How to Get Off to a Good Esports Betting Start

By Michael Stevens in Esports on May 21, 2019

10

Minute Read

Esports betting is rapidly growing along with competitive video gaming. You can now bet on professional gaming across a large variety of online bookmakers.

It’s not difficult to make a deposit and start gambling on esports right away. But you stand a better chance of success by understanding a few important aspects first.

I’m going to discuss some of the main keys you should know before making your first wager. These topics will include everything from choosing a reliable esportsbook to learning esports betting strategy.

Figure Out What Game(s) You Want to Bet On

The esports world covers dozens of video games. You can, therefore, bet on plenty of games at online bookmakers.

But it’s harder to experience success when you try wagering on several games at once. After all, you won’t be able to develop thorough knowledge on the players and leagues.

A better approach is to pick 1-3 options in the beginning. Doing so allows you to develop mastery and win more bets.

I suggest thinking about what game(s) you want to wager on first and choosing your plan of attack afterward. Furthermore, you need to make sure that an esportsbook covers your preferred games before signing up and depositing.

You’ll have no shortage of options when making this decision. Here are just some of the games with betting markets:

  • Call of Duty
  • Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO)
  • Dota 2
  • FIFA Soccer
  • Halo
  • Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft
  • Heroes of the Storm
  • League of Legends (LoL)
  • Overwatch
  • Rocket League
  • Starcraft II
  • Street Fighter
  • Super Smash Bros.

Learn Esports Odds & Bet Types

Esports gambling features many similarities to traditional sports betting, especially regarding the lines and bet types used.

You’ll have little-to-no adjustment in these areas if you’re an experienced sports gambler. But if you’re new to betting in general, then you’ll need to learn the esports wager types and odds.

American, decimal, and fractional are the three styles of odds that bookmakers can use to handicap bets. The odds used differ based on which countries/regions an esportsbook focuses on.

Here’s a brief introduction to each type of odds:

  • American odds – These odds use plus and minus signs to indicate favorites and underdogs, respectively. Ex: -130 means that you’re wagering $130 to win $100; +170 means that you’re betting $100 to win $170.
  • Decimal odds – These odds refer to the total amount (stake + profit) that you can win per dollar bet. Ex: 1.9 means that you’d win $1.90 ($1 stake + $0.90 profit) for every dollar wagered.
  • Fractional odds – These odds feature a backslash in between how much you’re betting versus how much profit you’ll win. Ex: 3/2 means that you’re risking $2 to win a $3 profit ($5 overall).

You don’t necessarily have to learn all three styles of odds in depth. Instead, you just need to know the odds that are offered at your favorite bookmakers.

Bet types refer to the different kinds of esports wagers. Different types of bets spice up the action and give you some variety.

Moneylines are the most-common bet available in esports gambling. A moneyline is a straight-up wager that handicaps each team to make both sides attractive.

Here’s an example:

  • FaZe – 125
  • Fnatic +140

Betting $125 on the favored FaZe would result in a $100 profit. Wagering $100 on the underdog Fnatic would deliver a $140 profit.

An over/under (a.k.a. totals) is another popular esports bet. Totals refer to a line that’s based on the combined score of two teams.

Betting over the given line means that you’re taking the “over.” Meanwhile, wagering the under the line sees you take the “under.”

Here’s an example of totals:

  • Rounds played in a CS:GO match.
  • Over 27.5 (-110)
  • Under 27.5 (-110)

The -110 odds indicate that you stand to win a $100 profit for every $110 wagered. You can see that the odds are the same for both the over and under.

Point spread wagers are also common in the betting industry. A point spread involves wagering on if a team can cover their handicapped score.

Here’s an example:

  • Mousesports -3.5 (-110)
  • NRG +3.5 (-110)

Mousesports is favored and needs to win the match by 4 or more for a successful bet. NRG is the underdog and must lose by 3 or less for a successful wager.

An outright is yet one more popular esports bet. These wagers see you pick one team to win an entire tournament.

Here’s an example:

  • Atralis +275
  • Team Liquid +325
  • MIBR +375
  • Natus Vincere +450
  • Mousesports +500
  • North +550
  • FaZe +625
  • Fnatic +775
  • NRG +875
  • BIG +1050

It’s harder to pick a single winner out of a tournament field. Therefore, your payout is generally larger with outrights.

Other types of esports wagers include prop bets, accumulators (a.k.a. parlays), and live wagering. These bets give you even more variety to look forward to.

Research Esportsbooks

Once you know the basics of esports betting, it’s time to choose a bookmaker. Of course, you don’t want to choose just any esportsbook.

You instead want to spend some time researching the available options so that you pick a quality operation. Reviews are an excellent place to begin when performing your research.

Esports affiliates offer reviews that cover a variety of topics, including markets, reputation, odds, bonuses, banking options, and customer service. These resources give you a composite on whether an esportsbook is worth your time.

Many affiliate sites also rank their favorite esports bookmakers.

Rankings are helpful when you’re unsure where to begin.

You should consider visiting esports betting sites yourself once you narrow the search down to a handful of options. Doing so gives you a good idea on the website navigation, and if you like the esportsbook’s overall theme.

You’ll also want to visit the banking section to make sure that the site offers a deposit and withdrawal option you can use. Many operations feature a good mix of credit cards, eWallets, bank transfers, cryptocurrencies, and prepaid cards.

Nevertheless, you still need to ensure that the esportsbook you’re considering has the right banking options. The last thing you want to do is find a great site, only to find out that they don’t have a deposit method available to your state/country.

Get an Esports Betting Bonus

Betting sites use esports bonuses to draw new players. You can use this to your advantage by getting a free bet or deposit bonus right out of the gate.

A free bet allows you to recoup losses from your first bet (if applicable). The only catch is that you have to earn the lost funds back by meeting terms and conditions (T&Cs).

Here’s an example of a free esports bet:

  • An esportsbook offers a $20 free bet.
  • You place your first wager and lose.
  • You can earn the $20 back.

A deposit offer gives you a match percentage bonus based on your deposit amount. Just like with the free wager, you must meet T&Cs before the deposit bonus money is officially yours.

Here’s an example on how these deals work:

  • An esportsbook offers a 100% match bonus up to $50.
  • You deposit $50.
  • You’re eligible to earn $50 in free funds.

T&Cs for free bets and deposit bonuses vary based on the site you’re dealing with. Here are some common terms that you’ll see across the industry:

  • Rollover – The amount you must wager to withdraw your funds. Ex: 6x rollover on a $25 deposit bonus means that you must wager $150 total (6 x 25).
  • Claim timeframe – You only have so long to claim a free bet or deposit bonus through your account. You’re commonly given 3-7 days to claim the offer.
  • Rollover timeframe – Esportsbooks usually give you 30-90 days to meet rollover before a bonus expires.
  • Minimum odds – You must bet at minimum odds (e.g. -150) to avoid violating the T&Cs.

Have a Bankroll Management Plan

One cardinal rule for esports betting is to avoid risking money that you can’t afford to lose. You can help prevent this problem by coming up with a bankroll management plan.

The first order of business is to decide how much you can put towards a bankroll.

Go through your weekly or monthly income and bills to determine your disposable income. Then put a portion of this money towards your starting bankroll.

Here’s an example:

  • You make $3,000 per month after taxes.
  • Your bills and expenses are $2,000.
  • You have $1,000 in disposable income.
  • You decide to put $500 of this towards your bankroll.

You can continue adding to your betting funds every month. Just be sure not to use all of your free money on esports betting.

The next step is to figure out your bet sizes. I recommend determining wager sizes based on a fixed amount of your bankroll.

You could, for example, bet anywhere from 1% to 3% on each match or tournament. The higher range is reserved for matches that you feel really confident about.

Here’s an example on calculating bet sizes:

  • You have a $500 bankroll.
  • You only want to risk between 1% and 3% on each match.
  • Therefore, you’ll bet between $5 and $15 on every outcome.

Keep in mind that some esportsbooks require you to wager over a $10 minimum. You’ll have to at least bet enough to meet the minimum amount.

But the key is to have some sort of plan regarding your wager sizes. Doing so keeps you from gambling too much on a single contest.

Learn Esports Betting Strategy

One great thing about esports wagering is that it gives you a chance to win long-term profits. But you first need the skills to consistently place winning bets.

Handicapping is the best place to start. This practice involves reviewing various factors surrounding an esports match and assigning true odds to each team.

Here’s an example:

  • A match’s odds are:
  • Team Liquid -135
  • BIG +155
  • Your handicapping indicates that Team Liquid is undervalued at -135.

Bookmakers also handicap matches to develop their initial line. Therefore, you need to be good enough to spot soft lines and consistently find value to win in the long run.

Everybody has their own formula when it comes to handicapping esports matches. But here are some general factors that you should consider:

  • Matchup history – Sometimes a team overperforms against a certain opponent. Matchup histories can clue you in on these instances.
  • Recent performance – Every team goes through highs and lows throughout the year. A hot squad can offer you more value.
  • Travel schedule – Traveling more wears on a team and can leave them tired and unfocused.
  • Home & away record – Esports pros typically do better when they’re playing at home. Likewise, they struggle more on the road.
  • Players missing a match – Are any players out due to illness or injury? A missing key player can make all the difference.

Remember that these are just the basics of handicapping esports matches. You’ll want to put as much thought and analysis into each bet as you can.

Handicapping becomes more natural with experience. Therefore, you may struggle in the beginning until you develop a winning formula.

Also, note that it pays to get information before esportsbooks can adjust lines.

For example, you can find value on one side or another if you quickly get news that a key player will miss a match. Subscribing to esports news feeds is a good way to get news as fast as possible.

Advanced stats and trends are another avenue you should explore with regard to improving your esports win rate.

Being able to spot a trend can help you make a series of profitable bets. You may even be able to create a system that can help you win long-term profits.

For example, you might discover that esports teams playing in their home arena following a loss of 5+ points will win the following match 62% of the time.

Most profitable systems aren’t this simple. However, you can at least get a feeling for how advanced stats can improve your win rate. Software programs can help you crunch data and determine useful stats/trends.

Keep Track of Your Results

One common mistake among esports and sports bettors alike is failing to track their results. You won’t know how well you’re doing if you don’t have any measurable data.

Recording your results is fairly easy and only requires a few pieces of information. You use a Word document, Excel spreadsheet, or even just a pen and paper to record everything.

Here’s an example on the info you can jot down for each wager:

  • Date
  • Line
  • Bet amount
  • Result
  • Amount of effort put into handicapping

Many esports gamblers don’t even know if they’re truly winning or losing. Having verifiable records keeps you honest about your success rate.

Seeing that you’re losing money may motivate you to work on your handicapping, bankroll management, or other aspects.

Conclusion

You’re not going to become the world’s greatest esports gambler right away. But you should at least work to boost your chances of winning as much as possible in the beginning.

Deciding what game(s) you’ll wager on is a good starting point. Pick 1-3 games that you’re comfortable with and work on thoroughly knowing the players and teams inside out.

You also want to learn the odds and bet types for esports.

This process becomes easier if you’re already experienced with regular sports gambling.

Come up with a bankroll management plan before making any bets. Doing so helps you avoid risking money that should otherwise be put towards bills or savings.

The next step is to choose an esportsbook. You should consider various factors, such as their customer service, reputation, markets, and banking options.

Also, make sure to pick up an esports bonus at your new betting site. Free bets and deposit bonuses give you a quick boost once T&Cs are met.

My final recommendation is to learn some betting strategy. You don’t need to spend forever trying to become a pro right away. But it’s helpful to at least learn some handicapping basics and improve your chances of winning.

The whole point of esports betting is to have fun. And you’ll have even more fun with the matter by following the points listed here and getting off to a great start.

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.

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