Esports Betting vs Daily Fantasy Esports

Esports betting has exploded in popularity over the last few years. The industry has been fueled by a large number of fans who watch major events like The International (Dota 2) and Worlds (League of Legends).

Naturally, more people are now interested in betting on these events. And a number of esports betting sites and fantasy sports hubs have sprung up to meet this demand.

If you’re new to esports gambling in general, you may have questions about the differences between regular esports betting and the daily fantasy version.

I’m going to cover what both of these activities entail. I’ll also recap the differences between traditional esports bets and daily fantasy contests.

What Is Daily Fantasy Esports?

You’ve likely heard of daily fantasy sports (DFS), which let you play contests based on how athletes in the MLB, NBA, NFL, and NHL perform.

Daily fantasy esports revolve around the same concept, with the only difference being that they involve professional video game players rather than athletes.

These contests see you create a lineup of players in a given game, such as Dota 2, League of Legends (LoL), Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), or Overwatch. In many ways, this is similar to choosing a specific sports league like the NFL or NBA.

The goal is to choose a lineup that collectively scores more points than your opponents. The stronger your players perform in their respective games, the more points you score.

The catch, though, is that you’re dealing with a salary cap when selecting players. Each esports athlete has a respective salary that’s proportionate to their abilities and recent performances.

Therefore, you have to strategically craft a lineup where the players’ performances exceed their given salaries. You have a strong chance of winning prize money if your team produces a great score.

Daily fantasy esports are somewhat like poker tournaments in that the prize money is weighted towards the top. You normally have to finish within the top 10%-15% to earn money.

How Do Daily Fantasy Esports Work?

The first step to playing fantasy esports involves finding a site that offers these contests. The two industry giants are DraftKings and EsportsPools, but you can also find smaller sites that feature these games.

The next step is to create an account and make a deposit. I suggest that you spend time reading reviews on whatever daily fantasy site you’re considering in order to make an informed decision.

If you’re happy with a site, you can proceed to check out their banking section. The goal is to find at least one option you can use.

Broad categories of daily fantasy esports banking methods include credit cards, debit cards, cryptocurrencies, and e-wallets. You shouldn’t have any trouble using at least one option at the major sites.

Once you’ve deposited, you can proceed to the game lobby and look for whatever game/league you’re interested in betting on.

I mentioned earlier how you need to pay an entry fee in order to play these contests. The fees for daily fantasy esports are typically lower than what you’ll see with traditional DFS.

You can enter one or more contests by paying fees. Once you’ve paid an entry fee(s), you need to fill out your lineup using the available list of players.

You’ll be given a salary cap and must choose enough players to complete your team without going over this cap.

Here’s an example:

  • You’re playing LoL daily fantasy
  • Your salary cap is $50,000
  • You pay $7,100 for top laner “Letme” (Royal Never Give Up)
  • You pay $4,900 for jungler “Ning” (Invictus)
  • You pay $7,000 for mid laner “Perkz” (G2 Esports)
  • You pay $6,000 for AD carry “JackeyLove” (Invictus)
  • You pay $6,000 for support “Ming” (Royal Never Give Up)
  • You pay $7,800 for mid laner “Xiaohu” (Royal Never Give Up)
  • You pay $7,200 for flex play “Duke” (Invictus)
  • This adds up to a total salary of $46,000

The last step is to submit your lineup and wait for the matches to take place. Your chosen players will score points in the matches and hopefully combine for a high score so that you win prize money.

What Is Esports Betting?

Esports betting is just like traditional sports betting in that you make wagers on the outcomes of various contests.

You’ll see lines listed next to esports matches that handicap teams based on their predicted performance. Favorites will be handicapped unfavorably in order to make the underdog more appealing.

Here’s an example:

  • You’re browsing lines in CS:GO’s ESL Pro League Europe
  • Mousesports is playing BIG
  • Mousesports has 1.55 odds
  • BIG has 2.44 odds

Mousesports is the favorite here, because you only stand to win $1.55 ($0.55 profit) for every dollar wagered. BIG is the underdog since you’ll win $2.44 ($1.44 profit) for every dollar bet.

This example shows what to expect in the case of a moneyline wager with decimal odds. But you’ll also find a number of other wagers throughout the esports betting industry.

Other types of esports bets include point spreads, outrights (tournament winner), prop bets, accumulators, and teasers.

The number of wagers you can make all depends upon the popularity of the game you’re dealing with and your chosen betting site. Giants like Bet365, Bovada, and Pinnacle can offer more lines because they have enough customers to meet the demand.

Major events like The International and Worlds feature widespread coverage among bookmakers. These events give you access to many regular and prop bets.

How Do You Bet on Esports?

Esports betting and daily fantasy are much the same in terms of how you get started. You first need to find a bookmaker that offers esports lines.

Upon finding a quality sportsbook, you must register for an account and make a deposit. Go through the available banking options and find at least one that you can use.

The next step is to choose the game and league that you wish to bet on. The largest bookmakers offer action on a wide variety of games and leagues.

You’ll then need to go through the available lines and select your bet. The bookmaker will prompt you to enter how much you’d like to wager on a given outcome.

Once you finalize the wager, you’ll need to wait until the match/tournament has finished to see the results. You’ll receive a payout in your account if the wager is successful.

Key Differences Between Fantasy Esports and Esports Betting

Fantasy and traditional esports betting are both similar in some regards. Both involve visiting websites, creating accounts, depositing, and risking money.

But one major way that they differ is in terms of what you’re betting on. Daily fantasy esports sites see you create lineups and wager on how the players perform.

Your success depends upon a bunch of individual players who are spread out among various teams. Contrast this to esports betting, where you’re wagering on a team to win either a match or tournament against their opponent(s).

Both disciplines require a great deal of time and consideration in order to be successful. However, some of the skills that you need to win in each game differ.

Being good at daily fantasy esports requires knowing the individual players and their chances of success. You need to use this information to determine which esports athletes are undervalued based on their salary.

Being successful in esports betting involves knowing both the players and teams. Your goal is to properly handicap each squad and find those that are being undervalued in terms of their odds.

It’s definitely possible to win at both fantasy and traditional esports betting. Again, though, the certain skills you need to be successful differ based on the game.

Another difference between traditional and fantasy sports betting is the popularity. Esports betting is currently far more popular than daily fantasy in terms of both opportunities and industry revenue.

Esports wagering is expected to produce over $23 billion in revenue for bookmakers by 2020. Compare this to the fantasy version, which is only bringing in tens of millions to operators.

The difference in popularity also creates a liquidity problem for daily fantasy bettors. You’ll sometimes struggle to find the opportunities you need to produce a consistent income in fantasy esports.

Meanwhile, esports betting is offering more and more chances to win big every year. Numerous people wager on the biggest esports tournaments, which leads to lots of potential profits.

As it stands right now, daily fantasy esports is more of a hobby that you can use to supplement your income if successful. Meanwhile, esports betting offers you a legitimate chance to win serious profits.

What’s Better – Esports Betting or Fantasy Esports?

Whether you think fantasy sports or traditional betting is superior is all a matter of opinion. I personally like esports betting at this time.

The biggest reason why is simply because you have more options in terms of bets. This is especially the case when major tournaments run because you’ll have no shortage of lines and prop bets to choose from.

Another good thing about esports betting is that it allows you to have aspirations of becoming a professional one day. It’s very difficult to reach this point, but at least esports wagering provides a chance to win big.

Of course, this isn’t to say that daily fantasy sports can’t also be fun. You’ll especially appreciate fantasy if you’re already well versed in DFS.

The process is essentially the same, where you choose a handful of players and hope that these individuals perform well.

Considering that daily fantasy sports is a smaller market, you may find it easier to beat opponents. This gives you a stronger chance to earn profits as you improve.

Meanwhile, esports betting lines are set by knowledgeable bookmakers who want to draw equal action for all outcomes. Sometimes bookmakers are so good at setting these lines that there’s little value to be found.

Also note that daily fantasy is played against your peers. As long as you’re skilled enough to consistently choose better lineups than your opponents, then you can look forward to long-term profits.

Esports betting requires similar skills in that you want to choose the valuable side of a line more often than everybody else. But it’s also different in that you’re dealing with a house-created line, rather than directly competing against other bettors.


Both daily fantasy and esports betting have their pros and cons. But this doesn’t mean that you have to choose one or the other when gambling on esports.

Instead, you can distribute your action amongst both games. Playing both allows you to increase your overall entertainment from esports gambling.

Again, I like esports betting due to its larger liquidity and betting variety. However, I’ve also tried the daily fantasy version and find it to be fun as well.

A large part of which version you like best will depend upon what you’re most experienced with. If you commonly wager on DFS over regular sports bets, or vice versa, then you’ll likely enjoy what you’re used to.

Of course, I recommend giving whatever version you haven’t tried a chance. Variety makes esports gambling more fun, especially when dealing with two versions that have noticeable differences from each other.

Few things are more fun to me than betting on esports matches and watching them play out over a livestream. But I also enjoy setting daily fantasy lineups and seeing how players perform.

Both esports betting and fantasy sports are likely to continue increasing in popularity along with the industry. That said, you can look forward to more chances to enjoy both disciplines in the future.

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 since early 2016.

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