DOTA 2: Basics and how it works
Before we start talking about how to bet on DOTA 2, you first need to understand what DOTA 2 is and some basics about how it is played.
DOTA 2 by its nature is a MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) game, meaning it takes place in an arena, much like in League of Legends, Heroes of the Storm and other similar titles.
Each DOTA 2 match consists of two teams of five players, with each player playing one of the 119 unique characters or "Heroes." Each of 119 Heroes has its own set of unique abilities. The Heroes are further divided into subcategories based on their role in the game.
Teams start the game on one side of the map, opposite of their opponents. The goal of the game is to be the first team to destroy the main objective, which is a large structure, named Ancient, fortified in the base of the opposing team. Besides the two teams, DOTA 2 maps also feature several neutral AI-controlled characters and objectives, each with their own unique features and importance for the outcome of the game.
We won't go into much detail about every aspect of the game, as that would deserve a guide on its own. However, if you are looking to start betting on DOTA 2, we strongly advise you get familiar with the game by either playing or watching it before you start looking for a DOTA 2 betting site.
Betting on DOTA 2
Once you get familiar with DOTA 2 as a game and understand the basics behind it, the next step you need to take to learn how to bet on DOTA 2 is to understand the basics of betting. This includes betting odds, betting types, where to find betting DOTA 2 sites, how to find the right website, and in the end, get familiar with some tips and tricks which will help you with your esports betting journey.
DOTA 2 betting odds
Most online betting websites will have their odds written in either decimal (1.80), fractional (4/5), or Moneyline (-125) format, and while any serious bettor should know how to read all three types, you also need to understand what the odds mean.
In simple terms, odds will tell two things: how much money can you expect to win and which team is billed as the favorite to walk away with the spoils. For some, the Moneyline odds can be harder to read since they use a unique system.
The American or Moneyline odds use either positive or negative numbers to indicate the underdog and favorite, respectively. The same numbers also reveal potential payout. For example, we will look at a Moneyline or outright bet for a match between two DOTA 2 teams in PSG.LGD and Fnatic, where PSG.LGD is priced as the favorites to win.
By placing a wager on PSG.LGD (-145), you can expect a $100 payout by risking $145, while a $100 bet on Fnatic (+120) will earn you $120. In other words, negative odds indicate how much money you must risk to win $100, while a positive number shows how much money you will win by risking $100.
Most of DOTA 2 games are played in a best-of-three (Bo3) format. Some smaller tournaments use best-of-one (Bo1), whereas best-of-five (Bo5) are usually reserved for the grand finals of any event. Since most matches in competitive scenes are played across two to three maps in a single series, this opens up a gate of opportunity for us to explore map betting or, in other words, bet on a map winner.
Unlike in CS:GO, where there are seven maps in a competitive rotation, DOTA 2 only has one single map (or arena) the teams play on, meaning there are not any massive differences between the team's chances to win one or the other map. Nonetheless, some teams develop a trend of slow starts of the series, meaning that betting on them to lose the first map will provide you with an excellent opportunity to place a wager.
Besides Moneyline/outright bets, spread betting has become the most popular type of bet for DOTA 2 that every bettor uses regularly. Spread bets will allow you to level the playing field between two teams that are involved in a lopsided DOTA 2 matchup.
It's worth noting, however, that spread betting is offered only on matches where a best-of format is used, meaning that more than one match is played in a single series. Some bookmakers might offer kills spread betting on a best-of-one match; however, those are very scarce and rarely used by esports bettors.
In a tournament that uses best-of-three (Bo3) format, you will always see a spread of +/-1.5 maps, where the favorites will have 1.5 games subtracted from their final score, while the underdogs will have 1.5 games added to their final score of the series.
In this case, we will look at an example of a match between Ninjas in Pyjamas and HellRaisers, who are playing in a Bo3 fixture.
|NiP||+1.5 maps||280 (1.36)|
|HellRaisers||-1.5 maps||+200 (3.00)|
Here you can either back NiP at +1.5 maps, meaning you are counting on them to win at least one map in the series, or side with HellRaisers to win the whole series 2-0, thus without losing a single map.
The concept behind spread betting is fairly simple, as you only add or subtract 1.5 maps to the final score. If we were to side with NiP and HellRaisers had won with the score 2-1, we would win our bet since NiP's final score would be 2.5 (1+1.5). In Bo5 matches, the spread will be set at +/-2.5.
Totals betting or over/under betting is just like spread betting most commonly used in a best-of format matches, although since you can bet totals on maps and kills, the latter option will also be available in a Bo1 fixture.
When betting on totals, you are predicting whether a certain element (kills or maps) will exceed the predetermined amount set by the bookmakers. In a Bo3 match, the bookmaker will always set the totals at 2.5, meaning you will be predicting whether the match will end with two or three maps played.
If we look at an example from the Ninjas in Pyjamas versus HellRaisers match, which is played as Bo3, the bookmaker is offering the following odds:
|NiP||Over 2.5 maps||+100 (2.00)|
|HellRaisers||Under 2.5 maps||-140 (1.71)|
In the case of a Bo5 match, however, there will be more variation, with the totals line set at either 3.5 or 4.5, although the former will be more commonly used when one team is a massive favorite over the other team.
On rare occasions, some bookmakers will also allow you to wager on the duration of the game or map. Although DOTA 2, in theory, doesn't have a time limit, the concept of over/under or totals bet remains the same - bet on overs if you expect a close match and side with under bet if you expect a blowout win - and that is all you need to know about how to bet on DOTA 2 totals.
Futures betting is as simple as moneyline or outright betting, only here you are not betting on the outcome of a single match, but instead on the final outcome of an entire competition.
Since the majority of DOTA 2 events are announced well in advance, you will get an opportunity to place a wager on your team months ahead of time, which will provide you with an opportunity to hunt for the best value. Understanding how the odds move and having enough information about the tournament and other competitors, however, will play a crucial role in finding a solid bet to take.
Props or proposition bets present propositions about an element of the game, which is not necessarily related to the final result. Making a prop bet will demand some more knowledge about the game since these kinds of bets often focus on individual performances of players of very specific elements of the game.
Some of the most common props bets are:
- First Blood
- Player with the most kills
- Odd/Even final score
- Which team will kill Roshan first?
- Which team will have more kills?
Where to bet on DOTA 2
Once you get a firm grasp of the basics of DOTA 2 betting and are confident you know how to bet on DOTA 2, it's time to look over some of the top DOTA 2 betting sites, which will offer markets on as many games as possible, while providing competitive odds.
When searching for a bookmaker, you will come across many DOTA 2 and CS:GO betting sites, since DOTA 2 and CS:GO are two of the most popular esports game titles amongst bettors and viewers. There are, however, more than a handful of websites that are not optimal, as they either offer poor odds or have very poor coverage of DOTA 2 events. That is why we will provide you with a list of top DOTA 2 betting sites you should check out.
Some of the best DOTA 2 sites for betting include Bet365, Betway Esports, Unibet Esports.
DOTA 2 Betting strategies and tips
Shop for best odds and special bookmaker promotions
After you decide which bet you will take, taking the time to find the best odds offered on the match is extremely important. Profitability in betting often occurs in the thinnest of margins, so placing a bet on a match at 1.90 instead of at 1.87 might not seem like a lot, but in the long run, those small margins add up. This applies to any esports and sport, but we felt like it needs to be mentioned one more time.
Try playing the game yourself
DOTA 2 is a game that might not be for everyone due to its tactical playstyle. However, that should not deter you from giving it a go, especially since it's completely free to play.
At the end of the day, there is no better experience as that which you will get by playing the game, as only this way you will get a deeper understanding of the characters, strategies items and other elements of the game.
Avoid skin betting
Skin betting in DOTA 2, much like in CS:GO, is still popular, but any serious bettor should know to avoid it. There is absolutely no benefit you will gain with skin betting outside of some versatility; however, that will come at the cost of losing profit. Since betting is all about making a profit, any form of skin or item betting is to be avoided like the plague.
Get familiar with DOTA 2 meta
As is the case with many other esports titles, meta or metagame is very important. In simple terms, meta determines how the game is played, which Heroes are strong, and what kind of strategy the teams will use to outsmart their opponents. The problem is, however, that meta changes regularly with game updates.
Understanding the meta is arguably the most important weapon any DOTA 2 bettor should have in his/her arsenal, but at the same time also the most difficult to excel in. Playing the game helps with getting familiar with the game's meta while doing some research and following reliable sources of information has its own benefits as well.