Video games have been in our culture for decades, but things really took a turn when opponents could connect via the internet. Once they hopped online, players realized there was competition worldwide. Next thing you know, players were having online tournaments and competing for prizes.

That’s when E-Sports, or electronic sports, moved away from the dark and hidden arcades and into the mainstream. It became something not only for the Guinness Book of World Records but for money, prizes, and sponsorships. Just like real pro athletes.

And just like the pros, you can bet on the action. Esports has a variety of games, rules, and competitors, so we’ll give you a brief walkthrough of how all this works.

What is Esports?

Esports is not a new phenomenon. The first video game competition happened in the 1970s. Players used to have LAN parties, events where players brought their computers to compete in person, and they became more and more frequent until the end of the 90s. But things took a huge leap forward once the internet could handle the bandwidth and graphics in cyberspace.

Players today train to perform in major offline and online events on amateur, semi-professional and professional circuits. Esports have become so popular that it has the second-largest worldwide audience after soccer.

Match Winner Bets

The most common kind of esport bet is the Match Winner bet. It similar to how you’d predict the winner in an NHL or MLB game. You simply pick the winner in any esports matchup. This can be on a one-of game or a match during a tournament. You’ll see this type of bet on everything from League of Legends to Counter-Strike Global Offensive. You’ll know who is the favorite and who is the underdog based on the price of the moneyline. For example, the favorite could be -220, while the underdog could be +160.

Outright Bets

Outright bets allow you to wager on which team or player will win a particular esports tournament. Pay per head sites should offer these bets in the form of futures. All these bets will have action and have no spread or details involved. This is where a good chunk of a bookies esports bets will come from. These bets are easy to understand, and nothing can alter the winner. The player or team you choose has to win. All bets have action.

Handicap Betting

Handicap betting on esports is where things can get interesting. Handicap betting isn’t just about betting on a team to win, but on a team against the spread.

The spread bet is similar to the moneyline, except the favorite has to win their match by a certain number of games or more. Like the run line in baseball. Here’s an Example:

  • Big Gun Esports +1.5 (–180)
  • CKR Gaming –1.5 (+125)

CKR Gaming is still the favorite here, but they must win their match by at least two games – which is a 2-0 sweep to cover the spread. If they do, they pay out is according to the number in parentheses, in this example its: $125 for every $100 wagered. But if Big Gun 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.

Generally, in NFL spread betting, your players won’t see juice like this attached to their spread. This is for a couple of reasons:

  • Esports spreads don’t move much. The money does.
  • It’s difficult to win two games in a row, therefore sometimes the more costly bet is the underdog spread.

Parlay Bets

You can call the accumulator or system bets too.

These are the real juicy bets that let you select multiple games at once that all need to hit for you to win your wager. The odds in these parlays can be huge the more legs you add, but that also makes it harder to win. If one leg loses, the whole bet is a loss.

What Are the Most Popular eSports?

Though there is a wide range of esports to watch and play. There are some main ones that a pay per head bookie should know about.

  • Counter-Strike: This is a multiplayer shooter where two teams face go head-to-head. In addition to defeating the opposing team, each team has its own mission: the counter-terrorists must try to free the hostages, and the terrorists must explode a bomb.
  • League-of-Legends: One of the largest Esports in the world is League of Legends. Since it started offering esports matchups in 2009, players have shared over $30 million in cash prizes. There are many LoL tournaments for players to bet on all year, with the biggest being the League of Legends World Championship.
  • Fortnite: This game was published only in 2017 but has become one of the world’s most popular games and esports. Fortnite is based on a Battle Royale game mode, where there are no teams, and the goal is to be the last survivor of the competition, in which up to 100 players can participate simultaneously.
  • Dota 2: Since 2010, Dota 2 has been one of the highest-paying Esports games in the world. Dota 2’s premier tournament is called The International, which has over $40 million in crowdfunded prize money. Teams can qualify for The International by gaining qualification points through a series of tournaments known as the Dota Pro Circuit. We expect your esports players to know all about this tourney, and you should offer spread, moneyline, total, and prop bets on this event and more.