Esports is one of the cultural phenomena of the current century. What began as a niche trend has now blossomed into a multi-billion dollar industry. Not only do millions of people now enjoy watching pro gamers playing titles like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and League of Legends, but you can now bet on the live action too. But how do betting sites come up with their odds for these esports tournaments? This guide is here to tell you how they do it.

What odds are

Odds are simply a way of presenting the chances of something happening. For example, you could get odds for Brazil winning the next World Cup or even whether it’ll snow next Christmas.

Odds also work for esports, so that you could see odds for Team Secret to win The International. All you’d have to do would be to bet on these odds, and if you win your bet, you’d win your stake back along with profits that are determined by the odds themselves.

Such odds will commonly be displayed in either a decimal, fractional or American odds format. All of these formats aim to show you your chances of winning your prediction along with indicating what kinds of returns you’d get should you win your bet.

By using one of the guides available on the internet to convert odds to percentage, you can gain a proper understanding of what the odds represent. This can help you to better comprehend the meaning of the odds.

So if you saw that Tundra had a 34% chance of winning The International, while Team Liquid only had odds of 22%, then you’d know that betting on Tundra would give you a better chance of winning your bet. Just note that the returns for betting on the favourites obviously won’t be as good as betting on the underdogs.

How a bookmaker calculates esports odds

Bookmakers will hire teams of experts whose job it is to make better predictions than you about what is going to happen in any sports or esports event. They will spend hours analysing all of the relevant statistics to come up with a prediction of what is most likely to happen.

However, it’s not all about guesswork. This is because the oddsmakers will always ensure that the odds are set up in a way that ensures that the betting site makes a profit regardless of what happens in the game. This is known as the betting margin and it basically means that the odds will be set lower than the probability of the event actually happening.

Which are the most popular kinds of esports bets?

Bookmakers will present a wide variety of odds for each esports competition. Alongside outright or futures odds that allow you to bet on the winner of a tournament like LoL Worlds, you’ll also see the following kinds of esports betting markets:

  • Match winner: This is where you simply bet on the winner of an esports match such as whether DRX will beat T1 in Lol Worlds. It’s by far the most popular kind of esports bet that you’ll see at any betting site.
  • Map winner: Here you will be betting on which team wins an individual map in a game of anything from Dota 2 to CSGO.
  • Prop bets: These are bets that are independent of the overall game result. For example, you could find odds for things like the team to get the first kill, the team to get the most kills and so on. Plus you might see prop bets that are specific to individual esports such as who will slay the first baron and so on.