Everything you need to know about esports betting odds
Here’s a quick lesson in getting to grips with fractional and decimal odds, and how they can help you work out esports odds for your favourite titles.
We’ve also provided a short section that helps you understand how bookmakers come up with esports odds so that you can make a decent profit by betting on games like CS:GO and LoL.
As there is a massive amount of bookies who try and tempt you in with some great betting offers, we will also include some information on how to calculate expected value so that you can quickly see how much you can earn on the various esports betting odds. And with some handy coverage of how American odds work, and strategies like arb betting and matched betting, you should have everything you need to get a good payout on betting on your favourite gaming titles.
What are decimal odds?
If you go to an online bookie to place a bet on PUBG, then the chances are that you will see esports betting odds displayed as decimals. Decimal odds can apply to anything in the esports world. So that whether you are betting on Astralis to win their next match in the ESL Pro League, or if you are wagering on which team will destroy the first tower in an LoL All Stars event, you’ll need to know what decimal odds means.
For example, if you placed a £10 bet on Team Dignitas to win the Global Loot League in PUBG at odds of 7.00, then you would get £70 back including your original stake. And if you placed a £5 bet on Optic Gaming to win their Dota 2 ROG Masters challenge at odds of 3.00, then you would receive £15 including your original wagering amount.
So the larger the decimal amount, the more the bookmaker is willing to pay out on that betting outcome. However, it goes without saying that these outside bets have been viewed as less likely to happen which is why this is always a risky betting strategy.
The most popular markets in esports
Although there is a rapidly growing range of ways that you can make your esports bets, it’s evident that even the most respected bookmakers will only include esports betting odds for a handful of games. This is probably due to the fact that esports has been with us for less than two decades, and bookies are still working out which games will prove to be the most popular for people to put their bets on.
As a result, you can expect to find traditional UK bookmakers like William Hill limiting their betting markets to allow bets on iconic titles like CS:GO and League of Legends. However, some forward-thinking brands like Betway have seized the initiative to offer esports odds on a much larger selection of titles with games like Street Fighter V, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, and Overwatch being featured on their website.
In addition to this, Pinnacle have successfully implemented some innovative in-play betting markets on esports titles like Heartstone, World of Tanks, and Heroes of the Storm. So whilst the betting markets for esports might be fairly limited in the UK at the moment, it’s expected that we will see plenty more betting options arriving in the future.
Fractional odds explained
Many UK betting enthusiasts will be familiar with fractional betting odds. Whilst this method of displaying esports odds isn’t as popular abroad, it is still a commonly used method for predicting how likely a particular event is to occur in the UK. The key thing to remember about fractional odds, is that it doesn’t include your original wagering amount.
So if we wanted to bet on Fnatic to win their next CS:GO match at the ESL Pro League Finals at fractional odds of 2/7, it means that for every £7 that we wagered we would get £2 in return.
And if you wanted to back their opponents, Luminosity at odds of 2/5, then you would get £2 for every £5 that you wagered.
This shows that the bookies have decided that Luminosity are looking slightly more likely to win this particular esports match, and as a result, the bookmaker will provide a smaller payout for anybody choosing to back this team.
The main thing to remember is that there aren’t any real advantages in choosing decimal rather than fractional odds, it’s all about whatever works best in helping you to work out your eventual esports winnings.
How to calculate the expected value?
Whilst you can always use a helpful esports betting resource like Esports.net to find the best odds around, you can also do some valuable research yourself by calculating the expected value of a bet.
Expected value gives us an indication of how much we should expect to win on average on each bet. This means that you can run the same betting scenario over and over to work out whether the odds are worth betting on. You can calculate the expected value of a bet by multiplying your winning odds probabilities by the amount that you’d win, and then you would take away the probability of losing multiplied by the amount you would lose. You can work out these probabilities by dividing each decimal odds by one.
What these figures reveal is that all bookmakers will tilt the betting odds slightly in their favour so that they can stay in profit. But the trick is to use an esports betting resource like Esports.net to make sure that you are only using bookies with the lowest possible betting margins, so as to give yourself the maximum possible profits if you were lucky enough to win.
What are arbs?
It’s essential to get a decent understanding of expected value if you’re looking to try and implement an arb betting strategy for your esports wagering. Whilst arb betting can be a little complicated, it’s a great way for more experienced betting enthusiasts to try and guarantee themselves a profit. They can do this by using odds from a variety of different bookmakers against each other so that you can maximise your winnings.
So if you were betting on Fnatic versus Luminosity in an upcoming ESL Pro League Final, you would bet on both teams to win the CS:GO match, but you would use a discrepancy in different bookmakers odds to give yourself a guaranteed profit.
Obviously this is not a simple betting strategy to try, but it is shows that if you’re willing to put in the effort, then you can make money from two different bets. In order to successfully carry out an arb betting strategy like this, you’ll need to check into a betting comparison site to make sure that you are only using the latest odds, otherwise your arb betting plan could go disastrously wrong.
Matched betting and esports
Some esports betting fans have found that matched betting is another advanced technique that can be used on titles like CS:GO. This requires you to bet against the eventual winner, by backing potential losers from a variety of different bookmakers. And by using a betting exchange to place an opposing lay bet, it means that you can hedge all possible outcomes to try and guarantee yourself a profit.
In order to successfully carry out this betting tactic, you’ll need to find plenty of bookies who are offering odds on your chosen esport. So this is not a tactic to use on niche esports titles like Heroes of the Storm.
In addition to this, it can take a lot of patience and skill in finding the right bookmakers’ odds for your chosen esport. Whilst football fans can find plenty of alternatives for making up their matched betting strategy, when it comes to esports it’s a much more tricky challenge. However, as esports grows in popularity and features on more and more bookmakers’ websites, then hopefully we will all soon be able to try some matched betting as a way of guaranteeing ourselves some decent profits.
How are odds calculated?
All bookies will calculate odds in a precise way so that they give themselves the upper hand whilst making sure that they keep customers coming back for more. Bookmakers do this by employing experts in each area to try and work out the likelihood of each betting outcome happening. So just as you might get a football expert to act as an oddsmaker for creating odds on a Manchester United match, you would also get a Dota 2 expert to work out the odds for the upcoming International tournament by checking the past form and statistics of each player.
Whilst esports is still a fairly new realm for traditional bookmakers, they have revealed themselves to be quick in adapting to this new area. Because of this, you can now get a good idea of who the best esports players and teams are in any domain just by looking at how their odds have been formulated. And the important thing to remember about odds is that they are created by humans and are therefore liable to a degree of error. No matter how much research an oddsmaker puts into creating their odds, they can occasionally slip up, and this is why you can occasionally get some very lucrative winnings.
How do American Odds work?
And just in case you found fractional odds and decimal odds a little too simple, we thought that we should also include a short section that explains how American odds work. This is because many bookmakers are now starting to include American odds in their esports offerings. And as esports betting becomes a global phenomenon, it’s good to have an understanding of American odds so that you can quickly and easily compare odds from a variety of different bookmakers.
American odds always begin with a positive or negative symbol. If you see American odds with a negative sign, then the following amount refers to how much you would have to bet to make a £100 profit.
Whereas if you saw American odds with a positive sign, then the number afterwards would refer to how much profit you would get if your betting stake was £100.
Whilst this may sound like a fairly unusual way to work out the possibility of an esports event happening, it’s a very practical way of explaining odds in terms that have a direct correlation to how much you might wager. And as using American odds is growing in popularity as esports spreads around the world, it’s a good idea to get a basic understanding of this way of displaying odds.
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