Jul 5, 2019
Jul 5, 2019

How to bet on esports: The basics

Learn how to bet on esports

A look at the available esports betting markets at Pinnacle

The importance of the game in esports betting

How to bet on esports: The basics

Whether you’re new to esports or have been a fan for years, this how to bet on esports guide is the perfect place to start for any novice bettor. Starting with the very basics, this article will help you learn more about esports betting and the available markets at Pinnacle.

What is esports?

Esports is the term given to the top levels of formalised competitive video gaming. In the last few years the sport, and betting on it, has surged in popularity. In fact, Pinnacle has now taken over fifteen million bets on esports since 2010.

Outright markets could potentially offer more value as the team you pick has to win multiple games over a longer period of time.

The term esports encompasses a wide range of games and genres. The most common genres are first-person shooter (FPS), multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA), fighting games, and real-time strategy (RTS) games with titles such as Dota 2, League of Legends (LoL) and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) holding the position of the three most popular games in terms of global audience.

Players and teams can compete online or within a local area network (LAN). Major tournaments such as Dota 2’s The International (TI) and the LoL World Championship take place in arenas, attract online audiences of over 5,000,000 people watching on streaming services like Twitch. The International 2018 saw the prize pool reach over $25,000,000.

Esport betting: Things to remember

Before learning how to bet on esports as well as understanding what betting odds represent and how bookmakers work, it is important to know that there are different ways people can bet.

Much like playing games like Dota2, LoL CS:GO, and StarCraft, betting on them could have its own share of ups and downs.

If you want to make money from esports betting be prepared to work hard. If you just want to bet for fun you need to understand that not every bet will be a winner. 

The importance of the game in esports betting

Deciding which game or games you want to bet on is the first step in learning how to bet on esports. What genres do you like? Which games, if any, do you play? Pinnacle is the leader in esports betting and offers a wide variety of games to bet on.

If you just want to bet for fun you need to understand that not every bet will be a winner.

It’s usually worth sticking with the games and genres you’re interested in and know. If you are into FPS games, CS:GO betting should be the perfect fit for you. If you’re more into MOBA games, you're probably better-suited to Dota 2 or LoL betting. To be effective at betting, you must watch a lot of the game of your choice. So you should choose a game you like - you’ll be watching a lot of it.

How to bet on esports: Different types of markets

Money Line

Money Line betting is perhaps the most traditional type of sports betting. In terms of eSports betting, it just means picking which side will win will the match.


The premise of handicap betting in esports is similar to traditional sports betting. The bookmaker will try to balance the chances of each side by giving the lower ranked side an advantage (positive handicap) and the higher ranked side a disadvantage (negative handicap).

In order for a bet on the team with a positive handicap to win, they must win the match, draw or lose by less than the handicap figure. A bet placed on the team with the negative handicap will only win if that team wins by more than the handicap figure set.


Totals betting in esports is when a bet is placed on the number of specified events in a game being over or under a figure set by a bookmaker. What the total refers to will vary depending on the game of your choice. For example in Dota2 and LoL it would be kills and in CS:GO it’d be rounds.

Outright esports betting

Outright betting in esports simply refers to betting on the overall outcome of a particular event. One example of an outright bet in esports betting would be the overall winner of Dota 2 - The International.

If you are into FPS games, CS:GO betting should be the perfect fit for you.

These kinds of markets could potentially offer more value as the team you pick has to win multiple games over a longer period of time. It is also worth noting that there is slightly more room for error than in other markets as the team you bet on could make up for a mistake or loss and still win a competition.

Pinnacle offers outright betting on all major esports tournaments for its major games including on Dota2, LoL, CS:GO and Overwatch, as well as others.

Esports betting: What next?

So you have which game to bet on and you know what the different betting markets refer to, but what next? If you need more help covering the basics of specific games, our articles on CS:GO betting and Dota 2 betting are a great place to start.

Additionally, you can use Pinnacle’s esports Hub to build on your knowledge of how to bet on esports, start developing an esports betting strategy and read in-depth previews of major esports events.

Remember, betting is about patience. If there is nothing on right now that you feel is a good bet, don’t go and bet all of your money for the sake of it. You need to wait for the right moment and use a staking method to make sure you bet the optimal amount.

Pinnacle offers the best odds and highest limits for esports betting and will never limit your account, regardless of how successful you are.

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About the author


"Pinnacle" is a catch-all category for internally authored esports betting articles drawing on the huge wealth of esports knowledge within our content and trading teams.

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