If you have been following the sports betting industry in any guise over the last few years, then you will have noticed that there has been a marked increase in the number of esports betting markets available at betting providers.

For those of you new to esports and who probably think you are more likely to find them at bet365 Games, in fact, esports betting is one of the fastest growing markets in the world today. Bet365 Sport offers an extensive range of bets across esports nowadays, vastly expanding from the number of markets it had previously offered a few years back.

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So why are we talking about esports this week? Well there is a very good reason for that and that is that the two biggest esports tournament in the world, in terms of the prize money on offer and in terms of popularity with viewers and players, both get underway this week.

In this article, we are going to give you the lowdown on both these huge tournaments, taking a look at how they are organised, who the top teams are and which are the best bets you can make at the tournament, especially with a view to backing the outright winner.

And for complete esports novices we will also give you a quick idea of what to expect with each of the two games that are featured in both these huge tournaments.

League of Legends World Championships (5th October to 6th November)

League of Legends (LoL) is a multi-player online Battle Arena game (MOBA) that features two teams of five players competing against each other on a map. The aim of the game is to destroy the other teams home base (called a Nexus).

Players can select from a selection of ‘heroes’ in the game, each of which has their own special powers, strengths and weaknesses and through team strategy and skill, the team can defeat their opponents using a variety of weapons and special moves.

The World Championships are contested each year and the winners pick up the Summoner’s Cup. This year is the 11th time the Championships have been contested. The event is hosted at various venues across the world and this year’s tournament takes place in Reykjavik, Iceland.

The current holders of the World Championship are Damwon Gaming, from South Korea.

  • Tournament Organisation

The number of teams competing in the tournament has grown from 8, to 22 and the finals tournament is organised into three distinct stages, which take place after the teams have qualified for the finals through their annual qualification tournaments all over the world.

The first stage of the Finals is the Play In Stage. This features two groups, A and B of ten of the lower ranked finalists. The top team in each group after playing each team once, qualifies for the next stage of the tournament.

The teams finishing 2nd – 4th play through a Play In Play off to decide which four teams make it through to the Main Event Group Stage.

  • Play In Stage Teams

  • Group A – Hanwha Life Esports (Korea), LNG Esports (China), Infinity Esports (Thailand), PEACE (Australia), RED Canids (Brazil)
  • Group B – Beyond Gaming (Macau), Cloud9 (USA), Unicorns of Love (Russia), Galatasaray Esports (Turkey), DetonatioN FocusMe (Japan)

The Main Event Group Stage features the four qualifiers from the Play IN plus the 12 seeded teams, who are drawn into four groups of four teams. All matches are played over a best of one and in the case of teams having the same record, a tiebreaker match is used to decide first or second place in the group.

The top two teams in each group then qualify for the final stake of the tournament.

This is a knockout format with matches played over a best of five format with the winning team progressing from the quarterfinals, through to the final.

The Seeded Teams In The Main Event Group Stage have been drawn into the following groups:

  • Group A – Damwon Gaming (Korea), FunPlus Phoenix (China), Rogue (EU)
  • Group B – Edward Gaming (China), 100 Thieves (USA), T1 (Korea)
  • Group C – PSG Talon (Indonesia), Fnatic (EU), Royal Never Give Up (China)
  • Group D – MAD Lions (EU), Gen.G (Korea), Team Liquid (United States)

In addition, the four teams that qualify from the Play In will be randomly drawn into one of the four groups shown above.

LoL World Championships Betting

Korean and Chinese teams dominate the betting for the Outright winner market in the League of Legends World Championships with FunPlus Phoenix the 9/4 favourites just ahead of the current holders Damwon Gaming KIA at 10/3. Edward Gaming are 9/2, with Royal Never Give Up at 11/2.

The most successful team in World Championships history are T1 and they are 11-1 with MAD Lions and Gen.G both rated as 16/1 shots.

Outside that of that the odds on the teams drift away pretty quickl down to PEACE, who are the 1,000/1 outsiders in the event.

Experience suggests that it will be a Korean or Chinese team that wins the day here but if I was going to back a team, I’d be looking at Royal Never Give Up, who I think are excellently priced at 11/2,

League of Legends may be the most popular esports World Championships event in terms of viewing numbers, but in terms of cash prizes, The International for Dota 2 dwarfs it. The LoL Worlds has a prize fund of $2,225,000, The International prize pool currently stands at over $40 million.

Dota 2 The International (7th to 17th October)

This year’s Dota 2, the International will once again set a new record as the richest esportsDOTA 2 esports betting tournament in terms of prize money. Held in Bucharest this year, the 18 qualified teams will be battling it out for the richest ever prize in esports of over $40 million in prize money.

Dota 2 is also a battle arena game featuring multiple players and it operates in a very similar way to League of Legends. 12 teams qualified for the event through their performances on the annual Dota Pro Circuit, while six other teams qualified through a series of regional qualifiers held in different geographic regions around the world.

The International Tournament Organisation

The tournament begins with the Group Phase, which will see the 18 teams drawn into two groups of nine teams. The draw has not yet been made.

The 18 teams to have qualified are:

  • Dota Pro Circuit Qualifiers (12) – Evil Geniuses, PSG.LGD, Virtus.pro, Quincy Crew, Invictus Gaming, T1, Vici Gaming, Team Secret, Team Aster, Alliance, beastcoast, Thunder Predator.
  • Regional Qualifiers (6) – Team Undying (North America), SG Esports (South America), OG (Western Europe), Team Spirit (Eastern Europe), Elephant (China), Fnatic (Southeast Asia)

The top four teams from each group are seeded into the Upper Bracket, while the teams finishing 5th to 8th in each group are seeded into the Lower Bracket. The teams finishing in last place in each group are eliminated from the event at this stage.

After this the Main Event Starts with a double bracket elimination event seeing one team qualify for the Final from the Upper Bracket, with losers from the Upper Bracket dropping into the Lower Bracket. One team from the Lower Bracket will qualify from the Grand Final.

The two finalists then compete to earn the richest cash prize in esports.

Dota 2 The International Betting

The in form PSG.LGD have been the long-time favourites to win the tournament at 6/4, with Team Secret and Evil Geniuses both 6/1, Elephant, Virtus.Pro and winners of the last two tournaments OG all 8/1 chances. Vici Gaming are 12/1 with Invictus Gaming a 16/1 chance. After that the odds increase markedly up to SG e-Sports and Thunder Predator who are the 250/1 outsiders.

OG are always a good shout at 8/1, but I think PSG.LGD are the team to beat this year and at 6/4 even at those lower value odds, they represent good value for money.