There’s nothing better than cracking open some Mountain Dew on a Saturday night and getting ready to play video games with your buddies online.
Well, that’s not entirely true. There are probably a lot of things more satisfying than that, but kicking back and competing in video games is still highly entertaining and a fun avenue for friendly competition.
Thanks to the burgeoning esports industry, though, you don’t need to be good at these games or even play them to enjoy them. In fact, the rise of esports betting takes your video game experience one step further, as you can win money based on your knowledge of the best players and teams.
Okay, it’s a little more complicated than I’m making it sound, but the skinny is obvious: video games are awesome, but winning money because of them is just the tops.
Not everyone can be the elite of the elite when it comes to competing in esports, but with the right research, knowledge, and strategies, you can win big (and consistently) with esports betting.
Esports Betting 101
We won’t waste a ton of time on the background of esports, but you can certainly look over our thorough esports betting page to get the jist.
Getting to know what esports is, what video games are played, who the best players are – that’s all a precursor to what we’re about to dive into. Beyond all of the obvious stuff, you’re coming here for actual esports betting strategies so you can win cash.
But before you do that, you should put in the time like we suggested and also find the esports betting sites that you feel most comfortable with. Your favorite sites should obviously include a slew of betting options, but they also should be safe, secure and reliable.
Once you’ve got that all down and you find a site you like, it’s time to start prepping for whatever esports event you plan on throwing your money at.
Winning at Esports
Sports betting strategies individually often look pretty similar. When you’re betting on esports online, most of those same rules are going to apply. There are recurring things you’ll want to do and look for before placing bets and how you go about your business can directly impact your odds of winning.
Winning big just once is fun, but that shouldn’t be the main goal here. We always want to consider bankroll management and safe/responsible betting. With that all in mind, let’s break down some tips and strategies to use to help you cash in esports bets:
Know the Games
It sounds simple and we actually touched on it already, but it’s really not. It’s a lot easier if you grew up with video games or have been soaking up the esports culture for years, but if you’re new to this betting genre, you have your work cut out for you.
There are several popular games used for big esports tournaments, but just knowing which games are popular or what they’re loosely based on isn’t enough.
A great idea is to play the games themselves and see just how easy/difficult different tasks, goals and skill-sets are in the game. You’re also going to want to gauge the importance of these various things in the game.
The big takeaway though is going to be what type of game you’re dealing with (and ultimately betting on). There are several types to consider, but the more popular ones are as follows:
These are all very different game types and require different skill-sets.
First Person Shooter (FPS) games hangs its hat on getting kills and completing tasks without getting killed, yourself. These games require elite accuracy, defense and reaction timing.
Melee esports games are your classic hand to hand combat games and are typical of the arcade variety. These games require combo move knowledge, defense, patience and honestly a little bit of clutch ability.
The first two game types really put the onus on the individual. The best FPS and Melee games in the world have worked tirelessly to perfect their craft and have their go-to moves, secrets and strategies they use within the game itself.
Things are little different with Multi-Player Online Battle Arena games, which usually require several players to work together as a team. Each player tends to have their own specific duty and contributes in their own way to help their team achieve a unified goal.
Real Time Strategy games deal with evolving video game worlds and don’t allow pausing, which turns the heat up in terms of on the fly strategy and difficulty. These are arguably the most extensive and challenging games to master – let alone bet on.
The other games are sports games and there are several games that don’t fit into a specific niche, as well. You’ll have to tackle those as they come, but they tend to be fairly self-explanatory, especially the sports genres.
Know the Players
Once you have all of the games down – or at least the ones you plan on betting on – you’re going to then want to know everything you can about the best players who compete in these games.
In the NFL, if you’re familiar with football, it’s typically fairly easy to spot the top defense and the best quarterbacks. That’s basic knowledge, but before betting on a game and really taking anything else into consideration, you’re usually going to ask yourself if you can trust said defense or said quarterback.
It works the same with esports, as you don’t want to bet on an individual or a team that you don’t trust or feel comfortable with. The odds provided by the esports betting site you choose will usually give you an idea of who the “favorite” is to win a match, but purely relying on favorites isn’t a great practice.
For one, the favorites don’t always win.
Secondly, even if the favorites win most of the time, they tend to offer weak lines which means you’re going to have to bet a lot of money to win a lot back. That creates a greater risk for you, so when we can, we want favorites with low lines or we want underdogs that make sense.
A quick look at the highest esports earnings shows you who is the most successful, both on their own and as a member of a team.
This is just one step to gauging player skill and how reliable they’ll be when you place bets, while it probably wouldn’t hurt to brush up on some of the greatest esports gamers ever.
Hunt For Value
Knowledge is power in all things and that’s probably more true with such an outside the box betting genre as esports.
While not necessarily a “strategy”, learning all about the industry, the games and the players certainly play a massive role in whether or not you’ll ever be successful betting on it.
Value hunting absolutely is a strategy, however. This goes back to which esports betting sites you call home, where your research leads you and what kind of odds you stumble upon.
Just because esports is a totally different beast compared to regular betting does not mean we have to stop seeking value. You’re always going to want to find favorites with low lines and attack underdogs that feel closer to favorites.
Specifically scouring numerous sites is key, too, as some sites won’t offer the same event to bet on, will have limited wager types, won’t have attractive odd and/or might offer esports prop bets you wouldn’t find elsewhere.
Developing a bit of a rolodex of esports sites you can trust is a strategy all by itself, but ultimately that’s going to allow you to locate value on a daily basis.
The best way to illustrate this if you plan on betting on a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team matchup, for instance. One site could give you these odds:
- Misfits -165
- NRG +115
That’s already a tight line and gives us two things: reasonable value if we love the favored Misfits and decent upside if we want to roll with the underdog.
But why stop there? There are other sites sure to host this same bet and they could sway in favor of the Misfits or NRG, which could potentially hand you more cash if you make the right wager.
A big asset to any bettor is to reflect on what you’ve bet on and what you haven’t bet on. Going over an entire betting slate before placing any bets can be huge to assist this strategy, as you can then reflect both on how you perceived the bet the previous day, as well as how you actually wagered.
The idea here is to develop the ability to trust your logic and instincts. This can also play right back into your personal perception of value, what you think of specific players and teams and how you look at various sites.
Even when you win, it’s good to look back and ask yourself:
- Did I make the right bet?
- Did I maximize value?
- Were my bets logical?
- Did I miss upside?
- Were my bets safe?
No one narrative outweighs the other here, but collectively, asking questions and reflecting on what’s already come and gone can help us understand where we go from here.
This reflection should also apply to winning. You don’t want to get a huge ego and think you’re invincible (which also plays into strict bankroll management), as esports can evolve on the fly – if not more so – just like any other sports betting genre.
Record your successes and learn from your failures and eventually, they can blend together to keep you informed and constantly thinking of every out you have.
Don’t Over Think
It’s a tricky balance, but right up there with reflection and checking all of the boxes is actually going to be relaxing and trying not to get too much inside your own head.
You don’t want to over think your wins or losses and you also don’t want to drown in doubt and analysis when it comes to placing your bets. You’ve put in a ton of research and know what you’re doing at this point, so trust the data and most of all, trust your gut.
As long as you’re not randomly going “all in”, it’s okay to eat a loss if that’s what happens. Just as we noted, losing isn’t the end of the world and can actually bring forth helpful lessons.
Don’t be afraid to lose (or win) and don’t cripple yourself by complicating bets that don’t need extra dissection.
One way to appreciate this is to admit to yourself that you’re not going to place a bet on every single site or every wager you find.
You’re going to want to be very selective. This works hand in hand with bankroll management, as you really are never going to have the funds to play every bet on every site, so it shouldn’t even be an option in your mind.
Instead, you’re betting on the games you know, with the players you know, with the best value you can find and on the sites you trust. There’s no reason to go outside the box, go against your instincts or over bet.
In addition to everything we’ve touched on, one of the bigger no-no’s in esports betting is redundant betting or wagering with very little basis.
You don’t want to fall into common traps such as odds chasing, emotional betting or chain betting.
In the NBA some bettors will see that the Knicks beat the Spurs and since the Hawks beat the Knicks, they too should be able to beat the Spurs.
That flawed logic can pop up in any betting realm and it absolutely comes to light in esports.
Every single player/team/competition should be treated differently. You can use this type of data over time if the numbers are big enough to be helpful, but rarely should your bets be dictated by any one thing.
It’s sort of like in daily fantasy baseball when people refer to ERA (Earned Run Average) or BvsP (Batter versus Pitcher) numbers. These are insanely outdated stats that are as simplistic and (almost) as useless as chain betting and odds chasing.
Odds chasing can be fun and even profitable, but that’s basically throwing everything we’ve discussed out the window.
The same goes with emotional betting, which can come in the form of betting big after a huge loss, going all-in after a tough drought or betting in favor/against teams or players just because you like/dislike them.
Every bet you make should be born from logic, research, data and value. Don’t bet just to bet and certainly never place wagers just because the payout upside is through the roof.
Finding the right esports strategy isn’t something that can really be done by stumbling onto a blog like this, though. Instead, this should serve as a reminder that you should really plan out your bets and know what you’re doing before you commit cash to wagers.
This is your money and every single wager/player/team/site should be looked at for what it is. Once you have a good grasp on everything individually and as a whole, you’ll then have your basic esports strategy and you’ll be ready to win big.
It sounds silly, but esports betting is entertainment. This is supposed to be fun and if it’s rigorous, boring or not profitable, just take a break or pace yourself. This is a rising betting genre that isn’t going anywhere. Take the time to master it, just like all of the pro gamers took the time to master the games they’re competing in.
If you can do all of this, you’ll be well on your way to making bank by betting on players who play video games. And that, my friends, is all kinds of cool.