An increased interest in esports has meant that betting on esports is becoming a popular pastime for betting and gaming enthusiasts. The growth in popularity can be seen in the numbers, as the global esports betting market will be worth nearly $30 billion by the end of the year.
What is eSports?
So what is esports? It’s short for electronic sports, and originally it was all about competitive video gaming. What started as small competitions set in people’s homes has become a massive industry. Bettors don’t play in the tournaments, but will often watch the games being played live on Twitch. The highest ranking eSports games in 2020 have drawn in nearly 100 million viewers from all over the world.
There are now teams of professional video gamers who compete in huge contests in packed-to-the-rafters arenas, for millions of dollars in prize money. For example, the FIFA eWorld Cup prize last year was $500,000, the 2019 Fortnite World Cup was worth $100 million and the DOTA 2 International awarded a total of $25 million to winners.
Betting on Esports
The most common betting option for esports is the basic game winner bet. That is often the only betting option for eSports games, but some sportsbooks have started to create special betting lines for different games that take their style of gameplay into account. Let’s take a look at a couple examples of the basic bets you can make. Check out our Esports betting page to see the latest odds.
This year’s League Championship Series marked the third year of the continent’s fully pro League of Legends league under partnership, and the eighth overall year of the league overall. Ten teams compete in a round robin group stage, with the top six winning teams moving on to a playoff round. According to streaming service Twitch, this year’s League championship had more viewers than last season’s NBA finals.
As you can see in our example above, the odds are set in the same way that they would be for any other moneyline bet. In this case the esports betting lines have team Dignitas priced as the -154 favorite to beat the +110 Immortals. The 100 Thieves team is the -158 favorite to beat the +113 FlyQuest team. For more on how moneyline bets work, check out our guide to the moneyline.
Counter-Strike Global Offensive, more commonly referred to as CS:GO, has a massive professional scene made up of sponsored tournaments called Majors. Majors have sizeable prize pools; these pools started at $250,000, but many have risen to $1M, the MLG Columbus being one example. CS:GO averages audiences of over 45 million views on the Esports platform Twitch.
Our example above shows the basic esports moneyline bet, with the team Furia being the -203 favorite and MIBR being priced as the +141 underdog. If you were to place a $20 bet on the underdog in this case, and they won, you’d come away with just over a $48 payout.
Dota 2, which stands for Defence of the Ancients, is considered one of the originators when it comes to eSports battle games. DotA is actually a spin off of the hugely popular World of Warcraft franchise, and is said to be the most lucrative eSport in the world at this time. Once again, our example above shows the betting odds between two teams, with Sparking Arrow being the big underdog at +450, and PSG.LGD priced as huge -909 favorites.
NBA 2K is very popular video game series that’s been around since 1999. Since the original was released that year, there have been 21 installments. The most recent as of this writing, NBA 2K20, came out in September of 2019, and has been the most popular for NBA 2K League players.
The League currently has a total of 23 teams, and 22 of them are linked to real NBA franchises. Raptors Uprising GC, Bucks Gaming and Lakers GC are a few examples of these teams.
The most popular type of NBA 2K League bet is the simple wager on the game’s match winner. In the example above, the Raptors Uprising GC are the -182 favorites, while the Heat Check Gaming team is priced as the +130 underdog. Check out the most recent NBA 2K basketball betting odds here.
Betting on NHL Simulation Games
When spectator sports become an impossibility, sports bettors can enjoy the relatively new experience of betting on simulated matchups that use the remarkably accurate technology found in the video game AI that is present in games like NHL 20 and the Madden NFL games. Bettors can feel comfortable in wagering on these games since the results are determined by a totally random computer simulation.
Our example in this case was a simulated game between the Washington Capitals and the Buffalo Sabres. The Caps were the -167 favorites to win.
Betting on eMotorsports
When NASCAR drivers can’t race on the track, they practice on iRacing simulators. So, when track racing can’t happen, why not let them race competitively from their home setups, and let us watch? NASCAR recently held an iRacing Pro Invitational that was televised on FOX. The race simulation took place at the digital version of the Homestead-Miami Raceway and it drew 903,000 viewers on FS1. Denny Hamlin was the winner of that inaugural iRace, and he edged Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the final lap to win it.
As with a NASCAR race, there are betting options on eNascar races. Let’s look at the example below.
This is a sample of the odds on the eNASCAR iRacing Series Race 4, which is simulated at the Bristol Motor Speedway. Keegan Leahy is the favorite to win the race, with a +650 line set for him to cross the finish line first.