Esports Betting

Bet on Esports

Everything You Need to Know About eSports

As long as we have the internet, we will always have eSports. Organized video game tournaments have been around for decades, allowing players (both individually and as teams) to compete against each other on the virtual battlefield. These events can draw huge crowds to arenas and stadiums – or they can be played entirely online. Either way, millions of people will watch eSports at some point this year, streaming live on platforms like Twitch and YouTube.

Naturally, that means people will also be betting on eSports. No matter what time of year it is, you’ll find eSports betting lines posted at Bovada Sportsbook. In case you haven’t had the chance yet, or you need a refresher, we’ll show you how to bet on eSports at Bovada. You don’t have to be a gamer yourself to wager on these matches; all you need to get started is the basics of sports betting, and an introduction to the games themselves.



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What Are eSports?


In case you’ve been wondering, the “e” in eSports stands for “electronic.” Video games are a subset of electronic games, which include slots, pinball, and even carnival games like Skee-Ball. Early forms of video games date back to the late 1940s; the release of Pong in 1972 made Atari a household name, then Taito’s Space Invaders came out in 1978, and pretty soon, kids would be spending all of their lunch money at the arcade, one quarter at a time.


The first video game tournament on record was held at Stanford University in 1972 (Spacewar was the chosen game), but the “real” birth of large-scale eSports was in 1980, when Atari held the Space Invaders Championship – won by Rebecca Heineman, who beat over 10,000 other gamers from across the United States. Tournaments for now-classic games like Pac-Man and Donkey Kong proved to be very popular throughout the 1980s.


Then came the internet, and Street Fighter II (1991). This combat game allowed players to compete against each other, head-to-head, leading to multiplayer competitions and the creation of the Evolution Championship Series in 1996. Once broadband hit the scene in the late 1990s, internet cafes became hothouses for gaming, and the spread of cable television and live streaming fueled the modern eSports boom that continues to this day.


Most Popular eSports


Not every video game can make it all the way to the top of the eSports mountain – not even Crazy Climber. The games that work best, like Street Fighter II, are the games that closely resemble non-electronic sports, or put players in a “war games” situation. Here’s a breakdown of some games that have earned themselves a prominent place on the eSports Vegas odds:


Fighting games: Street Fighter II, Super Smash Bros.


Multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA): Dota 2, League of Legends


First-person shooters: Counter-Strike, Overwatch


Third-person shooters Fortnite, Gears of War


Sports games FIFA, Rocket League


Real-Time strategy games (RTS): StarCraft II, Warcraft III


Digital collectible card games (DCCG) Hearthstone, Magic: The Gathering


All these games have dedicated followings, but at press time, the biggest eSports tournaments (in terms of prize money) are Dota 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Fortnite, League of Legends, and StarCraft II. You’ll find regional, national and international leagues for each of these “Big Five” games, with millions of dollars and no shortage of prestige awarded to the top players and teams – just like pro football and basketball.


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How Does eSports Betting Work?

Betting on eSports works exactly the same as betting on any other sport at Bovada. When an eSports league that’s in demand (for example, the League Championship Series, which hosts League of Legends teams based in North America) releases a schedule, upcoming matches will appear on the eSports odds board. The odds show you how much money you’ll get if your pick wins.

As the bets come in, the sportsbook can choose to move the odds up or down, encouraging action on both sides of the match in order to balance things out and reduce the book’s risk of exposure. Whichever odds you get at the time of your wager are the odds used to calculate your payout. Just before the scheduled match begins, the betting will close – no more wagers. Then, once the result is confirmed, the winning bettors are paid out, and it’s on to the next match.



Type of eSports Bets Available


The three most prominent bets you’ll find on the eSports lines at Bovada are the so-called single or straight bets: moneylines, spreads, and totals. The moneyline bet is the most commonplace of these. It’s a fixed-odds bet where you choose one side or the other to win a match straight-up. Here’s an example from China’s League of Legends Pro League (LPL):


Top Esports +165

JD Gaming –220


This best-of-three match has JD Gaming (JDG) favored at –220, using the American odds format. The negative sign usually indicates who the favorites are. In this case, you would wager $220 on JDG to win $100, or $22 to win $10, or any multiple thereof. Top Esports (TES) are the +165 underdogs as indicated by the positive sign, meaning you’d bet $100 to win $165.


The spread bet is similar to the moneyline, only now the favorite has to win their match by more than the specified number of games – kind of like the run line in baseball. Here’s the spread for our example match:


Top Esports +1.5 (–190)

JD Gaming –1.5 (+135)


JD Gaming are still the favorites here, but they have to win their match by at least two games – which means they have to complete the 2-0 sweep. If they do, they’ll pay out according to the number in the parentheses, again using the American odds format: $135 for every $100 wagered. As long as Top Esports can win at least one game and prevent the sweep, they’ll “cover” the bet and pay out $100 for every $190 wagered – even if they lose 2-1.


The total in eSports works a bit differently. Instead of betting on one side or the other, you’ll bet on whether the two sides will combine to produce Over or Under a certain number of outcomes, just like when you bet on NFL or NBA totals. In those games, the outcomes in question are points scored; in League of Legends, it’s “kills.” This is how our example match would look like at Bovada:


Top Esports O 2.5 (+105)

JD Gaming U 2.5 (–140)


As a general rule, a total of 2.5 kills is standard for LoL matches. The line for the Over is listed on top, as is traditional in sports betting; Bovada includes the capital “O” to make the odds easier to read. Same goes for the Under and the capital “U” at the bottom. If the two teams in our example combine for at least three kills, the Over will pay out $105 for every $100 wagered; otherwise, the Under will pay $100 for every $140.


Other eSports bets will be made available from time to time at Bovada Sportsbook. Which team will win the next big tournament? You’ll find odds for that on the eSports futures market. Who will kill the first Baron or Dragon in a given LoL match? When there’s enough demand – say, for a match at a major event – those odds can be found in the “props” category (short for “proposition” bet). You can always get the latest odds at Bovada by visiting the eSports odds page and hitting Reload or Refresh.


Skins Betting


Aside from standard eSports betting, there’s a whole other market out there for skins betting – “skins” being the cosmetic upgrades players can get for their video game characters. We don’t do skins betting at Bovada Sportsbook, and we recommend you stay away from any site that does; these sites typically don’t have age verification, which has led to some underage gambling issues. Stick with the industry leaders at Bovada for your eSports needs.


How to Bet on eSports With Bitcoin


You can use Visa, MasterCard and American Express to deposit at Bovada Sportsbook, but the best way to bet on eSports with real money is through Bitcoin. Your transactions will go much more smoothly, eliminating wait times and minimizing any transaction fees you have to pay. All you need to do is download a digital wallet, and sign up for a Bitcoin exchange account. This will allow you to make deposits and withdrawals at Bovada using Bitcoin, or its close cousin, Bitcoin Cash.


That’s the ins and outs of eSports betting in a nutshell. This is an exciting time for eSports, so check out our handy FAQ and Help guides if you have any other questions. And feel free to call Customer Service anytime, day or night. Game on.