eSports betting can be just as thrilling and complex as traditional sports betting. In this master guide we’ll be focusing on one of the biggest eSports events: the League of Legends World Championship. This massive, yearly tournament has been growing in viewership ever since it started back in 2011, and it’s come a long way. By 2016, League of Legends had amassed so many fans that the World Championship lured in 36 million unique viewers for the finals between Koo Tigers and SK Telecom at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin, Germany.

More people watched League of Legends than the NBA Finals, including sharp bettors that are taking advantage of this fresh, new industry. The first step towards boosting your bankroll on eSports is understanding…

What are eSports?

Let’s start by talking about names we all know. Marshawn Lynch. Michael Strahan. Jennifer Lopez. What do all these names have in common? It turns out all three of them recently joined in a $15 million investment on eSports team NRG. Like many other eSports organizations, NRH hires and trains professional video-game players to compete in the most anticipated tournaments around the world for loads of cash and invaluable exposure that will get them better sponsorship deals, just like traditional sports. Hundreds of retired athletes and celebrities are investing in an attempt to get a slice of the rapidly-growing $1 billion industry that is eSports. NBA legend Rick Fox even founded and currently runs his own eSports team by the name of Echo Fox.

What Bets can you Place on eSports?

There are many types of bets that you can place on eSports, specially in League of Legends. Some of these are more beginner-friendly than others depending on how much you already know about the game. However, the biggest advantage of betting on eSports is that everything is being tracked and measured. Metrics are as important here as they are in MLB. Let’s take a look at the most profitable types of bets you can place in League of Legends:

Outright Winner/Region of the Winner:
The money is in the history books. Although League of Legends is largely played around the globe, some regions remain more powerful than others, just like South America and Europe are in soccer or North America is in Hockey. In League of Legends the dominant region is South Korea. In fact, Korean teams have won the last 4 World Championships. This is precisely why we’re talking about both the Outright Winner and Region of the Winner eSports Odds. Generally speaking, the strongest Korean Team of the season is considered the favorite to win the World Championship.

Group Betting:
At the Championship, teams are sorted into groups of 4 and have to play a Round Robin to determine which 2 teams will advance to the Knockout Stage. Determining which teams will advance requires looking into the line-ups and history against their opponents in other international tournaments. Since League of Legends competitions happen nearly all-year round, there’s a lot of matches to draw information from. Later this week, we’ll be releasing a preview of Group D and taking a closer look at the highly anticipated match of Team SoloMid vs Team WorldElite.

Match Winner:
Probably the simplest type of eSports picks you can get. To determine which team will defeat the other it’s important to not only take into account history and region, but also format. In Best-Of-1 Group matches is way easier for a team to pull of an upset with an awkward, experimental strategy, while Best-Of-5 Knockout matches tend to favorite the more experienced teams that don’t break under pressure and can play well from behind.

League of Legends World Championship

Over/Under Maps:
One of our personal favorites here at The Over/Under bet consists on figuring out whether the game is going to take more or less than a specific number of maps. This type of bet is only available in the Knockout Stage, where teams play each other more than once in a single series. Every time the teams play each other, the loser of the previous match decides what side of the map they want to start on. Matches between teams on a similar level can go over 4.5 maps in a Best-Of-5 series. However, if one of the teams is extremely dominating, they can clearly close the series in under 4.5 maps.

First Blood:
The appropriately named First Blood bet is one of the hardest yet most profitable kind of bet you can place. In League of Legends, the First Blood is awarded to the player that acquires the first in-game kill. In order to determine which team will score the First Blood, we have to look into more than just history and metrics. Understanding the compositions, or combinations of characters (also known as Champions), that each team is drafting for that specific game. Some compositions are way more aggressive the first minutes of the game while others focus on playing defensively and growing stronger past the 20-30 minute mark.

It all Begins Here

The League of Legends World Championship Group Stage goes live on Twitch.TV/RiotGames at 3:00 am. The outrageous timing is due to the fact that the Championship is taking place in China this year. Nonetheless, it’s totally worth it. Take a chance to watch a couple of games, or tune in for the rebroadcast on the same channel at 3:00 pm. On the next installment of this master guide, we’ll be looking at the main metrics to watch out for, how to interpret them, and how to use this data to cash in on some games for this 2017 League of Legends World Championship.