A beginner’s guide to CS2 betting

What is Counter-Strike 2?

How do you bet on CS2?

CS2 betting: Important things to remember

A beginner’s guide to CS2 betting

Counter-Strike 2 (CS2) has cemented the franchise’s position as one of the most important esports games of the last decade. Its popularity has also generated huge growth in betting, but if you are an esports fans that is new to the idea of betting on CS2, this introduction will help you get started.

What is CS2?

Counter-Strike 2 (CS2) is a multiplayer first-person shooter (FPS) that revolves around a battle between two teams, the Terrorists and the Counter-Terrorists. A Match consists of 12 rounds per half, with the first team to reach 15 rounds (unless in Overtime) winning the Match.

In order to win a round (and earn a point), a team must eliminate every member of the opposing team and/or complete separate map objectives.

Terrorists must plant an explosive and make sure it detonates before the time runs out, while the Counter-Terrorists have to prevent the explosive from being planted, defuse it if it is planted, or simply have the time run out before the Terrorists complete their objectives.

Brief history of Counter-Strike

Counter-Strike was created in 1999 as a mod for the popular FPS game Half-Life by two students, Minh Le and Jess Cliffe. It was free to download upon release, and was expected to not gain much popularity. However, to their surprise, the mod proved to be an instant hit, and not long after, Valve purchased the game’s intellectual property rights.

The series then continued with Counter-Strike: Condition Zero in 2004, developed by Turtle Rock Studios, but the vast majority of the competitive community remained with the original title (at version 1.6) until later that year. The release of Counter-Strike: Source (CS:S) saw a split that lasted for nearly eight years, with significant portions of the playerbase moving to the newer game that featured an updated physics engine. While big events were organized for CS:S, the larger portion of the competitive community remained with CS 1.6.

Maps vary, and teams are stronger on some maps than others, so the odds for betting on CS2 Maps may not always reflect the odds of winning the entire Match.

In 2012, CS:GO was released, which was developed by Hidden Path Entertainment, who had previously worked on Counter-Strike: Source’s post-release updates. The aim was to unify both competitive scenes, and the first step made towards this was to invite players from both 1.6 and Source to the testing process. The game was met with cautious optimism upon release, and took a while to be accepted by portions of the community. However, with Valve updating the game regularly, it grew in popularity.

One of the largest bumps in the game’s popularity came after the Arms Deal update in August 2013. It added skins for players to acquire and use on their weapons. The update proved to be incredibly popular, and with the Steam platform enabling people to trade and bet their skins, a whole host of new players picked up the game.

The esports scene continued to grow, with many large competitions emerging, and tournament organizers entering the game’s open circuit. The most prestigious tournaments were the bi-annual CS:GO Majors, events sponsored by Valve and organized by third-parties that regularly break viewer records on Twitch, and all feature a $1 million prize pool. Organizers to have hosted at least one Major include ESL, DreamHack, MLG, ELEAGUE, PGL, FACEIT and StarLadder.

In September 2023, Valve released the highly anticipated Counter-Strike 2. Following on the success of CS:GO, the game mainly stayed intact but with noticeable game mechanics added to breathe new life into the series.

Who are the best teams?

A lot of the best teams and players that were active during CS:GO are still active now in CS2. FaZe Clan (led by Finn “karrigan” Andersen) have adapted the best to CS2, earning more from tournament winnings in their first three events than they did across the whole of 2023 in CS:GO. Prior to the release of CS2, it was Team Vitality (the home of Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut) that dominated the scene.

There are many other teams who compete at the highest level. These include: MOUZ, ENCE, G2 Esports, NAVI,, Cloud9, Astralis, FURIA, Team Liquid, Ninjas in Pyjamas, Fnatic, Complexity Gaming, Monte, Team Spirit, Apeks, GamerLegion and BIG.

The best way to see the most up-to-date list of the top teams in the world is by checking the HLTV World Ranking and the ESL World Ranking. These two platforms are the primary decider for how groups and brackets are seeded at tournaments. Whilst placements at tournaments are the primary contributor to a team’s ranking, factors such as roster changes for example could see a team fall several places.

How do you bet on CS2?

Given the game’s structure, CS2 betting is essentially no different to mainstream team-based sports betting. Team A play Team B in a win-lose scenario, so betting works in the same way.

You can bet on the result (who will win the matchup) – this is known as a Money Line bet. The odds on offer reflect the perceived strength of the teams based on their historical win-loss record and other situational factors. Your payout is simply your stake multiplied by the odds.

Because a Match is made up of individual Maps, you can also bet on the winner of each Map as well as the overall Match winner. Since maps vary and teams are stronger on some maps than others, the odds for betting on CS2 maps may not always reflect the odds of winning the entire Match.

As well as betting on the winner of the matchup, Pinnacle also offers Handicap betting. This type of bet sees the odds adjusted depending on perceived imbalances in abilities. It works by giving the stronger team a ‘handicap’ to overcome, whilst giving the weaker team an advantage. So, a Handicap bet can look like either of these examples:

CS2 handicap odds example










Pinnacle also offers live betting on CS2. This means that you can place your bets while the Match is happening and the action is unfolding.

What CS2 tournaments are offered for betting?

Pinnacle offers CS2 betting for all of the major CS2 tournaments, including the ESL Pro League, ESL One, IEM, BLAST Premier Series, our own Pinnacle Cups and more. Regular online and offline events are also available to bet on, and it is at this level where serious CS2 followers can get an edge.

CS2 betting: Important things to remember

As with most multiplayer titles, the key to success in CS2 relies on both a mix of individual skill and team play. Whilst most top teams have strong line-ups in terms of individual talent, the best teams excel in communication, which leads to stronger team play.

CS2 has a number of unique aspects that aren’t found in many other popular esports titles, with one example being the various maps and a team's mastery of them. While a team can be an underdog to win the overall Match (reflected by the odds), if they’ve proved that they’re strong on a certain map, then they could be a favored choice when betting on that map.

With each team only receiving one map veto in a best-of-three Match before their opponent can pick a map, knowledge of a team’s weaker maps can prove to be especially profitable.

If this introduction to CS2 betting has made you excited to try and use your knowledge of the game to win money, you can bet with the best CS2 odds online at Pinnacle.

Esports Home
See the latest CS2 odds

About the author

Simon Teunissen Oligboh

Working for Pinnacle as the Esports Content & Social Team Lead, Simon has an extensive background within esports betting. He shares his insights across multiple esports titles, within an emphasis on CS2.

Show more Show less