8 Tips Before Making An eSports Bet

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Stop and read this before making an eSports bet

eSports Competitive Gamer in a Stadium
Before you start making an eSports bet you should know the rules around sports betting, types of eSports bets, online betting platforms, and much more.

It’s no secret that the eSports industry has taken off over the past five years. In fact, it’s projected that eSports will bring in $1.5 billion in revenue by the year 2020. What used to be considered a casual pastime has now turned into a full-blown industry with professional gamers now spanning all age groups. It is no wonder why eSports has become so popular in the last 5 years.

The number of players, teams, leagues, and tournaments is growing daily, at unprecedented rates. The major success of eSports has also ushered in a new era of gambling. Legalized sports gambling has captivated millions of people across the world since the beginning of time. If you are even remotely interested in gambling, it can be hard to not wager money on a bet on a favorite team or team with the best odds to win competing in professional sports.

The truth is eSports is just like any other sport that exists in the world of gambling. Just because eSports is played on a computer or console, has not made it any less desirable for amateur and professional gamblers to take a keen interest. Sportsbooks, casinos, and online gambling sites all over the world are beginning to take bets on eSports tournaments and competitions, thus opening the door to an influx of gamified eSports wagering.

But just like all forms of gambling, there is some method to the madness, and it’s important to be informed before placing your money down on an eSports bet. So what are the top 8 tips to know before making an eSports bet?

#1: Remember that making an eSports bet is a form of sports gambling
#2: Make sure sports gambling is allowed in your state
#3: Know the difference between cash bets and skin bets
#4: Select your preferred type of eSports bet
#5: Choose a legitimate gambling platform
#6: Understand the game you’re betting on
#7: Do your research on eSports teams and players
#8: Gamble within your means

Read on to learn more about these top 8 tips and what you should know before making an eSports bet.

#1: Remember that making an eSports bet is a form of sports gambling

Picture of a esports competition in Oakland
Even though eSports betting may seem like only casual fun, remember it is still a form of gambling. Make sure to follow the gambling laws in your state.

We’ve referenced this point in multiple posts on our website, so this shouldn’t be a surprise that we without a doubt classify eSports as a sport! As such, betting on eSports doesn’t differ much from betting on traditional sports like football, basketball, and more. When gambling on traditional sports, you often take various factors into your decisions such as team structure, players and personnel, records, statistics, and more. You typically wouldn’t make sports-related bets without understanding how the sport is played and the current competitive landscape. These same factors should be taken into consideration when placing an eSports bet.

There are a ton of factors that can influence your eSports bet. A few examples include knowing the background of the Owner of the eSports team, knowing the background of the Coach and Manager manager for the team (example: tenure with the team), the quality of training facilities that are available to players, and most importantly the gaming style of the players that make up the professional squad. You’ll also want to know a team’s win/loss record, and other helpful stats like the average number of kills in a game, head-to-head record against particular teams, and more. Where the match is being played is also important as one team may have an advantage over another. These are all critical things that should impact your decision when gambling on eSports.

Another vital factor in betting on eSports is considering the odds bookmakers put on a given match or tournament. One sportsbook may offer odds of 1.79 for a team to win a match, while another may offer odds of 1.83 for the same game to be won by the same team. While the difference in odds is not huge, taking the best, or higher, odds will make a big difference to your betting outcomes in the long run. For this reason, we recommend trying multiple eSports betting sites and platforms (see section 5 below). Having accounts with various sites will give you flexibility not only in the types of betting available but also with finding better odds.

The moral of the story for our first tip is that you should treat eSports bets similarly to how you approach traditional sports bets because they are not different from one another other. Just like when you make a bet on sports, you’ll need to do your homework and understand the game you’re betting on and its competitive landscape. You’ll also want to use similar tactics used in traditional sports betting like taking the best odds and understanding some of the external factors that might influence a match. Treating your eSports bets like traditional sports betting is the first step on the path to preparing you to make your first eSports wager!

#2: Make sure sports gambling is allowed in your state

Picture of the outside of a courtroom building
Photo by Ian Roseboro on Unsplash

In May of 2018, the United States Supreme Court struck down a 26-year-old law, known as the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PAPSA), that prohibited several significant forms of sports gambling. Previously, only four states were exempt from PAPSA: Oregon, Montana, Delaware, and of course, Nevada. So the rest of the 46 states were not allowed to host any sports gambling whatsoever for the past 26 years. Strange right? We know.

So this major Supreme Court decision was a big win for sports gambling as it unlocked states’ rights in establishing their sports-betting laws. New Jersey has already legalized it, and many more states are following suit. One research firm estimates 29 states will likely legalize sports betting within a few years.

So why does this impact eSports? Because eSports is legally considered a sport and is affected by sports gambling laws. As long as the state you are placing the bet has legalized this form of betting, you are free to place as many bets as you’d like. And this is where the caveat comes in. Not all states have legalized sports betting and not all will. The Supreme Court has left this up to the states governments to decide. Check online to see if your state has legalized sports gambling. It’s imperative to make sure sports gambling is legal where you are so you don’t find yourself in a potentially tough legal situation!

#3: Know the difference between cash bets and skin bets

When placing an eSports bet, you’ll typically have the option to wager cash bets or skin bets. The difference between the two is the type of ‘currency’ you are wagering. A cash bet is pretty self-explanatory. With this type of betting, you wager cash, and if you win a bet, you’ll get paid out a certain amount of cash. A skin bet is a bit different and needs a bit of explaining to understand fully.

Skin betting

It’s critical first to know that a skin is a virtual item that can be used in various video games, like Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO). Skins are virtual accessories that are pretty much used to alter the look and style of in-game characters, as they typically have no added value in functionality or gameplay. Skins are almost entirely cosmetic upgrades that are used on in-game characters. Acquiring new skins, especially amongst children, is quite popular as it can be a status symbol. It’s a form of virtual bling. In skin betting, the skins are your casino chips instead of cash.

Many people who participate in skin betting use an online platform called Steam, which allows you to access games on multiple devices, and holds all of your game inventories, including all of your skins. So while you cannot place bets directly in Steam, all of your current items can be stored in the platform and Steam can communicate with various online eSports betting sites. On these skin betting sites, users deposit a skin by transferring it from Steam to the betting platform. They then gamble the deposited skin on a eSports related bet. If they win, they receive additional skins and can withdraw their winnings to their Steam account.

Once you have skins in your Steam account, you can do several things with them. You can use the skins to change the appearance of your weapons or character. Or you can trade or sell your skins with others. Alternatively, you can let the skins sit dormant in your inventory. The possibilities are endless!

Right now, skin gambling is far more popular than cash betting. However, we expect this to quickly change as eSports betting is becoming legal in more and more states. At the same time, game publishers like Valve who created CS:GO are cracking down on skin gambling and trying to rid the industry of it.

#4: Select your preferred type of eSports bet

Picture of a person taking money out of their wallet
Photo by Artem Bali on Unsplash

Once you know whether you’re going to go the cash bet or skin bet route, you’ll have to select your preferred type(s) of betting. And the good news is there are several options for you to choose from.

Match betting

Match betting is the most straightforward type of betting you’ll find in eSports. This is where you place a bet on a particular matchup of eSports teams or players. In a money-line bet, you pick one side or the other to win that match. If your side wins, you’ll get the payout. If your side loses, you’ll lose whatever you wagered. You can also bet on specific stat lines within matches, such as whether the total number of kills in a match will be an even or odd number or selecting the number of maps a team will win in a match. There are plenty of options for you to bet on in match betting, which is the beauty of this particular type of eSports gambling!

Jackpot betting

This type of betting is a lottery style game that allows you to wager very little in comparison to what you could potentially win. However, your odds of winning are extremely low. We’ve found that jackpot gambling is only available within eSports skin betting.

Casino-style games

Another popular type of eSports betting is casino-style games, which include typical favorites like roulette, blackjack, raffles, and more. This type of eSports gambling is also only available within skin betting.

Fantasy eSports

A quickly emerging type of eSports betting is Fantasy eSports. This is pretty much identical to the fantasy sports leagues that you find for professional football, basketball, baseball, and other sports. With Fantasy eSports, you’ll draft a roster of professional eSports players from various teams, and you’ll earn fantasy points for each player based on their performance in competitions. Your team will go up head-to-head against other teams and whoever ends the competition period with more fantasy points wins that matchup. If you’re in a Fantasy eSports league, you’ll have matchups every week, and either the team with the best record at the end of the season will win the league, OR the top teams go on to compete in fantasy playoffs.

#5: Choose a legitimate gambling platform

You’ll need to know what type of eSports betting you want to partake in before you choose a gambling site or platform. The betting site you choose will ultimately depend on whether you are doing a cash bet or a skin bet, and also the type of betting variation you decide to go with (match betting, fantasy eSports, jackpot petting, or casino-style games). Not all sites offer both cash and skin bets. Plus, most betting platforms only have certain types of betting variations available. So you’ll have to do your research to find the appropriate betting platform that meets your preferences.

In addition to that, we urge you to always act with caution when choosing a gambling platform. Make sure you do your homework on the various gambling platforms by reading reviews and asking around the gaming community for recommendations. Since you are wagering money or skins, you do have something to lose, and we’d hate for you to use a gambling site that is a scam. We’ve found that the following eSports betting sites appear to be some of the more reputable gambling platforms:

#6: Understand the game you’re betting on

This tip shouldn’t come as a surprise as we alluded to this in our first tip on the list. You should absolutely understand the video game you’re betting on before you begin placing a bet. And when we say “understand,” we’re not referring to a casual understanding. Instead, our suggestion is to thoroughly know the rules, terminology, intricacies, and nuances on the video games you are placing bets on. For example, in Dota 2, you should know what an Ancient is. Or in League of Legends, you should know what mana stands for. 

The easiest way to understand a game is to play it. Learn how to play the game from start-to-finish and fully immerse yourself in the game. Having a solid background in a video game is like having a secret superpower that gives you extra insight before placing a bet. The time spent learning the game will more than likely pay off big in the long run, and if nothing else can only help make you more informed when wagering. This is incredibly important so please don’t overlook this! And don’t just think that playing a game once will help you fully understand it. We recommend playing several times until you get the hang of it. It’s also a great idea to watch others play on YouTube or Twitch to learn from the experts and more experienced players. This will help you pick up terminology, strategy, and the rules of a game pretty quickly.

Overall, when it’s time to place your bet on eSports, it will be much easier for you to do so and much less risky if you have a solid understanding of the game you are gambling on.

#7: Do your research on eSports teams and players

Once you understand the game you’re planning to place a bet on, you’ll also need to do a ton of research on the teams and players that play that game. You must keep up with the competitive landscape in eSports for that game. If you plan on placing a bet randomly without knowing who the top teams and players are, you’re probably going to end up wasting your money. The reality is that most people place eSports bets on who they like instead of doing any research. That’s why we recommend keeping up with eSports news as much as possible, similar to how you would watch other sports networks for traditional sports.

When evaluating the strength of an eSports team, there are several things to take into consideration. The first is that the best teams don’t often have all the best players. Great teams usually have 1-2 elite players and have a great supporting cast of teammates. In team-based eSports, you should place a bet on the collective team as a whole, not on the individual players on those teams. While individual players certainly can make a difference, they cannot win team-based games on their own. This is precisely why it’s important to look into team play instead of individual play.

You should also take into consideration the teams’ stats, records, and trends. Here are some examples of things you can research on a particular eSports team:

  • What is their total number of wins vs. losses for this season?
  • Do they have experience in playoffs or championships from previous years?
  • Are they trending in a positive direction? This is especially important later in a season when teams might have started slow, but are picking up momentum.
  • How does the team play against the top or ranked competition?
  • Does the team take a lot of risks in their gameplay?
  • What is the team’s weakest link and where do they struggle?

Now that is indeed not a comprehensive list, but it is an excellent place to start. Ultimately whatever you choose to research on a particular team or player is up to you! But again, research is fundamental. Do not place bets on a whim, just because you think a specific team is going to win. If your bets are based on random choice, rather than research and skill, you will more than likely end up losing more than you win.

#8: Gamble within your means

We can’t have a list of our top tips before making an eSports bet without reminding you to be responsible. Gambling is incredibly addictive and easy to get hooked on. We’ve all had that friend who’s lost a ton of money by making rash decisions on gambling. And usually, it’s with money that they don’t necessarily have. If you’re not careful, betting on eSports could quickly get out of hand, and you can end up into some serious debt.

We won’t harp on this one too much, but always remember to gamble within your means. Make sure to handle paying all of your necessities before spending any money on eSports gambling. Once all those are paid, you can then have your fun!

You’re now ready to make your first eSports bet

Now that you’ve read through this entire list of 8 tips before making an eSports bet, you’re ready to begin. It’s critical to follow through on each of these tips and make sure not to cut any corners. Trust us. We’ve done hours of research to put together this list! eSports is a sport, so you should treat it as such when gambling. Make sure you understand the game you’re planning to place a bet on and also the teams and players who compete in the game. It’s crucial to know the difference between cash bets and skin bets, plus all of the types of eSports betting within those, like jackpots, match betting, and Fantasy eSports. Finally, be a responsible gambler by checking the sports gambling laws in your state, making sure you’re choosing a legitimate gambling platform, and always gambling within your means. If you do all these things, you will surely be on a better path to eSports gambling success!

Plus, if you need any help with choosing your first eSports game or betting website, we recommend checking out our articles on best esports betting sites and the 10 best eSports games you should be playing right now.

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