The end of Counter-Strike Global Offensive, one of the largest esports titles in betting, is near. In the summer of 2023, CS:GO will become Counter-Strike 2, altering several key game mechanics. Abios’ Engineering Manager Peter Torsson, who has extensive experience within the esports industry, aims to shed some light on what we might expect from CS2. He also covers the latest betting trends, Abios’ new CS:GO odds product and how sportsbooks can make the most of it to create a betting experience that reflects the game’s dynamic nature.
The CS:GO BLAST Major in Paris just ended. What significance do large events like this have on sportsbooks?
Just as in regular sports, large-scale events in esports can act as a great customer-acquisition tool for sportsbooks. A Major in CS:GO normally happens two times a year and is as close as the esports title gets to having a world competition. It generates an influx of fans, making it a great opportunity for sportsbooks to reach a new target audience: casual and die-hard esports fans.
This is the last Major before CS:GO transitions into CS:GO2. The first Major in the revamped title will be played in Summer 2024. What changes will it bring to the scene?
While it is very early to tell, it is rumoured some CS:GO veterans might rather go into retirement than learn a new game, which means that we could see an entirely different CS:GO landscape when the dust settles.
Moreover, there are plenty of updates to graphics and in-game objects, such as smokes, weapons and maps, which impact the look and feel of the game. This can lead to a slight play style shift.
Nonetheless, CS:GO is an old game that has undergone plenty of iterations in the past to become what it is today. Still, it has remained incredibly popular. Players who played Counter-Strike 1.6 in 2004 still play and watch Counter-Strike: Global Offensive until this day.
As such, we believe this update will only add more flavour to the game and potentially new players who enjoy the updated graphics and feel. Simultaneously, we believe it is similar enough to the old version to keep its large fanbase.
Abios provides an esports-first bet offering for sportsbooks. What markets are your core focus in esports, and what is your philosophy in creating engaging CS:GO odds?
Coming from a background in providing data to the esports industry, we started scoping out the idea of creating odds a few years ago. Back then, we looked at the fundamentals of esports titles to see what aspects of the gameplay we would like to bet on and what we thought other esports fans would like. This boiled down to many potential market types, but we added round-by-round betting in CS:GO early to the scope, given it’s a round-based game.
Another thing we noticed was that individual players in CS:GO and other games had a lot of impact on the outcome of a game and often had large fan bases on their own. As such, we wanted to create same-game parlays for bettors to be able to place bets on their favourite teams and players at the same time.
What types of bet builders are there – and what do people generally mean when they say “bet builder”?
Parlays allow bettors to combine bets to boost their odds with one caveat – all events must happen for the bettor to win the bet. This means that their odds will increase, but also their risk.
Bet builders come in different shapes and forms. Some sportsbooks allow bettors to place bets on matches in different sports and matches, which means that the bet will go through if Serena Williams wins a tennis match and Manchester United wins against Newcastle.
Other sportsbooks allow bettors to add several markets to their bet builders, which means that several different events must happen before a bet comes through, boosting the odds further with every bet added.
There are also bet builders allowing players to combine markets in one match, e.g. Ronaldo scoring over 3.5 goals but Al-Nassr FC losing the game. These are same-game parlays or same-game bet builders.
Why haven’t we seen many same-game parlays on the esports market yet?
If a sportsbook offers markets that can be combined in the same match, the underlying probabilities of the events occurring correlate. For example, two bet offers in one game could be simple to get over 25.5 kills and NAVI to win. These bet offers correlate directly because if NAVI’s star player gets lots of kills, the likelihood of the team winning increases.
While this makes sense in theory, creating accurate odds in practice is much harder. That’s why Abios has been hard at work to acquire the best data in League of Legends and CS:GO from Bayes Esports and other partners, as well as creating algorithms that can trade matches faster than what is humanly possible.
How does that work in practice, and what benefits can sportsbooks see from this?
We have a team of highly skilled traders worldwide overseeing our odds and ensuring their accuracy. To allow traders to become more efficient, we’ve created algorithms that can detect changes in data and probabilities faster than humanly possible. This means that a lot of the trading process can be automated, which allows us to increase the user experience for the end user. Both by increasing uptime and decreasing bet delays.
We aim to bring the betting experience in esports to the same level as the most exciting features in sports and above.