With multiple enticing tournaments, close games, high-profile players, and multi-million dollar prize pools, esports are worth knowing for every true bettor. The sport already counts more than 500 professional players, has a revenue surpassing 1,48 billion dollars in 2019, with more than 2,5 billion casual gamers worldwide. The League of Legends World Championship finals in November 2018 recorded 100 million viewers; a number higher than the Super Bowl. In 2020, the total amount wagered on esports is expected to surpass 23 billion dollars. Gaming is no longer for those refusing to let go of their joysticks; any true bettor should be well informed of the currently most popular esports and their esports betting options. So how well do you know these 5 esports?
With more than 11 million active monthly players, the sequel to Defense of the Ancients (DotA), Dota 2 was produced and published by Valve in 2013. Dota 2 is a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) and is one of the biggest earners competitively with a total prize pool of over 25 million dollars in the 2018 championship while counting over 52 million total viewers. In the 5 vs. 5 matches, each player selects a “hero,” the character that each player uses. Each of the more than 100 heroes has a unique set of abilities and equipment, so teams have to build off of each other’s skillset as well as learn each hero’s abilities. Unique and popular heroes include Invoker, Pudge, and Phantom Assassin – all picked by players more than 200 million times. A team wins by getting their heroes and their Non-Playable characters (NPCs) to defeat the opponent’s Ancient; a structure located within the base of each team. The winner of the 2018 China Supermajor One, Team Liquid, are considered by some as the best Dota 2 team, while another highly regarded pro team are OG having won the Frankfurt Major in 2015, the Boston and Manila Majors in 2016, and the Kiev Major in 2017. The Dota 2 International 2019 tournament had a prize pool surpassing 30 million dollars; the largest in esports history, making Dota 2 the undisputed king when it comes to esports tournaments prizes. Punters interested in Dota 2 have a variety of bets available to them. From predicting the winner of an esports match to guessing the team to destroy the most towers, you can also pick the team to get the first kill, or the one to reach a specific number of kills . You’ll also be able to predict the outright winner of tournaments that bring players and teams from all around the world together such as the International or ESL One. If you’re looking for overpowered characters with a plethora of amazing skills, Dota 2 is the game for you.
League of Legends (LOL)
Published in 2009 by Riot Games, LOL currently has more than 1,000 tournaments worldwide, and an active player base of over 80 million monthly players. One of the most popular esports, LOL is a 5 vs. 5 MOBA involving two teams of player-controlled characters leading their non-playable armies through the map in an effort to reach and destroy the enemy’s stronghold (Nexus), while preventing the enemy from doing the same. Each team have towers – turrets – whose purpose is to clear out enemy units when in range. With over 200 champions to choose from, the most popular to take to the Rift are Aatrox, Gragas, Akali and Ashe, the Frost Archer, while all characters have access to additional abilities and items during the game. In 2018, the top prize money for the LoL World Championship was nearly 6,5 million dollars, with top teams including SK Telecom T1 (SKT T1) led by franchise superstar Lee “Faker” – the first back-to-back LoL World Champions in 2015 and 2016 – and G2 Sports; the winners of the Mid-Season Invitational 2019, the 2019 LEC Spring Split, and the LEC Summer 2019 Split. Bets you’ll find include guessing the team to win a certain map, predicting the first team to reach a specific number of kills, while you can also pick the first team to destroy a tower or even the team to get the first kill. You’ll also be able to predict the outright winners of major tournaments such as the MSI, League of Legends Championship Series, the League of Legends Finals, the Mid-Season Invitational or the LEC Spring Split. League of Legends is a game that will keep you guessing with its weekly updates on maps and characters.
Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO)
CS:GO is the fourth instalment in the Counter Strike series, and was developed and published by Valve in 2012. This first-person shooter (FPS) has more than 17 million active users per month, while the total numbers of players exceed 100 million. The game is centered on weapon-based combat through the eyes of the main character, and usually involves two teams of 5 players competing against each other in multiplayer sessions. The two teams fall into two categories: terrorists and counter-terrorists. There’s one objective per map which could either be defusing bombs or rescuing hostages. Teams have to eliminate the other but also complete the task given, while interestingly once a player ‘dies’ he cannot come back for the rest of the map. Players have to customise their equipment – also known as ‘loadout’ – just before the start of each map, and popular guns to use include the AK-47, IM4A4. SG 553, and MP9. Top esports teams of CS:GO include Fnatic – a six-straight LAN tournaments winner, and Cloud9 (C9) – the first North American team to win a Major Championship in 2018. In CS:GO, you’ll find handicap bets about whether an advantaged or disadvantaged team will go on to win a match. Other interesting bets on CS:GO include guessing the team with most kills, predicting the total number of rounds, or even correct score of maps. You can also predict the outright winner of major tournaments such as most-viewed tournament IEM Katowice Major and Dreamhack. For those that cheer on digital headshots, keep in mind that over the years CS: GO has awarded players with more than 80 million dollars in prize money. Keep an eye out for the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Major Championships, commonly known as Majors, as well as the highly competitive Blast Premier and the WESG 2020, where you’ll experience competitive play of the highest kind for the share of prize pools worth over 20 million dollars.
Overwatch is a 6 vs. 6 FPS multiplayer developed and published by Blizzard in 2016. Overwatch brings fantasy and science fiction elements into the mix, thus innovating the shooter genre. Described as a ‘hero shooter’, Overwatch has 31 heroes that fall into 3 roles: Tank, Damage, and Support. Popular heroes are Tracer, considered as the game’s unofficial mascot, Reaper, Genji, Hanzo, while the game’s is known for its ever-expanding cast of colourful characters such as Doomfist. The main objective of the game is to defend control points on a map, or to escort a payload across the map in question, in a limited timeframe. Players have to complete the objectives during the time given – one team trying to complete them and the other trying to stop them. San Francisco Shock are currently dominating the Overwatch League (OWL) winning both the season two playoffs, and the season two, stage two in 2019. Boston Uprising are also worth mentioning as they’ve stood out from the rest of the Ovewatch league teams, as they became the first team in Overwatch League history to go undefeated during the regular season in 2018. Available bets for Overwatch punters include choosing a match winner, guessing whether a team with advantage/disadvantage handicap wins, as well as deciding on the outright winner on specific OW tournaments such as the Overwatch League 2020, the Overwatch Contenders and the Overwatch World Cup. With more than 50 million players around the world, and a total prize pool of 21,197,382 dollars across 726 tournaments, there’s no reason you haven’t joined the rest of the Overwatch ‘heroes’ yet.
A cultural phenomenon with over 250 million players, Fortnite is an online video game produced and published by Epic Games in 2017. A shooter game under the increasingly popular battle royale genre, Fortnite is by far the most popular game when it comes to streaming platforms. The third person shooter’s objective is simple; the last player standing wins. A large number of players (usually 100) compete in the same session, either in small teams or alone, with a single player/team as the winner. In the meantime, the player has to scavenge for weapons and resources while the map shrinks drawing the player into a toxic storm. There are over 100 Fortnite skins available with Raven, Love Ranger, Black Knight, and Tomato Head some of the most popular. You’ll also find skins of movie characters during special promotions with recent additions including Thanos from the Avengers, Rey from Star Wars, and Batman from DC. Across 520 different tournaments in 2019, Fortnite had a total prize pool of 84,394,239 dollars, while the professional Fortnite esports community is still growing. Worth mention are pro team Sentinels with member Kyle ‘’Bugha’’ winning the Solo Fortnite World Cup Finals 2019 while Faze Clan are currently considered to have the most versatile roster with strong showings in the World Cup in both the solos and duos tournament. How about you bet on the player to get the first kill on the map, or guess the last player or team standing? You can also pick the player to get the most overall kills, as well as predicting the team or player that’ll get the points needed to win a tournament. Following the 100 million dollars prize pool in the Fortnite World Cup in 2019, Fortnite already plans new major tournaments in 2020 – so don’t miss any updates on bwin’s esports predictions and jump off the flying bus!
Honourable mentions include the FPS Call of Duty: Modern Warfare developed by Infinity Ward and published by Activision in 2019 with more than 19 million users, sports game FIFA 2020 developed and published by Electronic Arts in 2019 selling over 260 million copies, and battle royale game PlayerUnknown: Battlegrounds (PUBG) developed by the PUBG Corporation and published in 2017 with an active player base of 200 million.
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