A Quick Guide for Betting on Dota 2

We know how complicated betting on Dota 2 matches can be. Even after putting in the time to research and analyze the respective matches to come up with our predictions, we still come up short at times. The better teams don’t always win, while the upsets we predict to happen don’t always happen. But that’s just how it is, you take risks in Dota 2 and betting in general. However, there’s a difference between taking a necessary risk and diving head straight into betting without a real plan in mind.

Below, we’ll teach you how to bet more wisely and make bank betting on Dota 2.

Click here for our Dota 2 betting guide that covers other aspects of betting on Dota 2.

The Basics

Betting on Dota 2

Match Formats

In Dota 2, there are five types of match formats used in tournaments: BO1, BO2, BO3, BO5 and BO7. As you’ll soon learn, the different match formats play a key role in determining the winners and losers.


Although frowned upon by the Dota 2 community in general, best-of-one matches are very common in Dota 2 and are definitely something to look out for when betting. Because of their unpredictable nature, BO1s are prime pickings for those looking to make a play by rooting for the underdogs. But what makes BO1s in Dota 2 so different is because while a team may be perceived as underdogs, they “might” be better in a BO1 context because of how they are able to cheese a win.

“Cheese” refers to an all-in strategy where teams go for very unusual picks and team compositions that seldom works twice. Often, it revolves around a particular hero pick, like Meepo or Broodmother, or hero combos such as Visage and Drow Ranger, or Wisp + Tiny, among others.

If an underdog team is particularly adept at playing such cheesy strategies, then placing a bet on them could prove to be worth the risk.


BO2 are not frequently used in Dota 2, but they do happen. If it does, then don’t miss out a chance to make a safe bet. Why? Because, more often than not, underdogs can take at least one game, and because your predicted team only has to win one game to win.

Put simply, regardless of whether you’re betting on who’s going to win, or if you’re going for an all-in bet, you shouldn’t miss out a chance to bet on a BO2 matchup.


BO3s are arguably the most commonly used format in tournaments and are easy to bet on if you do your research on the two teams beforehand. This is especially true if you’re playing it safe because underdogs very rarely upset the favourites. But if it’s between two teams of relatively similar skill levels, then it becomes rather difficult to predict the outcome.


BO5s are often only seen once per tournament in the Grand Finals and because both teams are likely equally matched, predicting how it will turn out can be rather difficult. Although as a general rule of thumb, it’s usually the odds-favoured team that wins it all.


Betting on Dota 2

When it comes to betting on Dota 2, there are three “unofficial” odds that you should know: the powerhouses, the underdogs, and the fan favourites.

The Powerhouses

So-called because of their consistently strong performance, the powerhouses are often heavily favoured against other teams unless they are up against other powerhouses. Betting on powerhouses is best if you’re playing it safe, but keep in mind the returns aren’t always worth it, especially when you consider just how much you’re going to lose if an upset happens.

The Underdogs

In a match between powerhouses and underdogs, the odds are usually around 75%-25% if not even more skewed towards the favour of powerhouses. But when it’s between two underdogs or relatively unknown teams, the odds become much closer if not even.

Underdogs are a worthwhile pick in BO1 and BO2 matchups because of the unpredictable nature of the former and because the latter usually ends in a 1-1 score.

The Fan Favourites

Fan favourites tend to skew the odds in their favour, even if they are performing badly. Though this doesn’t happen often as much nowadays, it still does happen. Teams like Alliance, Natus Vincere, compLexity Gaming, and to some extent, Evil Geniuses and OG, often have slightly better odds than they should have, especially against markedly stronger teams, because of how popular they are.

You will encounter these types of odds A LOT when betting on Dota 2. It’s quite tempting to pick them, especially as underdogs, because of the strength of their name. But unless they have shown signs of performing well recently, avoid doing so at all costs. Instead, go for the safe pick, or skip the match entirely.

Never Bet on the Odds

Betting on Dota 2

Image via Virtus.Pro

When betting on Dota 2, it’s quite tempting to make a pick based on the odds alone. After all, the more skewed the odds are towards a particular team, the more likely they are to win. Or at least, that is how it is, right? But that’s not exactly entirely true. Although the odds are a representation of the difference in strength between teams, they are not always representative of the actual odds of a particular match.

For example, teams like Fnatic and compLexity Gaming are a great pick in BO1 matches because of the threat of them cheesing a win, regardless of what the odds say. Coincidentally, betting against Team Secret and Virtus.Pro in a BO1 isn’t exactly the smartest idea. Although both are known as powerhouses and top-tier teams, they are not above cheesing wins with unconventional picks like Broodmother and Meepo when necessary.

The odds also don’t always take into consideration the difference playing with another player makes, be it a stand-in or a full-time replacement. A good example is how OG recently found themselves the butt of jokes after losing to Team Moriarty, a relatively unknown Dota 2 team. What most people tend to forget is that OG were without Roman “Resolut1on” Fominok and were playing with their coach Sébastien ‘7ckngMad‘ Debs as a stand-in instead.

With odds ranging from at least 116:1, betting sites obviously failed to take into consideration the impact of playing with another player on OG’s lineup.

Roster Changes and Vacations

Speaking of playing with different players, roster changes are a huge part of Dota 2, albeit less so these days with the introduction of the Dota Pro Circuit and the penalties that came with frequently reshuffling rosters. In any case, teams who went through recent roster changes are a good pick to lose because a new player is still adjusting to their playstyle. Perhaps one of the very few exceptions to this is Virtus.Pro and how they quickly found success after adding Vladimir ‘RodjER‘ Nikogosyan into their lineup prior to the roster lock.

As a rule of thumb, it’s never a good idea to bet on the first few matches that a team is playing with a new roster or a team that recently came from a vacation. A good example of this is when Team Secret and other Chinese teams underperformed at the Katowice Major, which was scheduled right after the Chinese New Year. On the other hand, you’ll want to bet against such teams because they’re still likely trying to find their footing.


Betting on Dota 2

Team OG lost in a 116:1 upset against Team Moriarity in the European Qualifiers for MDL Changsa with 7ckingMad standing in for Resolut1on (OG)

When doing research prior to matches when betting on Dota 2, DotaBuff and DatDota are two of the most useful tools that will help you analyze the various factors that come into play when two teams square off, like their previous history against each other and how well the particular teams have been playing recently as opposed to how well they have played over the course of the past few months.

Because of the influx of Regional Qualifiers with the Dota Pro Circuit, it’s also important to take into consideration how well a team performs both online and in LANs.

Case in point, OG had only lost a handful of games heading into the Katowice Major and the Bucharest Major, but they failed to make it to the playoffs in both tournaments. Mineski have also won Regional Qualifiers more often than not this season but seem to have struggled in LANs against international opponents compared to other Southeast Asian teams like Fnatic and TNC Pro Team.

Final Thoughts

Betting on Dota 2 matches isn’t easy. It takes a lot of skill, effort and luck to come up with a string of successful picks and turn it into a profitable venture. Hopefully, our Dota 2 guide has helped you to understand how to be smarter when it comes to betting.

What are other tips that you think those who are new to betting on Dota 2 should take into consideration? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.

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