About a decade ago, e-sports was at most a niche activity for devout gamers. Gaming itself has long been a form of novelty entertainment, after all. Time and time again, naysayers and mainstream media have attacked gaming in the past. They have gone so far to de-legitimize esports, i.e. ‘esports is not real sports’. But despite all that, the recent growth of esports is proof enough that gaming is as much a part of our cultural life today as sports was to the past generation.
With all the traction esports is getting from viewers, sponsors, and investors alike, it is only natural that sports betting would thrive in this category. Today, most major online sportsbooks have extended exclusive e-sports sections. To older generations, though, e-sports might still be something quite alien. In this article we try to clarify what e-sports is and how betting on it differs from traditional sports betting.
What is E-sports?
E-sports today can be seen as digital variants of real-life sports. It is a competitive scene based on certain video games, which in turn respond well to that form of competition. The reason, in nearly every case, is that these video games require mastery of various skills which are not just exclusive to gaming. The major competitive games are all multiplayer – either MOBA (League, Dota, HoN), or shooters (CS:GO, Valorant, PUBG). It will become clearer when we look at specific differences between e-sports and traditional sports.
No Physical Aspects
This is the most obvious and simplistic feature, but this does matter a lot to you as a bettor. The easiest explanation is that you approach e-sports much like you approach indoor gaming. The pro players partake in Esports through computers (or in some cases console alternatives). One would think, therefore, that injuries are not a thing in Esports. But that would only be partially correct. If you get a leg injury as an Esports player, it should not disable you from playing – in theory. But in practice, these games require paramount concentration and clear thinking. An ailment would most definitely affect your performance as a pro player.
There have been many cases of esports pros taking timeout from a tournament due to illness or other such causes. All that being said and done, it still does not matter as much as traditional sports. In physical sports, the tendency to sustain injuries are much higher. Thus esports players are much less prone to injuries. It may not be a non-factor, but it is still very uncommon when you compare it to something like football.
Weather Does Not Matter in E-sports
While injuries in esports are an ambiguous factor, weather simply has no effect here. This is basically the same as the case with indoor games like chess. Tuning into weather forecasts are not a part of the esports bettor’s routine. Esports tournaments for the most part are a remote host affair. Now, for the big league games, there are elaborate auditoriums and an audience. But in uncertain times of pandemic, remote LAN tournaments take priority. We can see a demonstration of this in the pro circuit fixtures of late 2020 and early 2021 in various games.
The Game Itself Is Of Great Importance
On paper, it sounds like an obvious pointer. One would benefit in their betting career from being familiar with the game in every case. Such is the case with cricket, and with chinese checkers, and with anything else you could bet on. But familiarity with esports has another dimension to it. The sports betting enthusiasts mostly check the sports news. That is, they are up to date with how well a player is doing, or roster swaps in important teams. There is very little activity in games like cricket in terms of rules revision. Indeed, the rules change once in a while, but not enough to merit sports magazine headlines.
On the other hand, esports are based on games that may change drastically throughout time. A prime example of this to consider would be Dota – or any MOBA, for that matter. In these games, you have to be in the know about the ‘meta’, i.e. the way the larger player community approaches the game. The games are softwares with frequent updates to keep things fresh and keep players playing. With new patches, new gameplay elements and operators (‘heroes’ in Dota) gain or lose importance. And this can change anything from the game’s pace to how a pro team forces their opponent’s hand. And anyone could guess how that affects betting odds and practices.
As a concluding point, we would also like to draw attention towards the flexibility of esports betting. For one, there is a higher number of bets and handicaps available in the average esports than there is to a traditional outdoor sport. Secondly, esports is still rather new. If you want historical patterns, you are looking at maybe a decade of data at best. Add this to the fact that the meta in an esports shifts rapidly, and you have a recipe for many surprise value bets. When you are betting on esports, you can afford to be experimental. Crazy bets pay off much more often than physical sports like tennis.
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