Anyone who follows esports closely will know that the industry has been experiencing rapid growth over recent years.
Esports betting is also increasing in popularity at quite the rate. This has prompted more and more bookmakers to start providing various betting opportunities for those interested in trying to make money off their favorite games and tournaments.
There are no signs of slowing down, and as I have pointed out in the blog before, I expect that esports betting will only continue to get bigger. 2018 saw record numbers in both live and online audiences and tournament prize money.
I will review what happened in my favorite tournaments this past year and look at the betting opportunities they could provide in 2019.
The International (Dota 2)
It’s the biggest of them all. The International is a Dota 2 tournament in which 18 teams compete for the grandest prize in esports.
In 2018, the event was hosted in Vancouver and wrapped up after ten days of intense competition featuring the best Dota players on the planet.
The prize pool was a whopping $25,532,177 – a clear testament to the fact that the industry has grown immensely.
Team OG, the eventual winners, got to pocket 44% of that for a cool $11,234,158. This is a life-changing amount, and it’s spectacular that esports can now provide such an opportunity for pro gamers.
The prizes are so lucrative that even fourth-placed Team Liquid got over $1,000,000. As you can imagine, the tournament is the pinnacle for not only the pros but for the fans and bettors as well. It is the event that esports betting sites typically provide the biggest selection of markets for.
The tournament is scheduled to start on August 20th this year. If you are planning on betting on esports this coming season, the Dota 2 International should definitely be one of your first priorities.
League of Legends World Championship
League of Legends is arguably the most popular game around, so it’s no surprise that the World Championship is part of every esports fan’s calendar. The 2018 edition was staged in multiple cities in South Korea and was the most-watched esports event in history.
The tournament lasts for over a month, and 130 players from 24 teams compete for the prize, which is not too shabby, to say the least. The winner in 2018, Invictus Gaming, pocketed $2,418,750 of the $6,450,000 money pool.
It was the team’s first-ever triumph in the tournament, and it confirms a popular trend among bettors. The LoL World Championship has a history of big upsets and is basically considered the most unpredictable event on the esports calendar.
If you do your research, there will be plenty of opportunities to capitalize on that with great betting value. There is still no official information on when exactly the tournament will be played, but based on previous years, I expect it will kick off in early October.
DAC (Dota 2)
The DAC is short for Dota 2 Asia Championships. Its 2018 edition was hosted in Shanghai, and it gathered the top 16 teams in the Dota world.
Although its prize money pool has somewhat diminished in the past years, it is still one of the biggest and most prestigious Dota tournaments around.
Last year’s winner was Mineski, who fought off favorites LGD gaming for the prize of $370,000 out of the $1,000,000 prize pool.
The event is considered by many as the grand rehearsal for the year’s International tournament, where the big money is. After all, Mineski won more by coming in the 9th-12th position there than by winning the DAC.
So, as a bettor, this tournament can be a good opportunity for you to check up on the players’ form and catch some surprises, as the stakes are not as high for the top teams. It usually takes place at the start of April, and I expect it will be around that time again this year.
Halo World Championship
Undoubtedly, this is the top Halo event in the schedule. The game cannot compete with the popularity of both Dota and LoL, but it still provides a good opportunity for pro players, mainly through this tournament.
The 2018 edition had a prize money pool of $1,000,000, and the winner, Splyce, got half of that, which is a very solid percentage.
It was another big tournament in 2018 in which the winner claimed their first-ever title. Splyce wasn’t the bookies’ favorite, but if you followed them closely, you could see they represented a good value.
Prior to the World Championship, they made some changes to their roster and were able to win a couple of ranking tournaments.
It was another example of the importance of player chemistry and form going into a big tournament. I expect the finalists, TOX Gaming, will be looking for revenge, so I will definitely be closely watching what happens this year.
There is still no official information on the exact dates. For now, what I can say is that they usually host it in March or April, so be on the lookout for more info on that.
Call of Duty World League Championship
The sixth edition of the biggest Call of Duty event of the year was held in 2018 in Columbus, Ohio. The champion is determined after five days of battle between 32 teams playing the World War II release of the game.
A total of 7,077,462 viewers were estimated to have watched the tournament live on Twitch and other streaming platforms. The tournament was won by team Evil Geniuses, and they took home $600,000 out of the $1,500,000 money pool.
It is one of the big esports tournaments, so there are bound to be many outrights and in-play markets provided by the bookies. The matches are long, so you have the opportunity to monitor how the teams are faring and make your wagers on account of their form in the tournament.
The Call of Duty regular-season campaign in 2019 will start in February, and the World League Championship is expected to kick off in August.
FACEIT Major: London (CS:GO)
There are several CS:GO major tournaments in the pro schedule, but I am going with the one in London for a couple of reasons. The main one is that it gives away the biggest money prize in the game. The winner takes 50% out of $1,000,000, so pro teams are bound to be very interested in the event.
Also, in 2018, Team Astralis won their first-ever FACEIT Major in some style. It looked like the stage was set for NaVi to take the gold, but the Danish team stepped up their game big time.
I wouldn’t say Astralis was an underdog there, but they definitely weren’t the bookies’ clear favorites. The tournament was another example of how close inspection of the teams can pay off in the end.
Astralis made a change to their lineup prior to the London Major, and it was evident that the chemistry with the new recruit was getting better.
Coupled with how they started the tournament, there was a lot of betting value to be gained by backing them. As I have pointed out in my review of the tournament, I believe Astralis and NaVi have the quality to dominate the CS:GO scene, so definitely keep an eye on both organizations.
FACEIT has not yet released concrete information on when the tournament will take place in 2019, but last year, its start date was the 5th of September. I expect it will be similar this season, but be sure to check our blog for updates.
Other Notable Tournaments
Here are a few other notable tournaments to consider betting on.
- SMITE World Championship
- This tournament is usually scheduled early in the year to serve as a wrap-up for the official SMITE ranking season. Ten teams compete for the prize pool. Last year, the total prize pool was $785,000, and the winner took $600,000.
- Overwatch League
- This league follows the North American model in sports. It has regular and postseason plays, plus an all-star game. A total of $3,500,000 was available to the participants in the league’s first season in 2018. Given that it runs from January to August, there are bound to be many betting opportunities you can take advantage of.
- Crossfire Stars
- This tournament takes place in China, where 16 teams divided into four groups are gunning for the top prize. The two top teams progress to the knockout stage. The winner of the 2018 grand final went home with a cool $500,000. Last year, the event was in December, and the information was released in September. I expect this year to be similar, but in any case, you will have plenty of time to prepare your strategy.
Wrapping It Up
Everything points to the fact that 2019 is going to be a huge year for esports bettors. Sources, streaming services, and betting markets are all growing. This is essential, as stats and diverse sportsbooks are an integral part of any good betting strategy.
The increasing popularity also serves as a magnet to thousands of bettors around the world, so you will have to make an extra effort to stay updated on all things and be on your toes.
Don’t forget to check out our expert guide to real money esports betting and enjoy the ride! After all, there’s nothing cooler than making money from watching your favorite video games.
I will be following the events closely, so be sure to visit the blog regularly for the most recent news, picks, and analysis. And don’t forget to let me know which ones are your favorite esports tournaments in the comment section below.
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The Biggest and Best Esports Tournaments to Bet on in 2019January 13, 2019