Beginners Guide to eSports Betting

Remember the good old days, when the pinnacle of eSports was your weekly LAN party at a friend’s place? When would people laugh at you for saying you like playing video games? Yup, we remember to. Well, things have changed a lot. Believe it or not, the eSports industry is projected to reach $1 billion in value in 2021, and eSports sports betting is one of the main factors behind this. Who’s laughing now?

Right as eSports blew up and became a global phenomenon, bettors realized that they could actually bet on their favourite pastime. And that’s why we at NostraBet love making punts on CS2, LoL, and all kinds of other games, too. It’s basically following things you already love but with a chance to earn a pretty penny from it. So, how does that sound to you? Are you willing to take the plunge and enter the wonderful world of eSports betting? If the answer is yes, we have everything you need. From the rules of the most popular games to the best sites and competitions, you’ll learn a lot.

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Understanding eSports

esports playing a game

A common misconception about eSports sports betting is that it doesn’t involve real sports. You’ll often hear people say things like, ‘well, footballers actually run, while eSports players just sit around all day.’ This can’t be further from the truth! When you take a step back, you’ll find that professional gaming has all the traits traditional sports have. Don’t believe us? Here, take a look:

  • It takes a certain level of skill to be successful.
  • eSports players, just like physical athletes, train every day and work on their craft. They also have to exercise and eat healthy to be efficient.
  • They get paid handsomely if they’re at the top of the game.
  • They have to strategize, think, and overcome obstacles in their respective games.
  • Sponsors such as Red Bull, Monster Energy, Honda, Coca-Cola, and even the US Air Force are more than happy to finance players and teams.

When you look at it like this, legendary DOTA 2 players such as Dendi and Puppey don’t seem so different from LeBron James or, let’s say, Cristiano Ronaldo, right? Exactly.

What’s even better is that eSports aren’t hard to understand, even if you’ve never played games before. Most of the terms used aren’t all that different from football or basketball. You have things such as wins, losses, ties, over/under, and others. So, it’s straightforward to get in and become proficient. With that in mind, here are some of the most popular titles in eSports sports betting.


Esports Games and Their Rules

Currently, there are tens of thousands of video games you can play. However, not every game is suitable or popular enough for competitive eSports fantasy betting. That’s why our advice is to focus on these 8 games. Not only are they the most popular, but they are easy to understand and get into.

League of Legends

In LoL, two teams of five players each battle it out in an arena-like environment. They get to pick one of the 140 available champions, which all have special abilities and perks. Some work well against others, while some don’t. There are different roles and tactics, too.

Counter-Strike 2 (CS2)

Everyone’s favourite first-person shooter, CS2, has been a staple of eSports sports betting for years now. You have two teams; one plays as the terrorists, while the other is composed of counter-terrorists. The objective is to kill all the opposing team members or plant the bomb/defuse the bomb, depending on the team you’re on.

DOTA 2

Defense Of the Ancients (DOTA) originally started as a mod for Warcraft III and is known as the influence behind LoL. You also have champions, non-playable characters, and special abilities, equating to millions of different tactics and avenues to victory. While the original DOTA game was a mod, DOTA 2 is its own separate game owned by Valve.

Overwatch 2

Think of Overwatch 2 as a mix of CS2 and DOTA. It’s a first-person shooter, but you get to select a hero that has his/her own unique abilities and powers. It fuses the excitement of FPS titles while adding some much-needed variance in the form of different heroes.

StarCraft 2

A sequel to the iconic StarCraft game, SC2 is still one of the most sought-after titles for eSports sports betting in both the USA and Asia. It’s a strategy game where you have to build up your base and your forces and eradicate the enemy player that shares the map with you.

Heroes of the Storm

A close cousin of DOTA 2 and LoL, HoS is also a MOBA game. You pick a hero and fight in teams of five against the other team. Unlike the other two titles, HoS also has some neat side objectives, making it worth checking out.

Call of Duty

While CS2 lets you be a terrorist or a counter-terrorist, Call of Duty eSports sports betting revolves around a battle between actual historic factions. Depending on the expansion, you can play as an American, a Nazi German, a Soviet, or even a modern SWAT team member. Another great FPS.

FIFA

It’s basically simulated football. It can be played in several modes, ranging from 1v1 to 4v4 and beyond. You pick a team that exists in reality, composed of players with stats relative to their real-world performance. If you know and watch football, you’ll be able to start with FIFA eSports sports betting right away.


Where to Find eSports betting Websites?

Rating: 5.0/5
  • Trusted Online Betting Website
  • Licensed by the UKGC
  • Best Sports Betting Features
  • High Odds
New Customers only. Registration required. Bet £10* & Get £30* in Free Bets. Sign up, deposit between £5* and £10* to your account and bet365 will give you three times that value in Free Bets when you place qualifying bets to the same value and they are settled. Free Bets are paid as Bet Credits. Min odds/bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. +18 | Terms & Conditions time limits & exclusions apply. #Advertisement
Rating: 4.9/5
  • Trusted & Secure Online Betting Site
  • Competitive Sports Betting Odds and Markets
  • Great Range of Casino Games
  • Professional Customer Support
New customers only. This offer is valid for 7 days from your new account being registered. Min Deposit: £10. Free Bet awarded: £10. 1 x £10 must be wagered at odds of 1.75+ to unlock Free Bet. Debit Card deposits only (exclusions apply). Free bet will expire 7 days after the 1st deposit. 18+. BeGambleAware.org. Bet The Responsible Way. Full Terms apply | gamstop.co.uk
Rating: 4.6/5
  • Fantastic bonuses
  • Good sportsbook
  • Amazing casino games
  • Many payment methods
#ad • +18 Min deposit £10 • A qualifying bet is a ‘real money’ stake of at least £10 • Min odds 1/2 (1.50) • Free Bets credited upon qualifying bet settlement and expire after 7 days • Free Bet stakes not included in returns • Casino Bonus must be claimed within 7 days and expires after 14 days • Bonus valid on selected Casino games only • Bonus wins capped at £500, excluding Jackpot wins • You must wager Bonus amount x40 – this requirement varies by game Full T&Cs apply | begamblingaware | gamstop.co.uk | Play Responsibly
Rating: 4.6/5
  • Extensive sports library
  • High odds
  • Separate apps for sports, casino, and poker
  • Fully legal and licensed
18+ | New UK players only | Min deposit req. £10 | Certain deposit methods excluded | Pace 1 sport bet (3+ selections) } Excl Horse Racing | Min stake £10 | Max stake £20 | Min odds 2/1 (3.0) for each selection | Max FreeBet £20 for football only | FreeBet valid for 7 days | FreeBet stake not returned | T&Cs apply | begambleaware.org | gamstop.co.uk
Rating: 4.9/5
  • Trusted online betting site
  • Great range of Sports Betting markets
  • Top-class Customer service
  • Various Payment methods
18+. Play Safe. From 00:01 on 18.10.2022. £30 bonus. New customers using Promo Code R30 only. Minimum £10 stake on odds of 1/2 (1.5) or greater on sportsbook (excluding Virtual markets). Further terms apply. #ad T&C apply | begambleaware.org | gamstop.co.uk | Play Responsibly
Rating: 4.3/5
  • Generous welcome pack + Free Spins
  • High-quality games by top suppliers
  • Regular Tournaments & Must-Drop Jackpots
Only available to new verified customers residing in the UK. Place a first ever sports bet (£10 min. stake; single bets only; min. odds 2/5). Get 2x£5 in free sports bets, £10 in bonus money at Casino and 20 free spins (£0.10 per spin) on eligible NetEnt Slots. Payment method restrictions apply. T&Cs apply. | 18+ |begambleaware.org | gamstop.co.uk | Play Responsibly
Rating: 4.4/5
  • Great Sports Betting Coverage
  • Secure Deposits and Withdrawals
  • Enhanced Player Security
  • Various Promotions
18+ begambleaware.org | T&Cs apply. New reg only. Claim by placing a min deposit £10 via "My Offers" page within 30 days. 7 days to stake max £10 in-play, min odds 1/1. Max. extra winnings £100. Once claimed, 30-day expiry. Cashed out, System & EW bets do not qualify. Other Promotional Play Restrictions Apply. (Full T&Cs apply) | gamstop.co.uk | LeoSafePlay
Rating: 4.4/5
  • Trusted & Licensed UK Brand
  • Great Customer Support
  • Competitive Odds
  • Various Sports Betting Features
18+. UK Customers (Excluding NI) only. Cash stakes only. Min £10 stake required for initial £5 free bet. Min odds ½. Max £25 in free bets. Subsequent free bets equal 50% average of each 3 £5 max qualifying bets. 13 settled bets required to receive full £25 free bet. Qualifying bets must be placed on sportsbook within 30 days of opening account. Cashed out bets will not qualify towards your average stake. One free bet offer per customer, household or IP address only. Free bet expires after 7 days. Payment method restrictions apply. 18+. T&Cs apply. | begambleaware.org | gamstop.co.uk
Rating: 4.6/5
  • Good looking website
  • An operator with a long history
  • Great selection of sports
  • Helpful customer support
18+ Eligible UK+IRE players. Paypal & some deposit & bet types excl. Min first £5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 = 4 x £5 free bets. Free bets valid for 7 days, stake not returned. No cashout, restrictions + T&Cs apply. | begambleaware.org | gamstop.co.uk
Rating: 4.7/5
  • Trusted Betting Site
  • Great Range of Daily Sports Betting Markets
  • Live Streaming & Other Features are Available
  • Mobile App for Android and iOS
18+. BeGambleAware.org. New customers only. Min Dep £10. Debit cards only. Opt in for bonus funds. Wagering, sportsbook 3x at min. odds of 1.40 (2/5), casino 50x. Sports bonus must be wagered before using the casino bonus. Valid for 7 days. Geographical Restrictions and T&Cs Apply. | 18+ | begambleaware.org | gamstop.co.uk | Play Responsibly
Rating: 4.6/5
  • Huge amount of promotions
  • Live dealer and casino games
  • VIP program
  • Helpful customer support
New Players Only. Free bet is a one-time stake of €/$/£10, minimum odds of 1.5, stake is not returned. 10X wagering the winnings. Wagering occurs from real balance first. Wagering requirement is calculated on bonus bets only, wagering starts from real funds. Max conversion: €/$/£20. Valid for 7 Days from issue. Excluded Skrill deposits. 18+ T&C apply | begambleaware.org | gamstop.co.uk | Play Responsibly
Rating: 4.6/5
  • Attractive Odds
  • Fun bets available
  • Cash-out feature
18+ | UK new customers only | KYC verified | Min £10 bet | Max £20 free bet (2 x £10) full amount awarded on losing first bet only | Min odds 7/10 (1.70) | Free bet stake not returned | Certain Markets/sports/payment methods restrictions apply | Cashed-out and Bet Builder bets are excluded from this offer | Qualifying bet must be made within 30 days | Free bet valid for 30 days | T&C's apply | begambleaware.org | gamstop.co.uk | Play Responsibly
Rating: 4.7/5
  • Trusted & Licensed UK Brand
  • A wide array of promotions
  • Various Sports betting features
  • Various payment options
New UK 18+ only. Register with promo code WELCOME40, Bet £10+ on Sports in one transaction. Get £30 Free Bets & £10 free spins within 10hrs of bet settlement. Bonuses expire 7 days after issue. Min odds, eligibility & payment exclusions apply. Full T&Cs apply. | begambleaware.org | gamstop.co.uk | Play Responsibly
Rating: 4.5/5
  • Good welcome offer
  • Active cash-out option
  • Plenty of sports
New bettors; Code SPORT; Wager deposit & bonus 8x; Max qualifying bet stake=initial bonus; Valid 60 days; Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply; T&C apply; 18+ begambleaware.org | gamstop.co.uk | Play Responsibly
Rating: 4.6/5
  • UKGC Licensed Bookmaker
  • Wide Range of Sports Betting Options
  • Competitive Odds
  • Professional Support
18+ Opt in, bet £10 on football (odds 2.00+). No cash out. Get 6x£5 football free bets at specified odds for set markets, 7 days expiry. Valid from 12:00 UK Time on 25/08/2023. Card payments only. T&Cs apply | begambleaware.org | gamstop.co.uk | Please gamble responsibly
Rating: 4.2/5
  • Cash out option is available
  • Modern and stylish approach
  • Huge selection of games from several providers
Bet £10 Get £10 Free Acca Bet | T&Cs apply. New players only. Qualifying bet(s) must have minimum odds of 4.0 and must be settled before triggering free bet. Free Bet must be used on an accumulator with 3 or more selections. 18+ | begambleaware.org | gamstop.co.uk | Play Responsibly
Rating: 4.1/5
  • available cash-out option
  • offers live streaming function
  • has apps for iOS and Android
If your account has Sportsbook losses at the end of your first day's betting, QuinnBet will refund 50% of your losses as a Free Bet up to £35 (min 3 bets) Plus 10 Free Spins on Smoking Hot Fruit Stacks. Even if your account is up, you're guaranteed a £5 Free Bet Plus 10 Free Spins provided you place at least 1 bet of £10 or greater at the minimum odds. T&Cs apply | begambleaware.org | gamstop.co.uk | Play Responsibly

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If you want to start making punts on eSports online, the best way to find the best bookies is to check out our list of the top-rated bookmakers for eSports betting. We did all the research and the testing just so you wouldn’t hate to waste countless hours of your valuable time. All the bookies you’ll see on the list have top-notch eSports sports betting odds. Some even provide their own tips, statistics, and other helpful tools. So, take some time, explore the list, and take your pick!


How to bet on Esports – Step-by-step Guide

To bet on Esports, you have to research which bookmaker you will use because it definitely makes a difference. All brands we recommend in this esports betting guide are great, but if you decide to choose something else, learn what they have in stock.

Assuming you’ve done your research, here are the steps you should follow to place a bet:

  • Open an account with the gambling website.
  • Verify your account or make a deposit (you can verify the account later, but we recommend doing it before making a transaction).
  • Go to the dedicated eSports category (if available) or visit the regular sportsbook and check all games.
  • Carefully choose which match you will punt on, analyze the markets, and pick one or more options.
  • Once they’re in your betslip, you have to pick the amount you wish to bet with and place your bet.

Many of the premium eSports betting websites have a lot of bonuses, some of which require a deposit of a certain amount of money. If you believe you will like something like this, we suggest checking the promo section before registering or as soon as you sign up.

Real-World Esports Bet – The Process

One of our colleagues (Veselin) happens to be one of the biggest eSports fans, and he regularly wagers on a variety of games. We have decided to look at one of his most recent bets and show you how it works.

So, our colleague decided to use Stake because of the many markets, and he chose to wager on CS2. He picked the ESL Challenger League Season 47: North America and chose to punt on FLUFFY AIMERS vs Lag Gaming and the “Match Winner – Twoway” market. The odds were as follows:

  • FLUFFY AIMERS – 1.40
  • Lag Gaming – 2.70

After wagering $100 on FLUFFY AIMERS, Veselin would win $140 ($40 in profit) if his bet is successful. If, however, Lag Gaming wins, he will lose his bet.


Which Are the Most Popular Tournaments?

esports playing joystick

While every game we mentioned has tons of small, regional tournaments, the big competitions are the way to go. Our team had an internal debate over which comps are the best choice, but we ultimately managed to settle on the following:

LoL World Championship

Watched by 100 million people in 2018, this is the most popular eSports competition. The best players in the world battle it out of the 32-kilo Summoner’s Cup and eternal gaming glory.

The International

Organized every year in August, this is the cream of the crop when it comes to DOTA 2. The most recent prize pool was $34 million and is expected to rise even further.

Dreamhack

Commonly known as the eSports Olympics, the Dreamhack features 10+ gaming competitions and some of the best players and teams in the world. It’s basically an eSports sports betting holiday.

Battle.net World Championship

This is the tournament organized by Blizzard, and it features competitive World of Warcraft (both classic and retail) and Starcraft II gameplay. It has changed form several times over the years.

Electronic Sports World Cup

One of the oldest eSports tournaments in existence, it was founded in France way back in 2003. The games featured constantly change, depending on current trends. Fortnite has been included in recent years.

Overwatch Champions Series

Blizzard did not have much success with the Overwatch League, but it seems like Overwatch 2 has a bright future ahead of it. The company announced the Overwatch Champions Series in early 2024, and it will revolutionize this game. We expect to see Overwatch 2 on many more betting websites.

Call of Duty League

Similar to the OCS, the CDL also features city-based teams and a playoff format after the regular season. What’s interesting is that there are minimum salaries, benefits, revenue sharing, and many other things which were thought to be unthinkable in eSports.

FIFA Interactive World Cup

What makes the FIWC so unique is that it has an open qualification format. So, if you decide to play the current version of FIFA and are good at it, you can realistically find yourself on the big stage.


Short History and Facts

The first-ever eSports tournament took place in 1972 when Stanford students faced off in the then-popular game Spacewar. Things were a bit slow until the 1980s saw actual TV shows where players would sit in front of live cameras and play 8-bit games in an effort to see who will have the highest score.

However, these weren’t actual multiplayer games, as people would sit in front of separate computers/devices. Street Fighter II (1991) is widely credited as the first game to allow competitive, player v. player, tournament play. Ever since then, eSports have been growing non-stop.

Federations were being formed in the 1990s and 2000s, which made the cultural exchange and promotion much easier to accomplish. As the internet and computers became truly commonplace, eSports became a mainstay in people’s lives and popular culture alike.


Final Thoughts

eSports sports betting is an entirely unique phenomenon in the world of sport. It fuses virtual environments with real-life skills and actions, allowing for an activity that can take place anywhere. You just need a computer and the internet. This has caused bookies to start offering various markets. Even though the 2020s are well underway, the industry is still expected to grow. So, it’s safe to say you’ve picked the right time to join the party. Good luck and be smart!


FAQ

How to bet on eSports the right way?

There’s no universal strategy that will earn you money. Approach it like any other sport. Don’t take too many risks and watch your budget.

How do you win an eSports bet?

Do research beforehand, compare the odds across different bookies, and find the best risk/reward ratio.

Should I play some games before starting with eSports sports betting?

Definitely! Most of the widely popular games are either free or relatively cheap to purchase. Learn the ropes, and you’ll find yourself understanding every market with relative ease.

Is it a good idea to bet on futures in eSports?

It depends on the tournament. Futures are always risky, so don’t wager too much and don’t hope to win all the time.

Can I prepare for big competitions by watching gameplay footage?

Yes. Follow players on Twitch, Mixer, and YouTube. There, you can watch them do their work in real-time. Plus, you can also interact with the community.

Which eSports sports betting game is the easiest to understand?

For a complete novice, Counter-Strike is probably the most straightforward game. There aren’t a gazillion spells, abilities, and strategies to learn. It’s just good ol’ shooting.

Where can I find good Counter-Strike odds?

All the bookmakers recommended and vetted by NostraBet have consistently great CS2 odds. Compare them to find the best deals.

Author
Kristiyan Kyulyunkov
Kristiyan KyulyunkovKristiyan Kyulyunkov specializes in bookmakers’ analyses. He has years of experience betting online and always keeps an eye on the different operators. His tasks in Nostrabet include writing, editing and publishing expert reviews.