grey market regions the laws regarding online sports betting are either absent or very ambiguous. Because the legality surrounding less regulated regions is often fluid and unclear, operators take different methods when actively participating in their chosen market. Because of the ambiguity in grey markets, we strongly advise you to take extra cautionary steps before betting online and make sure they are licensed and the market you are betting in does not explicitly ban esports betting.
In the US and South Korean markets however, there is more of a grey area when it comes to esports betting. While the gaming landscape in the US and South Korea is not particularly friendly toward the prospect of esports betting and the legality of it, some offshore esports websites from jurisdictions such as Panama, Costa Rica, and Curacao make it possible to bet on esports from these regions.
The main thing you need to look for before participating in esports betting in your region is to confirm the law regarding esports betting. Nonetheless, you can use esports betting options that are licensed in regulated markets such as the UK.
Traditional sports bookmakers are naturally gravitating to the flourishing world of esports and are actively making an effort to be involved within the esports betting scene. Because of this, you will see many traditional sports bookies offering esports betting options for only the most notable and provenly successful esports titles. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is always better when a betting site focuses on a range of titles.
As this cautious approach from bookmakers is expected due to the genre’s novelty, bookies offering odds for smaller or more niche esports titles is a big tick in our book. This proactivity within the scene tells us that the site has done more research than most into esports betting and has a clear understanding of the ecosystem, rather than merely testing the waters with the top esports titles around. This is why we believe that legit esports betting sites that offer a range of esports titles to bet on have a solid understanding on how the markets for these individual esports are priced, and will likely offer you competitive and accurate odds.
But as we’ve said previously, it is definitely not unlikely to see bookmakers offering odds on only League of Legends and Fortnite for example, as they are experimenting and figuring out how esports betting works in relation to their customer base and the general esports ecosystem. If you are looking to get involved in the top esports titles anyway, then using this kind of site will do the job. If you are looking to bet with a site that has a bigger variety of esports titles, then finding those is harder but definitely worth your time.
How are the odds and markets looking?
Betting odds are competitive and the available markets for each esports title differs. Whether you are a beginner or seasoned bettor, picking an esports betting site that has favourable odds and provides a range of markets to choose from is essential for your development.
When it comes to the odds being offered, it is pretty similar to traditional sports betting. You would not knowingly use a betting site that offers odds that are uncomfortable to their competition as it would limit your winnings and could even cost you your winnings all together. You need to apply this logic to your esports bets as underestimating the significance of this in esports betting will limit you greatly.
Having a browse on multiple esports sites offering esports betting options for a match you are interested in will give you an idea of what competitive odds look like for your chosen esports title and from there you can decide which operators provide the best ones. Even if you do not have the time to do this or if odds confuse you, don’t worry, we have a section below detailing how to read odds and a list of sites that consistently offer favourable odds.
Markets are equally as important in esports betting as certain options are more suitable for beginners and others are riskier but become more fruitful as you gain experience in the esports betting world. Depending on the esports title, you will see tournament finalists, moneyline, specials, handicaps and live betting options. The differences between each title are not particularly significant, so it is best to focus on which legit betting sites offer the various options period.
While outright and moneyline options are great options for beginners to get into the swing of things, a site that offers more intricate bets like specials and live betting options gives you the space to learn and level up your bets as you grow confident in your esports betting journey. The more betting options available to you, the more fun you can have and for that reason alone it is important to consider what is on offer when picking a site to bet with. We go into detail below on the various betting options available and how much understanding of the esports title is needed to place wagers on them.
Betting welcome bonuses and promotions
Many esports betting sites offer welcome bonuses and promotions to new customers as an incentive for players to sign up and place wagers with their site. You can use these welcome bonuses and promotions to your advantage and learn as you play while also increasing your payouts on select wagers.
Welcome bonuses are such a great way for a beginner to try out a few bets out without fearing too much about the end result. Using these bonuses will undoubtedly develop your understanding of how esports betting works and build your confidence in making real money bets. These bonuses tend to vary from bookmaker to bookmaker and their terms and conditions makes it difficult to compare the value of each one. Even so, we recommend you pay close attention to expiration dates and playthroughs on these offers to ensure you can actually win.
While welcome bonuses are a great tool to use to experiment with different types of bets, deposit bonuses are not entirely different. The main difference is that these offers involve more money. These bonuses are a solid option for confident punters who have conviction in their wager and strongly believe they will receive winnings. If that is the case for you, why not use deposit bonuses to maximize your payout?
Here is a list of things you should consider before applying deposit bonuses to your wagers:
The minimum deposit: There is typically a required amount needed to deposit on these bonuses so make sure you know how much it is and if you can comfortably apply that amount to a wager you are placing.
The time frame: As these bonuses usually have a certain time frame in which you can collect your bonus and your winnings from it, make sure you know what they are to avoid disappointment.
The bonus limit: This is the limit on how much you can wager on the bonus so make sure your wager does not exceed it.
The bonus rate: The percentage that is attached to the bonus is extremely important. If the percentage is not significant enough for how much you are placing on your wager, the bonus might not be worth using.
As always, we have made this one step easier for you. Check out our list of welcome bonuses and promotions currently on offer by the top esports betting sites.
Customer support on esports betting sites
A customer support system can make or break any bookie. Because you are using your own hard earned money to place these bets, customer support is more important than ever in case things take a turn for the worst. The quality of customer support from a site greatly affects customers’ overall satisfaction and we keep a close eye on if and how well a bookie supports their customers. A betting site that has demonstrated the ability to help their customers out in times of need is a site we will happily recommend to you.
This factor is not overlooked and for punters, it is a particularly important service that needs to be offered when looking for a long term and stable site to bet with. If the reviews you are looking at compliment a site’s customer support staff, their support policies, and the different support channels they offer, that is a very positive sign. However, if the reviews complain about the customer support, or lack thereof, it is best to stay clear.
In this day and age, there are so many payment methods you can use when depositing and claiming your winnings on esports betting sites. Bookmakers that make an active decision to offer as many options as possible to you are great ones. Not only does this give you the freedom to use your funds however you would like, certain payment options provide extra safety when it comes to your money and can give you your winnings faster.
Check out our reviews on using credit cards, to Klarna, paysafecard, Skrill, Trustly and Bitcoin on esports betting sites so you can determine which payment method is most suitable for you and your needs.
Live streaming services on esports titles makes your betting experience that much more enjoyable and easy. Having all your bets in one place and being able to watch the action unfold is a top tier experience so if you find a betting site that offers this, you should definitely consider using it.
Being a user friendly website and having a mobile app
Everyone has had at least one experience where they have gone on a website and instantly clicked off it because it was just so hard to use. It is not a fun experience is it? A betting site that has a clear interface and provides a good user experience will give you all the time you need to focus purely on the types of wagers you want to place. We think that having a user friendly website is one of the top things you need to consider, after checking the legality of a betting site, as when your emotions are running high you want to be able to navigate the site as easily as possible.
Similarly, a site that offers a mobile app to place bets on just makes life so much more easier. This means you will not need to be scrapped to your desk and can place your bets from practically anywhere. Most reputable sports bookies offer this alternative already, but many esports bookies are slowly developing their own apps too.
Our top recommended esports betting sites
Now that you know what to look out for when considering the plethora of esports betting sites offering esports odds, you can go ahead and do your own research to find the most suitable one for you. We have made it easier for those who may not have the time and fleshed out our own top 3 list of esports betting sites while, of course, considering all the points we have mentioned above.
Bet365 Esports Betting
Bet365 is one of the most notable and reputable operators for traditional sports betting. They share the same reputation in the esports world too, offering a variety of esports titles to bet on, from super popular titles to more niche competitive scenes. Bet365 is considered the best esport bookmaker because it displays very competitive odds, a stellar customer support service, and loads of promotions. Check out our full Bet365 review.
1xbet Esports Betting
1xbet has been around for a long time, standing strong as one of the most reputable esports betting sites in the esports space. With favourable odds, many esports titles to choose from, constant running promotions, and many payment options to choose from, 1xbet is one of our top picks. 1xbet is not available for those based in the UK but you can easily access it by using a free VPN google plugin, such as Hola. We have a detailed rundown in our 1xbet review.
Betway Esports Betting
The services Betway provide to esports customers is honestly near perfect. The esports titles on offer are more than any other operator currently providing esports bets, making it an easy ride for you to maneuver from one esport to another. They also display competitive odds, promotions, and great customer service support to make your experience truly exceptional. Find out more about what is on offer in our Betway review.
The types of gaming licenses esports sites have
We mentioned earlier than looking at a betting site’s license is extremely important when considering an operator to bet with. This is due to ensuring they are 100% legit and are legally allowed to offer the wagers they are presenting to you. We will now take you through the common licenses needed by operators to offer bets in your region.
The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) is the gambling board for Malta, responsible for regulating most forms of gambling in the region. Operators that secure a Malta Gaming license are able to advertise and provide iGaming operations to customers. They can provide casino, amusement and slot machines, betting offices, fantasy sport, lotteries, and online gambling options too, making it a viable option for those looking to bet on esports. Esports betting sites that possess this license are legally able to offer esports bets to you, just double check that they are permitted to offer bets to your region.
Operators that have a Malta gaming license:
Gambling is legal and regulated in Panama with the government’s gaming commission, Junta de Control de Juegos, permitted licensed operators to offer casino games, sports betting, poker and pari-mutuel racing betting to its customers. Markets that benefit most from operators having a license in Panama the UK and sometimes, the US. Although double checking the reviews from operators with a Panama gambling license is advised, knowing that the bookmaker you are researching already possesses this license is a good start.
Operators that have a Panama gambling license:
Betonline.ag review – Offers bets to US players
Costa Rica does not offer a gaming license per say but that does not mean betting companies cannot operate from the country. New gambling sites must still be approved to operate in Costa Rica and if successful, can provide various gambling services to customers and can offer online betting services to those based outside of the country. It is advised to be cautious when seeing operators that claim to have a “license” to gamble from Costa Rica, but the esports betting sites listed below are legally allowed to operate in Costa Rica and are legit.
Operators based in Costa Rica:
The United Kingdom Gaming Commission (UKGC) is the body responsible for regulating and supervising gambling and gaming law in Great Britain. They possess the power to provide licenses for operators wanting to provide gambling in the form of arcades, betting, bingo, casinos, slot machines and lotteries, and remote gambling, but not spread betting. As the name suggests, operators with this license can legally provide betting options for UK players. An operator with a license from the UKGC are generally trustworthy but further research into their reviewers should be conducted for a thorough check on the site’s general practises. Here is our list of reputable esports betting sites with licenses from the UKGC.
Operators licensed by the UKGC:
Isle of Man
Betting in Isle of Man is regulated by the GCS, regulated and ensuring those wishing to bet are being protected as well as providing licenses for companies wanting to provide betting options to consumers. For esports bookies, licenses are given to companies that prove they can provide products to their customers in a legal and safe way. An operator with a license in Isle of Man is trustworthy, just make sure you have a look at the company’s reviews to see how they conduct their business more generally.
Esports websites that have a license from Isle of Man:
The Curacao gaming license is one of the most popular licenses in the gambling space due to its one-size-fits-all properties. This makes it especially popular among new esports gambling sites as it offers licenses that allow them to offer a plethora of gambling options to punters. As it is among the most obtained licenses for gambling companies, you will see many operators with this license and it is definitely one you can trust. As always, read up on the site’s reviews too to double check everything is smooth sailing for current customers.
Esports gambling sites that possess the Curacao gaming license:
MyBookie review – Accessible for US players
The differences between esports bookies and traditional sports bookies
It can be a tad confusing to see traditional sportsbooks like Betway and Bet365 offering esports alongside traditional sports and esportsbooks specifically providing services to bet on esports titles. What is the difference and should I favour one over the other you may ask yourself – don’t worry, we’ll tell the best offerings from each and you can make your mind up on which one you would prefer to bet with.
When it comes to sportsbooks, it is not surprising at all that they have had their eye on esports for a while and are getting involved. There is a huge market of esports fans, old enough now to place real money bets on their favourite esports titles so it would make sense that operators are presenting themselves as sportsbooks with esports. As well as that, we have seen a surge in esportsbooks primarily focusing their efforts on esports betting in order to use the knowledge they have of the industry to use and provide these budding punters the opportunities to bet.
Traditional sportsbooks offer:
- A reputation that naturally makes you able to trust them more.
- A higher limit to their bets, giving you a bigger opportunity to win big.
- A more established presence, making it easier to browse their websites, use their mobile apps, and providing a strong customer support service.
Whilst esportsbooks typically provide:
- A broader range of esports titles to choose from, making it increasingly accessible to bet on multiple esports titles, whether super popular already or are more niche.
- A familiar experience to that obtained in the gaming and esports space.
- Live streaming services and other content relating to esports betting.
Depending on what you are looking for when it comes to a sportsbook, both sports bookies and esports betting sites are a great way to get your foot in the door of esports betting. Neither one is superior to the other in the esports betting world, so we recommend you do some soul searching before hedging your bets with either. Firstly, figure out which type of site you feel more comfortable spending your money with, and from there find the best esports websites that provides a product that is most suitable for your needs and expertise.
What about sportsbooks bettings and lounge/skin betting?
We have provided you with so much information on what to look for when it comes to picking a sportsbook to bet with, but what should you avoid? Well, lounge/skin betting is definitely one to stay clear of. Some sites offer bets that trade in game items for cash, a super unregulated and illegal practice.
Some gamers use sites that offer lounge/skin betting but what they may or may not know is that these are informal markets. That means you do not really know who is operating the site behind your screen, the fairness in odds provided by the site, and you definitely will have no customer support if something should go awry with your bet or balance. These sites are not monitored and are extremely unregulated, making it essential to use a licensed bookie to place any esports bets you wish to make. The level of legitimacy, transparency, and regulation that come with licensed bookies is unmatched and should not be taken lightly.
The most popular esports games to bet on
Because esports has become more so popular, with even mainstream media and figures talking about it and getting involved, there are many developers that produce games with the hopes to penetrate the scene. Some video games take years to become fully fledged enough to be considered as an esports title. Other games build up hype extremely quickly, knowing exactly what to do to enter the world of esports almost instantaneously.
Let's have a look at the most popular esports titles in 2021 and what they have to offer this year and beyond.
League of Legends
If you know anything about esports, you have probably heard of the popular MOBA titled League of Legends. This game has taken the esports scene by storm and developed a truly international experience when it comes to competitive gaming. The developer, Riot Games, has put so many resources and a lot of effort into perfecting their esports ecosystem, fleshing out regional competitions as well as an international event. Their effort has paid off and millions of fans tune in every year to watch the top teams compete.
The main League of Legends competitions running in 2021 include:
The League of Legends Championship (LCS)
The LCS comprises two splits, Spring and Summer, and pits the top US based teams against each other to fight it out in the regional tournament. The teams competing in the LCS 2021 will be 100 Thieves, Cloud9, CLG, Dignitas, Evil Geniuses, FlyQuest, Golden Guardians, Immortals, Team Liquid, and TSM.
Unlike previous seasons, this year we will see the introduction of the LCS Lock In, a three-week event kicking off January 15th. This tournament will have teams competing for a $150k prize and be crowned the Lock In Champion. On February 15th, the regular Spring Split will commence and we will watch the teams fight it out weekly. The Mid-Season Showdown breaks up the season, with the Summer Split soon following on June 4th. The season finale will take place between August 7-29th, with the winner getting crowned as the LCS Champions and representing the US region in Worlds.
Check out our detailed guide on the LCS to understand more about how to bet on this competition.
The League of Legends European Championship (LEC)
The LEC follows a similar structure to the LCS, with the top european teams competing for a chance to be crowned the champions and represent the EU on the global stage during Worlds.
The LEC Spring Split kicks off on January 22nd, and will feature a clash between G2 and MAD Lions and see all 10 teams competing in the first week. The teams participating in 2021 are Astralis, Excel Esports, FC Schalke 04, Fnatic, G2 Esports, MAD Lions, Misfits Gaming, Rogue, SK Gaming, and Team Vitality.
For more information on the structure of the event and our top tips on betting, check out our LoL LEC guide.
The League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK)
The LCK Spring Split has already started, with Afreeca Freecs, DRX, DWG KIA, Fredit BRION, Gen.G, Hanwha Life Esports, KT Rolster, Liiv SANDBOX, Nongshim RedForce, and T1 all going head to head for weeks to come. Again, these teams are all battling it out to be crowned the top team in Korea and also represent the region at Worlds. Our LoL LCK guide goes into more detail about the league, the types of betting markets on offer, and how to place the best bets possible.
The League of Legends World Championship (Worlds)
Worlds concludes the League of Legends esports season and is arguably one of the most emancipated LoL events of the year. This is the tournament that really identifies the big boys within the LoL esports scene and crowns only one team as the global champions. While there is no official date for Worlds as of yet, you should still be keeping your eyes peeled and assessing every team in the LCS, LEC, and LCK to see who has a shot at qualifying and winning on the international stage. Take a look at our LoL Worlds betting guide for more info.
Overwatch is a widely successful first person shooter developed by Activision Blizzard. Taking off instantly and developing a strong esports presence early on, the developers set their sights on developing an esports scene for the popular video game. That when the Overwatch League (OWL) was born. Years later, the OWL has now become a popular esports amongst fans and punters.
Starting this spring, The OWL 2020 Season will see two regions competing. From the Atlantic Conference, we will see Boston Uprising, London Spitfire, New York Excelsior, Paris Eternal, Toronto Defiant, Atlanta Reign, Florida Mayhem, Houston Outlaws, Philadelphia Fusion and Washington Justice battle it out weekly.
On the Pacific Conference side, Chenghu Hunters, Guangzhou Charge, Hangzhou Spark, Seoul Dynasty, Shanghai Dragons, Dallas Fuel, Los Angeles Gladiators, Los Angeles Valiant, San Francisco Shock, and Vancouver Titans will go head to head each week.
This is a great esport to get into, with an enjoyable viewing experience, a thriving esports community, and great betting markets to choose from. Check out our guide for a more detailed look at Overwatch betting.
Fortnite is a widely popular battle royale developed by Epic Games. The third-person shooter sees each match with 100 players jumping out of a plane and parachuting down across a huge map. The game is super popular amongst gamers across the world, and with the support from fans and the competitive nature of the game the esports scene boomed almost instantly. The first Fortnite World Cup took place in 2019 and offered a $3 million price for the winners of the Solo and Duo Cups. Since then, the Fortnite esports scene has continued to thrive.
This year, the Fortnite Champion Series will take place as planned, focusing on trios competitions. Epic Games has also stated that they will be scheduling more weekly tournaments and Creator Cups in 2021. There is a lot in store for the Fortnite esports scene so to get the full low down, check out our Fortnite betting guide.
Dota 2 is a MOBA, similar to League of Legends, developed by Valve. Following on from its predecessor, DotA, it has evolved and blossomed over the years and become a fruitful esports in present day.
Valve has wanted to redesign the Dota 2 esports scene, and in 2021 there is finally going to be a massive shift. The 2021 Dota Pro Circuit starts in January, a new competitive season that focuses on regional leagues. The leagues will have two divisions and a total of 16 teams participating and six regions. The regions include Europe, CIS, China, SEA, NA, and SA, and the competiton will follow a 2 season upper and lower division structure. For more information on Dota 2 and how to place your bets on the esports, head to our in-depth Dota 2 betting guide.
CS:GO is a multiplayer first-person shooter developed by Valve and has been around since 2012. Amongst the favourites within the esports scene, Valve has announced some key changes headed to the CS:GO esports scene in 2021.
The first exciting change is the introduction of a new structure with the ESL Pro Tour events which now consists of eight ESL Pro Tour LAN tournaments over the course of two weekends. Over the course of the year, CS:GO esports events include the IEM Katowice, ESL Pro League Season 13, DreamHack Masters Event, ESL one Cologne, IEM Melbourne, ESL Pro League Season 14, IEM Masters Event (NA), and the IEM Masters Event (Asia). It is going to be a packed year for CS:GO, so to learn everything needed to place your bets on this popular esports, check out our CS:GO betting guide.
Valorant was a highly anticipated game following Riot Games’ announcement of Project X in the early months of 2020. From the first glances of the game, fans and critics anticipated this game would undoubtedly enter the esports scene. They were not wrong, as Riot have already had a successful esports journey with Valorant.
In 2021, Riot will host the Valorant Champions Tour, a tournament based series that will come to a head with an international world championship, as seen with League of Legends. This event will be in a tier format, with the Valorant Challengers, Valorant Masters, and the Valorant Champions showing talent from the best of the best all year. The tournament starts in February with the Valorant Challengers and will end with The Valorant Challengers in December. For a more in-depth look at the Valorant esports ecosystem and for tips to get started in Valorant betting, take a look out our Valorant betting guide.
Starcraft is a real-time strategy game developed by Blizzard Entertainment that has been around for decades. The game has a very strong and loyal fan base and is one of the most popular esports titles around. ESL have confirmed that the ESL Pro Tour for StarCraft II will be taking place in 2021 and is accessible to all. Regional events include the DreamHack StarCraft II Masters Summer, Fall, and Winter leagues that bring teams from all over the world to compete.
As well as being able to bet on the most notable esports title in the scene, there are more niche titles that have a huge fan base and a solid esports presence. Check out our betting guides for Hearthstone, Smite, Rocket League, and Rainbow Six Siege to learn more.
How to sign up to an esports betting site
Following our esports betting tips and tricks will have you comfortable enough to take the plunge and join the fun with millions of other esports fans.
To sign up to an esports gambling site, simply:
- Select the best esports websites for you by conducting the research we have mentioned above.
- Once you get to the main page of your chosen gambling site, click on the, often big and bright, REGISTER/JOIN button.
- Fill in the boxes by adding your account information.
- Make sure to verify your email and identity by following the prompts during the registration process.
- Complete your initial deposit and place your first esports bet!
Make sure you have a browse for any welcome bonuses or promotions from your chosen esports betting site as you can use those in your first couple of wagers to familiar yourself with esports betting.
Esports betting markets
With the diverse range of genres within the esports industry, from MOBAs to first-person and third-person shooters, the different markets available vary from title to title. Let us go through the most common betting markets available and what they mean.
A tournament winner wager is pretty simple and very common among esports betting. This betting market is asking you to choose which team you think will win the whole tournament, not just a set match between two opponents. Similarly, you can place wagers on who you think will be a tournament finalist, giving you a simple option without several things to consider once again. It is recommended to place wagers in these betting markets if you are a beginner as there is not much to consider compared to other more intricate markets.
For example, if you are dabbling in League of Legends esports betting, you will find wager options asking you to pick a team you are confident will win the LEC, LCK, LCS, Worlds and so on. This betting market is available in every esports title that gambling sites have available.
Moneyline betting markets are similar to tournament winner/tournament finalist options. This betting marketing presents two teams in a matchup and asks you to place a wager on which team you believe will win.
It is a straightforward and easy betting market to participate in because you can research how each term has performed in past matches and also if they have won against their match ups previously. Moneyline betting markets are very popular and are presented by all esports betting markets that are offered by operators.
Specials – first map, first kill and first blood, odd/even bets, over/under bets
Specials, also commonly referred to as prop bets, allow experienced bettors and esports fans to have more fun when placing wagers. Specials require you to have a deep understanding of the esports title you wish to bet on as it requires you to know what the prop bets mean and the different ways games can play out.
Common prop bets include: first map in series, first blood, odd/even bets, over/under bets, first dragon, and first baron. These bets, detailed in nature, can give you huge payouts but are extremely risky as they are hard to predict. These betting markets are most commonly offered to League of Legends betting and Overwatch betting.
Handicaps, also known as spreads, mimic point spreads in traditional sports betting. These betting markets even out the odds when there is a clear favourite and is a good opportunity for beginners to start dabbling into some different betting options.
Handicaps refocus your predictions on how the match will play out, rather than which team you think will win. Betting on an underdog with this market is a great choice as even if the underdog wins only one match and loses the series as a whole, you will still receive winnings. You can also use handicaps in your favour if you are really sure the favourite will win and, as long as the team gets a clean sweep in the series, you will win. Handicap betting markets are often seen in CS:GO, Overwatch, and League of Legends betting options but can occasionally be featured for other esports titles too.
Esports live betting
Live betting provides you with the chance to place wagers after the match has started. This is not a particularly common betting market amongst bookmakers, but if you see it can be a fun and unique experience.
We recommend only placing wagers on live betting options if you are experienced in the esports title you are choosing to bet on and have experience with esports betting more generally. Overwatch is one of the main titles that bookmakers offer live betting options on.
The different ways betting odds are presented
Odds are displayed differently based on your region. Fractional odds and decimal are commonly presented to those betting in the UK, and moneyline odds are the way odds are presented in the US. They are pretty simple to get the hang on once you understand how to calculate them.
As the name suggests, fractional odds present the chance of winning in fraction form. There are a number of ways you can translate these odds, with one of the easiest ways being to look at the numbers presented in the odds. If the number on the left exceeds the one on the right, it means the team is the underdog. If the number on the left is bigger though, it means you are betting on the favourite.
Decimal odds are slowly replacing fractional odds in the UK due to how easy it is to understand and translate into profit. The decimal displayed combines your stake and winnings, and a foolproof way of calculating your winnings is by dividing the decimal by 100%. To calculate your potential total winnings (including your wager amount), just multiply your wager amount by the decimal odds. And finally, to calculate your take home, minus your wager amount by the previous result.
Moneyline odds are exclusively portrayed in the US and can be a little confusing. Once you get the hang of how to read it though, it is a piece of cake. Simply put, these bets are displayed with respect to -100. The signs attached to it (-) and (+) demonstrate if the team you want to bet on is a favourite (-) or an underdog (+). The number attached to the sign highlights two things: a minus (-) indicates how much you will need to bet to win $100 and the positive (+) shows how much you will win if you bet $100.
We have detailed sections on how to figure out what these odds mean with examples specific to the esport title you want to bet on in our in depth guides.
How does esports betting work?
Esports betting is fairly similar to traditional sports betting. You place a wager on different betting markets and receive your winnings according to the end result of the match. The types of bets on offer range from moneyline, tournament winner/finalist, handicaps/spreads, specials/prop bets, and even live betting.
Where can I bet on esports events?
You can bet on esports events with sportsbooks or esportsbooks, depending on your preference. Both types of gambling sites have their benefits, whether you prefer to go with a household sportsbook that is choosing to explore the esports betting market or want to support an esportsbook that is familiar with the esports community and caters to them accordingly.
What is the best esports betting site?
Bet365 is considered one of the best esports websites. The site offers a range of esports betting titles, as well as competitive odds, various betting markets, and stellar customer support. They are reputable and have shifted very well into esports, despite being a sportsbook originally. Their offerings of welcome bonuses also allows new customers to experiment with different types of esports bets before committing real money, which is always great. Check out our full Bet365 esports betting review.
Is esports betting legal?
Esports betting is legal in many regions but not all. Make sure you check which regions allow esports betting and if the site you are choosing has the necessary licenses to provide bets to where you reside.
Is esports betting really that popular?
Esports betting is so popular that traditional sportsbooks now offer esports betting options to consumers. This proves that there is an appetite for esports betting and the traditional sports bookmakers are noticing that. It makes sense after all, many games are now old enough to gamble and want to bet on their favourite teams.
Why don’t all sportsbooks offer esports markets?
Esports as a whole is quite complex due to its varying genres and sheer knowledge needed to fully understand what each esports title means in the grand scheme of things. Because of the growing nature of the genre and the amount of research needed for non esports brands to understand the industry, some sportsbooks are not willing to offer esports markets as of yet. That does not take away from the industry’s popularity as many sportsbooks are already involved, such as Bet365 and Betway.
What are the most popular games to bet on?
The most popular games to bet on are League of Legends, Dota 2, CS:GO, Overwatch, Fortnite and Valorant
Which betting site is the best for LoL?
Bet365 is the best betting site for League of Legends. They offer a plethora of betting markets, from moneylines, handicaps, tournament finalist/winner options for beginners, to specials/prop bets and live betting options for seasoned esports bettors.
Which betting site is the best for Overwatch?
Bet365 is the best betting site for Overwatch as their odds are pretty competitive all season round and they offer a multitude of betting markets depending on your experience level.
Which betting site is the best for Dota 2?
Bet365 is the best betting site for Dota 2 as they offer niche betting markets for a niche esports title. Although Dota 2 is a MOBA like League of Legends, there are some differences and Bet365 have done their research and display markets accordingly.
Which betting site is the best for CS:GO?
Bet365 is the best betting site for CS:GO purely due to the odds they offer across all the events. Their welcome bonuses gives you the chance to have a go wagering on different options which makes understanding the intricacies of CS:GO a lot easier.
What kind of markets are available for esports betting?
The types of markets available for esports betting differ from site to site. Generally speaking, the most common and accessible esports betting marketing you will find are moneylines, outrights, and handicaps. You may also find options to place live bets and specials/prop bets with select esports gambling sites.