We are all well aware at this point of the impact COVID-19 has had on the world of sports. Essentially every single major sporting event worldwide has been put on hiatus or outright canceled. This has left fans and bettors alike scrambling to find alternatives to the sports betting they love so much.
A number of fringe options have emerged such as marble racing and NBA simulation games. Entertaining as they can be, betting on such events is really a coin flip and the lack of true person to person competition can grow old.
What are eSports?
For those who have been living under a rock for the last few years, allow me to get you up to speed. eSports are basically competitive video games and have been a huge growth industry over the last decade.
Thing is, eSports encompasses a myriad of different games. Each with their own unique structure, gameplay, and universe. There are literally thousands of games that fit the mold of a ‘competitive game’ and the ability to support a fanbase of viewers and bettors alike.
This is an important distinction for the sports betting market.
The reason being, knowing how to handicap one game does little to help profit off another. The term ‘eSports’ is less related to and singular sport such as baseball or football as it is the idea of sports itself.
While the sky is truly the limit for eSports, for our context we will be solely dealing with those played by what are considered full-time professional gamers.
You might be asking yourself. Why the hell would somebody watch, let along bet on, people playing video games?
A gamer might ask you the same about your obsession with the NBA or NFL.
Consider the average NASCAR detractor if you will. I have heard countless people say “ Why would you want to watch someone drive in a circle for four hours?” And for a time I agreed. But once I came to understand the sport, the precision involved, and the sheer balls it takes to pilot such a vehicle. I knew what all my NASCAR buddies were on about.
Fact is, watching eSports as a fan is no different than those who watch traditional sports. Those that support virtual sports are appreciating talent, coordination, and teamwork which go into becoming a professional gamer.
This is the lens that you should start your education for eSports with.
Another important note before we dive deeper into eSports and the betting market.
Just because you think you rock at Call of Duty and routinely drop nukes on your friends, the level of skill required to go pro is something few can do. It’s no different than dominating your buddies in a game of pickup and thinking you are good enough to suit up for the Lakers.
That goes double for betting. Being good at a sport does not mean you will be successful wagering on it. It gives you a leg up, but more work is required to fully understand how to handicap any sport.
Why Bet on eSports?
There are a number of reasons to explore eSports as a betting option from the number of events to the beatable lines. But the first I want to talk about has a lot more to do with what is going on in the world right now.
It might be a bit cryptic sounding but the Coronavirus might be the push eSports needs to really hit the mainstream.
While eSports events draw huge large crowds, there is no reason they need to be played in an arena. Sure, it helps massively to fund such large tournaments and the prize money offered. But the competition does not suffer if all competitors are safely in the confines of their mother’s basements.
This means what while almost every bet-able sports is off the table until further notice, eSports will march on.
Another major reason to start looking into eSports is the fact that events are basically running around the clock, 365 days a year.
How is that possible? Well I’m glad you asked
Thing is, due to its popularity around the world and the time zones that world incorporates, you can bet on Chinese Tetris at 3 AM just as easily as a European Overwater at noon. The sheer number of games, leagues, countries involved and viewership has ensured you will rarely be without a game to bet on.
For reference, here are just a smattering of games which are readily available to bet on:
First Person Shooters
- Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO)
- Call Of Duty (COD)
- Team Fortress
- Rainbow Six
- Super Smash Brothers
- Street Fighter
- Mortal Kombat
- Soul Caliber
- Virtual Fighter
Multiplayer Online Battle Arena Games (MOBAs)
- League Of Legends (LOL)
- Heroes of the Storm
- DOTA 2
- Gears of War
- NBA 2K20
- MLB The Show
- Madden NFL20
- F1 Racing
- Rocket League
I mean it when I said a smattering. This barely scratches the surface of the titles which are available for eSports fans to enjoy.
Another aspect which should make eSports betting attractive to you is the baby soft lines currently on offer at most sportsbooks. Many still view virtual gaming as nothing more than a novelty and put little thought into their odds. They have been able to do this due to the low action seen and many people betting blindly.
But you don’t have to be one of those noobs.
When doing the research on this topic I came to realize that there is truly too much to cram into one article. Therefore, I will be writing a daily piece expanding on the world of eSports betting for the next week or so to further explore the options at hand.
For those with any specific questions do leave a comment below or hit me up on Twitter @MRDReach with anything you want to talk about.