Some say betting is as old as competition itself. People have bet on gladiators facing lions in the Roman arenas, the result of duels and maybe even wars, only to later refine things and start betting on peaceful competitions like sports, politics, and reality TV. And competitive gaming, of course. eSports bets were obscure and rare at the beginning of organized competitive gaming but today, they show up at every major bookmaker, from the UK to the live betting odds in Vietnam.
Like sports, eSports have “disciplines” that are more or less popular – this reflects not only in their following but in the number of bets placed on them online. So, let’s take a look at which eSports people bet on the most today.
The “Big Three”
The “Big Three” are the veterans of the eSports scene that all have a massive following – and crowds of people betting on them: League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and DotA 2. All these have a competitive history that spans a decade or more (LoL was released in 2009) and major events with prize pools worth millions.
There is no centralized statistic available about the betting volumes on various eSports aside from what betting operators release themselves. According to one eSports betting outlet. CS GO gets the lion’s share, with more than half of the bets placed on it, with DotA 2 and LoL coming second and third, leaving under a 10% share for other established disciplines.
Among the most popular events bet on, the operator points out ESL One Road to Rio as the one getting the most attention.
FIFA and other simulators
Association football is the most popular sport in the world – and its simulated counterpart, EA Sports’ FIFA series, is among the most popular sports video games ever. And it has an honorable place among the most bet-on eSports, too.
Betting on sports simulators like Madden, NBA2K, and FIFA has gained a lot of attention last year when real-life sports were off but began plateauing as soon as traditional sports returned. But thanks to their consistent competitive events, they remain among the most popular betting targets for eSports punters around the world.
Other big names
Of course, there are many big franchises that compete with each other in popularity. Activision Blizzard’s Overwatch League constantly attracts a lot of attention (and bets), but newcomer Valorant has also quickly become one of the most followed (and bet on) disciplines. An interesting piece of trivia: while it’s not the most bet on eSport, Call of Duty consistently attracts some of the biggest bets (on average, almost 50% bigger than those placed on DotA or CS: GO, for example).
The names that also routinely show up on the punters’ betting slips are StarCraft 2, one of the oldest eSports out there, Hearthstone, which has lost a lot in terms of popularity but still has a very competitive scene, and PUBG, which is one of the most popular battle royale eSports thanks in part to its developer-sponsored tournaments.