Defense of the Ancients 2 (Dota 2)
Like many of the most popular Esports, the origins of Dota 2 can be traced back to a mod. The original Defense of the Ancients was a community-created mod for Warcraft III and its expansion pack, and it was the first multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game to catch on with the public. The lead designer for the mod was hired by Valve to create a standalone game as the sequel, and Dota 2 has been an enormous hit since it was launched. Although it wasn’t the first MOBA, Dota 2 is considered the grandfather of the genre, and it has had one of the biggest Esports followings since its inception.
What is Dota 2?
Since Dota 2 was the first big MOBA, it has a lot in common with League of Legends. It is free to download and play with the developer making money off microtransactions. All heroes are free to play the moment they are released though, so all purchases are essentially cosmetic.
The object of the game is to destroy the other team’s Ancient. Two teams of five players start on opposing sides of the map and draft either cores or supports in order to form the best composition. They kill the opposing team’s creeps and players to earn gold, and that gold is turned into items that help make your hero stronger. Gold is also owned by slaying neutral objectives and destroying enemy towers, but these targets generally require more time and coordination to take down.
Understanding Dota 2 Odds
Types of Bets
Newcomers have a difficult time understanding some Esports odds, but they largely function like the odds you see in traditional sports. As with most Esports, the most prevalent bet in Dota 2 is the moneyline bet. In this type of wager, you are simply betting on which team wins the match. You see more best-of-three series in Dota 2 than you do in League of Legends, so spread bets are more frequent too. With a spread bet, you are betting on a team to cover a game spread in the series that is set at -1.5 games for short three-game series.
There are other odds for Dota 2 that you will see listed at online sportsbooks. Typically, there is an over/under on how many maps will be played and there is a total listed for the length of time a game will take to finish. Bigger matches will also have prop bets where you can bet on which team gets the first kill (first blood), the first team to 10 kills, and the over/under on the number of kills in the game. Additionally, kill spreads have become increasingly popular as Dota 2 is far friskier than other MOBAs in terms of fights.
How to Bet Dota 2
Dota 2 is the most difficult Esport to bet due to all the variables involved in the game. There are currently 117 different heroes to pick from in the draft phase, and they are all being constantly tweaked by the balance team. To make it even harder for handicappers, there is a significant RNG factor too. The most powerful neutral objective in the game (Roshan) does not have a set respawn time, and the amount of gold the creature drops varies between a range of numbers too.
Several heroes have significant RNG built into their builds too, making these champions very hit or miss. Important elements of the game like camp respawns, rune spawns, and last hit gold have RNG, making it frustrating for players and spectators alike at times. Dota 2 isn’t as RNG heavy as Hearthstone, but it can make you want to pull your hair out at times.
Where do I bet on Dota 2?
Esports are so prevalent these days that you can bet on them at any online sportsbook. Some books will have their own Esports section that is a standalone site, while others will have it in the main sportsbook with the more usual offerings. You will find CS:GO, League of Legends, Call of Duty, Rocket League, and other Esports options there as well.
Dota 2 Betting and Schedule
Every Dota 2 team strives to make it to The International. This event is the Super Bowl of Esports, and its prize pool dwarfs every other Esports competition in the world. While CS:GO’s biggest prize pool ever was $2 million, and League of Legends has not had a prize pool above $3 million, The International has given out at least $10 million in prize money since 2014.
This event has been held in August in all but one year, and the prize pool has reached dizzying heights since crossing the $10 million threshold. In 2015, The International doled out over $18.4 million, and the number broke the $20 million plateau in 2016. Over $25 million was awarded in 2018, but the 2019 edition in Shanghai smashed all previous prize money records. The prize pool for that competition was a whopping $34.33 million, and OG earned $15.6 million for beating Team Liquid in the finals.
After years of an almost exclusively tournament-based format, Dota 2 is launching regional leagues in 2020. There will be six regional leagues across the world, and they will be held in China, Southeast Asia, CIS (Russia), Europe, North America, and South America. These leagues will act as qualifiers for top tier international tournaments, as Valve looks to streamline the Dota 2 scene like Riot Games has done with League of Legends.
Although Dota 2 awards the most money of any video game in Esports, opportunities to bet on this game are not as prevalent as in CS:GO and League of Legends. The lack of a structured league system has hurt in that regard, and there simply aren’t as many tournaments as there are in other Esports. However, you will still be able to bet on Dota 2 for most of the calendar year, and there are a plethora of wagering options for The International.