Defender of the Ancients 2, better known as Dota 2, is a popular Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) produced by Valve. Dota 2 has received a lot of attention in recent years as it has continually boasted the highest prize pool tournaments, with 2018's The International topping $25 million USD. This has helped Dota 2 grow into one of the most popular esports worldwide, and with that comes a lot of betting opportunities!
Dota 2 Basics
Dota 2 is played between two teams of five players. The game starts with a hero select phase, called the draft, where teams pick and ban their hero lineup. With over 100 heros available, each having their own mechanics and interactions, this means no two Dota 2 games are alike. Midnite will often allow betting during the draft, even if there will not be in play betting for the map.
Once the draft is decided, the map starts. Team start on opposite sides of the map - one on the Radiant side (bottom left) and one on the Dire side (top right). The goal of the map is to destroy your opponents' ancient (base structure) while defending your own.
Like most MOBAs, small minions called creeps spawn at your base / ancient, and walk across the map, attacking in their path. The map is divided into three lanes (top, middle, bottom), and each team has three towers defending each lane, plus an additional two towers defending their ancient.
There are several neutral creeps that spawn around the map that either team can kill. Roshan is the strongest neutral creep on the map, and he drops such powerful rewards that killing him becomes a primary late game objective.
Killing creeps, killing heroes and destroying structures reward the player with gold that he can use to buy items that provide a strategic advantage.
Whichever team destroys the enemy's ancient first wins the map. A series can be anywhere from a single map, to a best of seven, depending on the tournament or league structure.
Betting on Dota 2
There are a huge number of factors that influence who wins a given series of Dota 2. Before betting, you should consider the following to help determine who you think is going to take the victory.
Overall Team Strength
As with any esport, when analyzing how teams will perform, the most important factor to consider is overall team strength. Which team has the stronger roster? Is either team playing with a substitute or stand in? Has any team been hot or cold recently?
Draft Composition and Win Condition
Understanding the draft and each teams' win condition is pivotal when betting in play. Different drafts will have different win conditions - some drafts will feature a lot of heroes whose strengths peak early - such a composition would be looking to end the game quickly. A draft with more late game could put themselves in a comfortable position by simply defending and doing what they can to extend the game. Dota 2 is a game about power spikes and understanding how drafts match up can often be more of an art than a science.
Radiant / Dire Side Bias
Although roughly balanced, there are some distinct advantages to each side of the map. The map will change from patch to patch, so it's important to track recent trends to see if there is any bias between the radiant and dire side. If so, this bias should be accounted for - especially when betting in play, or betting on multi-map series. If there is a strong radiant / dire bias, you'd expect teams to swap from radiant to dire from one map to the next.
First / Second Pick Bias
One team will decide on which side of the map they want, the other gets to decide if they want first or second pick. Often second pick is more desired, as this secures the coveted last pick. The first / second pick will also change from patch to patch. In certain metas, having last pick will be more important. Take a look at recent statistics to see if this is a relevant factor in today's meta.
Net Worth / Experience
When in play, net worth and net experience leads can give an indication of who is currently winning. The current net worth lead is always shown on the scoreboard. Normally, this is a better indicator of who is winning than the kill score.
LAN vs Online
Larger tournaments will take place in arenas on local area networks (LAN) - other smaller tournaments or qualifiers will be purely online. Some teams play very differently in front of a crowd instead of at their own computer at home. Some can handle the pressure, and others fold. It's important to look at how each team has performed in the past to try to wager how they will match up.
Past Head-to-Head Series
A team's past performance is generally a strong predictor of how they will perform today. If there are past series between the teams that are playing today, evaluate how these previous match ups played out. This is particularly useful if there are map picks in common. The more recent a past match, the more reflective it should be of the current teams' strengths.
Consider the importance of the map or series that you're looking at. Strong teams tend to play their best at big events - underdogs may have a better shot in online events. Occasionally, due to tournament design, there will be series that do not affect the chances of either team advancing - in this case there is much less incentive for teams to try their hardest, and underdogs have a good shot to win.
Dota 2 Bets on Midnite
There's quite a variety of events that you can bet on during a Dota 2 series - here's what you can find at Midnite:
Match Winner is a bet on the overall winner of the series.
Match Handicap is a standard handicap bet on the number of maps won.
Map Winner is a bet on who will win a specific map in the series. There shouldn't be a big change in odds between maps for Dota 2 markets.
Correct Score is a bet on the exact correct final score of the series.
We have Race to 5, 10, 15 and 20 Kills bets that will be offered for certain Dota 2 maps. Whichever team reaches this kill score on the scoreboard first wins the bet. Only kills that show up on the scoreboard count (ie hero denies do not count).
The First Blood bet is a bet on which team will score the first kill of the map. This will be graded using the in game scoreboard - so any hero denies will not count.
The Team to Slay the First Roshan is a bet on which team can first kill the neutral creep Roshan. Killing Roshan is an important objective in Dota 2 as he drops valuable rewards that can help close out the map.
The Total Kills Odd/Even is simply a bet on whether the total number of kills on the map will be odd or even. This is graded using the in game scoreboard - meaning that hero denies will not count.
Total Maps Played is a bet on whether the total number of maps played in the series is over or under the specified strike. In a best of 3, this is a bet on whether or not Map 3 gets played - the Under wins when either team wins 2-0, and the Over wins when the third map gets played.
For historical Dota 2 statistics, visit DotaBuff. They provide results, drafts, build orders, and networth and experience charts over time.
Another great site for Dota 2 stats is DatDota - run by Noxville. There you can run detailed queries against a database of historical series.