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Dota 2 Betting Guide

Dota 2 LogoWelcome to our Dota 2 betting guide. This article is meant to give you an overview of the type of game Dota 2 is and how you are able to bet on Dota 2 matches. We also have a look at the game’s esports scene, as well as its most prominent teams and players.

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What Is Dota 2?

Dota 2 (Defense of the Ancients) is the sequel to the original Dota Allstars, which spawned as a Warcraft 3 mod. The game, along with its creator and main developer IceFrog, was picked up by Valve around 2010 and later developed into a standalone release that later took the world by storm.

Dota 2 can be labeled as a MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena), but Dota fans prefer ARTS (action real-time strategy).

In a Dota 2 match, two teams (The Radiant vs. The Dire) consisting of 5 players each face off against each other in an effort to destroy each other’s ancient (main base structure). Once one team’s ancient has been destroyed, the game is over.

Each player controls one of the 100+ available unique heroes, who can be one of three categories: support, carry, or mid.

The Dota 2 map features 3 identical lanes for both teams: the mid lane, the top lane (safelane if Dire, offlane if Radiant), and bottom lane (safelane if Radiant, offlane if Dire), as well as a jungle on both sides. Besides players, each lane is defended by packs of AI units called “creeps” that spawn from each base on a 30-second interval, as well as 3 progressively-placed towers.

There is no game mechanic preventing all 5 players from going to one lane, but a Dota 2 lane setup is typically arranged in a 2-1-2 format: 2 players in the offlane to try and disrupt the opposition carry, 1 in the mid lane to acquire farm and possibly outwit his opponent in a 1v1 situation, and 2 in the safelane – the carry player alongside a support to protect him.

As the game progresses on, heroes gain experience and levels, learning and upgrading their skills in the process. Players also acquire gold, which is gained passively by killing heroes, creeps, towers, and barracks. Gold can be used to buy various items which offer everything from minor stat boosts to additional spell effects.

Dota 2’s beauty comes from the fact that players have more than 100 uniquely-shaped heroes and even more items to choose from, meaning no two games are ever alike. The number of variables in Dota 2 ensures that each new match will offer a diverse and unpredictable experience that’s dependent on the matchups and players in question. The game is also subject to frequent updates by its developers that have an aim to rebalance any overpowered heroes but also to add freshness to the playing field, spicing it up for both players and spectators alike.

Dota 2’s esports scene has a massive appeal to fans of the game, as they are able to spectate how the best of the best interpret and play the game, how and why they make the decisions they do, and simply admire the various strategies they try to employ. Plus, it can be a fantastic learning experience for those looking to improve their own game.

How Does Dota 2 Betting Work?

With the advent of Dota 2’s esports scene, so came the bookies. Thanks to Dota 2’s massive prize pools making headlines all over, as well as its massive player base, the game boasts one of the most vibrant esports scenes around. This is why it has received great treatment by the sportsbooks in terms of coverage. Relative to other esports, Dota 2 opens up plenty of diverse betting opportunities at most prominent bookmakers, all of which we’ll present below:

Top 2 Dota 2 Tournaments

The International

Running Since: 2011
Latest Pool: $24,787,914

The International was the first esports tournament to offer more than $1 million in prize-pool money, which is why it holds special significance not only to the Dota 2 scene but to esports as a whole. One could argue that esports would thrive nonetheless, but Valve’s International was a bold move that helped propel the scene to previously-unthinkable heights. The International’s first iteration was held at 2011’s Gamescom in Cologne, Germany, and since then, it has become an annual event held around August time in Seattle, WA.

TI’s first prize pool was entirely provided by Valve, and it amounted to $1,600,000, but ever since TI4 when Valve introduced prize pool crowdfunding via compendiums – in-game digital books players could buy that host a myriad of interactive features and in-game skins – TI’s prize pool started skyrocketing. TI4 broke the charts with its $10,000,000+ prize pool, whereas TI7’s total prize pool amounted to a whopping $24,000,000.

The International is an annual festival in which the 16 best teams from all around the globe compete for the honor of being called the best Dota 2 team in the world, but also a payday that could set them for life. It is the Super Bowl of Dota 2 and an industry bar-setter in terms of viewership and prestige.

ESL One

Running Since: 2014
Latest Prize Pool: $1,000,000

ESL One LogoESL One was the first to introduce several things Dota 2 fans had yet to experience in a tournament, one of which was the first LAN event held at an open football stadium (Commerzbank Arena, Frankfurt). Looking back, ESL One Frankfurt may seem like just another tournament, but it played a great part in propelling what was still a fresh Dota 2 scene.

Frankfurt was the first Dota 2 event held by ESL, but the organization had plenty of previous experience with CS:GO and League of Legends. This is why they were able to raise the bar in the Dota 2 tournament scene. ESL upped the ante in terms of professionalism by featuring a dedicated host and analyst panel that went over each team’s drafts. The tournament followed a tight schedule to make sure things were running smoothly, and it was also the first event outside TI to feature crowdfunding. ESL One did a lot of small things right, most of which we take now as a given, but the event as a whole offered a steady and entertaining experience that helped the Dota 2 esports scene in taking itself more seriously.

ESL has turned into quite a tournament series since their Dota 2 debut in Frankfurt, featuring 10 LAN iterations over the years across various locations around the globe: New York, Manila, Genting, Katowice, Hamburg, and Birmingham.

The Summit

Running Since: 2014
Latest Prize Pool: $300,000

The Summit LogoThe Summit is a LAN tournament organized by Beyond The Summit (Dota 2 casting studio) and held in Los Angeles on a bi-annual basis. It usually features no more than 10 teams and 3 to 4 days runtime with an online qualifier segment prior to the main event. The reason this tournament finds itself on this list is not for the spectacle it brings nor its prize money, but rather the unique atmosphere it offers to viewers from around the globe.

The tournament is a rare case of a LAN event that’s designed to have zero live viewers, as it is held at the BTS house in LA, where the crew usually works and operates. The teams have designated rooms to play matches, whereas the casters commentate and analyze the match from the casting couch in the living room. The Summit draws its inspiration StarCraft 2’s TakeTV Homestory Cup. It provides spectators with a rare opportunity to look behind the scenes as the players mingle in between games and prepare for their matches. As a viewer, you’ll get to see the players in a different light, as well as plenty of funny skits prepared by the organizers, and of course – some great matches between Dota 2’s finest teams.

As esports grows, the homogenization of the tournament scene is inevitable, which is why The Summit plays an important role in Dota 2’s scene. For as long as it runs, it will be able to offer viewers a unique tournament experience that sets them apart from the rest.

Dota Asia Championships

Running Since: 2015
Latest Prize Pool: $3,057,519

Dota Asia Championships LogoThe Dota Asia Championship (DAC) is an annual tournament held in Shanghai, China, around winter time. DAC features 16 of the teams from around the globe, some of which earn their spot throughout the qualifiers, whereas the best teams get a direct invite. The teams face off in a best-of-1 round robin group stage. Then, depending on their results, they are dropped down to either the lower or upper bracket. The second segment of the tournament is played in a stadium filled with thousands of cheering fans.

The Dota 2 scene is huge in China and has been ever since its Dota Allstars days, which is why this tournament holds special importance for the game as a whole. DAC gets huge fanfare in China, but because of its similarities to The International in terms of its invite process, tournament format, prize pool, and crowdfunding segment, it is often dubbed as The International of the East. This is why millions of fans from around the globe tune in to watch DAC every time it gets its wheels in motion.

Epicenter

Running Since: 2016
Latest Prize Pool: $1,000,000

Epicenter LogoEpicenter is one of the newest additions to the Dota 2 tournament scene. After successfully hosting a couple of spectacular and well-run LAN events, the team behind Epicenter (Epic Esports Events) rightfully earned a Major slot from Valve for their third installment of the tournament.

The event features twelve Dota 2 teams from around the globe, five of which are direct invites, whereas the rest have to battle their way through the qualifiers. The tournament features a best-of-3 round robin group stage format and a separate main event played at the tournament’s designated LAN venue – VTB Ice Palace.

Epicenter always attracts the top casting talent, teams, and plenty of fanfare. If DAC can be dubbed as the TI of the East, then there’s no reason not to call Epicenter the TI of the CIS region due to its magnitude and significance. However, Epicenter is not just another run-of-the-mill big tournament, as it features plenty of unique aspects of its own, such as the detailed player profiles, wacky team intros, and an unrivaled atmosphere thanks to Dota 2’s love in the CIS region.

Top 5 Dota 2 Teams

Virtus Pro

Roster: RAMZES666, No[o]ne, 9pasha, Solo, RodjER
Tournament Winnings: $6,400,000+
Notable Trophies: ESL Hamburg, The Summit, ESL Katowice, Bucharest Major, ESL Birmingham

Virtus.Pro LogoVirtus Pro is living proof that sticking together through thick and thin can pay off in the end. VP’s current roster has been together since 2016, but at first, they looked far from the juggernaut they are today. The team showed the occasional flash of brilliance, but without a significant trophy to speak for their ability as a team. That all changed when VP surprised the world by storming The 2017 Kiev Major. They narrowly edged out favorites OG in the final with a score of 3:2. VP then went on to win The Summit 7 and later finished a respectable 5-6th at The International 2017, but their real success began at the start of the Dota Pro Circuit 17/18 season. Over the course of the season, VP won 4 Majors, 1 Minor, and finished runners-up at the China Dota 2 Supermajor. This was enough for them to sit comfortably at the top of the DPC standings with over 12,000 points and a top-seed qualification spot for The International 2018.

Team Liquid

Roster: KuroKy, GH, MinD_ContRoL, Miracle-, MATUMBAMAN
Tournament Winnings: $15,000,000+
Notable Titles: Epicenter 2016 and 2017, The International 2017, China Dota2 Supermajor

Team Liquid LogoLiquid can serve as another positive example for teams quick on the reshuffle trigger, as a lot of times a lack of skill isn’t a team’s main reason for underperforming, but the lack of chemistry between players. This team stayed together through a series of shambolic performances back when they originally formed. However, thanks to the team’s perseverance as well as leadership of captain KuroKy, Liquid blossomed into one of the most consistent and dangerous teams on the scene. The team’s best moment was winning The International 2017, but they continued on to be a strong presence in every tournament they participated in throughout the DPC 17/18 season, ultimately winning the Dota 2 China Supermajor to seal their 2nd-seed TI8 invite with more than 9000 points on the ladder.

Liquid will always be a threat to teams because they possess arguably the best mid player of all time in Miracle-, but their strengths are evenly spread throughout the team. KuroKy leads the team from the 5 position, working in tandem with the incredibly versatile GH, forming one of the best support duos in the scene. Miracle- is the team’s focal point and most important asset in the mid lane, but they can always rely on their carry MATUMBAMAN, who is one of the most consistent players in his position.

Team Secret

Roster: Puppey, YapzOr, MidOne, Ace, Fata
Tournament Winnings: $5,700,000+
Notable Trophies: DreamLeague

Team Secret LogoSecret was formed by Clement “Puppey” Ivanov during the post-TI4 period as a team of superstars aiming to go big or go home. Despite their initially tremendous performances and nigh-limitless skill ceiling, the first stable iteration of Team Secret eventually crashed and burned by finishing 7th place at TI5.

Then followed a series of additional reshuffles and plenty of highs and lows, but during the hardships and turmoil, the team has always had one constant – Puppey. The player who captained Na’Vi throughout their years of dominance between TI1 and TI3 was determined to turn Secret into a household name in the long run. Following the conclusion of the Dota Pro Circuit debut season, he’s done exactly that by all accounts, as they finished 4th place with 5136 points. Team Secret proved a capable contender in nearly every tournament they participated in throughout the season, taking home the DreamLeague Season 8 trophy in the process by sweeping TI holders Liquid 3:0 in the grand final.

Secret’s roster possesses plenty of individual skill, team cohesion, and arguably the best drafter in the game in Puppey. Despite never looking like a real threat on paper, over time they’ve turned into a well-oiled machine and a force to be reckoned with.

PSG.LGD

Roster: Ame, Maybe (Somnus丶M), fy, Chalice, xNova
Tournament Winnings: $8,000,000+
Notable Trophies: Epicenter XL, MDL Changsha Major

PSG.LGD LogoThe name PSG may ring a bell due to sharing a name with French soccer juggernauts PSG, but that is only the result of a sponsorship deal between the two organizations. LGD’s roots lie in China, they’re famous for being one of the most consistently strong Chinese teams throughout Dota’s history, as the team’s existence goes as far back as the Dota Allstars days. The only silent period they’ve recorded was the year of The International 2016, in which they finished 12th while performing poorly in tournaments held pre- and post-TI6.

When a team has been active for nearly 10 years, player shuffles are inevitable. PSG.LGD’s current lineup boasts less star power than some of their rosters of years past, but they’re proving to be one of the strongest LGD iterations to date. They possess that familiar tenacity Chinese teams are well known for, but also plenty of flair and the ability to mix it up thanks to Maybe – arguably the most mechanically-skilled mid player to come out of China in recent years, and fy – the flashiest Chinese support player, who is a TI winner with bags of experience under his belt as well as the team’s captain.

Mineski

Roster: Moon, Mushi, Jabz, ninjaboogie, iceiceice
Tournament Winnings: $940,000+
Notable Trophies: PGL Open Bucharest, Dota Asia Championship

Mineski LogoWhat used to be the laughing stock of the Dota 2 scene is now one of the strongest teams coming out of the SEA region since TI3 Orange. Incidentally, both rosters feature one extremely prominent player – Mushi. At 27 years of age, Mushi is already a living legend as far as Dota 2 fans are concerned. He has been the one constant in the turbulent SEA region ever since Dota 2’s inception, often showcasing his skills in the mid lane. Despite transitioning to the more slow-paced role of carry, Mushi still shows he is a force to be reckoned with, but this time around, he is complemented by top-class players all around. Jabz and ninjaboogie and proven and stable support players that act as Mineski’s backbone, whereas the team’s flair is split between Moon and iceiceice in the mid and offlane, respectively.

Mineski’s current roster was locked in prior to the DPC 17/18 season with the aim of qualifying to TI8, but they’ve gone above and beyond expectations by finishing 5th place with 3150 points, proving to be a tough contender to every big team they’ve faced along the way. Sporting a relatively fresh roster, Mineski still has additional potential to unlock, meaning they will be one of the teams to watch in Dota 2’s imminent future.

Conclusion

Dota 2 is one of the many vibrant esports out there. Its growth so far has been massive, and we expect that steady stream to continue in the future. If you’re reading this as someone who has never tried the game, I encourage you to do so (it’s completely free). That way, you will be able to relate to the game in a unique way that will offer you a new perspective when you place your bets. On the topic of bets, it’s important to know that betting with a reputable bookmaker is of the utmost importance, which is why we advise you have a look at our recommended sportsbooks for a smooth betting experience. Good luck, and have fun out there!