Esports betting has become a mainstream phenomenon, endorsed by esports teams, players, and respected personalities. Brands have also become more open to the idea of placing a bet on video games, and today, there are dozens of specialized esports betting sites.
To find the best esports betting websites, though, you need to note down a few things. As a player or an esports enthusiast yourself, you already understand the games you want to bet on. Now, it’s time to understand the find out more about the sportsbooks that offer viable and competitive esports betting markets. We take a look at the technicalities and provide you with a simple, step-by-step guide.
Our Recommended Online Esportsbooks
Here is a list of the best esports betting sites that have been reviewed and tested by our iGaming experts:
BetOnline Esports50% up to $1,000
Bovada Esports50% up to $300
Betway Esports50% up to $250
Rivalry Esports100% up to $100
UniKrn Esports300% up to $180
How Do I Find the Best Esports Betting Sites
In determining which the best esports betting sites are, we have set aside factors that we are sure most esports enthusiasts will appreciate.
We have looked at all the available information in communities such as Reddit to help you navigate to the esports betting websites you are the most interested in but similarly factored the opinion of more experienced esports bettors. As a result, we have created the following checklist:
- Volume of esports markets offered
- Reputation within the community
- Competitive odds and fixtures
- Sportsbook transparency and fairness
- Available bonuses and ease of use
- Safety, security, and license
Some of these points may look overly-technical, yet they important in helping you choose the right esports betting site for you. There are also two main types of sportsbooks that offer esports betting sites.
The first is called endemic and they are committed to esports from A-Z. This means that the entire site offers dedicated esports betting products, tailored promotions, and various additional perks.
The non-endemic type of sportsbooks offers mostly traditional sports, and they have only recently begun to adapt to the esports betting market. This means that if you are looking for sheer volume, you are better off with endemic brands.
Yet, your choice of brands ought to fall within the factors we mentioned before, as well as what your fellow esports bettors from HLTV.org, Reddit, and other communities think.
Volume of Esports Markets
Most players like to keep their options open. While most bets on games are known beforehand, there are many side esports bets that go down. Therefore, having a good variety of markets and available games is important.
With over 20 viable competitive video games qualifying as esports, you will want to bet on the main ones (CS: GO, Dota 2, League of Legends, FIFA), but also bet on some of the more exotic picks (Brood War, World of Warcraft, Overwatch).
Reputation within the Community
Gamers don’t care too much about technical terms. They want a simple answer to what the best esports betting sites are, and they usually turn to Reddit for that. A professional reviewing service can also help you, though, as it will run you through the basics each website has to offer. Once you have a brand in mind, you can double-check what it’s standing within the community is.
If you are new to esports betting, you will notice that many people discuss odds. Odds express the probability of certain outcomes. Sometimes, you can get better odds, in the sense the odds will pay out more, while the actual probability stays the same. That’s why esports bettors talk about “competitive odds,” in the sense of finding the best possible fixtures and bet on those. We will cover how to look up the best odds in our dedicated esports betting tips section.
Security and Transparency
While safety standards may vary, you will still expect to see an esports betting site play by the rules. What this means specifically is a license to run esports bets as well as proper encryption. Apart from these industry prerequisites, esports bookmakers keep a transparent offer, by offering side-chats where bettors can exchange opinion, and hosting various community meet-ups. Most endemic esports betting brands also support a discord channel for the community to swap extra tips and advice.
Available Bonuses and Ease of Use
Esports players and bettors are another breed altogether. Therefore, esports betting sites have chosen a slightly different approach to their bonus systems. The wagering requirements applicable to any esports bonus are milder than you would normally see in a sportsbook.
There could be all sorts of bonuses, too. The welcome bonus is still there and it offers a good way to top-up one’s bankroll and place wagers on their favorite esports betting competition. Other sportsbooks have decided not to intrude bonuses on esports fans and let their own skill and understanding of esports contests determine how close they can come to placing a successful wager.
Safety, Security and License
Esports enthusiasts have a lot of experience dealing with seedy websites, and especially when it comes to skin betting agencies, which have been banned and outlawed. Today, all esports bettors care for are licensed and safe endemic and non-endemic sportsbooks.
Most of these websites also enjoy endorsement by the community, have a very transparent channel of communications with esports bettors, and generally do everything to protect your personal information.
Which Games Are Considered Esports Today?
There are over 20 titles today that qualify as esports. They are usually divided into several sub-categories, including MOBA, FPS, RTS, and mobile esports. The genres may vary a bit, but each interpretation describes the same games. The top esports betting sites make sure that you have access to every popular single title.
Presently, the most bet on games according to official numbers are CS: GO, League of Legends, and Dota 2. FIFA, Call of Duty and Rainbow Six have also seen an interesting uptick in betting-related activities.
Other games, such as Hearthstone, Streetfighter, Arena of Valor, and Rocket League remain very popular, although they generate a nominal percentage of the total esports betting volume. This is not a drawback by any means – just the opposite.
You can spot trends in these games that many, including bookies, probably struggle to keep up with. The more niche the esports betting market, the better chances you have to get an edge. Most sportsbooks are still adapting to esports betting, which offers players an opportunity to place successful and value-added bets.
How to Make Esports Bets
To make esports bets, you will need to register an account with a sportsbook that offers esports bets. Each esports betting site will set its own standards that comply with the laws set out by governments in each jurisdiction. To place your first esports bet, you need to follow several easy steps:
- Find an esports betting site you trust
- Complete the registration process
- Make your first deposit
- Choose an event you want to back
- Enter the amount you want to bet
- Confirm your bet
Placing an esports bet isn’t difficult at all. In fact, the process is intuitive. What remains a challenge is to predict the outcomes of games, and whether you need an esports bonus.
Esports Betting Bonuses
The concept of bonuses is simple. You deposit an amount and receive an additional amount as bonus funds. This additional amount is calculated based on a percentage of your first deposit, usually 100%.
The bonus is then subject to Terms and Conditions. This usually means that you will have several criteria to fulfill before you can withdraw your bonus or any winnings, and this usually includes:
- Wagering requirement
- A deadline for completing the bonus
- Promotional code to use
- Odds requirement and type of bets
All of these criteria must be observed when trying to complete a bonus and release the funds as they will be available to you once you have complied with them in full. Meanwhile, you can pick from a number of esports betting bonuses, including but not limited to:
- Welcome bonus
- Reload bonus
- Odds booster
You will notice that the esports community is more focused and not usually distracted with promotions. Some esports bettors usually avoid bonuses offered at esports betting sites, other than the welcome bonus.
The community doesn’t need a bonus to make an accurate prediction, and this is something that has challenged most traditional bookies looking to enter the segment. Back in 2016, Pinnacle and a handful of other sportsbooks were the only ones to turn a profit on esports betting, because esports fans have repeatedly proven smarter than any mathematical algorithm.
Esports Betting Odds
Esports betting odds come in three denominations, to name decimal, moneyline, and fracture. Each esports betting site will allow you to filter through these odds, and most bettors stick with decimal odds as they offer the simplest representation.
Decimals are arguably the easiest to read, too. For each $1 you bet, you will receive back the amount displayed by the odds. So, if you bet $1 on Virtus.Pro against Spirit, you stand to win $5.32.
It’s easy to find your way through the odds. It’s equally important to pick the best odds you can find as, so long as you have a reason to suspect a certain outcome is more plausible, then all you need to do is make sure you get the best value for it.
What Types of Esports Bets Exist?
Most of the esports betting language or “nomenclature” is borrowed from real sportsbooks. This makes sense, and there is nothing difficult for esports enthusiasts to understand here. In general, there are several main types of esports bet types that exist today, and they include:
- Match winners
Each category is easy to follow. Match winners is a bet placed on the most likely winner in a game. For Totals, you will be on the total points/kills/maps in a game. Any game-specific metric works with Totals. A spread bet will require for the “spread” to be completed, usually meaning that you are giving one team a 1.5-point advantage. The spread, or point advantage, can vary.
Futures are bets placed on tournaments in the future, as the name suggests. For example, placing a bet in 2020 on the winner of The International 21. Proposition bets ask from players to make a bet on a specific game condition, such as who will draw first blood, whether a player is going to achieve a milestone within this map or game, or anything on these lines.
To put things in perspective, there are probably over 100 possible proposition bets that can be placed on most games out there. Each esports betting site will decide what markets to offer and when to add props, and also what props those may be.
Live Esports Betting
Live esports betting has become part of the offer. Admittedly, this form of betting adds a lot of excitement and thrill, but it also carries a bigger risk. Many esports fans, though, do try their hand at live esports betting odds, and sometimes turn a good profit. It’s once again all a matter of how well you understand the markets you are betting on. Most esports live bets last up to 15 minutes on average, so you get to know the outcome sooner than with most other bet types.
Esports Betting Tips
To give yourself the best shot of winning your next esports bet, there are some tips you can follow. They apply to conventional sports as well as electronic sports:
- Bet on the games you understand and follow
- Set an esports betting budget and stick to it
- Register at two bookies to compare odds
- Always choose the best lines and fixtures
- Focus on match bets in the long-term
- Don’t chase your losses or overly on bonuses
Esports betting is usually a market in which most sportsbooks operate with caution. Players who follow esports don’t only sit aside as passive observers. They participate in amateur competitions, knows what makes a good player or team, and learn how to spot changes in trends very early on.
There are objective esports betting tips you can follow as well. For example, a player missing a tournament is always an opportunity to find a value betting situation. Most Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournaments for example take place globally, which means often player visas may be an issue.
Esports betting sites have changed a lot over the past few years. Today, they reflect the focus on esports and esports betting and the need to create a product that caters to esports enthusiasts specifically. Endemic esports sites have achieved this with many mainstream sportsbooks now adopting quickly to match consumer trends and interests both in terms of quality as well as variety.
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