Virtual Sports Betting Explained

You may have browsed many an online sportsbook from time to time, come across a dedicated category for ‘virtual sports’, and wondered what they were. Are they just an afterthought? Maybe they’re basically just videogames? Is it worth actually having a go at any of them?

What are virtual sports?

If you’ve ever played ‘football manager’ games, you’ll probably already have an instinctive sense of what ‘virtual sports’ are. They’re sports that really are completely virtual, with the action and results being generated by a computer and random number generator (RNG).

This distinguishes virtual sports from Esports, which are sports with actual human participants playing the virtual characters. Esports, in other words, involve real people competing with each other in a videogame.

By contrast, virtual sports are a computer simulation of sports events such as football matches, horse races and tennis matches. So they aren’t Esports, but they aren’t like ‘real-world’ sports, either. That’s because the action is graphically depicted on a screen with no human players, instead of taking place among actual people in a brick-and-mortar stadium, court or similar venue

How do virtual sports work?

Much like the aforementioned ‘football manager’ games computer-generate a result in a given match, so do virtual sports. The results, though, aren’t completely random, not least because there would otherwise be little point in betting on them.

Instead, each competitor in a virtual sports event is weighted according to the sportsbook’s odds. So, as is the case with real-world sports, a competitor with higher odds doesn’t have as much chance of triumphing as a competitor with shorter odds, but the former can generate higher returns than the latter if they do win.

The process of betting on virtual sports, then, is similar to the one for real-world sports. You might back a particular virtual horse or team to win, or you could make an each-way bet. Also like real-world sports, virtual sports enable you to bet on other parameters as well, such as the exact score or how many goals are scored.

So, what virtual sports can I bet on?

With virtual sports betting having effectively been around since 2001 when the Cheltenham Festival was cancelled due to the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak, the range of such sports that you can have a flutter on these days is comparable to real-world sports.

You might head to Bet365, for instance, to bet on the likes of virtual horse racing, greyhound, soccer, American football or basketball, to name just some of the site’s current virtual sports specialities.

Other virtual sports that one can bet on today range from darts and tennis to trotting and motor racing.

Virtual sports betting tips and strategy

So, in light of the fact that virtual sports use an RNG to computer-generate results, is there really such a thing as ‘strategy’ with this kind of betting? Or should you just leave everything to fate?

The answer is that there are certain tips that could help to increase your success, such as:

  • Don’t be swayed by ‘form’. This is one of the respects in which virtual sports betting most markedly differs from real-world sports betting. In a real-life sport, competitors may go through good or bad ‘runs of form’, which may influence who you back to win. But in virtual sports, the RNG has no memory, so you shouldn’t be influenced by how the given team or competitor has recently been doing. Every game or fixture is a new day.

  • Back the favourites often, but not all the time. Although, as we touched on above, there’s a large degree of randomness to virtual sports, competitors are still weighted according to their odds. That direct link between the competitors and their odds is something that doesn’t exist in real-world sports, so when betting on virtual sports, you should feel slightly more inclined to back the favourites over outsiders. This can be particularly good advice for each-way bets, given that if the favourite in a virtual sports event doesn’t finish first, there’s a strong chance of them coming second or third, which would generate you some return. That’s not to suggest that rank outsiders winning isn’t a thing in virtual sports. However, backing an unlikely competitor to be the equivalent of a 2015/16 Leicester City team in a virtual match is probably an even more forlorn hope than it would be in real life.

  • Target bets that maximise your chances of victory. It seems like obvious advice, but a lot of people who give virtual sports betting sites a go too often choose bets that make it too difficult for them to win. To underline what we said above, virtual sports should probably attract slightly ‘safer’ bets from you than real-world ones. So if you’re betting on virtual football, for instance, it’s probably best to try to predict a win, lose or draw, rather than aiming for an exact score. Meanwhile, with virtual sports like horse racing, greyhound racing and cycling that have a lot of runners in one contest, you might fancy placing each-way bets most of the time, to help to spread your risk.

Discover the perfect virtual sports betting portal today

The sheer wealth of virtual sports that you can now bet on at sites like 888 and Bet365 is a far cry from the early days of this fascinating betting category, when it really was just a second-class substitute to the ‘real thing’.

Now, a whole scene is developing around virtual sports betting in its own right. This means that enthusiasts are always able to almost seamlessly switch from real-world betting to virtual sports betting, regardless of reality influencing actual sports events.

There are just so many top virtual sports betting sites and categories awaiting your exploration – so why wait any longer to have a flutter and immerse yourself in the action?

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October 2020