The world’s best-known FPS has blossomed into an explosive, worldwide competitive scene!
About half of the people I meet are sports bettors and the other half esports bettors. It represents a nice ‘worlds colliding’ situation when it comes to foundational principles of proper sports betting. There are many entering the gambling space and/or esports for the first time. So with that in mind, this guide is meant to be an overview of betting on one of my favorite titles and best esports, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
CSGO involves two teams of five players competing to win 16 rounds in a particular map. One team begins on the ‘terrorist’ side, with the objective of planting and detonating an explosive or eliminating the ‘counter-terrorist’ side. The CT’s are tasked with either defusing the explosive (if planted) or eliminating the five T’s. After the first 15 rounds, the two teams switch sides and now have the opposite objective until one team reaches 16 rounds. At 15-15 teams enter overtime and play two 3-round halves. The first team to win 4 rounds in one overtime wins the map. Each map must be won by 2 rounds or more. Matches will feature either a best-of-one, best-of-three, or best-of-five map series (Bo5 are rare). When I speak to colleagues and friends unfamiliar with CSGO, I compare the scoring format to tennis. One round is comparable to one service game, one set is comparable to one map. A Bo3 usually takes about 2-3 hours for 50-60 rounds of play.
Counter-Strike differs from other FPS games in one crucial way; the economy. Teams will have a significant advantage in their weaponry and ability to win rounds with a strong economy. There is a lot to speak of in relation to the meta of how to manage one’s finances in Counter-Strike, but it has very little impact unless someone is interested in live-betting a match. What does have critical importance is that since the new economy system came into play this past March, the losing team has a far better chance to get back into a game assuming they have lost several consecutive rounds. Hard resets of the economy are more likely to occur against the team that has been leading, if they have not managed to build a ‘bank’. Generally speaking, this will favor the better team on each map. I say generally because its far from a certainty, as we know with the number of upsets in CSGO. However, after the update, it is less likely that the economy will factor as frequently into costing the better team the map.
To have a greater understanding of the economy, I have attached veteran CS community member Mauisnake’s video giving his in-depth analysis of how this will affect professional play:
Many online sportsbooks now offer all the essential markets for cappers interested in CSGO betting. The most important and common:
- Match Moneyline = which team will win the match (Bo1,3)
- Match Handicap (-1.5/+1.5) = the favorite to win by two maps or the underdog will win at least one map
- Total Maps (over 2.5/ under 2.5) = either each team wins a map or one team wins 2-0
- Map 1/2/3 Moneyline = bet on a team to win a particular map
- Map Handicap (-2.5/+2.5 or greater) = team must be within the requisite number of rounds. If wager is +5.5, my team would need a minimum of 11 rounds on a particular map
- Total Rounds (over 26.5 / under 26.5) = bet that both teams will get a minimum of 11 rounds or that one team will win by 6 rounds or more
These are the 6 markets that are essential to have available if interested in betting CSGO. However, in the past year, we have seen many more crop up as well. Most recently books have allowed bettors to live-bet on the spread during a map and even one particular half only. These are fantastic developments so long as you know what you’re doing. I encourage punters to look into teams statistics by map and ct/t-side to understand where value will be as a match gets underway.
One thing I like to do is workout various map vetoes that are most likely to take place for a series. With only seven maps in rotation, it is not difficult to surmise what the most likely outcomes will be. Amateur bettors love to blindly bet a team’s map pick for no other reason than ‘they picked it’. |However with only seven maps to choose from we frequently see one team’s best overlap with another. Additionally, it is commonplace to see teams ‘trade’ maps meaning they win on one another’s pick. If you are betting on CSGO you absolutely must consider the map order that is likely to come up. If you prefer to wait for the veto that is more than understandable, just know that you may lose some value and also be stretched for time [it usually takes place 5-10 min before the match]. So be sure to at least do your homework on team map pool before the veto is released so you know exactly where to place your money.
It is even more important to line-shop in esports betting when compared with traditional betting. It is not uncommon to see a 30 – 50 cent price difference between books, or favorites at one book offered as 20 cent underdogs at another!
When approaching live-betting I’ve seen recently that the sports betting sites have adjusted for ct/t side much more harshly than in prior years. In early 2018 it was still possible to bet on big ct side comebacks on Train or Nuke for instance and see some value on that comeback. One anecdotal example was the Vitality v Heroic match recently. After the first half of map 2, Vitality trailed 10-5 and were an extremely expensive 1.5-1.55 price to complete the comeback and win the map. Yes, they are the better team moving to the easier side, ct, however, they still average six rounds on t-side nuke. What does this mean? Well you would need Vitality to secure 11 rounds before Heroic’s six nearly 70% of the time to hold value. And seeing as this was BEFORE the pistol round [which are nearly a coin flip in probability], it represents a really poor price even for a far better team.
There are many of us who are looking to maintain consistent profit year-round. CSGO is similar to tennis in this respect; there are matches being played 24/7 365 days a year. With the same 50 teams continuously being featured it is much easier to keep track of roster changes, form, and momentum than waiting 4-6 months for the start of a new season with significantly different players. Having betting knowledge in one video game pertains only to that game and it is possible to become an expert in that niche. If you are an NFL expert would it be easier for you to wager on football year-round or transfer your football knowledge to spring training? Another benefit of getting into esports is the sheer number of upsets and juicy underdogs. The game is highly momentum-based, in both individual maps and tournament runs. There are so many advantages of taking the time to venture into esports!