In today's so-called Digital Age, it is little wonder that esports have become so popular, causing esports betting to be equally high in demand. Here is all you need to know about the most popular esports, including the biggest tournaments, betting tips, strategies, and much more.
The Rise of Esports Betting
Esports betting has gathered immense momentum over the years, with punters rushing to place bets on the biggest esports events around. To give you an idea of how massive they have become, the total amount wagered on esports is expected to reach the $23 billion mark in 2020! Esports tournaments attract enormous sponsorships from companies, which in turn has a gravitating effect on the world’s best gamers – for example, The International 2019 (DOTA 2) had a staggering prize pool of $34,330,069!
Read on to find out about the the most popular esports out there.
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The Most Popular Esports
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
The fourth game in the Counter-Strike series, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) is undoubtedly one of the most popular esports around. The game involves two teams pitted against the other: the Terrorists and Counter-Terrorists. The major objective of both teams is to eliminate the other while successfully completing other tasks.
Depending on which Game Mode you are playing (of which there are 9 in total), Terrorists must either plant a bomb or defend hostages. Counter-Terrorists must either prevent the bomb from being planted in the first place, diffuse the bomb, or rescue the hostages.
You can play on dedicated Valve servers via CS:GO’s matchmaking support, or host your own servers with custom-made maps and Game Modes.
League of Legends
League of Legends currently boasts 8 million concurrent users on a daily basis. The game is supported by means of microtransactions, meaning that players purchase items from the client store using an in-game currency (Riot Points), thus generating revenue for the providers. League of Legends (or ‘LoL', as it is commonly abbreviated) involves players assuming the role of a Champion. Each Champion comes with his own set of unique abilities, and you must battle individually or in a team against another player, team, or a computer-controlled Champion.
The major objective is to destroy the opposing team’s Nexus, which is the heart of the opposition’s base, along with several other tasks and objectives. Each match is discrete in nature, and involves a Champion increasing in strength during a match and accumulating a variety of fantasy-based items.
DOTA 2 is the most lucrative esports game and the second instalment in the DOTA series. The game is contested on a match-by-match basis, with two teams of five players each being pitted against the other. Each player is in complete control of a powerful Hero with a set of unique abilities and a differing style of play.
Each team must defend their base, and destroy the opposing team’s Ancient, a structure located within the base of each team. Players can collect several items throughout a match, which can be used against their opponents.
Fortnite Battle Royale
The most popular game of the Fortnite series, Fortnite Battle Royale has become a cultural phenomenon. Similar in nature to PUBG (PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds), the game involves either a single player, a duo, a squad of three players, or a squad of four players being airdropped from a Battle Bus onto the game’s map.
You must play with your team and fend off opposing players, as well as scavenge for weapons, resources, items, and vehicles, with the aim of staying alive and eliminating opposing players. The safe area of a map shrinks as the match goes on, and you must avoid falling into the incoming toxic storm, as the storms eats away and damages your health..
The last player, duo, or squad to survive ends up winning the game.
Depending on the tournament's FIFA season, you need to create a FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT), earn coins to buy better players and player packs, and assemble a squad which is worthy of competing against the best FIFA players around. As is the case with football, the objective is simple – you must assemble a team which is good enough to score more goals than your opponents. Check our list of best FIFA betting sites to be prepared for the next eSports tournament!
Other Popular Esports
Heroes of the Storm
Heroes of the Storm is a team game involving two squads of 5 players each pitted against each other. This game is also supported by microtransactions, with players purchasing items such as Heroes, Mounts, and Visual Alterations for the Heroes, along with other cosmetic goodies.
The main objective of each team is to destroy the other’s Core. To reach the other team’s Core, you must destroy the team’s Forts or Keeps.
Hearthstone is an online card game, which involves two opponents having a selected Hero and a deck of 30 cards. You must use Mana Crystals to summon minions or play abilities to attack your opponent’s Hero.
The main objective is to destroy the other team’s Hero. As you win matches and complete quests, you will be rewarded with in-game gold, new cards, and other prizes. You can buy new cards via your earned in-play gold and microtransactions.
Call of Duty
Call of Duty ( and its several sequels) involves a team of 7 to 10 players (pro rosters) playing against the other. You must shoot at sight and complete all the objectives for a mission, all within a war-like setting.
StarCraft II is a real-time strategy game which is set four years after the exploits of StarCraft: Brood War. The game involves Jim Raynor leading his group against the autocratic-in-nature Terran Dominion. StarCraft II involves both new characters and returning characters together with locations from StarCraft: Brood War.
Overwatch consists of two teams of 6 players each, which have to compete against each other. Each player selects a Hero from a roster of over 30 Heroes, with each Hero having a unique style of play. The main objective of the game is either to defend control points on a map or to escort a payload across a map within a limited time frame.
Rocket League is a single- and multi-player game, involving up to 4 players in a team competing against the other. The main objective is to use rocket-powered vehicles to score goals past your opponent. The team with the most goals scored in a match wins.
Noteworthy Esports Tournaments
The International is a DOTA 2 esports tournament organised by the game's developers, Valve Corporation, and is crowdfunded via in-game Battle Pass sales. The International 2020 is set to take place from 17th August to 22nd August in Stockholm, Sweden.
Fortnite World Cup
Organised by Epic Games, The Fortnite World Cup is a Fortnite Battle Royale tournament. It is is the most viewed event in the relatively short history of esports, with an estimated 2.3 million concurrent users streaming the finales on Twitch and YouTube, and 23,700 stadium venues being sold out.
In 2019, The Fortnite World Cup dished out a $30 Million collective prize pool for its various events. As of yet, dates for the 2020 edition have not been announced.
League of Legends World Championship
The League of Legends World Championships is organised by Riot Games, the game developers themselves. The League of Legends World Championship 2019 did not come with the largest of prize pools – $2,225,000 in total. At the time of writing, the dates for the League of Legends World Championship 2020 (in Shanghai) are still to be announced.
ESL Pro League
The ESL Pro League is a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament. The league is co-organised by the Electronic Sports League and the E-Sports Entertainment Association League (ESEA). While the tournament does not offer the largest of prize pools, it is considered to be the premier professional Counter-Strike: Global Offensive league. The ESL Pro League 2019 came with a prize pool of $600,000.
The ESL Pro League 2020 will be held from 16th March to 13th April.
Esports Live Streaming
Twitch is the most popular platform for live streaming esports, with an estimated amount of over 1 billion hours of content digested on a daily basis. Having been acquired by Amazon in 2014, Twitch offers a huge variety of esports to choose from, including the likes of League of Legends, Fortnite, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, often claiming top viewing spots.
You can choose to watch professionally hosted matches and tournaments, or your favourite gamers prepping for an upcoming tournament or playing a casual match from home, sharing their experiences along the way. Popular streamers earn thousands of dollars through sponsorship deal and adverts. In fact, several young gamers are signing up to the platform to showcase their skills and earn some money while doing so. Twitch also offers chat rooms where you can talk to other viewers while watching a live stream.
YouTube Gaming is a worthy rival to Amazon’s Twitch, the only downside being that there a smaller number of major tournaments available to stream. This is because many esports events prefer the professional appeal that Twitch offers, along with the latter's huge number of viewers. That being said, YouTube doesn't exactly have a tiny audience itself, and therefore it's not surprising that it's second-only to Twitch in this regard.
Gamers can not only stream live via YouTube’s platform, but also keep a catalogue of previously conducted live streams for viewers to watch at a later date. In addition, YouTube Gaming has a superior buffering speed for mobile streaming when compared to Twitch.
Popular Esports Betting Variants
This bet type requires you to successfully predict the Outright Winner of a tournament.
A “Match Odds” bet means that you need to predict the winner of an esports match.
As can be seen from the below image, the “Match Odds” in favour of ViCi Gaming is 1/16 for a match in the DOTA 2 Professional League, while the “Match Odds” in favour of Royal Never Give Up is 6/1.
Handicap Bet (Maps, Rounds)
A “Handicap Bet” is usually in the form of Maps, or Rounds. The underdog is given an advantage in the form of Rounds or Maps in order to place both teams on equal footing. A Handicap bet, therefore, involves you punting on whether an advantaged or disadvantaged team will go on to win a match.
Let’s take a match between the teams G2 and TYLOO as an example. The above image shows match taking place in the ESL Pro League (Counter-Strike: Global Offensive). TYLOO has been handed an advantage of 1.5 Maps, meaning that G2 must win by 2 Maps or more in order for you to win a placed bet.
An Over/Under Bet requires you to predict whether specific results or objectives will amount to Over or Under a certain number set by the bookmaker. These results could be could be Total Kills, Maps, or other fields.
Esports Betting Tips and Strategies
Before placing a bet on any esports market, you should always do your research. It's a good idea to check the dates for the most popular esports tournaments on offer at betting sites and plan a betting strategy accordingly. Keep an eye on those betting operators who may be offering better odds, as you obviously want to get the best value for your money.
Go through statistics, past match results, head-to-head matchups, and form guides, among other statistical insights, and analyse the gameplay of top gamers. Some may employ a more defensive gameplay while others may be more aggressive in nature.
For example, when it comes to Fortnite Battle Royale, a player or team may decide to play defensively without killing any opposition players, with the aim of safely making it to the end of the game. They may gather the best available weapons and protective gear before trying to kill their last standing opponent(s). Similarly, another team or player may decide to play aggressively and eliminate all who come before him. Both playing styles come with their fair share of repercussions, and you should compare both strategies before deciding which one to bet on.
Check out our esports betting tips guide to boost your chances at winning esports bets.
Esports Betting FAQs
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, League of Legends, Fortnite, and DOTA 2 are the most popular.
These would be The International, Fortnite World Cup, League of Legends World Championship, and ESL Pro League.
Head over to Twitch, YouTube, bet365, Luckbox, and Unibet for the best live streaming experience.
ThePuntersPage Final Say
With every year that passes, esports continue to attract larger audiences, which in turn will lead to even more esports betting markets offered by online bookmakers. It's certainly not a bad time to jump on the esports bandwagon if you're in the mood to try something different.