Defence of the Ancients 2, referred to most commonly by the acronym DOTA 2, is a multiplayer online battle arena video game which is free to play.
Since its initial release back in 2011, the game has gained a truly global following with many thousands of players now both casually and competitively playing across the world.
DOTA 2 has had competitive competition since the earliest days after its release and it is this competition – and the betting potential related to it – which we’ll focus on by showing you a list of the best DOTA2 betting sites available online along with some key info on how professional DOTA works.
Top DOTA2 Betting Sites & eSportsbooks
- Widest selection of eSports covered.
- Plenty of markets per event.
- Biggest opening account bonus.
- Highest possible review rating.
- Twitch integration alongside live odds.
- £10 weekly in-play free bet club.
- Uniboost bet boosts (3x daily).
- Solid welcome offer – easy to claim.
- Great bonus for smaller deposits.
- 5/5 Cheeky Punter review rating.
- Wide range of eSports bets.
- See trending & most popular eSports bets.
- Wide range of esports markets.
- Weekly free bet club (£10).
- Welcome bonus a little small.
- Only option for trading eSports.
- Back & lay bets.
- Decent sized welcome bonus.
- Good range of eSports markets & bets.
- Plenty of eSports markets.
- No eSports specific promotions.
- 300% welcome bonus.
- Better eSports options above.
- eSports betting available.
- Lacking some markets
- Can request odds.
- eSports feels a bit of an after thought.
How Does Competitive DOTA 2 Work?
DOTA 2 is a multiplayer online battle arena game in which two teams of five players compete to ultimately try and destroy the opposing team’s ‘Ancient’; a stricture which is essentially the team’s base or headquarters. In casual play, some of the characters on either team can be computer controlled but in competitive gameplay each is obviously controlled by a human player.
The DOTA 2 Map
Unlike many online games, DOTA 2 is always played on the same map, making it more like a traditional sport with a standardised playing surface. That map is split diagonally down the middle by a river, contains areas of woodland and a pit in which a dragon which teams can choose to fight lives and respawns.
The bottom left half of the DOTA 2 map is known as the ‘Radiant Side’ and is colourful and vibrant. The other half, meanwhile, is known as ‘The Dire’ and is corrupted, darker and less vibrant. Each side of the map includes one of the two ‘Ancients’ and the teams in a competitive DOTA 2 contests are known as the ‘Dire’ or the ‘Radiant’ dependent upon which of the ‘Ancients’ they are defending.
Much of the map is taken up by areas of so-called ‘Jungle’ but there are three paths along which characters can travel, known as the ‘Top Lane’, ‘Middle Lane’ and ‘Bottom Lane’. Those ‘Lanes’ are found along the map’s left and top edge, diagonally across the map’s middle and along the map’s right and bottom edge, respectively.
Characters and Gameplay
There are over 100 different playable characters in the DOTA 2 universe, all of which are known as ‘Heroes’. Each individual ‘Hero’ has a different set of skills and abilities, and choosing an efficient selection of characters is key to being successful in competitive DOTA 2.
Generally speaking, ‘Heroes’ can be split into two main categories known as ‘Carries’ and ‘Supports’, and a team will need both types of character in any given game. ‘Carries’ begin each map relatively weak and vulnerable, but can level up and strengthen through a game until they are strong enough to ‘carry’ their team’s hopes. ‘Supports’, meanwhile, don’t typically have any heavy damage dealing capabilities but can perform lots of task crucial for supporting a team’s ’Carries’.
Whilst the ultimate aim of a DOTA 2 contest is to destroy the opposition team’s ‘Ancient’, players will also spend a good deal of time fighting computer controlled characters. Neutral monsters in the map’s ‘Jungle’ and ‘Creeps’ spawned by each team’s ‘Ancient’ can be fought and killed, in order to gain both gold and experience which are crucial for gaining the upper hand in a game.
Eventually, however, one team or other will launch an attack on the opposing team’s ‘Ancient’ and it is when one of those structures is destroyed that the game is over. DOTA 2 contests have no time limits but professional, competitive contests generally last somewhere between 30 and 45 minutes.
What Are the Big Events?
Competitive DOTA 2 is big business, and there are lots of different tournaments and events held throughout the year. The biggest, most prestigious and most valuable of these events attract interest from all over the world and offer enormous prize pools. The annually held ‘The International’ tournament is by far the biggest, whilst the so-called ‘DOTA 2 Pro Circuit’ offers the most regular professional competition.
Set up by Valve as soon as DOTA 2 was launched in 2011, The International was initially aimed at persuading players to switch from DOTA to the sequel. In order to offer a proper incentive to players, the prize pool for the inaugural The International event was set at an impressive $1 million and the tournament has only grown since. Each of the next six editions of the event has offered more prize money than the last, with the latest The International competition in 2017 boasting a total prize pool of over $20 million.
DOTA 2 Pro Circuit
From 2015 onwards, Valve started to sponsor smaller but more regularly held tournaments known as DOTA 2 Major Championships. These events began to be viewed as stepping stones towards The International, with that major event starting to be known as the cumulative ‘Summer Major’. From 2017, Valve embraced that idea more officially and altered the arrangement of the ‘Majors’ to involve a larger number of more frequently held tournaments. These tournaments now collectively form the DOTA 2 Pro Circuit.
What Bet Types are Available?
Competitive DOTA 2, therefore, is far more than just an online video game, with the sheer size and professionalism of events having far more in common with a professional sport. It should come as little surprise, therefore, that the eSport has now spawned related betting opportunities. You know where to bet on DOTA 2, now lets look at what you can bet on:
Outright Tournament Markets – Many online bookmakers now price up the outright market for a large number of DOTA 2 Pro Circuit events and almost all of them will offer an outright winner market for The International each year.
To Reach the Final Markets – When they offer outright tournament winner markets, most bookmakers will also provide an associated ‘to reach the final’ market. This is a type of bet which will pay out if and when a chosen team reach the final of a tournament, regardless of how they do in that final.
Match/Game Winner Markets – The third and final type of commonly available DOTA 2 bet, is a wager on the winner of a specific match within a tournament. These bets work exactly in the same way as a match winner bet on a football or tennis match and generally offer a similar range of possible odds.