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Feb 9, 2018
Feb 9, 2018

The difference between betting on eSports vs. traditional sports

Why betting is the same at a basic level

How accessing information is different in eSports

Do bettors benefit from the fact that eSports is so new?

The difference between betting on eSports vs. traditional sports

The popularity of eSports has soared in recent years and the influx of new fans has brought with it a new wave of bettors. Although the basics of betting are the same no matter what you bet on, there are some major differences between betting on eSports and more “traditional” sports. Read on to learn more.

Betting is the same at a basic level

Before betting on any sport, you should start by understanding what odds actually mean. Once bettors know what odds represent, the different formats they can be presented in and how they are calculated, it will help with calculating how much a bet actually costs (this doesn’t mean the amount you stake).

In addition to this basic knowledge, if you’re serious about betting on eSports you need to be aware of what expected value is. It doesn’t matter if it’s CS:GO betting or betting on soccer, basketball or any other market, you need to know whether or not a bet is worth placing if you want to make consistent profits.

Much like other sports, if you’re betting on eSports it is always best to ensure you know exactly what you’re betting on. Instead of betting on every available game, the best eSports bettors will focus their attention on a particular game (and even a specific market) to try and get an edge over the bookmaker.

Trying to bet on a sport that keeps changing

In leagues such as the NFL or Premier League, there aren’t too many changes that bettors need to keep track of. The rules of the sport may have slight adaptations and the teams competing in the league might change slightly (not at all in the NFL) but other than that, things tend to stay the same.

While the impact of one player moving to a rival is obvious in most sports, the fact that it could happen at any time in eSports is what sets it apart from the others.

In eSports, however, the games as a whole, as well as the characters and maps within them are susceptible to updates. Betting on eSports can be a challenge because an update could drastically change the performance of certain players or teams and thus make prior knowledge or data almost redundant.

In traditional sports it is fairly easy to assess individual player skill and track an improvement or decline in their output. The difficulty with eSports is that it is hard to gauge what impact an update will have on different teams or players.

The CS:GO AWP nerf update in 2015 is a classic example of an update having an adverse effect on a player. Then playing for Team EnVyUs (now G2 Esports), kennyS was known for aggressive AWPing (shooting with a sniper) but the movement speed when aiming was slowed down in the update and it took him a while to adjust.

The aforementioned update made it harder for AWPers (players skilled with a sniper) to get kills on the Terrorist side (T-side) in CS:GO. Anyone who was quick to notice this or even pre-empted the impact of such an update could have benefitted in the betting market.

In addition to the game as a whole updating, individual characters (most commonly known as heroes) within the game will update as well. These updates can either improve (buff) or reduce (nerf) abilities and will influence how popular the heroes are to pick and how well players can perform when using them. 

Knowledge of player preference for heroes and how hero selection can impact a match is a crucial part of League of Legends betting and Dota 2 betting. If you know a certain player performs well with a hero that has been nerfed in an update, it should then influence your assessment of their chances to win the matches that follow.

Team changes

Just like the in-game features change more frequently in eSports compared to more traditional sports, so do the team rosters. Some sports have trade seasons or transfer windows that allow players to be bought and sold by different teams. No such window exists in eSports and although players have contracts with teams, these can be bought out and the player can move at any point.

Instead of betting on every available game, the best eSports bettors will focus their attention on a particular game (and even a specific market) to try and get an edge over the bookmaker.

A team’s success in eSports is built on more than just individual talent. The best players in the world can make a big difference in matches but communication and teamwork are two of the most important factors in elite level competitive gaming. This means an understanding of team composition and knowing about big player moves is important when betting on eSports.

As more money piles into the eSports industry, the rate at which players are bought and sold is on the rise. While the impact of one player moving to a rival is obvious in most sports, the fact that it could happen at any time in eSports is what sets it apart from the others. 

The difference in accessing information

One of the keys to success in betting is having access to information that no one else has and acting on it before a bookmaker can change the odds. While the right kind of information is valuable in all forms of betting, it is the ability to source this information in eSports that makes it unique. 

Social media is a massive part of modern life and while teams, players, governing bodies and industry insiders are active on social media for numerous sports, the level of activity and exclusiveness of the information they share when it comes to eSports is way beyond anything else.

Do bettors benefit from the fact that eSports is so new?

The obvious difference between eSports and other sports that are commonly bet on is the fact that it is so new. Although the birth of eSports can be traced back as early as 1972, it has only just reached mainstream recognition.

When you consider the rules for soccer (the English Football Association was officially formed in 1863) and popular American sports (the NFL was founded in 1920 and the NBA 1946) have been around for so long, it is to be expected that eSports rules and regulations will change dramatically in its early years.

While bettors face the challenge of analysing how a change in tournament structure, competition formats or game updates and roster changes will impact their betting decisions, it means they are in a unique position of knowing just as much as the bookmakers. 

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About the author

Benjamin Cronin
Benjamin studied English with Creative Writing (BA) before pursuing a career that combined his love of sport and fascination with betting. An avid fan of numerous sports, his writing now covers anything from in-depth major sporting event previews, to examining betting trends and techniques.
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