E-Sports is thriving amid the worldwide sporting apocalypse caused by COVID-19. While many in-person LAN tournaments were cancelled initially, e-Sports leagues and their players moved to a remote online format without skipping a beat – providing punters with a plethora of e-Sports betting options while traditional codes are on indefinite shutdown.
Dota 2, the beloved sequel to Defense of the Ancients, was released in 2013 and is among the most prominent video games in the e-Sports sphere, with several professional tournaments currently underway around the world.
A multiplayer online battle arena game, Dota 2 pits two teams of five players against one another. The aim is to destroy a large structure – the ‘Ancient’ – which is being defended by the other team, while also protecting their own structure. Each game is played within a single 3D map. E-Sports group stage match-ups are typically played in a best-of-three-maps format, with grand finals usually best of five maps.
If that doesn’t get you dusting off the old control pad to have a crack at the cult classic game yourself, here’s what you need to know about the Dota 2 tournaments, the teams to watch out for and the e-Sports odds on offer.
Los Angeles was set to host ESL One’s Dota 2 tournament – the scheduled third major of the Dota Pro Circuit – in mid-March. The competition was swiftly switched to an online format, which got underway on 28 March via five regional leagues around the world.
The Dota 2 ESL One winners have already been decided in the smaller North America (Evil Geniuses), South America (beastcoast), China (Royal Never Give Up) and Southeast Asia (Fnatic) leagues.
The Europe & CIS league, which boasts 16 teams divided into two groups, began on 4 April, with the group stage running until 16 April. The top two finishers in each group progress to the upper bracket of the play-offs, while the teams that land third and fourth go through to the lower bracket.
E-Sports teams don’t get more big-time than OG, who won their opening match against Team Nigma 2–0. OG created history by winning The International – effectively the Dota 2 world championships – in 2018 and 2019. Australian e-Sports superstar Anatham Pham, better known by his gaming handle ‘ana’, was integral to that triumph. Ana has won over US$6 million prize money on the pro gaming circuit but is currently taking a break.
Nevertheless, OG will start as a short-priced favourite in any group stage match they line up for. Viking.gg and Team Secret were the only other teams to win their first match by a 2–0 shut-out.
Asian Dota 2 Gold Occupation Competition
The Asian Dota 2 Gold Occupation Competition kicked off its 12th season in late March.
Defending champions Future Club have made a disastrous start to the campaign, losing their first three matches by 2–0 scorelines. Season 11 runners-up Five Brothers have been similarly disappointing, winning just one of their six group stage fixtures so far.
Hot Pot Brother carved out a 6–2 group stage record last season but are struggling for form at present, winning only two of six matches in Season 12.
The standout Asian Dota 2 Gold Occupation Competition teams include Rockets, who won just two matches last season but are currently on a five-match winning streak. Aspirations – the top team in this competition according to the Dota 2 world rankings – boast a 3–1 record.
The Masters Tournament Season 5 wrapped up on 12 March, with Team Varanid taking the lion’s share of the US$29,000 prize money pool with a 3–1 Grand Final victory over Cobra Gaming.
Season 6 is already underway – and the 10-team competition is anyone’s, with Varanid absent this time around.
Cobra Gaming have made a positive start in their bid to go one better, winning three of their first four matches. Vampire Gaming pulled off an impressive upset of Cobra last week but their three-match winning streak was ended by Panda Gaming, who are building nicely.
Revenge Gaming are also a team to watch out for – they have won five of their six matches. Revenge’s only loss so far was to Meteor, the top-ranked team in the Masters Tournament Season 6, who incredibly have lost their five subsequent fixtures.
Chinese Dota 2 Professional League
The 10 teams participating in Chinese Dota 2 Professional League Season 2 are gearing up for a lengthy stint with joystick in hand, with the competition starting on 1 April and the group stage winding up on 12 June. The top six finishers will move through to the play-offs.
PSG.LSD defeated Vici Gaming 3–2 in a thrilling Season 1 Grand Final last October. Royal Never Give Up and Invictus Gaming rounded out the top four finishers. All four teams are backing up for Season 2.
But the defending champs are on the ropes early. PSG.LSD lost to Royal Never Give Up (2–0) and Team Aster (2–0) in week 1.
Team Aster and Vici Gaming are the only teams unbeaten after their first two matches. But by e-Sports standards, the Chinese Dota 2 Professional League is a marathon rather than a sprint. Maintaining consistency will be key across this nine-week, 18-match group stage assignment.
JJB Spring Cup
The second edition of the JJB Spring Cup, a Chinese Dota 2 tournament, gets underway this week. A prize pool of US$42,000 will be divided between the top three finishers in the 12-team competition.
Keen Gaming took out the JJB Spring Cup Season 1, defeating Invictus Gaming 3–1 in the best-of-five-maps Grand Final. Neither team is back for Season 2, however, leaving this tournament wide open.
iG Vitality, For The Dream and Newbee – led by million-dollar earner Moogy – are among the Season 1 teams returning.
With a welter of Dota 2 matches being played daily across leagues big and small, there’s no shortage of Dota 2 betting options and Dota 2 odds available for punters. Head-to-head, Correct Score, Map Handicap and Total Maps markets are available on all ESL One, Asian Dota 2 Gold Occupation Competition, Masters Tournament, Chinese Dota 2 Professional League and JJB Spring Cup showdowns. Be sure to check Sportsbet’s livestreams of selected Dota 2 matches too.
Sportsbet has e-Sports betting options available on Dota 2 league matches. Bet now.