Dota 2 Betting Guide

dota logoOne of the reasons DOTA 2 has been so successful is their commitment to getting the community involved. Much like the cornerstone of one of Valve’s other successful titles, Counter-Strike, DOTA 2 uses player feedback for balancing heroes, map updates, and to continue the overall direction of the game. This includes the introduction of in-game items (much like CSGO betting sites), which can be earned after wins or purchased in the Steam store.

Best Dota 2 Betting Sites

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Betting with in-game items

The introduction of in-game items created another avenue for gamblers to wager with. While Valve doesn’t explicitly affiliate with gambling itself, it has no problem allowing third party sites to use the Steam platform to allow betting on in-game items. In-game items are designated real world monetary value, and popular sites, such as, allow players to actively trade or bet these in-game items.

Fantasy betting

If you’ve played daily fantasy in any league, such as the NFL or NBA, then you understand the concept here. Fantasy leagues, or daily fantasy, are largely becoming one of the most popular avenues to bet on because it essentially skirts the U.S. gambling laws, allowing residents in the U.S. to play. Fantasy companies, such as AlphaDraft and Vulcun, are two of the more currently popular options. DraftKings has also recently entered into the fantasy eSports market.

Players can compete in daily or weekly contests with entrees varying by contest. Players then compose their rosters of individual League of Legends professional gamers. A max virtual salary is set, and players must build a roster within the limits of this salary cap. While roster sizes vary by company, most involve drafting one player for each position (top lane, mid lane, adc, support, and jungle), a flex position or two, and a team.

Points are rewarded for individual performances, such as kills, assists, and creep score. Points are also reduced based on how many times that player dies. At the end of the tournament, the player who accrues the most points wins. Tournament payout types vary, such as winner takes all, top 50% earnings, and a hierarchy payout.

Match betting

Match betting is your traditional type of bet. It can involve real world currency or a fantasy currency (such as Unikoins on Unikrn). Decimal odds are the simplest way for bettors to calculate matchups and potential winnings. The lower the decimal number, the higher the probability is of that team winning. The higher the decimal, the lower the probability is of that team winning.

For instance, Team A has 2.50 odds of winning while Team B has 1.60 odds. If the bettor chooses Team B and bets $10, the potential return would be $10 X 1.60 odds. Essentially the winner gets their $10 back and $6 in winnings.

Jackpot betting

Jackpots are quite simple and typically involve in-game items. Instead of betting on a particular matchup, tickets are rewarded based on the monetary value of the in-game item. For each cent that the item is worth, the depositor receives 1 ticket. If the in-game item is worth $10, then the depositor will receive 1000 tickets. Once a certain threshold is met (such as 10 in-game items), a random ticket is pulled and the winner receives all 10 in-game items.

The popularity of Dota 2 betting

eSports in general is growing at an outstanding pace. Viewership continues to expand with each major tournament, and prize pools for major tournaments can exceed $10 million (the Dota 2 International had a prize pool of $18 million and a grand prize of $6.6 million). On the popular video streaming platform Twitch, multi-day tournaments can exceed 10 million viewers (the 2015 Dota 2 International exceeded 20 million viewers worldwide). Major networks, such as ESPN, also have started picking up on the popularity of eSports. In fact, ESPN just recently dedicated an entire subsection of their website to just eSports coverage.

With the popularity of eSports rising, there has been a direct correlation to the popularity of eSports betting. More than $310 million was wagered during 2015, with expectations of that number to continue to increase in the coming years. Gaming industry research firm Eilers Research projects that by 2020, eSports viewership will skyrocket to 19.4 million with viewers betting $23.5 billion.

One of the largest online sportsbook, Pinnacle, started taking bets in 2010. It has statistically shown that their eSports wagering numbers have doubled yearly since then, with it taking over 350,000 eSports wagers in 2014 alone. Other sportsbook companies were soon to notice, with Bet365 and Betway adding eSports to their sites in rapid succession. According to NBC statistics, eSports is now the eighth most popular sport to wager on in the world.

eSports and eSports betting will continue to expand in the future, especially as technology advances and more people are exposed to games. Currently only 10% of the gambling market resonates in the United States, with Europe and Asia largely dominating the market. This is in large part because of gambling being illegal in the U.S., but daily fantasy has become one of the workarounds. If projections that the U.S. will make eSports gambling legal in the next five years are true, an already booming market could really explode.

Making sure to bet safely on Dota 2

Mainstream companies are reputable and you can find thousands of user reviews that will back up this claim. Ultimately, making sure you’re safe when betting comes down to one word: research. Always perform due diligence before placing a bet on a company you haven’t used before. Check out third party sites that review bookmakers/daily fantasy sites including this one. Reddit, while not always the most reliable source of information, also has a comprehensive list of betting websites for Dota 2. In addition, they also provide user reviews that describe experiences with bookmakers.

Ready to bet on Dota 2? Choose from our best Dota 2 betting sites of 2016.

Overview of Dota 2

Dota 2 continues to push the boundaries of how popular eSports can be, rivaling League of Legends in the Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) genre. While originally Dota (Defense of the ages) was a mod for Blizzard’s Warcraft III, the main developer, “Icefrog”, was hired by Valve to lead the design for Dota 2 on the Valve platform.

Dota 2 is essentially a cross between a tower defense and real-time strategy genre, consisting of a 5vs5 format with each team having an established base. AI controlled units, called creeps, move in set path lengths in the three lanes of the map (top, mid, and bottom lane as they are referred to) and will do damage to enemy combatants. Structures, such as towers and central buildings (called ancients), are also pre-established in set places on the map.

Games begin with a pick and ban phase. Each active player will have the opportunity to select a character (known as heroes) from a pool of over 100 heroes with unique abilities and skills. Each hero typically fits into a specific role (some can fill 2 or 3 roles at once), with roles detailed below:

  • Nukers – These are typically mid lane assassin type mages. They have the potential to blow people up from the very onset of the game with a combination of lethal spells. They are susceptible to being cced (crowd controlled) and have little defensive capabilities.
  • Carries – Similar to nukers, carries are capable of dealing immense damage. Typically, these roles are filled in the bottom lane AD Carry position. Unlike nukers, carries often have limited damage in the early game and must ramp up as the game progresses.
  • Initiators – Just as the name describes, these heroes are looking to start epic fights. Normally these are tanky/bruiser heroes that are found in the top or jungle position.
  • Pushers – Solely rely on pushing creeps towards towers and creating map pressure. Pushers can be found in all of the lane positions.
  • Durables/Tanks – These heroes can soak up large amounts of damage but don’t really deal much in return. They can be hard to kill and typically are found in the top lane.
  • Supports/Escapes/Disablers – Want to heal and assist your team? This is the role for you. Supports help initiate members of their teams. Typically, they’re found supporting the carry in the bottom lane. Heroes that have escape or disable abilities often fill this role as well.

While ultimately the winner is determined by which team destroys the enemy ancient first, one key component of the game is leveling. As players level their heroes (each hero starts at level 1), they gain access to new abilities and powers. Another huge aspect of the game, besides gaining experience and leveling, is gaining income. Income can be gained by killing enemy players or creeps (known as last hitting). That income can then be used to purchase items to augment skills or increase player stats.