User-centric features such as bet builders, player props and statistics have been all the rage in sports betting over the past few years. It has translated well into esports, where several bet builder products have sprung up among operators and suppliers.
Despite this, player props are notably absent in esports odds feeds. While main lines for matches in the most popular esports tournaments are common among sportsbooks, granular bet offers are a rarer breed.
What are player props?
Player props are bet offers that are based on player performance. In sports, it can be anything from Christiano Ronaldo scoring over/under 3.5 goals or Zlatan getting a yellow card. In esports, it is instead centred around events such as kills. For instance, s1mple getting over/under 25.5 kills in CS:GO or Faker getting over/under 15.5 kills in League of Legends.
In reality, it could be anything quantifiable that a player does during a game, such as Jett-player killing over/under 5 enemies with her ultimate ability in VALORANT or the amount of jungle creeps a player kills in League of Legends.
The bottom line is that player props can add an additional dimension to the betting experience. Not only do punters get to put all the information they’ve learned from watching hundreds of hours of esports games to use, but they also get to root for their favourite players. Player props play a central part in any strong odds offering, and it could perhaps be even more so for esports than for sports.
Team loyalty among esports fans and its implications for betting
While sports fans might have strong team affiliations, esports fans might not be as team-oriented. According to the 2019 study “The keys to esports marketing: Don’t get ganked” by McKinsey, esports fans instead see their attention divided between teams, players and content creators.
A great betting product reflects the interests and consumer habits of the punters. As such, it would make sense to add player props to esports bet offerings to allow punters to not only bet on the performance of teams, but also on players. Which fans in many cases might follow more closely.
Why player props are the way to go in esports
In contrast to soccer where there are certain players on the field that are meant to score goals, many esports titles have a different dynamic altogether. In CS:GO, the most popular esports title in betting, every player essentially has the same chance of getting a kill. Every playable character is identical in a team and all team members share the same goal of killing the opposing team while planting or defusing a bomb. Some players may be more likely to get kills than others based on team setup. Nevertheless, anyone could essentially be a “top fragger” in a team. This creates an interesting dynamic as everyone is on a level playing field and has an equal chance of scoring the most.
So why is this important?
According to the study “Consuming Contests: Outcome Uncertainty and Spectator Demand for Contest-Based Entertainment” conducted by Harvard professor Karim R. Lakhani and assistant professor Patrick Ferguson, the trick to hosting a truly exciting football game is to create suspense. If two teams of equal measure are to play a football game against one another, their respective probabilities to win are similar. The match could go either way. This creates anticipation and excitement among fans. As fans are anxious to see the outcome of the game, football stadium ticket sales soar.
Conversely, if two teams with different levels of performance would stand to face each other, the outcome would instead feel all but determined. It would be making the match stale and less interesting to watch, concluding in fewer ticket sales for the game.
The same way to create excitement and suspense could be utilised when creating a fulfilling betting experience for CS:GO fans. All by the introduction of player props. As every player has an equal chance to score the most kills in any given match, betting on players who earn the most kills could prove more exciting than betting on a match between unequal teams. This opens up even the most boring matchups to a potentially fun betting experience.
We believe player props to be an integral part of any strong esports bet offering, not only because it is in line with the interests of esports fans but also because they can add an additional layer to the betting experience.
We are an esports odds and data provider with close to 10 years of experience in the esports industry. Being a wholly-owned subsidiary of Kambi, we’ve combined their expertise in betting with our knowledge in esports to create the next generation of esports odds.
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