If you’re over the age of 40 it might be tough to wrap your head around the concept of esports. If you’re part of the younger generation you most likely already know about it. Not only is the esports industry itself growing exponentially all over the world but esports betting is also booming. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a devoted esports enthusiast or just now learning about competitive video game play you’ll find a wide range of betting options on all of the major titles at BetOnline.ag. Sports betting enthusiasts know that BetOnline.ag has always been on the cutting edge and now we’re looking to offer our clients the best esports wagering available anywhere.
So, what is ‘esports’? To understand how they came into being and what they are it helps to understand the scope of the world video game industry. If your memory of video games involves playing Atari as a 12 year old you’re in for a serious reality check. Video games have little to do with kids’ toys anymore. In 2018, the US video game industry generated a record $43.4 billion in revenue. This was a 17% increase from the 2017 total of $36 billion which was also the previous record. To put this into context, the US video game industry is significantly larger than the film and music industries—combined. 2018 also saw another milestone for video games—the $43.4 billion in revenues eclipsed the US casino gambling industry ($42.7 billion in revenue) for the first time in history. Internationally, the video game industry generated $134.9 billion in revenue during 2018 which once again surpasses the global film and music industries. It is also a 10% jump over 2017 with more double-digit growth forecast for the coming years.
Now here’s where it gets really interesting—there is a huge audience for professional level competitive video gaming. This is precisely the definition of esports. With the huge market for video games it’s not surprising that high level competition would exist. What is a bit more surprising is its popularity as a spectator sport. If you’re thinking on a scale of a few hundred geeks watching a video stream in their parents’ basements think again. Esports fills huge arenas all over the world. The 2018 Dota 2 International Tournament draw 20,000 fans to Vancouver’s Rogers Arena which is better known as the home ice of the Vancouver Canucks. That’s just a drop in the bucket compared to the Intel Extreme Masters World Championships—the 2017 event held in Poland attracted a live audience of 173,000 with 46 million unique viewers watching the live stream. This viewership number would make it the second most watched TV broadcast in the United States during 2018 ahead of the State of the Union Address (45.6 million) and trailing only the Super Bowl.
There are countless other fascinating statistics derived from the esports boom. Logic suggests that people who play a specific video game would enjoy watching high level competitors in the same game. That logic is not exactly accurate—in fact, 42% of viewers don’t play the game they watch at a competitive level. This means that the popularity of esports isn’t merely a function of the size of the video game industry—it’s a legitimate spectator sport that is poised for continued growth independently. Another interesting fact—most esports fans focus on competition in one specific game title such as League of Legends, Hearthstone or Overwatch.
There is a definite hierarchy of games in the esports world and particularly as it relates to esports betting. The ‘big four’ esports betting titles are League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2 and Overwatch. Star Craft II: Wings of Liberty and Hearthstone are on the periphery of joining the top tier. Other titles that are offered for esports betting include Heroes of the Storm, SMITE, Vain Glory, Call of Duty, Halo, Crossfire, Clash Royale and World of Tanks. One of the next likely additions to the esports betting board are the professional sports simulation games such as NBA 2K19, FIFA 19 soccer and NHL 19 hockey. These sports leagues have all invested in creating their own competitive gaming infrastructure. Given the financial backing and leverage they can provide it won’t be long before they’re also on the esports betting board.
After you begin to get your head around competitive video gaming and start to learn about the individual titles being played the process of esports betting is not much different than betting on countless other sporting events. The most popular form of esports wagering is a moneyline bet on a team or player to win a match. There are futures betting markets offered on major tournaments where players bet on the ultimate winner of the event at moneyline odds just like you would bet NFL Super Bowl futures. Proposition wagers are becoming increasingly common—you’ll see props such as ‘Map Advantage’ and ‘Total Maps Played’ for Counter-Strike and ‘First Barracks Destroyed’ for Dota 2. Just like traditional ‘stick and ball sports’, live betting on esports is also growing in popularity. This allows players to wager on a match ‘in running’ just like a soccer or American football game.
The best way to start betting on esports is to focus on one of the popular game titles—at least initially. Learn everything you can about the game itself as well as the competitive scene surrounding it. With the huge popularity of video games and esports there are plenty of resources online covering the industries in general or certain specific titles. Once you start to build your knowledge of the game and the accompanying esport, you can start looking at moneyline odds for competitive events trying to find value opportunities.
At the highest level of esports competition, there is a lot of parity in terms of skill level. In many ways, it’s similar to chess—the top players all have a deep understanding of the game’s strategy and tactics. Since from a qualitative standpoint, players are very evenly matched the handicapping focus turns to more subjective factors. As in chess, preparation is key—in particular it is essential to study the tactics of potential opponents and start to develop countermeasures to thwart what they want to do. That means that players are always looking for opportunities to come up with surprises and unexpected wrinkles in their strategy. Another key component is focus—if you can determine that a top player doesn’t have his ‘head in the game’ for whatever reason it can create strong value betting opportunities.