COVID-19 has brought almost all sports around the world screaming to a halt. Racing in Australia has pushed through – touch wood – but in terms of sports betting, options are extremely limited so now is a great time to take a look at esports betting.
Esports betting: what is it?
Been under a rock? Esports is, quite simply, people playing multiplayer video games against each other. The games vary, but some of the most popular esports games around the world are Counter Strike, League of Legends, Fortnite, Dota, Call Of Duty and Overwatch. These are strategy, warfare and battle games, while sports games such as FIFA (soccer) and NBA 2K (basketball) are also extremely popular, and growing rapidly.
Of course, any of us can sit down and play against a mate next to us on a console or computer, or play somebody remotely. We can also go to the park and kick the footy around, but it doesn’t make us a professional.
So before we dismiss it as a bunch of pimply-faced teenagers in their bedrooms, look at the facts… Esports is now organised like any other sport, with teams, leagues and tournaments all around the world. People go and watch it live at stadiums, too – just last year over 17,000 spectators attended a tournament in Melbourne. And it’s televised globally on platforms like YouTube and Twitch.
There’s actually an ongoing argument over whether esports is, in fact, a ‘sport’. In practice? It really doesn’t matter. It’s something that requires tremendous reflexes and mental capacity at the highest level, and it’s watched by huge audiences worldwide.
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Esports betting: the basics
The good news is that in betting terms, it’ll all be fairly familiar. All the bookies you’re familiar with take bets on esports – if they didn’t before, they definitely are now! Betfair also hosts esports on the betting exchange – you can check that out here.
And the bet types are easy and familiar too. Teams face each other, so you’ll see the usual head-to-head and match markets. There’s nothing different about any of that.
Esports betting: the attraction
Why would anybody want to bet on esports?
At the moment, it’s got to do with where the market is at. It’s large, global, and growing. That means significant betting volumes and a lot of mug money.
When I say ‘mug money’, it may well be coming from people who know esports better than us. But they won’t necessarily know the basics of value betting – and that’s where somebody with a solid betting knowledge may be able to apply their skills once they’ve learnt a little about the game.
More established sports are obviously crawling with experienced professionals and cashed-up syndicates. That makes them harder to beat. Esports isn’t there yet, which is something you may be able to take advantage of.
Esports betting: doing the form
Alright… here’s where things get tricky!
If you’re unfamiliar with the games, team, leagues and tournaments, obviously you’re starting at the very bottom.
What can we do to help that? Well, we’ll kick off with a list of resources that we think are most useful to kick off your esports betting journey…
Pinnacle Betting Resources: Aussies can’t bet with low-margin bookie Pinnacle any more (grrrrr…), but we can still access their great library of betting resources. It includes esports materials, including some great intros to popular games such as Dota 2.
Smart Betting Club: our friends at SBC in the UK do some cracking stuff, and this is an esports interview with a betting industry industry figure that I’d recommend for some basic knowledge.
Lineups: This is a US sports betting site. While there’s plenty of “intro to esports” stuff online, I’d recommend this one above others I’ve seen. It’s well laid-out, extensive and easy to read.
eSport LiveScore: head here for results and match data. It’s helpfully organised by game, team and league, which makes it easy to find the form. Works well on desktop and mobile.
Odds.com.au: odds comparison options are still fairly sparse, but there are limited markets on odds.com.au – if you do have a bet, make sure you get the best price!
I’ve spent a fair bit of time researching online esports materials, and these sites are definitely where I’d start if you wanted to grow your knowledge. We’ll look to expand things a little further in the near future… enjoy!