The Complete Guide to Betting on Dota 2

Defense of the Ancients 2 (Dota 2) is a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game that’s at the top of the esports world. It’s featured in a number of major esports tournaments, including The International, which offered a $25.5 million prize pool in 2018.

Dota 2 is a free game that’s available through the Steam marketplace. It’s become the platform’s most popular game, boasting millions of players throughout the world.

Dota 2 makes for a great esport when considering that it features in-depth strategy and more than 100 playable heroes. Successful players must learn these heroes’ skills and how their abilities match up against opponents.

Considering that Dota 2 is tailormade for esports, it draws heavy betting action as far as video games go. The biggest esports gambling events — meaning those with the most prop and live betting opportunities — are often associated with Dota 2.

Assuming you’re interested in wagering on the most popular esport, then you’ll definitely want to check out the following guide. I’ll discuss more on Dota 2 along with everything you should know about wagering on it.

What Is Dota 2?

Dota 2 is a MOBA from the Valve Corporation. It’s the sequel to Defense of the Ancients (DOTA), which was a community-created spin-off of Blizzard’s Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos.

Matches consist of two teams of five players. Each team tries to defend their base while also attacking the opponent’s base.

Each participant controls their own hero, which has its own unique abilities relative to other heroes. Players can collect items and experience points to power up their heroes and better defeat opponents.

The match winner is determined by the team that destroys the “Ancient” structure in the opposing squad’s base.

Again, you don’t need to spend anything to play Dota 2. Valve makes their money via microtransactions, like Dota Plus subscriptions and lootboxes.

This game is often considered one of the best video games ever, thanks to its strong production value and competitive gameplay. However, some complain that Dota 2’s learning curve is a little steep for the average player.

Despite the criticisms, this game continues to be widely played by millions across the globe. Its popularity has only been enhanced by the esports scene.

Some Dota 2 tournaments offer seven- and eight-figure prize pools. While League of Legends (LoL) rivals some of these events, Dota 2 still comes out on top in terms of tourney prize pools and streaming viewership.

The Esports Side of Dota 2

Dota 2 has been an esport since August 2011 when Valve invited 16 teams to compete in a tournament at Gamescom. This event would later become known as The International in 2013.

The International prize pool is crowdfunded through the “Compendium” battle pass. This optional in-game pass draws money from players who buy lootboxes.

25% of all Compendium revenue goes into the prize pool. Last year’s crowdfund generated over $100 million, which led to The International’s $25 million prize pool.

The Dota 2 Asia Championships is another big event. Sometimes called the “Chinese International,” it features a multimillion-dollar prize pool every year.

Tens of millions of people watch major Dota 2 matches through streaming platforms. Twitch serves as the largest platform for people to view Dota 2 action.

Live matches have also appeared on TV networks in the UK (BBC Three), US (ESPN), Germany (Sport1), China (Xinwen Lianbo), Denmark (TV 2 Zulu), and Philippines (TV5).

Where Can You Bet on Dota 2?


Up until a few years ago, many online sportsbooks didn’t offer esports betting. However, most internet bookmakers now feature esports gambling due to the industry’s rising popularity.

Given that Dota 2 is the most popular esport, you won’t have much trouble betting on it at the majority of online sportsbooks. You’ll also find dedicated esportsbooks that offer Dota 2 gambling.

Most betting sites are perfectly fine choices for placing regular bets, such as moneylines and totals. However, you’ll need to choose a larger sportsbook if you’re interested in a variety of Dota 2 prop bets and live wagers.

As with any esport, bookmakers offer the greatest variety of Dota 2 bets in the largest events. Prop bets and live wagering opportunities are available in abundance during The International and Asia Championships.

However, options become slimmer during regular tournaments. You should strongly consider visiting a prospective sportsbook and seeing what kind of Dota 2 action they offer outside of the major events.

More variety is definitely preferable when it comes to betting on this game. Choose a bookmaker that’s going to offer enough lines to keep you satisfied throughout the year.

How Do You Bet on Dota 2?

The first step to wagering on this game involves finding a bookmaker that offers Dota 2 betting action. You won’t have much trouble with this process because most sportsbooks cover Dota 2.

Of course, you should take time to thoroughly review different bookmakers and find one that ranks highly in a number of categories. You want to pick a site that is reputable, has good customer service, features plenty of Dota 2 lines, and has banking options you can use.

Many sites offer reviews on traditional sportsbooks and esportsbooks. You should read some reviews on any betting site that you’re thinking of choosing. Pay special attention to the categories mentioned above when checking out these reviews.

Upon finding a quality sports betting site, the next step is to register for an account. Here are common details that you’ll need to enter when filling out your account:

  • Name
  • Email
  • Home address/country
  • Date of birth
  • Phone number
  • Username
  • Password
  • Bonus code (if applicable)

The last step includes agreeing to the site’s terms and conditions (T&Cs) and verifying your account via email. You can either thoroughly read the T&Cs or simply click “I agree” to get started.

You’re better off actually reading the terms. But I understand if you don’t feel like reading legal language and just want to start betting.

Next, you need to fund your account. If you’ve thoroughly vetted the site, you should know what banking option(s) you can use.

Visa, Mastercard, PayPal, Neteller, Skrill, Paysafecard, and bank transfer are all examples of payment methods that are accepted by esports betting sites.

Once you’ve registered and funded your account, you’ll be ready to place bets. You simply navigate to the esports section of the site and look for available games/lines.

If you’re totally new to the betting process, then you might have some difficulty in reading the lines. This is especially true when considering that different styles of odds can be used at various sportsbooks.

Luckily, though, learning the types of lines isn’t difficult. You can quickly differentiate between American, decimal, and fractional odds with just a few moments of research.

Here’s a brief overview of how each style of odds works.

American Odds

American odds are most common at North American-facing betting sites. They use plus and minus signs to indicate underdogs and favorites, respectively.

Here’s an example:

  • Team Aster -135
  • Omega Gaming +115

You stand to win $100 for every $135 bet on the favored Team Aster. You’d win $115 for every $100 wagered on the underdog Omega Gaming.

Decimal Odds

Decimal odds are commonly found at European-based bookmakers. They show what you’d stand to win in terms of both stake and profit.

Here’s an example:

  • Keen Gaming 1.75
  • LeetPro 2.1

You would win $1.75 for every dollar bet on Keen Gaming. You stand to earn $2.10 for each dollar wagered on LeetPro.

Fractional Odds

Fractional odds are often found at UK-facing gambling sites. They show the potential profit (left) and stake (right), which are both separated by a slash.

Here’s an example:

  • NoLifer5 3/4
  • Mega Aorus 11/10

You can win $3 for every $4 wagered on NoLifer5. You’d stand to earn $11 for every $10 bet on Mega Aorus.

What Types of Dota 2 Bets Are Available?

One of the most exciting things about Dota 2 wagering is all of the different bets that you have access to. You can wager on everything from simple moneylines to more exotic live bets. Here’s a look at the various types of wagers that are available.

Moneyline

Dota 2 might seem like a complicated game when it comes to building heroes and understanding their strengths and weaknesses. But the goal of the game is actually very simple: destroy the opponent’s Ancient.

Most Dota 2 matches consist of a best-of-three format, whereby the winner must destroy the opposing team’s Ancient twice. Tournaments occasionally end with a best-of-five finale, but the best-of-three format is by far the most common.

A moneyline is a straight-up bet on which team will win the required number of rounds. Moneylines are handicapped with odds so that the betting action is more evenly distributed.

You stand to win more money by betting on the underdog, whereas you must risk more to win less with the favorite.

Here’s a moneyline example:

  • Royal Never Give Up -165
  • CDEC Gaming +135

You’re betting $165 to win $100 with Royal Never Give Up. Meanwhile, you’d stand to earn $135 for every $100 bet on CDEC Gaming.

Point Spread (a.k.a. Map Handicap)

A point spread is a bet that handicaps teams based on how much they win or lose a match by. Your chosen team doesn’t necessarily have to win the match, but rather cover their spread.

But Dota 2 isn’t like a basketball or football game, where teams often score lots of points. The match is instead determined by whichever team wins the best-of-three format.

Dota 2 point spreads, or rather “map handicaps,” are based on how many rounds a team wins. If you bet on a team with a -1.5 handicap, for example, they must win both rounds without losing (2-0 win).

If you wager on a team with a +1.5 handicap, they can lose by one round and still lead to a winning bet (2-1 loss).

Totals

Totals (a.k.a. over/under) is a wager on two teams’ combined point total in a match. You need to either bet over or under the given line.

Again, Dota 2 doesn’t feature conventional scores like traditional sports. Dota 2 totals bets are instead listed as “Total Maps.”

Here’s an example of Total Maps:

  • Over 2.5 maps/rounds -175
  • Under 2.5 maps/rounds +145

You would need a match to last all three rounds when betting the “over.” Meanwhile, you’d need the match to only go two rounds to win an “under” wager.

Dota 2 Live Betting

Live wagers are offered after a match begins. They differ from traditional bets like moneylines and totals, which must be placed before the match starts.

Sportsbooks don’t commonly offer much esports live betting action. But they do feature plenty of live wagers during major events like the Asia Championships and The International.

Many live bets are based on in-play circumstances. The underdog could jump out to a quick lead, for example, leading to an in-play moneyline where the underdog is now favored.

Dota 2 Prop Bets

A proposition bet (“prop” bet) is based on a circumstance that’s not directly tied to the final score. Here are some examples:

  • Correct map score
  • Odd/even maps
  • Map 1 first team to draw blood
  • Map 1 most kills
  • Map 1 duration

The “Map 1” designation simply means that some of these bets are only based on the first map. You’ll also find prop wagers based on Map 2 as well because at least two maps are guaranteed in each map.

Get a Dota 2 Betting Bonus

One more important step to Dota 2 betting involves securing a bonus. Most esportsbooks offer a welcome bonus consisting of a free bet and/or deposit bonus.

A free wager gives you a chance to earn back losses from your first bet. For example, a $20 free bet allows you to earn back $25 in losses.

A deposit bonus matches your first deposit up to a certain percentage. Depositing $50 under a 100% match bonus gives you an opportunity to earn up to $50 in free funds.

You must meet terms and conditions to cash in on these offers. Both deposit bonuses and free bets require you to meet rollover.

Here’s an example of rollover:

  • A sportsbook is offering a 100% match bonus up to $50
  • You deposit $30
  • You’re qualified for a $30 bonus
  • Rollover is 10x
  • 30 x 10 = 300
  • You must wager $300 total to unlock the $30 bonus

Other common T&Cs include minimum odds (e.g., -200), bonus codes (enter while depositing), and a time limit on meeting rollover. You should thoroughly read the T&Cs behind any bonus offer before going for it.

Also note that some sportsbooks offer VIP programs and/or other promotions. These deals allow you to pick up additional rewards beyond just the welcome bonus.

Conclusion

Dota 2 is currently king of the esports world and draws the most betting action. The International and Asia Championships especially offer plenty of lines, ranging from live wagering to prop bets.

Therefore, it’s worth your time to learn Dota 2 betting so that you can take advantage of the action. Understanding the game itself is a good starting point.

Dota 2 features a simple goal, with teams trying to destroy the opposing squad’s Ancient. But understanding the heroes and their different abilities can help you out when analyzing teams and making wagers.

Luckily, you won’t have any trouble finding sportsbooks that’ll accept your bets. Most bookmakers now feature Dota 2 gambling.

Of course, you don’t want to simply choose the first betting site you come across. You’ll instead do well to research sportsbooks and find out which ones rank well in terms of lines, banking options, and customer service.

The next steps include signing up and making a deposit. Registering for an account is a pretty self-explanatory process, while depositing is also easy as long as you have a banking option picked out.

You also need to understand the different odds and bet types. Refer back to this guide if you have any trouble with the odds and/or bets.

You’ll want to take advantage of a Dota 2 betting bonus wherever you bet. Most esportsbooks offer either a free bet or deposit bonus to new customers.

Wagering on Dota 2 is certainly an exciting activity. You’ll have even more fun if you already know how to place bets going into the matter.

Michael Stevens: Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016.