Dota 2 is a free-to-play game and the sequel to the original Defense of the Ancients (DotA) mod, which was a player-built custom map for the 2003 game, Warcraft III. The original DotA gained a huge following, becoming featured in a number of international tournaments, and even spawning a whole genre of games now known as MOBA, or Multiplayer Online Battle Arena.
Dota 2 is one of the most popular Esports in the world and pays out far more than any other game. Tournament prize pools in total have come out to well over $35,000,000 as per recent estimates and it’s only going to get bigger. A huge chunk of that money goes to the athletes themselves. However, Dota 2 has also created an incredibly rich terrain for analysts, coaches, as well as betting companies and sites offering the usual Dota 2 betting guide and tips.
In Dota 2, two teams of five fight each other for control over various pathways, known as lanes, in a bid to destroy the other team’s Ancient. As teams fight, the players can earn in-game cash and experience, which they can use to strengthen their characters via powerful skills and equipment. Although the concept is straightforward, execution is not. The number of choices available to the player throughout the course of a single game gives Dota 2 enormous competitive depth. This is why understanding team strengths and how they fit into the ebb and flow of the game is the key to placing sound bets.
To get the latest DOTA 2 news, and to learn the rules of the game, you can visit our main DOTA 2 page.
Dota 2 Betting Guide – The Basics
Dota 2 is a Steam game. Therefore, it has a few internal “betting” systems, in addition to the standard 3rd-party bookie sites. For the sake of this guide, we will be focusing mainly on traditional betting using real money, but it is worth mentioning that Dota 2 has its own internal economy revolving around cosmetic game additions (skins) that have spawned a series of gambling sites and systems.. Either way, the ability to place the right bet is still going to determine whether you win or lose.
There are many places where you can wager with real money and skins legally. You can see a full list of the sites we recommend here.
Most sites give you a myriad of betting options per game. The most common of these options are:
● Standard Match Win / Best of X Games Win
This is the most straightforward betting option. You wager whether or not a team will win the match. If the match is a ‘best of” a certain number of games, you can usually place a wager on the individual games as well as the winner of the overall match.
● First Blood / First to X Amount of Kills
First blood is awarded to whoever makes the first kill in a game. Typically, you can choose which team you think will get first blood. There is also a betting format where you place a wager on which side you believe will be the first to score a certain number of kills.
Occasionally there are other options where you can choose who you think will kill Roshan first, destroy a tower, etc.
● Playing the Spread or the Over/Under
The over/under in DOTA usually refers to the amount of time it takes for a team to win, or the number of kills scored in the process of winning. You can occasionally find an over/under regarding a different stat.
An over/under bet is a wager on whether not a specific number will be hit (or not hit) regarding a particular metric. An easy example is kills. Let’s say you bet the over on 20.5 kills for team A. If team A gets 21 kills or more, you win.
A spread bet is typically when you make a wager on which team will win and by how many kills. A “-” typically refers to the favorite team, while a “+” denotes the underdog team.
Dota 2 Betting Guide – Picking the Winners
The only way to truly get good at picking winners is to spend time doing research, like reading this Dota 2 betting guide for example. The fact is, the more you know about teams and how their strengths and weaknesses match up with one another, the better your chances of making a smart bet. You can read through some of our match predictions and you will get a good handle on what to look for when evaluating your options. These articles will help you to wrap your head around the large number of variables worth weighing in a match.
The better you know the teams and players, the more you will be able to see critical opportunities. High payout underdog bets are crucial to making sustainable betting profits. However, it takes a lot of research to be good at picking out which matches are ripe for an upset.
5 Stages of Placing a Smart DOTA 2 Bet
Once you decide that you want to place a bet, there are a series of steps you should take to evaluate the bet properly. Here in our Dota 2 betting guide, we’ll help you learn how to determine whether a bet is worth the risk, and if so, how much of a risk you should take.
1. Look at the Match Setting
Remember that many matches are a “best of” series. A BO5 (best of 5 games), for example, would be a contest to see which team was the first to win three matches. When you are evaluating matches for possible bets, remember that a BO1 can be very unpredictable, while a BO3 or BO5 will have a much more predictable outcome based on team quality. You should be very careful when placing bets on a “sure thing” in BO1 matches. On the other hand, an underdog bet in a BO1 may just be worth the risk for the more substantial payout and higher upset chance.
2. Give Each Team an Unbiased Review
The odds are often a poor indication of a team’s ability versus the other. Certain teams and players have a loyal fan following that often skews the odds one way or another. Finding these fan favorites and betting against them in reasonably even matchups is a perfectly reasonable way to place moderate risk/high reward bets.
You need to examine a team’s history in the context of the upcoming match’s variables. How do they do against teams with particular strategies? What strategy can you expect their opponent to employ? Is this their regular roster? How have they been doing lately?
There are dozens of questions worth asking. We will get more in-depth with team evaluations in the next section.
3. Pick the Bet You Think Has the Best Chance of a Payout
Once you have evaluated the teams and players, it is time to decide on what bets you think have the highest chance of paying out.
Is a specific player great for getting first blood? Is he likely to be matched up against an opponent who is weak in the early game? If so, a first blood bet may be a smart choice.
Is it a BO5 game and one team is consistently better than the other? Or is it a BO1 and the underdog has been known to force upsets? Look at your options and the reality of the teams on hand.
Those who can regularly turn a profit in Esports betting are masters of sniffing out these opportunities.
4. Weigh the Risk of the Bet Against the Return
Even if you are sure that a team has a 95% chance to win, it may still not be a smart bet. Betting on the heavy favorites, though they are more likely to succeed, is not a method that will pay out in the long run. The returns are minimal and one or two upsets can wipe out your profits.
You should place bets where the risk is moderate, but the return will be high. With proper judiciousness in the amounts you wager, and a good eye for underdogs with a shot, you have a pathway to real net profits. We will get more into this in the section on Underdog Betting below in another section of our Dota 2 betting guide.
5. Bet What You Can Afford to Lose
We will also cover this in more detail shortly, as well as methods for determining how much you should wager (See the section on The Kelly Strategy below in our Dota 2 betting guide), but it is worth mentioning here that when you are placing your bet you should never go all in. Frustration or the false belief in a sure thing have ruined many a gambler. You need to take smart risks with strategic amounts of money.
Dota 2 Betting Guide – Evaluating a Dota 2 Team
A Dota 2 game has two teams of five. Each member of the team plays a specific role. It is important you understand these roles and how well each team handles them. Supports, offlaners, hard carries and midlaners, these are all terms you need to understand if want to evaluate a team properly.
Here in our Dota 2 betting guide, we’ve taken the time to explore the most basic roles. Keep in mind that this is in no way a comprehensive list. Teams often deviate from these roles, depending on their strategies. Sometimes, these roles may also overlap.
1. The Hard Carry
Also referred to as the “position 1”, the carry’s role is in the name itself, to carry the game for his team. His role is to dominate his lanes, make use of every inch of space made for him by his team, and farm as fast as possible. Heroes played as hard carries typically make little to no impact early in the game. They also need constant support during the first 15 minutes, either directly or indirectly, so as to farm the necessary items they need.
2. The Midlaner
Also referred to as the “position 2”, the midlaners are typically the superstars of their team — they’re the ones who man the hotly contested middle lane and set the tone for the rest of the game. Although the middle lane has devolved into more of a 2-vs-2- or 3-vs-3 matchup, high mechanical skill and map awareness are still important skills that a good midlaner possess.
Note: Some teams switch between their position 1 and 2 players, depending on the makeup of their own lineup and that of their opponent’s.
3. The Offlaner
Also referred to as the “position 3”, the offlaner’s task is simple — disrupt the enemy carry’s farm while soaking up levels. Heroes often chosen to play in the offlane are those who require levels more than equipment to make an impact on the game. More often than not, they are tanky, capable of falling back into the jungle to catch up in farm, and have skill sets that make them great initiators.
4. The Roamer/Ganker
Also referred to as the “position 4”, a roamer or ganker’s job is to be as annoying as possible for the enemy team. They typically go in and out of lanes throughout much of the early game, providing support when necessary. Also, depending on a team’s playstyle, the roamer or ganker may act as a 4th-core for the team, with the position 5 player, or the hard support, taking in as little farm as possible and buying all the support items (wards, smokes, dusts).
5. The Hard Support
Also referred to as the “position 5”, the hard support does all the little things for the team. They’re the ones who buy wards, smokes, dusts, and gems, all of which are crucial to securing the map and winning the game. Team captains often play as the hard support, as the role allows them more freedom to direct and coordinate the team.
Note: It is not unusual for teams to switch between their position 4 and 5 players. There are also teams who switch between their position 1 and 3 players, as well as shuffle between their supports, but this doesn’t happen too often, especially in the game’s highest levels.
How Player Roles Factor into the Odds
Look at how each team utilizes their players and the overall strategy they prefer to play. Some teams are very aggressive and push team fights while others prefer careful ganking and a slower pace. Check the preferred approach of each team, and which tactics have proven most effective against them. You will occasionally find an underdog team that excels at a particular strategy that just happens to be the Achilles heel of another.
Make sure to also look at a team’s matchup history with their upcoming opponent. Checking the rosters of each team for both the wins and the losses, then compare that to the roster for the next match.
You should also look at the current streak a team is on. Players in esports are typically much younger than players in other sports and are more prone to the effects of morale and momentum on their playing ability. So, don’t forget to check out the consistency of each team and if one or the other have been playing poorly, or well, lately.