Call of Duty Betting: More Bang for Your Buck
The Call of Duty franchise is easily one of the linchpins of gaming as we know it today and it is perhaps a good metaphor for how video gaming has transformed in the recent past. Harking back to the earlier version of the first-person shooter, rich in history, but less so in online arenas, the game has since then evolved to become the quintessential example of electronic sports.
With the game gaining popularity at a good clip, a multitude of tournaments has shaped up along with a new phenomenon – online betting on electronic sports. Unlike its rather more physical predecessor, real-world sports, electronic sports have been quick to embrace online betting, and Call of Duty has quickly fallen in line.
One’s Best Bet on Call of Duty
Betting on electronic sports is gaining traction despite legal opposition in the United States due to a variety of loopholes in how sportsbook distribute their money. With the legality of the whole enterprise in question, players best bet is to hope they are not breaking any laws.
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Jurisprudence concerns aside, betting on eSports has been encouraged by media outlets such as GosuGamers although punters have had to settle for various made-up currencies which have no monetary value. Still, wagering projected to soar to $29.8 billion by 2020 with some 15.4 million individuals betting, bookmakers are salivating at the prospect.
Betting on Call of Duty as an electronic sport is a rather untapped market which is still in the lower-end of the turnover chart. And while interest in smaller events seems tepid, the Call of Duty World Championships have been growing in size and the prize pool has been upped four times since the event was first introduced, reaching $4 million last August. While punters stand to make a killing out of wagering on eSports, certain understanding of the game they are betting on is advisory. It is well worth noting, for example, that most matches in Call of Duty at the highest level are usually close brushes, with the underdogs oftentimes coming out victorious. As a result, placing one’s bet on what sportsbooks consider the less experienced team may rake in a tidy profit.
But on what to bet? Call of Duty as an eSports
Looking back two years ago, placing wagers on Call of Duty was still an outlandish notion, timidly professed in online forums such as Reddit. With the game making a more determined shift towards electronic sports, a variety of modes are now available, including Search and Destroy, Hardpoint, Capture the Flag, Uplink, allowing for a variety of odds. Still, the majority of wagers punters can place are single bets with short odds. Punters are usually limited to trying to guess the outcome of a single match-up or a single event.
Until recently, Vulcun offered fantasy betting on eSports, including Call of Duty. Instead of plumping for teams, punters were allowed to draft Call of Duty players to a team, and then, based on the players’ performance the team would be credited points according to a pre-determined scoring system. Vulcun closed its fantasy betting on 14 January 2016 with the beginning of the LCS season, citing legal concerns for its decision.
Today fans and punters will benefit the most by betting on the largest Call of Duty, namely the World Championships. Bets vary but they can be broke down in two sections:
- Single bets
- Bets on the outcome of tournament or a match-up
More specifically, to be successful in betting on Call of Duty, people need come up with a working strategy and intimate knowledge and familiarize themselves with what has been going on in the community. Relying too heavily on bookies may quickly turn sour as betting websites fail to account for factors that are known to community members.
For this reason, an individual who has been actively involved with the community is more likely to be privy to some knowledge which ultimately would give his wager an edge over that of the regular electronic sports punter.
Still, general rule of thumb with regards to placing a successful bet insist:
- Strive to acquire better understanding of the competitive scene and always have a wary eye on what sportsbooks offer as odds – oftentimes the underdogs may turn to be winners, bringing in tidy profit for those who are prescient enough to see that.
- When trying to work out the odds on one’s own as to who might be the winner, punters are encouraged to compare how particular teams fare against each other. Even though a team may be on the top of the food chain there are still pitfalls as some players simply struggle to adapt against opponents which have overall lower ranking.
- Similarly, being aware if something has happened in the personal lives of players may also give users an advantage when placing bets.
With only a scarcity of tournaments available and various game modes only now beginning to shape up a different style of betting, punters will have to stick to the abovementioned types of single bets. Alternatively, there may be the so called fantasy league bets, but the only known website had to close down facing mounting legal pressure.
For that reason, everyone is advised to bet on the largest tournaments and to opt for single match-up outcomes as compared to betting on an overall winner of an entire tournament.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – Call of Duty Betting Sites
While the United States and online bookies are holding each other at gunpoint, ample opportunity for wagering in Europe exists, with Betway eSports and Bet365 leading the way. Availability and betting on the go has also been largely adopted by the betting websites, allowing for versatility and comfort and making the process of placing a wager effortless.
The growing interest in online betting is without a doubt going to spawn a larger pool of events to pick from. Until then, punters may focus familiarizing themselves with what makes a team successful and drives them to victory. With the growth of streaming platforms, to name Twitch.tv, it is increasingly easy to garner insights about players by following their dedicated channels and social media. Bookmakers may fail to account for what has been going on in the personal life of players as they rely primarily on statistics while most punters who bet on certain games are also, to some extent, intimate with what has been going in the life of a player, both private and professional. On occasion, knowing something as mundane as when a player is jetlagged, can help punters place a better wager.
Call of Duty and the World Championships
For those who turn a blind eye to this, the major tournaments today consist of mostly two events:
- Call of Duty World Championships – the Activision-backed event which has enjoyed a steady prize pool and global audience of hundreds of thousands of people.
- Major League Gaming (MLG) – arguably the world’s most prestigious gaming event which has long been known to endorse various gaming titles which have quickly cottoned on and have become an indispensable part of electronic sports.
- The UMG Online has sponsored a number of Call of Duty competitions for the PlayStation and Xbox iterations of the game.
Meanwhile, a number of small-time tournaments continue to mushroom as the game continues to gain traction around the globe.
From a historical standpoint, Call of Duty has not been a competitive game, with larger competitions only recently being staged. Even today, the first-person shooter gives ground to fantasy games such as Defense of the Ancients and League of Legends, and let alone the mainstay of competitive FPS games, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. A change of fortunes began with the introduction of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare which not only clinched numerous awards from IGN, Gamespot, and Spike Video Game Awards, but also ushered in a new era of Call of Duty as an electronic sport. Prior to that, Call of Duty had been endorsed by Major League Gaming (MLG) and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare has been the only instalment of the franchise to stay on the MLG Pro Circuit for more than one year.
In the interim, one event which has gone unnoticed, has picked up steam. The Call of Duty World League Championships offered a prize pool for the sum total of $4 million in 2017, with the event attracting big brands such as Coca-Cola and American Express as sponsors. The league took off in 2013 when Activision organized the first-ever Call of Duty Championships to gauge players’ prowess and rev up interest in the game, propelling eSports in the process. The Championships has since become an annual event beckoning to the world’s most apt players testing their mettle with hundreds of thousands of people tuning in to cheer for their favorite team.
To shed more light on the event, we need to look at the organization. Prior to the Championships in the fall, players participate in two competitive stages ahead of the event. Oftentimes fledgling teams come short of qualifying for the first event and are offered an online qualifier instead, so that they are encouraged to further hone their skills and populate the competitive scene with newcomers. The Pro Division encompasses players from three major regions, namely North America, Europe and Asia whereas the Challenge Division has a worldwide focus, offering less-seasoned players a chance to qualify through a series of LAN and online skirmishes. This year’s event took place from August 8 through August 13 at the Amway Center in Orland, Florida, with OpTic Gaming besting rivals EnVyUs in the final.
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Call of Duty World Championships and its outstanding few
Being a relatively new phenomenon, competitive gaming does not lack its own stars and names to reckon with are already emerging. Among the better-established names of the Call of Duty eSports are team EnVyUs, who lost 2017 Call of Duty World Championships in a close brush to OpTic Gaming.
EnVyUs are known to be a cornerstone team in professional Call of Duty eSports, with the team roots traceable to 2007. The squad was brought together by Tosh ‘Stainville’ Mcgruder and Skyler ‘Foreplayy’ Johnson and participated in the first Call of Duty 4 National Championship, landing in second place. Envy concluded second in the 2009 Championship, having brought Mike ‘Hastro’ Rufail and Joe ‘SiDRoC’ Rauth to the roster. Hastro has been known to cast tournaments and participate actively in community discussions whereas SiDRoC has moved on to pastures new and has left the competitive scene.
As far as European teams go, FNATIC are the continent’s most dominant team and the winners of the largest European Call of Duty 4 LAN event European Gaming League (EGL), formerly known as ECL1. FNATIC’s roster has featured some of the most-renowned names in eSports, including Andy ‘DopedGoat’ Fisher, Scott ‘Mak’ Brass, and Nick ‘XLNC’ Ward.
Teams such as FEAR, Xtravagant/IXI have also made a splash and have been known names around the competitive scene, drawing fans’ awe and reaching the summits of Call of Duty eSports. FEAR battled Envy at the MLG Call of Duty 4 National Championships in 2008.
The stuff of Dream, The World’s Most Prestigious Call of Duty Tournament
On the professional scene, Call of Duty is not as popular as better-established games but matters have been improving at a satisfactory pace. In fact, Call of Duty resembles what electronic sports as a whole used to be several years back. Most competitions pit semi-professional and dedicated teams, which was how most electronic sports began. Still, games such as League of Legends and StarCraft II have had larger following, but that is predicated mostly on the fact that the games were designed as explicitly competitive titles which has made it easier for them to transition into fully-blown electronic sports. On that account, Call of Duty has taken some criticism over an inherent game feature known as rapid fire attachment, detracting from how much skill the game involves.
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare was featured in the 2015 DreamHack summer contest, arguably the most prestigious electronic sports event. This milestone considered, the tournament that has continued throughout the years is the already mentioned Call of Duty World Championships and its ever-growing prize pool. This year’s Championships were presaged by The Call of Duty World League Anaheim Open with a total of $200,000 in cash awards. The event had significant implications for several teams, including Cloud9, Red Reserve, BitterSweet, and FNATIC who won invitations to the Championships and also made it to the Global Pro League. As a result, the World League has grown to be an all-encompassing event driving not only high viewer numbers, but also giving a very tangible incentive to amateur teams to participate in the event and face off with some of the biggest names in Call of Duty as an electronic sport.
Call of Duty and the Entertainment Industry
As an inseparable part of today’s eSports climate, Call of Duty has been a fillip to gaming, helping it go from a cottage industry to a fully-grown branch of the entertainment industry.
The franchise has been in a state of flux, with sales steadily surging and notching up whopping worldwide results, topping the all-formats December sales charts in 2016, according to Mat Piscatella from The NPD Group, an industry-tracking firm. Despite a recent fan backlash, Activision has overcome headwinds, maintaining Call of Duty’s position of a top selling game on the marketplace.
But video games today are not just a way to kick-back at home and with gaming stocks surging, a variety of industries are looking to claw the lion’s share of the bonanza for electronic sports and competitive video games. To better understand the scope of video games, and Call of Duty in particular, think of the launch of one of the franchise’s best-selling games, Call of Duty: Black Ops. The moment was marked with numerous invitation-only release parties and one car maker launched a commemorative version of its Jeep.
What is next?
Electronic sports is a fascinating phenomenon. Let alone the fact that investors and industries are poised to fetch big profits from its reaching popularity, games such as Call of Duty are largely fan-driven. In the dawn of electronic sports, it was through the stonking efforts of gamers that video games have gradually began to be perceived as media for people to test various attributes. Perhaps, Call of Duty is a franchise that is still struggling to catch up to the more pronounced representative of eSports, but it is nonetheless well on track. Activision has also invested heavily to whip up excitement and support and more investors, including Sony, are now turning a beady eye on the game. With the spreading of online betting and a growing-number of consumers turning to video games as a means to wind down, video games and Call of Duty are slated to attain new heights and even rival traditional sports in terms of viewer interest.