Esports began as a small, niche interest but over the last twenty years has grown to become a phenomenon with millions of fans all over the world following their favourite teams and players and multinational companies falling over themselves to sponsor and support the top tournaments.
Along with that growth in popularity has been a dramatic increase in demand for opportunities to bet on esports, and bookmakers in the UK and all over the world have been competing to offer the best esports betting markets and the most competitive odds.
Esports betting fans can bet on a wide range of games, from CS:GO to Warcraft, with betting markets available for tournaments, leagues and even individual players via Twitch streams. Esports betting is one of the fastest growing sectors of the UK betting scene, and to help you get into this dynamic and ultra-modern form of betting, we’ve taken a close look at what is available in the UK market for esports betting fans, to give you the lowdown on the best offers and esports betting experiences.
Top 5 Esport Betting Sites – 2020
Betway esports Betting
Betway is top of the list with many UK esports betting fans and this bookmaker has shown their commitment to esports through their sponsorship of a high profile esports team. They offer markets on more than ten games, which includes Dota 2, CS:GO, Overwatch, Rainbow Six, Starcraft 2, Call of Duty, Rocket League, FIFA and League of Legends. Overwatch fans will be particularly pleased to see a site offering markets on this sport, which is not covered by many.
The Betway esports coverage is excellent, providing more in-play markets than most of their rivals, and their odds compare very well to the industry average as their esports expertise means that they can still profit despite offering generous prices. Esports betting fans can also benefit from a dedicated esports blog and news section, making this the complete esports betting resource.
Paddy Power esports Betting
Paddy Power have made their name as an innovative, eye-catching bookmaker and although they don’t have quite the same coverage of esports betting as Betway, they do bring their unique brand of humour and user-friendly betting to the world of esports.
Ireland’s biggest bookmakers has been increasing its esports coverages, providing markets on big events such as the Kiev Major and when it comes to the CS:GO ECS league, Paddy Power has some of the best odds around, as well as an array of markets that are worth checking out.
As well as their user-friendly approach to betting, Paddy Power are also well-known for their inventive and rewarding player promotions, so this is one esports betting site that is worth checking out regularly to get the best deals and esports betting bonuses.
Bet365 esports Betting
One of the world’s biggest online betting companies, Bet356 has become the dominant force in live betting in the UK, and they have extended their live betting expertise to offer a variety of in-play esports betting markets. Their coverage of Dota 2, CS:GO and Starcraft is deep and the Bet365 League of Legends betting coverage is particularly strong.
The site offers betting on all the major tournaments, and you can also find markets for minor esports such as Rocket League and World of Tanks, a popular game that isn’t often covered by UK betting companies. Although there are no esports-focused promotions available at Bet365, their odds are competitive, and this remains one of the most comprehensive esport betting sites in the UK.
Betfair esports Betting
The revolutionary betting exchange changed the face of the UK betting industry at the start of the century and Betfair have not been slow to embrace esports betting.
The esports section on the Betfair sportsbook is minimalist in its approach, and doesn’t offer the complete range of esports, but it covers most of the popular options, such as CS:GO and League of Legends and the available odds are usually extremely competitive.
The Betfair esports betting platform is particularly strong when it comes to live betting, as both the sportsbook and the exchange sections of the site provide extensive live betting opportunities, and you will find an ever-increasing range of esports betting markets on the Betfair exchange, which generally offers better odds than any other betting company in the UK sector.
William Hill esports Betting
One of the UK’s most famous betting brands, William Hill provides excellent esports betting coverage. Although they are not as effective as some sites when it comes to League of Legends betting markets, they provide an excellent range of betting options on Dota 2, World of Tanks, Heroes of the Storm and Starcraft, and their tournament coverage of competitions such as the ProData Cup is second to none. They also have a reputation for being one of the best CS:GO betting platforms in the UK, providing a host of live betting and pre-game markets.
Although William Hill do not offer any esports-specific betting bonuses, esports betting fans can take advantage of their regularly updated welcome bonus, which is available to all new sports betting customers.
Most Popular Esports Games
The esports world includes dozens of games, and the list is expanding as some games become more popular and developers release new titles. But some esports games retain an enduring popularity that attracts the most support and betting activity.
League of Legends
A relative newcomer in the world of esports, League of Legends was released in 2009 but it has quickly established a huge and devoted following across the globe. In fact, it has become one of the world’s most famous Real Time Strategy (RTS) games.
League of Legends, sometimes abbreviated to LOL, involves two five-player teams competing head to head across a variety of battlefields. Each battlefield features an arena-style structure within which the action takes place. The goal of the game is to destroy the opposing team’s base, but before that can be achieved, teams have to build experience and resources.
There is a strong role-playing element to LOL, with a constantly growing roster of heroes for players to choose from, which helps add to the engagement of esports fanatics, and this is one of the most interactive esports in terms of the relationship between professionals and fans.
Released in 2013, DOTA 2, which stands for Defence of the Ancients, is another RTS game, which has captured the imagination of players and fans worldwide for its combination of cutting-edge game design and tactical depth.
Like LOL, a DOTA 2 game involves two teams of five players each, which are chosen from a roster of 115 different heroes, although a hero can only appear once during a game, so there is a strong element of tactics when it comes to picking the initial team.
The aim of DOTA 2 is to destroy the opposing team’s base while defending your own, but this is preceded by a phase in which you have to destroy the opponent’s forts. And, every 30 seconds during the game, both teams are supported by ‘creeps’ which are waves of auxiliary characters that attack the opposing team’s structures. DOTA 2 combines absorbing tactical gameplay with the need for polished teamwork, making it the ideal competitive team esport.
Released back in 2000, Counter Strike: Global Offensive, or CS:GO for short, is one of the oldest esports around, and one of the most popular, second only to Dota 2 in terms of the total global prize money available for professional players.
The game revolves around a conflict between a team of terrorists and a team of counter-terrorists, who fight for control of varying maps. Each CS:GO game can have a range of objectives and scenarios, which can include rescuing hostages or sabotaging the rival team. Each game sees players earn points for achieving certain targets and lose points for mistakes.
CS:GO is one of the most popular team esports around, and many of the big CS:GO tournaments attract millions of viewers and esports betting fans.
Other Popular Esports Games
There is no fixed list of official esports games, and it is possible for fans to bet on a wide range of games. Among the other most popular titles are Fortnite, which sees a group of players go head to head in a battle royale across a huge map. Fortnite has a huge following and many of the world’s most famous Twitch streamers and esports players have made their name playing this game.
PUBG is a similar game to Fortnite, which can attract betting action, while Call of Duty heads a long list of esports shooters that includes Rainbow Six, Quake, World of Tanks and Overwatch. Hearthstone is a popular card-playing esports title, while sports games such as FIFA and NBA2k and retro fighting game Streetfigher also have devoted fan bases.
How to Bet on Esports
The process of betting on esports is similar to regular sports betting, but the range of esports betting options available at a typical online sportsbook can seem overwhelming to the newcomer, so we’ve put together a quick walk-through guide to making an esports bet:
- Head to your favourite online sportsbook
- Search through the list of available sports to find the esports section
- Select the particular game that you want to bet on, for example: Dota 2, CS:GO etc.
- Find the event and market that you want to bet on
- Click on your selection
- Add your stake to the online betting slip
- Submit your bet
That’s it! All that remains is to wait for the event to finish to find out whether your bet was a winner. You may also be able to watch the event through a live stream if your sportsbook offers that service.
Major Esports Events in 2020
The professional esports circuit has grown enormously in recent years and there is a bewildering array of tournaments and competitions testing the world’s best esports players, all offering betting opportunities. Here is a brief guide to the most significant esports betting competitions in 2020:
- International eSports Federation World Championships. Held every year since 2008, this competition gives esports players the chance to compete as national teams.
- FIFA eWorld Cup. Offering the chance for anyone to reach the summit of esports, this tournament begins with millions of players all over the world, playing the FIFA football game, and concludes with a high-profile tournament watched by a global audience.
- League of Legends World Championship. The centrepiece of the LOL esports betting calendar, this year’s event, staged in China, will boast a prize fund of more than £2 million, and will feature 24 teams drawn from 14 countries.
- The International. Arguably the most prestigious esports competition of all, in 2019, the competition offered over £25 million in prizes, with 18 Dota 2 teams competing for the crown.
Esports Betting Tips from Our Experts
- Esports betting can be a dynamic and exciting way to bet, but it contains a double layer of complexity, in that many of the sports involved are complicated in their own right, even before you get to the betting aspect. So, to help you get started in the world of esports betting, our experts have provided some useful tips on how to get the most out of your esports betting experience.
- Know the game. Regular sports betting devotees often have the advantage of having played their favourite sport in their youth, and esports betting fans should be no different. Before you can hope to profit from esports betting, you need to be intimately familiar with the game you intend to bet on and the best way to do this is to play it yourself.
- Know the players. Esports betting, like regular sports betting, revolves around the players. There are plenty of information resources out there to help you get to know the players, and understanding their abilities, strengths and weaknesses is crucial to successful esports betting.
- Study form. No matter how brilliant an esports player is, he or she is still human. Esports players suffer from injuries, illnesses, loss of confidence and other psychological issues, and staying up to date with the form of the key players in your favourite esport will give you an edge.
- Analyse team strategy. Head to head records can give you an idea of how one team might fare against another, but it is also important to consider their strategies. Which maps are they most successful in? What is their usual hero-banning approach? Get to know how each team operates and try to assess their likely strategy, strengths and weaknesses ahead of a particular event
- Compare the odds. Becoming a successful esports bettor is hard work and you need every advantage you can get. When you’ve decided on the bet you want to make, check out all the main esports betting sites to ensure that you are getting the best possible odds on your bet.
- Ignore opinions. The esports world is full of opinions but while you should keep your ears open for news related to player well-being, tactics and strategy, don’t give any credence to other people’s opinions. Hone your own esports betting style and back your own judgement.
Bottom Line on Esports Betting
From humble beginnings, esports has grown to be a huge global industry and as bookmakers compete to provide betting markets for the growing army of esports fans, there are opportunities for those prepared to do their homework. By finding the best esports betting site, knowing the games you are going to bet on and becoming familiar with the top teams and players you can maximise your chances of profiting from this exciting modern genre of betting.