Can You Consistently Beat Esports Betting?

Esports gambling has risen greatly in popularity over the last few years. More and more gamblers across the world are getting into competitive video gaming, which naturally leads to an increase in betting action.

Some players just enjoy the fact that they can gamble on major esports tournaments and watch the action unfold later. Win or lose, they love the entertainment aspect.

Other gamblers derive a lot of pleasure out of winning bets and making profits. These are the same type of bettors who want to know if esports gambling can be beaten on a consistent basis.

I’m going to discuss this subject by covering the fundamentals of esports betting and if it can deliver consistent profits.

How Does Esports Betting Work?

If you’ve ever gambled on sports, then you’ll find that esports wagering is very similar. They both share the same style of odds and bet types.

A moneyline with American odds would look something like this:

  • The Alliance -185
  • Old But Gold +155

The odds with a minus sign indicate that The Alliance is favored in this matchup. You’d stand to win $100 for every $185 wagered on them.

The plus sign indicates that Old But Gold is the underdog. You have the opportunity to win $155 for every $100 bet.

Of course, no esports wager is a perfect 50/50 proposition. Bookmakers take a small commission from the losing side of each bet.

This amount is referred to as the “juice.” The juice is essentially what a bookmaker charges you for using their services.

Over 50% of esports bettors are going to lose money in the long run when accounting for this commission. This fact makes it feel like esports gambling is similar to a casino game with a house edge.

The reality, though, is that it’s not. Gamblers aren’t dealing with a house edge when wagering on esports. They can still win enough of their wagers to make a long-term profit.

Here’s an example to illustrate this point:

  • A sports bettor makes 100 bets worth $110 apiece at 10% juice.
  • They win 54 of their bets.
  • 54 x 100 = $5,400 in total winnings
  • They lose 46 of their wagers.
  • 46 x 110 = $5,060 in total losses
  • 5,400 – 5,060 = $340 profit

You can see that this bettor has made a decent profit in the long term, showing that esports betting can be consistently beaten. The only matter left for discussion is how much your skill influences the results.

Is Esports Gambling Based on Luck or Skill?

Every type of gambling involves luck to a degree. Some games like slot machines and the lottery require a lots of good fortune to win. Others like DFS and poker allow you to use skill to influence the outcomes.

Esports leans more towards the latter, because it too involves skill. You can research matchups and learn fundamental concepts to boost your chances of winning.

Again, betting on esports and athletic sports involve the same basic process. The only difference is that esports require betting on video-game competitions.

Of course, luck does come into play when gambling on video-game tournaments. Even the best gamblers only win around 55% of their wagers.

Esports — just like any other competition — can feature unpredictable results. A heavily-favored squad can lose to a less-talented team on any given day.

Bookmakers are good at setting lines that make both sides look attractive. As covered before, they attach odds to the favorite and underdog to draw action on each side.

You may think that a certain favorite looks like a lock to win a match. But are you so certain that you’re willing to take +400 odds?

You’d have to win this bet more than four out of every five times to show a profit. Keeping in mind that these are all professional teams, an esports squad can take down a more-favored opponent.

Herein lies the luck factor, where you none of your bets are guaranteed. You take a chance every time you wager on either the favorite or underdog.

By and large, though, esports offer enough skill to where they can allow you to make consistent profits. Even if you have bad short-term luck, you’ll eventually be successful by continuing to make smart wagers.

Can You Make Big Profits with Esports Gambling?

You can make money betting on esports thanks to the fact that it involves a good deal of skill. But can you win enough to make a decent living? Could you even win enough to become wealthy?

Esports gambling is relatively new in relation to other forms of gambling. Therefore, it doesn’t yet have the same worldwide popularity as traditional sports wagering.

No famous cases exist of esports gamblers who have won big or are even making a full-time living. Regarding the latter, some bettors probably are earning a living through esports betting, even if it’s not publicized.

The key to making serious money from any type of betting involves having enough opportunities and being able to place large enough wagers. You can’t collect big profits if there aren’t enough markets and low betting limits are in place.

Currently, esports betting doesn’t offer anywhere near the same volume as traditional sports gambling. Most bookmakers don’t take as large of wagers on video games due to the lower volume.

Even still, esports gambling likely offers enough volume to at least make a living. It features well over a dozen markets and is featured at many sportbooks today.

Statista estimates that the industry will generate over $23.5 billion by 2020.

This figure is nowhere near the estimated $400 billion that sports betting is predicted to generate, but it’s a notable amount, nonetheless.

Sports bettors like Billy Walters and Haralabos Voulgaris have made millions of dollars through gambling. It’s very unlikely that anybody in esports betting has the chance to make the same type of fortune.

The key thing to realize, though, is that competitive gaming is growing at a rapid rate. The gambling side is developing right along with it.

Esports betting by itself may never reach the same heights as sports wagering. But it may someday grow big enough to where gamblers can make lots of money with it.

Perhaps a more-important matter worth discussing is how soft the lines are. Esports typically feature softer lines than many traditional sports games.

Bookmakers have had years to learn the ins and outs of making sharp sports betting lines. The same isn’t exactly the case with esports.

If you’re looking for a newer form of gambling that gives you a solid chance to make profits, then competitive gaming is worth considering. I’m not saying that the lines are so soft that you’ll immediately win, but you can at least improve your skills to the point where you’re profitable.

Ways to Improve Your Esports Betting Skills

You can definitely win money from esports. How much you win, though, depends upon how skilled you are at consistently finding value in lines.

Therefore, you’d be wise to work on improving your betting skills. The tips presented below will help you get started on this path.

Look at Video Games from a Bettor’s Perspective

The most-common mistake that esports gamblers make involves looking at video games from a fan’s perspective. They’re often biased towards which side they wager on for one reason or another.

They might bet on whatever side their favorite player is on or choose a certain team that they like. In any case, these aren’t ways to make successful bets.

One instead needs to consider everything from a bettor’s perspective. Which team has the advantage on a certain map when looking at their past successes? Does there appear to be any more value on one side of the other line versus the other?

The main thing you want to do is always look at everything from a gambling perspective first. You can of course still enjoy matches as a fan, but only after you’ve researched a wager and made what’s hopefully the right choice.

Learn How to Handicap Esports Matches

Handicapping is the process of looking at various factors in esports matches to determine who’s getting the best odds. This process is far from an exact science. It does, however, give you a stronger chance to win than simply picking teams based on your instincts.

Using instincts is the last thing that you want to do as a gambler. You should instead consider the matter analytically by looking at various factors. Here are key aspects to think about as you handicap an esports match.

Motivation

You may not think of video-game competitions as involving many emotions. After all, matches consist of people sitting around and playing a game against each other.

However, emotions can run high when teams have a rivalry with each other. All participants are likely to be more focused than ever in these games. In such cases, you may consider taking the lower-rated squad due to their higher level of motivation.

You should also review head-to-head matchup history between teams. Sometimes a lesser unit has a stronger team’s number. In this situation, the better team is likely to try even harder to win.

Home and Away Records

Esports is just like regular sports in that teams play both in their home arenas and travel. Therefore, home-and-away records are worth checking out.

Most teams do well in their home arena. After all, pros typically play better when they’re in front of the home crowd and don’t have to travel.

You’ll sometimes find anomalies, though, where a squad is stronger on the road than they are at home. In any case, these records are a helpful way to determine if a team is offering more value at home or away.

If a team produces a .500 record at home but tends to dominate on the road, then they could be offering more value in this circumstance.

Travel Schedule

Esports may not involve running and jumping, but players to have to feel rested and refreshed. They have stronger focus and better reflexes when they’re in a good state of mind.

Of course, being on the road for long periods of time can zap the pros’ energy. This is especially true when a team from South Korea, for example, must travel to Los Angeles for a major event.

Long distance trips can cause jet lag and fatigue. Noting a team’s recent travel schedule therefore becomes very important.

Recent Performances

Recent performance indicates how well teams are doing in the moment. A squad on a hot streak may be offering more value, while one that’s currently in a downswing may not be such a good bet.

Of course, you have to consider the circumstances behind hot and cold streaks. Sometimes luck factors into the equation and causes teams to lose.

But overall, recent performances can help you figure out what is a good bet in the moment. You may want to ride the hot hand in certain situations, while avoiding cold teams in others.

Player Health

Pro video gamers may not get injured as much as a basketball or football player. However, they still suffer injuries from time to time.

Playing video games for long hours can cause repetitive strain in one’s fingers and wrists. A key player could be forced to miss a match as result, or play through the pain with physical limitations.

Players can also become ill and have to sit out matches. You definitely want to know this type of information anytime you’re about to make a wager.

Of course, keeping track of esports news can be difficult. But you can make the process easier by joining Twitter accounts of news sites and industry reporters. They monitor the scene to find breaking news, including key injuries.

Know Where to Find Esports Stats

Winning at esports isn’t only about handicapping. You also want to consider advanced statistics that can help you gain an edge.

You’ll find these stats at various database sites, such as Liquipedia, GosuGamers, and LoLking. Stats from these sites can help you gain more information on your next bet.

You might even be able to create a winning gambling system that can be used repeatedly through the right type of steps. For example, Voulgaris created an extremely successful system that involved NBA half-time bets.

Bookmakers eventually catch on when the same gamblers continued winning again and again. But you can at least win a sizable amount of time when you do create a successful system.

Manage Your Bankroll

Bankroll management is one of the most-commonly overlooked aspects of esports gambling. Anybody who fails to properly channel their gambling funds has little chance of winning in the long run.

Bankroll management allows you to protect your funds so that you can survive the points when luck isn’t on your side. Successful bettors fully realize this, which is why they’re conservative when it comes to placing wagers.

The first matter becomes figuring out what type of bankroll management system you want to use. The Kelly Criterion is one of the most-popular strategies for both esports and sports gambling.

This system helps you determine exactly what bet size to make based on a team’s chances of winning. It involves the following four variables and an accompanying formula:

  • f = Percentage (fraction) of your bankroll being bet
  • b = Decimal odds – 1 (use margins calculator to convert odds if needed)
  • p = Probability of winning
  • q = Probability of losing (1 – p)
  • Formula is: (bp-q) / b = f

You can look at any given esports match and put these variables into play. Here’s an example using a Dota 2 match:

  • VP Game is playing Joy Dream.
  • VP Game is favored at 1.9 odds.
  • They therefore have a 52.6% chance of winning (1/1.9).
  • You handicap the match and feel that they’re a 1.7 favorite (58.8% chance of winning).
  • Variables include:
  • b = 1.7 – 1 (0.7)
  • p = 0.59
  • q = 0.41
  • Formula: [(0.7 x 0.59) – 0.41] / 0.7 = 0.18

The results show that you should risk 18% of your bankroll on VP Game. Betting this much of your bankroll on a single match is no small matter, but the idea is to capitalize on favorable opportunities.

The key problem, though, is that the Kelly Criterion assumes you’re a good a sports handicapper. If you’re not, then you’ll struggle and possibly lose your bankroll.

A more-conservative system involves only wagering 1% to 5% of your bankroll on every outcome. Small increments greatly reduce the chances that you’ll lose your bankroll due to short-term bad luck.

Well-funded gamblers usually only wager 1% or 2% of their bankroll on a given esports contest. They have enough money to still make reasonable bed sizes without risking too much.

If you don’t have a large bankroll, then you need to consider betting a little more when favorable opportunities present themselves. You may want to risk between 5% and 10% of your bankroll in these cases, depending upon how much money you have.

Here’s an example:
  • You have a $300 bankroll
  • Betting 1% or 2% of your bankroll would only be $3 and $6, respectively.
  • Both of these amounts are less than the minimum wager at many sportsbooks.

Above all, you need to only bet money that you can afford to lose. The last thing you want to do is gamble with money that’s needed for bills and other expenses.

The first order of business therefore involves figuring out how much you can put towards an esports bankroll. You can slowly add to this amount over time as long as you’re still able to cover all the bills.

Start Off Right with an Esports Betting Bonus

Most esports betting sites offer a bonus when you sign up and deposit with them. These deals allow you to get off to a great start at a new site.

The main two types of offers include free bets and deposit bonuses. Here are the details on how both work.

Free Esports Bet

You normally don’t get a chance to earn back losses from a losing wager. If you place a bet at any sportsbook and lose, then your money is gone.

A free bet is nice in that it actually does give you the opportunity to win back what you’ve lost. These deals are usually based on your first wager and capped up to a certain size, such as $25 or $30.

Assuming you lose your first bet, then you need to meet terms and conditions to get your money. Wagering requirements (a.k.a. playthrough) are one of the key terms that must be satisfied.

Here’s an example:
  • You receive a $25 free bet.
  • You lose your first wager.
  • Playthrough is 8x.
  • 25 x 8 = $200 must be wagered

Playthrough isn’t the only term that must be meet. You also have to satisfy other conditions too.

Additional commonly found esports Gambling World terms:

  • Claim timeframe – You have a certain amount of time to claim the bonus.
  • Playthrough timeframe – You must satisfy wagering requirements within a specific time.
  • Minimum odds – All bets must be made at certain odds or higher until playthrough is met.
  • Market restrictions – You may not be able to bet on certain games.

Esports Betting Deposit Bonus

A deposit bonus is based on your first deposit size. For example, an esports betting site might offer a 100% match bonus up to $100.

You have to deposit a minimum amount in order to qualify for these deals. This amount is usually low, such as $10 or $20.

The next step involves satisfying wagering requirements to successfully release your bonus. The process works much the same as when dealing with free bets.

Here’s an example:
  • A betting site is offering a 100% match bonus up to $100.
  • You deposit $75, thus qualifying for a $75 bonus.
  • Wagering requirements are 20x.
  • 75 x 20 = $1,500 must be wagered

You also have to meet a number of other terms before the bonus money is officially released. These conditions are similar to the ones described above with free bets.

Conclusion

To answer the original question of this post: yes, you can beat esports gambling on a consistent basis.

This form of betting doesn’t have a house edge. As long as you can win enough to beat the given odds and juice, then you can earn profits.

Of course, you need the right tools to win on a regular basis. You’re not just going to dominate right away and win big profits.

The best place to start is by looking at gaming competitions the right way. Consider everything regarding esports matches from a betting perspective — not from a fan’s viewpoint.

You should also learn how to properly handicap a match. This process involves several variables, such as home-and-away records, motivation, player health, and travel schedules.

Bankroll management is another crucial part of successful esports betting. You need to do a good job of preserving your bankroll so that you can last for the long haul.

In summary, esports gambling is exciting because it offers the potential for long-term profits. You just need to put the work in to make yourself a winner.

Michael Stevens: Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016.