Esports Betting / HOW TO BET ON STARCRAFT II LIKE A TOTAL PRO
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HOW TO BET ON STARCRAFT II LIKE A TOTAL PRO

Last Updated on 01/04/2024
Fact checked by: James Leeland

Welcome to our Starcraft 2 betting guide. With new territories finally gaining access to licensed bookmakers Brits, Europeans, and Canadians can finally bet on tournaments in a secure manner.  Wondering how to bet on SC2? You’re in the right place!

If you have experience with Starcraft 2, as a player or eSports enthusiast, you may find it easier to interpret gameplay and break down tactics in an attempt to develop your own strategies. However, regardless of your level of expertise, we still believe this article’s tips and tricks will safeguard your interests and finances - even if you’re a seasoned pro!

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QUICK TIPS FOR STARCRAFT II BETTING 

Watch SC2 streams and play the game

Blizzard’s real-time strategy pits two players against each other in a race for resources. The aim is to better cultivate your chosen army for battle and destroy your opponents base. Players can choose between three races: Zerg, Terran and Protoss, each with their own rock-paper-scissors playstyles. Last man standing wins. However, the game’s tactical depth leaves lots of room for unexpected outcomes, which means your ability to read the game at hand will prove useful when attempting to predict outcomes with your bets on SC2.

Engaging with the game first-hand is the best way to develop your game-knowledge. Understanding the metagame tactics and terminology will prove key to your success, which is why we've created a handy guide on how to get better in online games.

For example, “The Zerg Rush” is an iconic in-game strategy that describes overpowering your opponent as soon as possible with The Zerg race. However, tactics are often circumstantial in Starcraft, and often strategies change on the fly. Being able to understand a competitive player’s decision making should strengthen your bets.

Additionally “APM” refers to the amount of actions per minute a competitor performs. It is arguably the best measure for gauging which player holds the advantage.

Learn how to read odds

Betting odds represent how likely it is that a specific outcome will occur. Therefore, they enable you to work out how much money you will win from esports betting websites if your bet wins. It sounds simple, we know, but before making a deposit, take your time and learn to read odds. Their presentation online may differ from your native understanding, because esports betting odds are presented in different measures depending where you live in the world. We recommend learning to read Decimal Odds, Fractional Odds, and American Odds.

Fractional Odds

With fractional odds of 2/1, for every £/€/$10 you bet, you will win £/€/$20. We assume there is a 33% chance of this happening, calculated by 1 / (2 + 1) = 0.33.

Decimal Odds

Decimal odds are best interpreted as a multiplier. If you bet £/€/$10 on odds of “1.50” then the payout would be £/€/$15 of which £/€/$5 would be profit.

American Odds

Better known as “moneyline odds” or “lines”, American odds display the return you will receive assuming you bet £/€/$100. For example, odds of “+200” would reward a £/€/$10 bet with a £/€/$20 profit. However, if the odds are negative (“-100”), then £/€/$10 must be staked in order for a £/€/$10 payout (profit).

All odds are informed by your chosen bookmaker's database which, ultimately, you are competing with. For example, every punter develops their own strategy and betting etiquette. Casual enthusiasts tend to lean towards large pre-match bets, whereas more knowledgeable players gravitate towards live spread betting. Regardless, the goal is the same: to minimise risk at every hurdle. To start minimising your risk, learn how to read esports betting odds!

Choose the perfect bookmaker!

Once you’re read up, you should compare bookmakers. So, which esports bookmaker is the best for beginners in UK? Well, there are a handful of things to consider, such as the type of bets available and the promotions on offer, but most importantly ensure your bookie is licensed, offers fair odds, and offers markets that suit your desired playstyle. For example, when it comes to eSports, conventional bookmakers often lack game coverage and betting variety for esports betting predictions, whereas tailored establishments such as Strafe’s eSports betting module, tend to allow for a variety of specialised bets.

USE SPECIALISED BOOKMAKERS TO TEST YOUR SCII STRATEGIES 

In this article, we have prioritised licensed bookmakers that are reputed for honoring payouts and abiding withdrawal terms. However, conventional bookmakers treat gamers as an afterthought, often lacking in betting types and coverage, so we have sought specialised eSports bookies that offer a variety of SCII markets.

We also understand that more experienced enthusiasts place bets with a variety of bookmakers in accordance with advanced strategies such as the “Arb strategy” or “Matched betting”. In order to facilitate these popular styles of play, we have ensured our recommended bookmakers harbour similar betting markets, relevant promotional offers, and comparative coverage.

The Arbitrage Betting strategy allows you to “hedge your bets'' by researching odds at different bookmakers and placing multiple wagers on each outcome of the same eSports event. One wager will win while the other will lose. However, if done correctly, you should see a marginal return regardless of which side wins. This is best achieved in high-level tournament play where outcomes are more difficult to predict and odds between bookmakers are more erratic.

Similarly, the Matched Betting strategy involves researching promotions offered by bookies and utilising them in an informed manner to off-set some of your strategies' risk. Instead of betting on who you think will win, you could cover all potential outcomes of an event with a ‘free bet’ or equivalent promotion, so that you make a small profit no matter what.

If you’re new to the scene, or are apprehensive about experimenting with advanced strategies, it is recommended that you first maintain a spreadsheet and record practice bets with ‘game money’.

If you are looking for a fair and informative bookmaker, Strafe’s betting module is great for all tiers of play and offers a variety of betting options. The module accompanies the tournament’s stream and ensures that punters are able to participate in an educated manner by presenting useful stats such as recent form and head-to-head records too.

BAD SCII BETTING STRATEGIES TO AVOID 

Whilst doing research, you may discover other advanced esports betting strategies too. Although they may initially seem efficient, it is still worth play-testing these strategies extensively before placing a bet. As previously stated, the best way to do this is with your own virtual ‘game money’ on a spreadsheet. Record odds for your chosen Starcraft 2 event and record practice bets as you go. This will allow you to test-run the functionality of your chosen strategy without risking real money.

The “martingale system” springs to mind as an example of a flawed strategy. This “loss recovery systems” should be avoided, not to mention that loss recovery systems in general should be approached with caution. If a strategy seems too good to be true - it usually is!

The basic principle of the martingale system is to double down after a lost bet in order to recover the previous stake. Sure, in theory, if you win your doubled bet, you’re in great shape, but problems will inevitably arise in the event of consecutive losses. As an example, we’ll start with a bet of £/€/$1.50. If you lose a string of bets using this amount, your 4th bet (according to the system) would have to be £/€/$32.00 in order to recuperate.

With this in mind, even if a strategy is bad, we can still learn from its basic principles. Progressive staking serves as a great alternative to the martingale strategy whilst embracing a similar ethic. However, progressive staking dictates that the more you win, the more you stake. Instead of betting “out of pocket”, you exclusively stake with your winnings in order to protect your initial investment.

Another classic mistake, which we all make at least once, is being loyal to our local teams in spite of the odds. You don’t get points for patriotism so try and keep a clear head. Same goes if you spend a lot of time on a particular player’s stream, chances are you know their match-up capabilities and playstyles extensively, but just because you like them, don’t be afraid to bet against them!

And finally, betting under the influence isn’t the wisest strategy. Sort of goes without saying, but betting can demand a lot of quick thinking and mental arithmetic. Poor decision making will only impair your chances of winning. If it’s going to be a mad one, get your bets out of the way pre-match, well before pre-drinks.

PRE-MATCH SCII BETTING

Regardless of your preferred style of play, pre-match etiquette should always begin with a little window shopping. Research tournament odds, competitors and any additional stats that you believe will inform your chosen strategies. Competitor’s recent form and head-to-head record are excellent places to start, however if you can find footage of previous match-ups, even better. Play close attention to the tactics they employ, their particular strengths, and any weaknesses that opposition may look to extort.

Additionally, when it comes to placing your first bet, you should set a dedicated betting allowance. Although betting sites often have you deposit into a ‘real money’ account, it can be useful to keep your betting balance entirely separate from your personal debit, especially if you intend to employ advanced strategies that require the use of multiple bookmakers. This will allow you to easily monitor your spend while using a website or betting app for real money, wins and losses across multiple bookmakers, or even multiple games if other eSports such as League of Legends or Counter strike interest you as well.

Next, ensure you have a conservative approach to staking. Some enthusiasts specialise in large, singular well-researched bets. However, we would advise against this style of play as it is regarded as high-risk.

We have previously recommended ‘Proportional staking’ as an intuitive means of safeguarding your play. For example, setting a 10% stake limit would allow a £/€/$10 deposit to be utilised as ten £/€/$1 bets which prevents losing your entire balance on a single bet.

Another common strategy is referred to as ‘progressive staking’. This is arguably a more advanced strategy than percentage staking, on the basis that it can allow for larger losses, but bears potential for higher returns. The idea with progressive staking is to gradually raise your staking limit as your bank develops, but never to the point where it can be lost entirely. If you do lose your ‘progress’ you still have a safety net to attempt to rebuild. Think of it like a save game or a checkpoint!

An investigative approach to the broader eSports community can prove fruitful too, in the sense that most professional Starcraft 2 players are active on their social channels, often streaming regularly as a means of additional income. For example, monitoring their “Battle.net League” ranking will ensure that you are informed about skill-levels and match-ups.

LIVE SCII BETTING 

Live-betting, or “in-play” betting, allows players to stake even after the game has begun. We consider this to be a more active means of engaging with the match, and it can prove especially lucrative, however it is also more time consuming as you will also be required to watch the tournament’s livestream (this will ordinarily be hosted by your chosen bookmaker).

Live-betting on Starcraft II ordinarily entails picking who will win the map currently in play. Different tournaments play with different “best of” rulings at different stages, but most matches will consist of best of three, five or seven maps.

Betting in real-time demands the same level of strategic forward-thinking as Starcraft itself. Odds will fluctuate in accordance to the state of the match in play. For example, if a player is losing early-on, the odds may be against them winning, but if they seem to be holding out and you recognise that their race choice harbours a late-game advantage, now might be a good time to bet on the underdog. This decision would be considered higher risk, but would subsequently yield a higher reward. It is because of this risk factor that live betting can prove one of the most profitable ways to participate in SCII betting, but a broad technical knowledge of the game is essential for success.

When it comes to reading the game at hand and assessing the likelihood of odds playing in your favor, there are a variety of factors to consider. Popular strategies include monitoring APM, resources, and map control. Don’t forget that every second counts!

Maximising actions per minute is every Starcraft II player's goal. For example, if a player frequently misses actions as they come off of cooldown, such as spawning a necessary minion, then they will generally fall behind and cultivate a smaller army. Monitoring APM requires close attention to detail, however respectable castors and commentators often divulge this information during tournaments too. Keep your eyes and ears peeled.

As stated, we recommend live-betting for more experienced Starcraft players with strong critical thinking skills. The pace is often fast and unforgiving, so keeping your senses and being on top of your calculations is especially important.

Be selective, minimize your bets. Wait for games where your probability of winning is very high due to circumstance - this also applies if you want to bet on LOL or any other esports games.

REFINE YOUR OWN SCII BETTING STRATEGY (227/200)

Ultimately, the goal is to build a strategy that is informed and well calculated, whilst paying close attention to your wins and losses. Try to keep above your initial deposit and regulate your play. Introduce rules for yourself and stick to them: how much to bet, what statistics to use, when to withdraw, and how much you’ll roll over.

  • Before you even begin betting, find a bookmaker that is right for you. Somewhere that you know can be trusted and has responsive and considerate customer service. Reviews are a good place to start, but acquaint yourself with terms of service, look up bookmakers online and search for the appropriate licenses for peace of mind.
  • Be conservative with your efforts and allow yourself time to develop your understanding of the game. SCII is over a decade old and a variety of intricate strategies have developed over the years. Pay close attention and stay up to date with your favourite competitors to ensure you’re betting with confidence instead of blind faith.
  • Whether you’re refining your understanding in-game or watching live eSports, practice makes perfect. Make some calculated estimations with friends and discuss the competitors in play. Refine your game knowledge and affiliate yourself with statistical breakdowns to inform your strategy. When you think you have developed a winning strategy, it’s time to put your money where your mouth is.
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