A Beginner's Guide to UK eSports Betting in 2021
14 Apr 2021
Updated: 11 Nov 2023
Looking to diversify your betting repertoire? Then why not get in on eSports. Competitive video gaming has never been hotter - and now, you can bet on your favourite teams in worldwide leagues.
What is eSports?
eSports refers to competitive video gaming, similar to sports, where players and teams rise in table rankings to win matches, titles, and tournaments. While theoretically, it’s possible for these tournaments to be for sports video games (e.g. FIFA), it’s titles like League of Legends, Call of Duty, and Counter Strike that prove to be the most popular.
The rise of eSports has come about through a combination of the popularity of online gaming, more technical game worlds, super-fast internet speeds, and increasing niche online celebrity fandoms.
An individual or team of people working together to try and win a skill-based sporting, usually at regional, or sometimes world-level (see: The Olympics).
An individual or team of people trying to win a skill-based video game, usually at regional, or sometimes world-level.
While it might confuse the older generations, competitive video gaming can be exciting viewing and even a career choice for people who are top of their game.
What is eSports betting?
Much like you can bet on real-life sports, you can also bet on eSports. If the game is at a high level, played in a professional league (like the European Counter Strike: Global Offensive 2021 Pinnacle Cup hosted by Relog Media), and is a game of skill with matched parties, then you are probably able to bet on it.
eSports betting in the UK
Is eSports betting legal in the UK? You bet! There are now a slew of bookies who offer eSports betting options as part of their sports betting portfolio.
For instance, you can head on over to Unibet (one of the UK’s biggest sports betting sites) and take a look at all the live and upcoming matches that are happening around the world. The current gaming roster as of March 2021 includes Counter Strike: Global Offensive, Call of Duty, Dota 2, League of Legends, and Starcraft 2. Each has a number of leagues that you can check out to place bets on.
There are plenty of other bookmakers to take a look at in the UK, such Ladbrokes, 888, and the SlottyWay eSports betting site, which combines casino play as well.
Common bets in eSports
The first bet that you can place in eSports matches is, of course, the outcome of the match, be it the winner or a draw. Bookmakers will calculate odds much like they do for regular sports matches.
Map betting is when you bet on the outcome of a single map’s play - if there are multiple maps and rounds per map in the game. You may also be able to bet on:
- The total number of rounds for each map
- The total number of maps
- The map handicap
- Total kills
- Whether a map goes into overtime
- The first side to kill
- The first side to kill X
There are also more traditional bets, such as a team to win 2-0 or 2-1.
Getting into eSports betting
Much like regular sports betting, if you don’t know how the game is played, then you’re not going to have that much fun throwing down a bet and then waiting to see if you’ve won. If you’re interested in dabbling in this new form of betting, then it pays to do your research on the game.
You can do this by watching Twitch streams of tournaments, highlights, and wrap ups, learning about the gameplay via blogs, forums, and YouTube recaps, and getting in and actually playing the game yourself. The more you immerse yourself in your chosen game, the more you’ll learn.
Once you’ve learned how the gameplay works, you’ll need to do your research on the teams in a league. Obviously, this makes it easier to bet on more widely-known teams and leagues, as there will be the most info available online to help you in your studies. You can go back and watch previous matches, check out star players, and see how they’ve fared historically - as well as learn what others are saying about the teams/players potential.
eSports and Matched Betting
eSports matched betting works exactly the same as regular sports matched betting. That’s where you leverage free bonuses and bets from different bookmakers, betting on both outcomes of a match - and thus you win no matter the outcome. Feel free to read up on the matched betting guide - and no, you don’t necessarily need to know how each game works to win.
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