Watching the best Overwatch teams in the world compete at such high stakes is an exciting event on its own, but making a bet ramps up the excitement.
Compared to many of the other top games on the esports circuit, Overwatch is a very new game. Blizzard released the first person shooter in May of 2016 to critical acclaim. With over 25 playable characters to choose from, players have a wide array of options to try out and to find what works best for them. The meta for this game is also quite complex due to all of these characters and the optimal ways to play with and against them.
Blizzard definitely created Overwatch with a potential future in esports in mind. The ladder system in the game’s competitive modes allowed for the top players in the world to climb to the highest ranks to help team organizers assemble teams. The bright and colorful animations and characters also help to differentiate Overwatch from more reality-based first person shooters like Call of Duty or Counter-strike.
In 2017, Blizzard founded the Overwatch League, which currently features 20 teams. This league looks to emulate the style of conventional sports by having teams in specific cities around the world to help boost local fan interest. Thanks to widespread support from sponsors and from fans on Twitch, the league has exceeded early expectations and is expected to continue to grow in the coming years.
This is an exciting time to be an Overwatch fan. Because the game and its fan base are still growing in the esports community, knowledgeable fans of teams and strategies can get a leg up on picking winners and succeeding in Overwatch betting.
Overwatch betting works a lot like betting on traditional sports does. Bettors are tasked with selecting what team will win the match, and their eventual payout will be determined by how likely or unlikely the team’s win was perceived to be by the oddsmakers.
With the exception of the rare perfectly even matchup in which both sides are going off at the exact same odds (known in betting circles as a “pick’em”), the vast majority of matches have a betting favorite and a betting underdog. The favorite is the team that is expected to win based on its superior talent or a favorable matchup against an opponent while the underdog is the team considered less likely to win.
Winning bets on a favorite will pay less than winning bets on an underdog. How much you will receive for a winning bet on either side is determined by the betting odds on the matchup.
Being able to read betting odds is essential for Overwatch betting so that you are able to determine whether or not you are getting a price you feel is right on your wager. Most sportsbooks that cater to North American players list their betting odds in the American odds format.
An example line for an Overwatch match listed in American odds would be GEEKSTAR (-220) vs. BM Hawk (+160). Any betting line preceded by a “-” is the amount that a bettor would have to wager to win a profit of $100. So in this instance, at -220, a winning $220 wager on GEEKSTAR would pay you back your $220 and a profit of $100. This payout ratio will stay the same regardless of how much you bet; at -220, a $44 bet will pay out $20 and an $880 bet will pay out $400 if it wins.
Conversely, odds preceded by a “+” indicate how much a bet of $100 would pay out. So at +160, a $100 bet on BM Hawk would get you your $100 back and a $160 profit. A bet of $300 would pay out $480 on a win and a bet of $75 would pay out $120.
Another format that some sportsbooks list their odds in is decimal odds. The example match listed above would appear as GEEKSTAR (1.45) vs. BM Hawk (2.6). When figuring out what your total payout will be using decimal odds, you just have to multiply your desired bet size by the decimal listed. For example, a $220 bet on GEEKSTAR would pay $220 x 1.45 = $320, your $220 back and a $100 profit. Regardless of what format the odds are listed in, the risk and payout will be the same.
As mentioned above, the most traditional type of bet is a wager on who will win the match outright. These bets on one side or the other are called moneyline bets, and the odds on them vary greatly depending on the teams involved. Two evenly matched teams might both be listed at -115 while a massive favorite could be listed at -1500 against a +800 underdog.
In many competitive esports matches, the moneyline is a viable option on both sides as both teams have a very realistic chance to win. But in games that feature two less evenly matched team and one clearly superior side, betting the game on the spread can be an attractive option.
In a regular season game in the Overwatch League, the teams play four maps with the goal of being the first to three wins. For the purpose of season tiebreakers, each match plays all four games even if the match has already been decided with one team jumping out to a 3-0 lead. In the event that the two teams are tied after all four games have been played, a tiebreaker map is played to determine the winner.
As a result of this format, the ultimate victory in a four-game match is a 4-0 win. Say for example that the Los Angeles Valiant are a -950 favorite facing the Shanghai Dragons (+500). The Valiant are the far better team and are likely to win this game 4-0, so a bet on the Dragons to win outright is so extremely unlikely that it isn’t worth playing.
Instead, a bettor who thinks Shanghai might exceed expectations in this match could instead look at the spread. This match might be listed with a spread of Los Angeles -2.5 (-115) vs. Shanghai +2.5 (-120). Since this bet calls for Los Angeles to win by a margin of at least 2.5 games, the Valiant must win by a score of exactly 4-0 or 3-0 (with one tie). If the Shanghai Dragons win just one map, a 3-1 loss would still pay out for Shanghai +2.5 bettors because Los Angeles only won by two games.
While moneyline and spread betting are the popular options for bets on single events, futures wagers are bets on the results of a future event, such as a certain team winning the league championship or a tournament. Odds on these long-term wagers are constantly changing throughout the season or tournament based on how teams are doing, but the price you bet them at is locked in for the duration of the event.
Lastly, prop bets are specific in-match bets that Overwatch bettors can make. Due to how early it is in Overwatch’s presence in esports, less props are generally offered on Overwatch matches than there are on other games such as Counter-strike: Global Offensive and League of Legends.
Still, some books offer some in-game options including specific map results. Map betting allows bettors to bet on which team will win one specific map, and this bet is graded as a winner or loser based only on this map and is independent of the final score of the match.
Due to the limited amount of prop betting options generally offered on Overwatch, most online sportsbooks are about the same when it comes to Overwatch betting. These sportsbooks will all feature moneyline and spread options which are all many bettors are looking for. Those looking for specific types of props will need to explore their options in-depth, but for most players, the options will be quite similar.
In the end, an Overwatch bettor should select an online sportsbook that offers the best prices and has the most user-friendly interface. BetDSI is a great option for esports betting as it often lists game lines days in advance of the events. Other sportsbooks to bet on Overwatch include Bovada, Sports Betting and Intertops.