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What is Dota 2?

Dota 2 - Defence Of The Ancients is a multiplayer online battle arena game that pulls in thousands of players a month. Find out how to place bets on Dota 2.

At its peak it boasted an impressive 1.3 million active players in a single month (March 2016), and over the last year it has still been able to pull in an average of 820k per month. Dota 2 is still one of the top 10 most watched games on Twitch with 33 million hours of content watched in March 2020 alone.

How does Dota 2 work?

Described simply, two teams of five players compete to destroy the opposing team’s ‘Ancient’ - which is a well-guarded structure found at the back of their respective bases.

Before each match players must select a character, known as a hero - who all have one primary attribute of strength, agility, or intelligence. A player will generally pick a hero that fits their play style, however, it is important that each player also picks one that will work well with their teammates, whilst also being effective against the opposing team’s choices.

Another important aspect to understand is the map. It is square and split in half diagonally, with each half belonging to a particular team. There are three paths (which are known as lanes) linking the two teams’ bases, with a neutral space in between them known as the ‘jungle’ - which can be used to switch between the lanes.

Each team has a variety of defensive systems dotted along the lanes inhibiting enemy progression into their territory. These are in the form of structures such as towers or barracks - and even computer controlled beings called ‘creeps’. There are even neutral versions of these, that spawn in the jungle and attack both teams.

Destroying these creatures and other dangers causes your character to gain more experience and abilities - as well as earning you gold, which can be used in the shop to buy improved weapons and defensive items.

As each game progresses, the heroes from opposing teams inevitably meet either in one of the three lanes or the jungle and fight. The loser of these skirmishes regenerates back at their base in a place called the ‘fountain’ and the victor can progress deeper into enemy territory.

Well-seasoned players of the game approach it in a highly-tactical manner, coordinating with each other in order to destroy the enemy’s defence systems as well as their heroes, until eventually they’ve worked their way to the centre of the opposing team’s base and can destroy the Ancient.

Placing bets on Dota 2

Moneyline: This is the simplest bet you can make, on who the overall winner will be in games ranging from best-of-ones to even best-of-fives. Draws are only possible in clashes of just two games.

Map betting: A bet on the outcome of one map (which is one round in the overall game).

Overs/Unders: A bet on whether a statistic in the game (such as total kills or the combined score of the two teams) will be over or under a certain amount.

Negative map advantage: Like with betting on football, where you can bet on a team to win the match at -1.5 or -2.5 (meaning your chosen team wins by two goals in the first instance and three in the second) you can do the same with Dota 2 based by how many games a team wins an overall match. So, a bet on ‘Team Secret’ -1.5 would mean they win a best-of-three match 2-0 for example.

Positive map advantage: This is simply the opposite of betting on a negative map advantage - you’re betting on your chosen team to win the overall match starting with an advantage of 1.5 maps (rounds) for example. So even if your chosen team lost 1-2, you would still win the bet.

There are a variety of other markets you can bet on, but these are five simple and easy to understand ones to get started with.

What are the biggest Dota 2 events?

There are various high-profile clashes as professional players compete on the Dota Pro Circuit in a bid to qualify for the holy grail of Dota 2 tournaments - The International. In it 18 teams compete for the share of, at the time of writing, a $34m prize fund.

Which teams are the ones to watch?

The strongest teams are often seen to be Vici Gaming, Newbee, LGD and Invictus Gaming, all coming from China. There’s also a variety of European teams including: Virtus Pro, Team Liquid and Team Secret - who are currently ranked as the best team in the world.

Where can I watch Dota 2?

This really depends on what it is you are looking for. If you are looking to gain a deeper understanding of the game and mechanics then the best place is most likely YouTube, with the numerous ‘Let’s Play’ and tutorials.

However, should you prefer to see how fast paced a live game is most Dota 2 fans watch live on Twitch – a live-streaming platform for esports and gaming.

Visit Smarkets’ esports betting page.


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