Betting on esports is not that complicated. In fact, it’s really quite simple. That’s one of the reasons we love it so much! It’s also a lot of fun, and something different from betting on traditional sports. So, it’s no surprise to us that so many others enjoy betting on esports too. The esports betting market is already worth close to $1 billion a year, and it’s only going to grow from here.
The growing interest in esports betting is only PARTIALLY due to simplicity. A lot of people get involved because it’s an easy way to have some fun, but there are also many who see it as an opportunity to make some money. And they’re right to see it that way, as esports betting can definitely be profitable.
This is where things DO get a little complicated, though. esports betting is simple enough if you just want to have some fun, but there’s a LOT you need to learn if you want to make any kind of profit. The good news is that you don’t need to learn it all once.
The best approach when starting out is to focus on the basics. Anything more advanced will just cause confusion at this stage. There’s no point in making things harder than they need to be, so we recommend gaining some experience before diving into the complicated stuff. All that matters for now is getting the basics right and trying to form good habits.
The esports betting tips on this page will help you to get started in the best possible way. There’s nothing here to confuse or confound you, as we’ve kept everything as simple we can. Our advice is unlikely to bring you any instant success, but it’ll certainly put you on the right track and give you a solid foundation to build from.
Understand the Risks Involved
We’ve already made it clear that it’s possible to make money from betting on esports. There’s no doubt at all that anyone can make regular and consistent profits if they’re willing to put in the necessary time and effort. However, we should also make it clear that making money is NOT easy. It’s possible, yes, but not even close to being easy.
Losing is FAR more likely than winning—especially for beginners.
Our intention here is not to discourage you. It would be irresponsible of us to suggest that esports betting is an easy way to get rich, though. You might make some nice profits eventually, but there’s a strong chance that you’ll lose money first. We want to make sure that you’re fully aware of that risk.
You need to decide if you’re prepared to accept this risk BEFORE getting started. Unfortunately, you can’t ask for your money back AFTER you’ve lost, as bookmakers aren’t in the habit of issuing refunds. Once you’ve lost, the money is gone. If you can’t deal with that, then esports betting is simply not for you.
Get Started NOW
For those who ARE willing to accept the risks involved, the time to start is now. The opportunities for making money are probably the best they’ll ever be, as we fully expect that esports betting will be much harder in the years to come. Why? Because the bookmakers will get better at setting their odds and lines.
To expand on this point properly, we need to explain HOW bookmakers set their odds and lines. This is something we cover in detail in our article on how bookmaking works, but here’s a quick overview of the main points.
Most bookmakers (and betting sites) employ teams of “odds compilers”.
These odds compilers are the ones responsible for setting the odds and lines.
They set the initial odds and lines by assessing the likelihood of possible outcomes.
If necessary, they adjust the odds and lines based on the amount of money they take on different wagers.
The main reason why traditional sports betting is so challenging is that the odds compilers are VERY good at what they do. They are usually genuine experts in their field, and have plenty of knowledge and experience to call upon. They also have the benefit of years’ worth of past data to help them make accurate assessments about possible outcomes. This enables them to set odds and lines that are extremely tough to beat.
At the moment, the odds and lines for esports betting markets are nowhere near as tough to beat. Most odds compilers simply aren’t as knowledgeable about esports as they are about traditional sports, and they don’t have as much past data to use. Although they’re not exactly guessing when they set their odds and lines, they do us give us a good chance to beat them.
This doesn’t mean it’s EASY to beat them, of course. Like we said earlier, making money from esports betting is a real challenge. It’s less of a challenge now than it will be in the future, though. There will ALWAYS be opportunities to beat the bookmakers, but those opportunities will get harder and harder to find. That’s why we recommend getting started now and taking advantage of the looser odds and lines while you still can.
Use Reputable Betting Sites
Land-based bookmakers and sportsbooks that take esports wagers are not that common. You’ll only find them in regions where this form of betting is fully legalized, such as Nevada and the United Kingdom. This means that most people who bet on esports have to use online betting sites.
This is not really an issue, as it’s the BEST option for esports betting anyway. It offers several advantages over using land-based bookmakers and sportsbooks—some of which can directly improve your chances of making money. It’s very important to use the RIGHT sites, though.
There are plenty of sites that offer esports betting these days, and they’re not all of the same standard. Most of them are “adequate” at least, but there are a few that are terrible and better off avoided. There are also a few that stand out to us as being significantly higher quality than the others. Here are some examples:
This is not one of the most important tips on this page, but it’s something to consider nonetheless. Setting some objectives can help you to stay focused and motivated, and that’s always a good thing. You’re more likely to be successful if you’ve got clear targets to aim for.
A couple of points to bear in mind here:
Your objectives don’t have to be financial ones.
They should be realistically achievable.
It’s natural to assume that a betting related objective should be financial, such as “make x amount per month.” That doesn’t HAVE to be the case though, as there are other objectives to consider too. In fact, as a beginner, your primary objectives shouldn’t be about making money at all. They should really be about trying to improve your knowledge and betting skills.
When WE first started betting on esports, for example, one of our early objectives was to learn as much as possible about a different game each month. Another was to watch at least three hours of competitive play each week. One of our current objectives is to build a detailed spreadsheet where we record the various factors that we think may have an impact on the outcome of matches. This will allow us to do some useful analysis further down the line.
If you do choose to set some financial goals, don’t worry about making them too precise. You don’t need to set an EXACT target to hit. More importantly, any targets you set should be realistically achievable. There’s nothing wrong with aiming high, but you need to give yourself a chance of succeeding. You’ll just end up frustrated and disappointed if you keep chasing impossible goals. That might cause you to lose some motivation, or even give up completely.
What if your only real objective is to simply have some fun? Well, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with making that your goal if you’re not especially bothered about making money. It’s certainly an easy goal to reach, as it’s hard NOT to have fun when betting on esports. It’s still important to think carefully about the money involved though, which is where our next tip comes in.
Set a Strict Budget
One of the first things we explained on this page is that there are risks involved when betting on esports. Although we don’t like to repeat ourselves too often, this is one of those occasions when it’s right to do so. It’s absolutely VITAL that you understand just how likely it is that you’ll lose money.
It’s equally vital that to make sure that you only lose money you can afford.
Losing money when gambling doesn’t have to be a problem. Nor is it something to be ashamed of. It’s perfectly normal, and there are millions of people around the world who do it on a regular basis. It can BECOME a problem though if the losses aren’t controlled. Losing an affordable amount is just fine, but losing money that’s needed for other things is a major issue.
Thankfully, it’s an issue that’s relatively easy to avoid. All you need to do is set a weekly or monthly budget for exactly how much you’re prepared to risk losing. Then, you must make sure you stick to that budget, which shouldn’t be too hard if you apply some self-control.
If that’s something you think you’ll struggle with, then you shouldn’t be gambling at all. But if you CAN gamble responsibly, there’s nothing to stop you from achieving your objectives.
Setting a strict budget is perhaps the single most important tip we have to offer here. It’s certainly one that we REALLY want our readers to follow. It’s a fundamental rule for all forms of gambling—
Not just esports betting. This applies to EVERYONE regardless of whether you’re gambling for fun or for profit.
Learn How to Identify Value
Value is the key to making money from betting on esports (or any sport for that matter). The ability to identify value in markets is absolutely essential for anyone who wants to make regular and consistent profits. Many bettors don’t even understand the concept of value as it applies to betting, let alone actually knowing how to find it.
A common mistake people make is to assume that value is ALL about the odds. They work on the basis that high odds automatically offer good value and low odds automatically offer bad value. This is massively oversimplifying things. Value is not just about whether the odds are high or low, but about how the odds compare to the chances of a selection winning.
We won’t get into a detailed explanation of value here, as we’ve explained the concept fully in an article listed below. Please make sure you take the time to read this. It’s no exaggeration to say that understanding value and learning how to identify it will GREATLY improve your chances of making money.
We mentioned earlier that one of our objectives when we first started betting on esports was to learn about a different game each month. This was because we knew very little about ANY esports games. We weren’t big video gaming fans at the time, and we were only getting into esports because we saw the opportunities for making money. We knew though, that we had to understand the games if we were going to take advantages of those opportunities.
It may be that you ARE a big video gaming fan, and already know all about the various esports games. That’s great if you are, as you’ll have a bit of a head start. If not, however, we strongly recommend taking some time to learn about a few games. No one can expect to make good betting decisions unless they fully understand what they’re betting on.
Now, it’s not essential to learn about every single game. There are dozens of games played at a professional level, and it would take a VERY long time to fully understand each and every one of them. We think it’s better to focus primarily on the games we’ve listed below, as these currently offer the most betting opportunities:
Counter-Strike Global Offensive
League of Legends
Call of Duty
Heroes of the Storm
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft
For more information on these games, and some others, please see the following section of our esports betting guide:
This tip follows up nicely from the previous one. We’ve just explained how it’s not necessary to learn about every esports game, and there’s actually a strong argument for learning about just one. Specializing in a single game will ultimately restrict your betting opportunities, but doing so has a couple of advantages too.
The main advantage is simply that you’ll have more time to study everything that’s relevant to your chosen game. Instead of knowing a few different games well, you can become a GENUINE expert in just one. That can be invaluable when it comes to making betting decisions, and will make it easier for you to identify value.
Another advantage is that you can work with a smaller budget. You’re unlikely to be placing a lot of wagers when specializing in a single game, so you don’t need as much money to work with.
Does this mean specializing is the BEST approach?Not really, no.
We definitely recommend giving careful consideration to specializing in a single game. However, it’s not necessarily the right approach for everyone. We like to bet on many different games, as we feel that’s the best way for US to make money. We know others who do much better by specializing, though. There are pros and cons either way, so it’s ultimately a matter of personal preference.
Get to Know the Teams & Players
Nearly all of our esports betting decisions are based primarily on what we know about the relevant teams and players. The more we know, the better our chances are of making good decisions. It’s therefore, in our interests to get to know the teams and players as best as we can.
This is actually quite easy to do. It’s certainly easier compared to most traditional sports, as the players are much more accessible. Many of them are active on social media, regularly posting updates about what they’re up to and how they’re playing. They also publish videos of themselves practicing at games (sometimes live) where they talk viewers through their play. Here’s a good example from professional Dota 2 player “SingSing.”
Following the players on social media, and watching their videos, can be VERY useful. This is something we dedicate a lot of time to, as it gives us an extra level of insight that can really help us to make our betting decisions.
Another good way to learn more about the teams and players is to watch plenty of the action at professional competitions. We also like to use websites such as Gosu Gamers. This particular website is one of the best around for getting all the latest esports news, and they publish results and statistics for all the major teams, too.
Use the Gaming Community
The video gaming community is HUGE. Collectively, it’s a great resource for keeping up to date with what’s happening on the professional esports scene. There are hundreds of blogs, forums and other websites where you can learn a lot about what will help you with your betting decisions. Tapping into the knowledge of other esports fans is one of the best ways to improve your own knowledge.
One of the best sites to use is Reddit. This is a big favorite among the gaming community, and there are several useful subreddits dedicated to various aspects of esports. Here’s a list of a few that we visit regularly:
We’ve gone into a bit of detail for each of the tips provided so far. We haven’t over complicated things though, so you’ll hopefully find it easy enough to follow them all. You should definitely find it easy to follow the rest of our tips listed below, as these are the simplest of the lot. They don’t require much explaining at all, but they can still improve your chances of winning money.
Look beyond the major competitions
Study previous matchups
Factor in form & motivation
Here’s a quick explanation of each tip listed here.
Bet selectively & objectively
Placing wagers in every single esports market that’s available is an excellent way to lose money. Sadly, it’s what a lot of bettors do. They figure that their best chance of making money is to place as many wagers as possible, but this is VERY flawed logic. It’s the quality of wagers that matters, not the quantity. The best approach is to always be selective, and only bet when there’s a good reason to do so.
You should also make sure that you think objectively about your wagers. Many bettors let their hearts rule their heads and bet on what they WANT to happen, but this is something you should try to avoid. Don’t ever back a team to win just because they’re one of your favorites.
Look beyond the major competitions
The major esports competitions obviously attract the most attention. They also tend to generate the most betting interest. However, in our experience it’s usually the smaller competitions that offer the best opportunities for making money. We generally find a lot more value when betting on lower profile matches.
Study previous matchups
There are a lot of different factors to consider when assessing the likely outcome of esports matches. In our experience, one of the best indicators of what’s going to happen is the results from previous matchups. Some teams seem to do consistently well against other specific teams, and that kind of information is useful to know.
Factor in form & motivation
Form is another factor that is well worth looking at. Teams and players can hit good and bad patches of form in esports just like they can in traditional sports, so it obviously helps to know what form they’re in when making betting decisions.
Motivation is a useful factor to consider too. This is the case especially in tournaments that involve group stages or a round robin. It’s very common for teams to qualify for the next stage of a tournament BEFORE they’ve completed all their matches in a group or round robin, and this will usually affect their motivation. If the result of a match doesn’t really matter to one team, they’re likely to use the match to experiment with new strategies rather than go all out to win. This can give their opposition the edge.
Professional esports are here to stay. They’re not some passing trend that will disappear within the next couple of years. This means there’s no rush to achieve instant success before the opportunities for making money disappear. Although betting will probably get a little harder in the future because of the reasons we outlined earlier, it’s still important to be patient. Don’t feel like you’ve GOT to start making a profit any time soon.
If you push yourself too hard and too quickly, you’re more likely to damage your chances of success rather than improve them. It’s much more sensible to take your time and slowly work on expanding your knowledge and improving your betting skills. This will almost certainly yield better results in the long run. Successful betting is a marathon, not a sprint!