Esports betting is bringing a ton of new bettors into the gambling space, but will their skills carry over to traditional sports?
Competitive gaming has come a long way since the basement LAN tournaments of the 1990s. With millions of viewers tuning in to events like League of Legends Worlds and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Majors, betting sites have added select games to their sportsbooks. They may contrast wildly with traditional sports like basketball and football, but their shared audience is much larger than some betting operators. As esports bettors, many of them double as traditional sports fans.
While casino games like the ones featured at William Hill slots online are the most common way to appeal to new gamblers, a great sports section can also be an important factor. Those bettors can also enjoy some advantages from betting on both games. Here’s how esports fans’ betting skills translate to traditional sports and whether they have an advantage.
Why traditional sports bettors venture into esports
If sports fans are already willing to track players and teams across multiple competitive seasons, esports provides a similar experience that is even more accessible.
For gamblers already familiar with traditional sports betting, it’s relatively simple to start making informed bet slips on gaming matches. They already know how odds work, how to manage payments, and how to navigate an online sportsbook. These smaller perks drastically lower the odds of making mistakes while placing bets.
As for accessibility, esports is much easier to begin watching compared to standard sports. Despite Twitch viewership being at its lowest since September 2020, it’s still the de facto gathering place for esports. Almost all matches for every game are available to watch in HD for free. These streams often include high-quality live coverage with commentators, analysts, and player interviews. Compare that to a sports league like the NBA, which requires either a cable subscription or monthly service to watch.
Esports and traditional sports aren’t so different
While esports may not have the same decades-long stories and cultural presence as traditional sports, it still features the same fierce competition.
Sports bettors already have experience following teams and players across competitive seasons. They tend to most closely support specific teams, especially if they’re location-based, rather than tracking individual players like many esports fans. The community surrounding both industries is also remarkably similar, with lots of banter, predictions, and analysis. The players also include plenty of personalities, and the younger player base often leads to crazy events. Analysts even noticed that esports pros had developed communication systems remarkably similar to the jargon used by elite athletes.
Just like Stephen Curry sinking an impossible three or Arron Judge slamming a home run, esports matches also feature flashes of brilliance that can leave a historical impact. Of course, not every play is Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev no-scoping his way into an impossible victory or Lasse MATUMBAMAN” Urpalainen saving a teammate from 1 HP. Still, high-level strategies and creative play are bound to be in almost every match.
How do esports betting strategies apply to traditional sports?
In the same way that sports fans are likely to engage with esports, video game bettors bring a lot of knowledge to the table when it comes to more traditional games.
Since betting on esports and traditional sports are so similar, players can still use their existing betting strategy for the other. If a Dota 2 player prefers to place a few high-risk bets on outrights for one tournament like The International, they can keep a similar routine doing so for traditional sports seasons and playoffs. Likewise, a CSGO fan who wants to gamble on every match can keep doing so in soccer, which even has a much more predictable schedule than most esports.
Experienced esports bettors also know the ins and outs of odds, which often poses a problem for new bettors. In addition to understanding how to read them, they also learn to look out for odds where the website got it wrong. Hedging bets and playing the odds don’t come naturally for most first-time traditional sports bettors, but esports fans already have those skills down pat.
Lastly, there are a few unique traits in traditional sports that make it easier to bet on. For instance, the schedule as mentioned earlier, for most sports leagues, is planned out weeks, if not months, in advance. This makes matchup research much easier to do in advance. Also, the trading season for traditional sports is largely kept to a predictable offseason, giving more time to relearn teams’ lineups compared to esports. Traditional sports betting may feel like a breeze if you can handle those issues for esports.
Traditional sports integrating into the world of esports
With so much overlap between the two audiences, traditional sports organizations have made strides to connect themselves with esports. The NBA, NFL, and FIFA have all started a branch organization for the esports versions of their games. Individual NBA teams such as the Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, and Philadelphia 76ers have invested in teams for League of Legends.
In Europe, sports organizations are even more eager to associate themselves with gaming. German soccer club FC Schalke fields a top-level esports team for the European League of Legends circuit. Former Manchester United and England player David Beckham launched his co-owned Guild Esports organization in 2020. FC Schalke 04 Esports earned silver in the 2022 summer run of the Strauss Prime League 1st Division, while Guild Esports has won over $2 million in prize money from Rocket League, Fortnite, Valorant, and more.
There’s more to these partnerships than just boosting video game sales. Traditional sports brands know that esports will eventually become a major part of the market, and they want to get in on the action early. If you have a favorite esports team, check and see if they have a relationship with an existing sports franchise. You may be surprised just how close these industries have gotten.
While traditional sports betting can seem like an entirely different world from esports, the two share much more in common than one may think. This gives existing esports bettors an edge, with experience and betting strategies being able to translate between both types of competition. Even with their differences in mind, esports and sports both deliver the same moments of thrilling victory and crushing defeats, and they’re always some highlights along the way.