Video games have come a long way since the days of 8-bit plumbers squashing turtles and rescuing princesses. The infectious popularity of gaming naturally spawned competition and that competition has evolved into the exciting world of eSports.
That progression has grown hand-in-hand with the popularity of eSports betting, with most major online sportsbooks offering eSports betting odds on the most popular games and biggest tournaments around the globe.
Much like handicapping sports like football or basketball, there’s a process behind making those bets. Here’s an introductory “How To” on handicapping and betting on the best eSports gambling odds.
Round up resources
This is a staple of any handicapping process: familiarize yourself with databases and websites which log detailed stats. However, since eSports betting is a reasonably new market, it is sometimes tough to know what the best and most reliable resources are.
When eSports tournament time rolls around, these will be your best friend as it's exceptionally convenient to have key information all accessible in one place. You'll get to see detailed round-by-round analysis, stat breakdowns and information regarding particular players or teams.
Head-to-heads and history
Recent form is a huge thing to consider. If a team has been struggling or there has been a roster change, it may take some time to get used to. Chemistry isn't always inherently going to be there, and often a well-practiced team of average players - pegged as betting underdogs - could enter a tournament and yield better results than a five-man roster of the best statistical players.
Teams that historically play close matches will often be true to form, and you will find some head-to-head games where one team continues to dominate the matchup - regardless of their overal resume or current success. Bettors can get great value in the eSports betting markets recognizing these trends.
Travel, home and health
While this may not be the case for all teams across all major video game platforms, there's an inherent advantage in not having to travel long distances to events. Jetlag, fatigue, and travel visa issues may all impact performance, and eSports bettors will want to keep those travel troubles in mind when sizing up the odds.
There is also a noticeable home-court edge in eSports and having a stadium full of friends, family and fans wearing your team's jersey and rooting you on may be that extra motivating factor needed to win.
There have been circumstances when players were unable to travel due to sickness leading up to a tournament, forcing some last-minute plans. Unfortunately, with contracts in place, not every team is able to just pick up a substitute and teach them the strategies the team has been preparing and practicing to use all year.
One recent example is professional player Nicolai “device” Reedtz of the Counterstrike team Astralis, who became ill during the group stages of a tournament and was forced to leave. In the end, his team was forced to play with their coach and did not make it out of the round robin stage.
Those following along on Reedtz’s social media accounts were aware of how his health was affecting his performance, and those bettors taking note of this were not expecting much out of the third-ranked team in the world.
Finding out information like this before the sportsbooks are able to adjust the eSports betting odds can make all the difference. Database websites like the ones listed above should be fairly quick to post any news, and social media player pages or team websites will be quicker to report. Take advantage of these tidbits of information early before news spreads.
Live to live bet
eSports bettors can really take advantage of this new market by wagering on the live in-game odds, which rapidly adjust throughout a game or tournament and allow you to get action down at just about any point. The value differs depending on the specific game and its rules, but sharp eSports handicappers should understand how to use those formats to their advantage when betting the live lines.
As an example, in the game Counterstrike, each match has a team play as both the Terrorists (T) and the Counter-terrorists (CT). Certain maps can trend more favorably towards either one of those sides, and teams may often get out to a big lead purely based on a map being "CT sided".
The sides will switch at halftime and often if a team falls behind 7-0 (in a race to 16 rounds), the in-game odds will drastic shift toward the team leading early and offer eSports bettors added value to bet on the underdog, knowing that the game results should balance out when the sides are swapped. That's where figuring out particular team strengths come into play. Eventually, you'll learn not to panic and view it as pure value when your team falls behind early.
Another option for eSports bettors looking to bet in-game odds is that many online sportsbooks now offer incentives to place particular bets: automatic payouts on moneyline wagers if your team goes ahead 14 points or options to edit/change your bet or withdraw a portion of your original wager.
Motivation means money
Tournaments which earn you qualification points are always important and become increasingly valuable later on in the season or leading up to a major event.
eSports bettors can often find some of the best strategies and most-prepared executes during these tournaments. Think of major tournaments like the postseason: the best teams don't always make it in, so when top teams haven't already qualified you can really see them executing to their full potential and making last-minute bids.
Bettors must know if an event is taking place online or live (on LAN).
Not every team is local and many consist of players from around the world. Connectivity issues sometimes come into play and it may put certain players or teams at a disadvantage during online competition. Their connection to the online servers may not be as strong and it may cause disruptions, spikes in connectivity, or flat out lag which makes playing difficult.
Conversely, with live tournaments, everyone is on the same server and connectivity issues should not be an issue as computers and the equipment the teams play on are all universal. Players and teams from regions forced to play with internet issues tend to see a noticeable uptick in performance when playing at LAN events.