The release of Dota 2, nearly seven years ago, coincided with, and possibly helped provoke, the Esports boom of the last decade. In any given month, you can be sure that at least 400,000 people will be playing the game online, while the multimillion dollar tournament prize pools make Dota 2 the most lucrative of all Esports.
For sportsbooks and bettors, this of course means lots of Dota 2 odds to get stuck into.
What is Dota 2?
The Dota (Defence of the Ancients) game series started in 2003 with its first edition, originally a fan-made modification for Warcraft III. While the producers, Valve Software, are famous for other titles such as the Half-Life and CounterStrike series, there is no doubt that Dota is their most successful work.
The second and most recent edition, Dota 2, was released 10 years later, ready to take over the market of multiplayer online battle arena games, most of which were inspired by its original. Like its contemporaries, Dota 2 tournaments are held around the world, throughout the year.
The biggest of these, known as “The International” is hosted by Valve and offers record breaking, crowdfunded prize pools to successful competitors. The International 2019, for example, featured the biggest prize pool in Esports history, $34 million, with the winners OG (A sports organisation sponsored by Red Bull) taking home over $15 million. Smaller scale but also very lucrative tournaments are also held in locations as diverse as Moscow, Hamburg, Kiev and Birmingham, where the winners of the 2018 ESL One took home $500,000. Such Dota 2 events have caught the attention of sportsbooks, with many of the big names now offering Esports sections, where you can find Dota 2 betting odds, on a wide range of markets, for all large to medium scale events.
Additionally, a large number of organisations run monthly tournaments, played online, with prize pools of up to $45,000. You can also find Dota 2 odds for these kinds of events, as well as one-off online matches, on a growing number of online sportsbooks. And you can bet that as Dota 2 Esports continues to grow, so will the Dota 2 betting possibilities.
How is Dota 2 Played?
Dota 2 matches feature two opposing teams of five players, who must each defend their base (known as an Ancient, hence the name of the game), and try to destroy that of the other team.
The ten competitors each play as one of the games 119 “heroes”, who all have varied skills and playing styles, and must try to collect XP (experience points) and items such as weapons and armour to help kill opposition heroes, and eventually, destroy their ancient. Players can respawn an unlimited number of times after being killed, until the game ends, once an Ancient is destroyed. Matches don’t have a time limit, so can theoretically go on for days.
However, it usually takes about 30 minutes for skilled players to successfully destroy an opponent’s Ancient. The game’s map is permanently covered in “Fog of War”, which prevents players from seeing their opposition if they’re not directly in their line of sight. Both tournament and online matches are played in a best of three format, while tournament finals are usually best of five.
Dota 2 Betting Markets & bet types
Here are some markets which sportsbooks offer Dota 2 odds on…
The most straightforward of Esports bets, this is where you bet on which team you think will win a match, whether part of a tournament or a one off. Don’t forget the match will be best of 3 or 5. If you want to bet on which team will win an individual battle, you should look at Map betting.
Simply bet on the team you think will win the first, second or third match and cross your fingers! For example betting on a team to win map 1 signifies that you think they’ll win the first battle.
In this kind of Esports bet, you place your money on a prediction of the number of maps (battles) a match will feature. If it’s a best of three match the options will be “Over/Under 2.5”, so you’d bet on “Over 2.5” if you think the teams are evenly matched and are likely to need three maps to decide a winner.
In first blood bets, you try to guess which team will kill an opposition player first.
Bet on the team you think will win an entire Dota 2 Esports tournament, easy!
Major Tournaments & Leagues
Every year Dota 2 fans from around the world gather at one of the major Esports venues for The International.
This year it will be held on August 18 -23, 2020.
It’s the Esports event with the most valuable prize purse at over $10 million.
While The International is the event that every Dota 2 fan has etched into their mind, there are a variety of other tournaments that allow you to bet on Dota 2 online. Here is a shortlist of the main Dota 2 events…
EPICENTER Major 2020 (May 2 -10)
ONE Esports Singapore Major 2020 (June 20 -28)
ONE Esports Dota 2 Invitational Jakarta (November 23 -29)
There are also a variety of smaller events that offer markets fans wanting to bet on Dota 2 online.
Each year, Dota 2 fans look to the pro circuit for the top-tier players and high-performance gaming.
The pro circuit for the 2020/21 season looks like this;
- Winter League (Jan 4 – 14)
- Winter Major (March 8 – 20)
- Spring League (April 12 – May 23)
- Spring Major (April 6 – 22)
- Fall League (October 5 – November 15)
- Fall Major (December 7 – 19)
The annual pro circuit always attracts millions of viewers during the year, as it shows the new talent on display and gives Dota betting fans an idea of how teams are playing and who will make it to The International.
Teams often make roster changes and work on new tactics, as well as what is known as the “Meta”, which references changes made to the game each season, changing how teams play the game from a strategic perspective, whilst maintaining the core principles of play.
Where to bet on DOTA 2
As the world’s most lucrative Esport, Dota 2 betting odds are always readily available. Have a look at what some of the leading sportsbooks are offering.
After making a big splash in the world of sports betting, Paddy Power have now dived head first into Esports. Good news for you, as they offer a wide range of Dota 2 betting markets like outright winner for online and location based tournaments, as well as match winner and map betting, with a wide range of handicap options.
Specialising in Esports, GGBet offers arguably the most expansive range of Dota 2 betting odds of any sports book. They extensively cover major and online tournaments such as ESL One Los Angeles 2020 and Chinese Development League. All imaginable markets are provided for and live streams are also available on their website.
EGB, as you might’ve already guessed, stands for E-Gaming Bets, and it does exactly what it says on the tin. They offer all the usual markets as well as individual player options like total kills and total assists. Bettors can also follow the action on their website with live stream links and a chat box for interaction with other fans.
Tips & Strategies on Betting on DOTA 2
If you’ve made it this far you will have realised just how popular Dota 2 is and I’m sure you’ll agree there’s big money to be won, even without learning how to play the game. You now know all about events and where to find the best Dota 2 odds, but before you get started, here are some tips on how to get the most out of Dota 2 betting…
Firstly, as with all Esports betting, it’s important to do extensive research before betting on any Dota Esports event. The internet, and more importantly, social media allow us to familiarise ourselves with people without ever meeting them in real life. Use this to your advantage by looking up players before backing them. Some important information to look up about a player would be previous tournament experience and form.
Rookie Stage Fright
As you now know, major Dota 2 tournaments are no joke, high stakes plus global audiences equals increased pressure. So, a talented rookie player may struggle to perform in this new environment. Therefore, before betting on a player in “The International”, make sure you feel confident that they can perform on a global stage.
Focus on Big Sponsors
Another vital piece of information you need to find out before betting on an Esports tournament winner is the team they represent. Nowadays, the best teams are backed by big international companies, whose sponsorship allows those teams to spend big on coaching, therapy and injury prevention (Yes, injuries happen!). With this in mind, remember that more famous sponsors generally work with the best teams, which makes them a safer bet.
Finally, don’t be afraid to start small. Obviously, big tournaments can mean big returns, but try watching and betting on smaller scale matches and tournaments to start with, before moving on to major global tournaments. This will allow you to familiarise yourself with players and teams strengths and weaknesses, helping you make more informed, sensible bets.
Where to watch Dota 2
Due to the inescapable fame of Dota 2, you can find live streams of matches on a wide range of platforms. The most popular of these is Twitch, where you can watch matches of all levels, from the biggest tournaments, to one-off online matches. Many Esports production companies also stream tournament matches on their Facebook pages and websites. Check out ESL One’s page for live Dota 2 match streams and full match replays.