How to Bet on Dota 2

Dave Consolazio  | 
Given the massive popularity of Dota 2 for both players and fans alike, it is a safe bet that the game will continue to grow. (Photo courtesy of Adela Sznajder | ESL)

Given the massive popularity of Dota 2 for both players and fans alike, it is a safe bet that the game will continue to grow. (Photo courtesy of Adela Sznajder | ESL)

In the world of esports, no game is bigger or more popular than Dota 2. Short for Defense of the Ancients 2, Dota 2 is a multiplayer online battle arena game that is extremely popular to both players and esports spectators alike.

Dota 2 is free to play on Steam and is the platform’s most played game bringing in millions of different players each day. With over a hundred different heroes to choose from and all of them being free of charge to play with, Dota 2 strives to make the playing field even for all of its players without the need to pay for upgrades.

The complexity and steep learning curve for Dota 2 are what make it such a compelling game to play and watch. With so many different types of heroes and skill sets to choose from, learning the strengths and weaknesses of each one and how they best match up on teams or against opponents is a massive undertaking. The mastery that the top teams in the world have in their strategies and teamwork is remarkable.

And the skill being put on display has helped make The International, Dota 2’s annual championship tournament, the biggest tournament in all of esports with the biggest prize pools and audiences. In the 2018 International, the prize pool ballooned to over $25 million thanks to crowdfunding through battle packs available for purchase to players. OG won the tournament and scored a prize of $11,190,158.

Given the massive popularity of Dota 2 for both players and fans alike, it is a safe bet that the game will continue to grow as esports keep becoming more mainstream. Diving into the details on how the game works and how to bet on it could be very beneficial for Dota 2 bettors for years to come.

How Does Dota 2 Betting Work?

For all of the complexity in the hero builds and strategies that Dota 2 possesses, the goal of the game always remains the same; to destroy the tower on the opposing team’s side known as the Ancient. Standard competitive Dota 2 esports matches are played in a best-of-three format, though in some instances such as the grand finals the match is decided with a best-of-five.

The most common form of Dota 2 betting is on the outcome of a match. Betting on which team will win the match is known as a bet on the moneyline. Moneyline payouts differ from match to match based on many factors such as how the two teams match up and which team has the superior players. Matches are listed with betting odds so that bettors know how much winning wagers will pay out if they decide to bet on them. Whether bettors stick to moneyline bets or choose more advanced options, all bet types are accompanied by betting odds.

The championship trophy awaits the winner of the Dota 2 winner at IEM Katowice.

(Photo courtesy of Helena Kristiansson | ESL)

Understanding Dota 2 Betting Odds

Dota 2 betting odds are usually listed in one of two formats; American odds or decimal odds. Most sportsbooks use one or the other as a default, but many will allow the bettor to choose which one they prefer. Here is a look at how both of these odds formats work so that you know what to expect when getting into Dota 2 betting.

American odds are listed with a “-” or a “+” in front of them. For example, a Dota 2 matchup between Forward Gaming and the Evil Geniuses with Evil Geniuses going off as the betting favorite might be listed as Forward Gaming (+200) vs. Evil Geniuses (-300).

The number that follows a “-” indicates how much a bettor would have to wager to win $100. So in this instance, at -300, you would have to bet $300 on the Evil Geniuses to win $100. This payout ratio stays the same regardless of how much you bet as $30 would pay out $10 or $600 would pay out $200.

For the underdog Forward Gaming, the number following the “+” is how much you will profit on a $100 wager. So a bet of $100 at +200 will earn you a profit of $200, or a bet of $350 would net a profit of $700 if Forward Gaming emerges victorious in the match.

Decimal odds show you what your total payout would be instead of just your winnings. The example match above would be listed as Forward Gaming (3.00) vs. Evil Geniuses (1.33). A bet of $100 on Forward Gaming would pay $100 x 3.00 = $300, your $100 back plus a $200 profit. A $300 bet on Evil Geniuses at 1.33 would pay $300 x 1.33 = $400, your $300 back and a $100 profit.

A crowd of fans watch a competitive game of Dota 2

What Type of Dota 2 Bets Are There?

  • Moneyline
  • Totals
  • Spreads
  • Proposition Betting (aka Prop Bets)
    • First team to 10 kills
    • Which team will get first blood?
    • Who will destroy the most towers?
  • Futures
    • Who will win The International?
    • Who will win IEM Katowice?

What Can You Bet on in Dota 2?

Dota 2 betting options span far wider than just moneyline wagers on who will win the match. One such option is betting a match against the spread. In standard best-of-three Dota 2 matches, the final score will always be either 2-0 or 2-1. The spread lists the favorite at -1.5 games and the underdog at +1.5 games. Betting the favorite at -1.5 means that they must win the match 2-0 while betting an underdog at +1.5 will pay out on an outright upset or a 2-1 loss.

For example, a match between the heavily favored Team Team (-850) vs. underdog Team Xolotl (+500) will very likely end in a Team Team victory. But a spread bet of Team Team -1.5 (-170) vs. Team Xolotl +1.5 (+135) is much more competitive as Team Xolotl would only need to win one game of the three to be victorious as a +1.5 game underdog against the spread.

In addition to best-of-three matches offer a 1.5-game spread, there is also an option to bet on the total number of games at Over 2.5 games or Under 2.5 games. This wager is independent of which team wins; if either team wins 2-0, a bet on the Under 2.5 games wins, while a final score of 2-1 in either team’s favor pays out the Over 2.5 games. This can be a great wagering option for when you expect a match to be highly competitive to require a decider map or if you expect the team that wins Map 1 to finish up the match in Map 2.

Individual map betting is also an option at many sportsbooks. Dota 2 bettors can bet on each map within a match as its own unique event, betting on Map 1, Map 2 or Map 3 to be won by a specific team or to be played in over or under a certain amount of time. These types of bets give Dota 2 fans the opportunity to take advantage of their knowledge of teams that get off to slow starts or those that always seem to find a way on the game-deciding third map.

Some sportsbooks also offer even more in-depth proposition bets on each map. These bets include which team will earn first blood (the first kill of the game), which team will get to 10 kills first, which team will destroy the first tower, which team will kill the first Roshan and which team will destroy the first barracks. Given how complex Dota 2 and its strategies can be, bettors who take the time to study teams and their techniques can hone in on specific aspects of the game to take advantage of on the betting board.

Where to Bet on Dota 2

Most online sportsbooks have esports betting lines available throughout the year including betting lines on Dota 2. For bettors, that plan on sticking to the basics and betting mostly on moneylines, the spread and the total number of games in a match, virtually any sportsbooks will do. Some good options include Bovada, Intertops, and Bookmaker.

For bettors looking for more in-depth options such as the in-game proposition bets, BetDSI is one of your best options. BetDSI often posts lines for matches earlier than many of its competitors, and also offers comprehensive prop betting options on many of those matches.

Dave has been a sportswriter for over 10 years and an avid gamer since childhood. His favorite game genres are RPGs and action adventures.