Early video gaming competitions can be traced back to the 1970s at a time when the medium was just starting to take off. Early, basic games were being purchased by consumers and the Esports sector was taking its first, tentative moves.
If we fast forward to the modern day, Esports is big business with competitive teams and individual players now engaged on a fully professional basis. Six figure sums are often paid out in prize money for the big events and those figures are certain to ensure a positive future for pro gamers.
Along with the rise of the sector, Esports betting has also taken off with an increasing number of markets available for a host of different games. It’s a busy time and interest continues to develop, so if you want to know how to bet on Esports, please read on.
Esports Betting: How it Works
There are no real surprises in terms of Esports online betting and many of the options involved are similar to those found on a traditional sports betting platform. For some bettors, things will, therefore, start with outright picks for winners of individual tournaments.
Later in this review, we will look at the most popular games in terms of Esports betting and the major events involved. For now, all we need to know is that those outright markets exist and, for the bigger competitions, they will appear some time in advance of the action.
It’s also possible to find extensive Esports odds for every game within those tournaments. These prices will appear in the days leading up to the start and will feature options for both sets of opponents.
Most games within the Esports sector will also provide potential for handicap betting and a small set of props. The exact list of side markets will depend on the game in question but, in the majority of strategy titles, there is the possibility to bet on stages.
These stages are frequently referred to as ‘maps’ and they relate to specific phases within the game. As far as the related Esports betting market is concerned, it’s all about staking on the competitor who you think will come through to win that specific stage.
What are the most Popular Esport Games?
The modern era of gaming provides us with a wide range of Esports titles and many of these are now played on a professional level. However, some are standing out from the competition and we now have a round up of games where our customers expect the widest set of markets and the most competitive of Esports betting odds.
CS:GO (Counter Strike Global Offensive)
Many games will claim to be the most popular among Esports players and Counter Strike Global Offensive is among those that make a strong case. It’s certainly true that new and experienced Esports bettors look to seek out established CS:GO betting sites as part of their overall strategy.
The game was initially released by Valve back in 2012 and the developers are behind many of the most important CS:GO pro tournaments. Gameplay involves two teams who play different roles: One side will adopt the identity of a terrorist unit looking to plant bombs in designated areas. The other team’s task is to eliminate the terrorists or to defuse any bombs that have been successfully planted.
This strategy game has other elements including the capacity to capture and free hostages so CS:GO is one of the more complex Esports around.
The big competitions within the CS:GO set up are known as ‘Majors’ and currently there are 24 top teams taking part from all over the world.
League of Legends
League of Legends (occasionally referred to as LOL) is a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game that was originally released in 2009. It’s one of the older games played at a professional level and it’s an important part of the Esports betting platform here at Unibet.
The object of the game is to destroy your opponent’s Nexus while protecting yours at the same time. That simple concept masks a complex game with lots of battles to be won and tasks to be completed along the way. Collecting gold will enhance weaponry and increase chances of claiming the ultimate prize.
2011 saw the inception of the first major League of Legends tournament as Dreamhack hosted the inaugural LOL World Championships. This main global tournament remains on the schedules with teams looking to qualify via a number of professional leagues across the world. Among these elite divisions are the LCS Leagues in Europe and North America, the LPL in China and the LCK in South Korea.
Unibet will have Esports online betting markets in place for all of those elite divisions and naturally there will be a big focus on the World Championship when it appears on the calendar.
We come to another game with a snappy acronym and a title that claims to have produced more pro Esports millionaires than any other. The second edition of Defence of the Ancients was released in 2013 and clearly it’s a title that has been embraced by players across the world.
Dota 2 is popular with the Esports betting community too and there is a comprehensive set of market options at Unibet. Another MOBA game, Dota 2 involves two opposing teams where each player begins by picking a character - known as a Hero. The ultimate objective of the game is to destroy the ‘Ancient’ which can be located in the enemy camp.
Once again, gold plays an important role in this title with players able to collect the precious metal in return for being better equipped for the task that lies ahead.
In the professional arena, game developers Valve introduced the first Dota tournament at the International in 2011. Following the release of the second series two years later, more key competitions are in place across the calendar year while the International remains a focal point for Esports betting odds.
Call of Duty
Call of Duty was initially released in 2003, making it the oldest title on this list. The fact that any game can be popular for such a length of time is a testament to its quality and, needless to say, it’s also a big hit as far as Esports betting is concerned.
Originally released using World War II as its backdrop, Call of Duty has since evolved to include a range of different battlefields in other scenarios. In all cases, the aim is the same and the team that eliminates their opposition will win.
As Call of Duty 4 was issued in 2006, the developing professional Esports scene started to take a keen interest. Early competitions saw the game showcased within wider competitions but, in more recent years, the title has started to take centre stage. From 2020 onwards, the Call of Duty League will offer a major focus for this game as the long running title enters a brand new and exciting era.
Heroes of the Storm
One game that is hard to categorise, Heroes of the Storm is a multi-faceted title that combines the best of classic MOBA releases with real-time strategy productions. By covering two distinct and popular bases, it’s gathered a wide audience both among players and dedicated followers of Esports betting.
Developers Blizzard Entertainment are behind a game which was initially released in 2015 and was added to pro Esports rosters shortly afterwards. The producers call it an ‘online hero brawler’ and that innovative description tells us that Heroes of the Storm provides something a little different.
Whatever the accurate summary may be, it’s true that there is a heavy element of strategy in Heroes of the Storm. Two teams of five players battle it out with each player choosing their Hero before the action gets underway. Once that choice has been made, the quest is to destroy the opposition core by working into enemy territory.
The first edition of the Heroes of the Storm World Championships came along in 2015 and the global tournament remains on the schedule to this day. With a prize purse now hitting $1 million USD, the World Championship is obviously the most important event on this particular calendar but there are other pro Heroes of the Storm competitions which can be found on our Esports betting platform.
Esports odds at Unibet
Knowing where to bet on Esports is an important part of your overall strategy and it’s crucial to find the right bookmaker to help you along the way. As with any area of betting, what we are looking for here is a strong mix of choice and value.
The choice comes from a wide range of Esports betting markets and, at Unibet, we cover all of those core games comprehensively. Value comes from competitive odds and, once again, Unibet are here to provide excellent pricing for all Esports online betting.
It’s a strong combination of those two key factors and that’s why many members of the Esports betting community stake with Unibet on major games and events.