- Betting Sites
The Counter-Strike brand has been around since the year 2000, and as long as Counter-Strike has existed, people gathered together to form teams and compete. In many ways, the entire eSports industry, as well as the eSports betting industry, wouldn't exist without Counter-Strike. In this article, we're going to break down everything you need to know about CSGO betting, as well as our top CSGO betting tips.
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If you've ever peeked into the world of online betting sites before, then you've definitely heard of bet365. Many consider them to be the top dog of sports betting, and that stellar reputation extends to their CSGO betting options too. I love their vast match coverage and the long list of betting markets that are available.
It's no surprise that I chose bet365 to top this list, bet365 provide some of the best odds out there. Those odds combined with their regular array of promotions create a betting experience that I think many punters would be very pleased with. At the end of the day, we all love a bookie that creates great value.
If you're a fan of sports betting in general, then you've definitely heard of Pinnacle before. Pinnacle is a well-established, user-friendly bookie that has an entire section of their site dedicated to eSports betting. Where a lot of bookies out there list eSports as a single sport, Pinnacle separates eSports betting from their regular sports betting page, and each individual eSport is treated as an individual sport, as it should be.
It isn't all about the great user interface, though. Pinnacle offer their users some great odds, as well as a top-notch live betting experience. They even run an eSports betting blog where you can get CSGO betting tips and CSGO betting predictions. The only thing missing is live streaming, but with so many options to stream eSports matches out there (more on this below), it's a small footnote on an otherwise stellar eSports betting experience.
If you're the kind of punter who likes their in-play betting, then Betfair is likely the bookie for you. Not only do Betfair have great value odds, but their live betting area is fantastic. They're one of the few bookies out there that embed live streams of matches into their live betting pages whenever possible, which really puts their in-play betting offering at the head of the pack.
Betfair are known for their eSports betting, and even have a whole section of their site dedicated to it. In addition, they also run regular eSports-specific promotions, meaning anyone who's into CSGO betting isn't just in for a wild ride, but a great value ride too.
When it comes to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive betting, there are actually two different forms of betting available: real money CSGO betting, and CSGO skins betting. Of course, we don't really recommend CS:GO skin gambling websites, as these are regularly shut down by Valve, the gigantic company that owns and publishes CS:GO. Real money CSGO betting sites, however, never have those issues.
This is the standard eSports betting we all know and love, where punters wager real money on tournament matches. These are generally bookies who provide betting opportunities for tons of regular sports, as well as eSports, and are the brands that punters already know and recognise, like Bet365, Unibet, and Betfair. This is the kind of betting that we're going to focus on in this article, as these sites are reliable, and (most importantly!) regulated, guaranteeing punters' safety.
This is the more controversial side of CSGO betting. CSGO skins betting uses in-game, cosmetic, virtual items (known as "skins") instead of real money to wager on bets. These sites tend to be unregulated, have a bit of a shady reputation for money laundering (as many of these skins are worth quite a bit of real money), and are often shut down by Valve, the company that owns, publishes, and distributes Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. We recommend steering clear of CSGO skin betting sites, as you won't be covered by the same protections that are in place for real-money, licensed CSGO betting sites.
When it comes to CSGO betting, punters are lucky enough that they literally have dozens of options available to them when trying to choose a bookmaker. The question remains, though: which one is right for you?
We have our own top picks for the best CSGO betting sites, but finding the right bookie for you is a very personal decision. There are, however, a number of things you need to look out for when selecting the right bookie:
When it comes to eSports betting in general, the betting markets doors are pretty much blown off their hinges. eSports take place in virtual spaces where no one can get hurt and the laws of physics are programmed to do whatever the game designers want. This means that things happen in eSports that would, and could, never happen in traditional sports, such as using magic in League of Legends or shooting a terrorist in the head in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
Being not only one of the biggest eSports out there, but one of the longest established eSports, bookies have come up with a wide range of CSGO-specific betting markets over the years which have now become standard in the world of CSGO betting sites. Of course, outrights are available, though there are other, game-specific markets available for punters to place bets on.
CSGO takes place in a number of in-game maps, and when eSports teams compete at tournaments and events, they face off against each other in a best-of-three or best-of-five format, with each match taking place on a single map, and each map consisting of 30 rounds. This is done to make sure that no team has an unfair advantage because they spent more time practising on a specific map.
Punters can, however, place bets on who will win a specific map. If Astralis face off against Ninjas in Pyjamas, while Astralis might win the overall match, punters can still collect winnings for predicting that Ninjas in Pyjamas might win playing on the iconic 'Dust 2' map.
In a best-of-three/five format, the total number of rounds played isn't guaranteed. We've seen victories of 16-0, 16-12, and more, and punters can bet on how many maps will be played in a best-of format.
Bookies can offer this as an "over/under" bet, or an "odds or evens" bet, so be sure to check out how your bookie of choice presents this type of bet to make sure that it's one that fits your own betting style.
This is similar to the 'Map Winners' market but focuses on specific rounds. Like we said above, a match is made up of multiple maps, and maps are made up of multiple rounds, and punters can bet on their predictions for who will win specific rounds in the match. To continue our Astralis versus Ninjas in Pyjamas example, even though Astralis might win the overall match, you can still place winning bets on Ninjas in Pyjamas winning a specific round.
Similarly, you can bet on teams to win or lose a minimum number of rounds, meaning if you expect Astralis to take the victory but think Ninjas in Pyjamas will win at least 3 rounds, you can place a bet on that.
So you know how the game works, you know about the specialised betting markets, and you know what the best CSGO betting sites are. Now, what are the biggest and best CS:GO events to start placing bets on?
ESL One is a tournament series organised by the Electronic Sports League. There are several ESL One events each year, ever since ESL One Frankfurt 2014, the first ESL One event. While not every single ESL One event features Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, at least two or three ESL One events a year. ESL One tournaments tend to draw the biggest and most famous CS:GO teams out there, like Natus Vincere, FaZe Clan, and Team Liquid.
The BLAST Pro Series is an international live Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament in which six of the best CS:GO teams in the world come together for a lightning-paced 2-day tournament. First appearing in November 2017, the BLAST Pro Series is one of Counter-Strike's newer recurring events, though quickly became one of the hottest and most sought after champion titles for a CSGO Team to hold.
DreamHack have been in the game of organising Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournaments since all the way back in 2002, when they were still just a small, Swedish organisation. Today, however, DreamHack events like DreamHack Atlanta, DreamHack Summer, and DreamHack Winter are core staples in the CS:GO circuit each year. While they don't have the largest prize pools around for winning teams, they draw hundreds of thousands of viewers and the biggest and best names in CS:GO talent, creating dozens of betting opportunities each and every year.
Most eSports tournaments are freely available to stream online, with some CS:GO tournaments drawing upwards of two million unique viewers, far eclipsing the viewership figures of many traditional sports tournaments. While many betting sites will allow their users to watch a live stream on their site, if a live stream isn't available on your betting site of choice, you'll likely be able to watch the match at one of the following websites:
Just like with any form of sports betting, the easiest way to gain an edge on CS:GO betting is by learning as much as you can about the game, the tournaments, and the participating teams. Here are our top tips to getting ahead at CSGO:
Born in 1997, Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski is one of the only top eAthletes around whose skills lie in more than just one game. Having a history in StarCraft II and even played as a stand-in on Team Liquid's Overwatch team. His main career, however, is as a CSGO player. At the time of writing, EliGe is a member of Team Liquid, and has been singled out as one of the main reasons that Team Liquid had such a phenomenal 2019, where the team racked up almost $2.5 million in prize money and over 10 championship titles.
Denis "electronic" Sharipov may seem young and green, being born in just 1998, but his professional CS:GO career began all the way back in 2015. He currently plays on the world-famous Natus Vincere CSGO team, after spending a couple of years bouncing around lesser-known teams, slowly building a reputation and improving his skills. He's helped Natus Vincere snatch up a number of champion titles since joining the team in 2017, and in 2018 was recognised as one of the world's top-5 CSGO players by both HLTV and Thorin.
One of the older members on this list, Nicolai "dev1ce" Reedtz was born in 1995 and has been playing Counter-Strike since the days of Counter-Strike: Source. At the time of writing, dev1ce is on team Astralis, and has been since early 2016. This isn't his first time in a top-tier team, though, as he spent all of 2014 on Team Dignitas and all of 2015 on Team SoloMid. He's, of course, now one of Astralis' core members, and is considered to be one of the reasons that Astralis has dominated the league boards in recent years. He's received 10 MVP awards and has ranked in the world's top 5 CSGO players since all the way back in 2015.
This French CS:GO player is often considered to be the best CSGO pro in the world, a title he shares with s1mple (listed below). Born in 2000, ZywOo has been a professional CS:GO player since he was just 14 years old. After spending four years with lower-tier and lesser-known CSGO teams, he joined Team Vitality in late 2018, where he's been since (at least, at the time of writing). Team Vitality may have had their ups and downs, but many of their successes are attributed to ZywOo. At his age, ZywOo definitely has several years left in his CSGO career, and he's definitely one to watch.
Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev shares the title of "Best pro-CS:GO player in the world" with ZywOo (listed above). This Ukrainian pro, who has been a pro-CSGO player since way back in 2013, has spent the last few years dominating the Counter-Strike circuit. s1mple is one of the most highly decorated players in the industry, with multiple MVP awards, multiple top-5 player in the world spots, and was named Best eSports Player of the Year seven different times. Born in 1997, many would expect him to retire by 2023, but with his skills and dedication, we may yet see s1mple rise to even higher heights before he hangs up his mouse and keyboard in the distant future.