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Dota 2 The International shows boom of esports

Dota 2 The International Odds (As of August 16):

Team Liquid: 4.00
Virtus Pro: 4.20
PSG.LGD: 4.60
Evil Geniuses (6.00)

What if we told you that in 2018, there is a sporting event with a prize pool bigger than the Super Bowl, the Masters, and the Tour de France - combined. Sounds pretty good, right? Something you might be interested in?

Now what if we told you that this sporting event is actually a professional video game tournament with a $24.4 million prize pool. Say what?

When we were kids, playing video games professionally was a pipe dream. "Stay in school and get a real job" was what our parents always said. That was then; boy have times changed. Welcome to esports, the world of professional video games.

One of the most popular esports games today, one of the games that started it all, is a computer game called DOTA 2, short for Defense of the Ancients. DOTA is a free to play, team-based online game, where two teams of five players battle against each other, and work together to destroy the other team's base (the Ancient). Similar to a basketball game, five players need to utilize individual skill, strategy and teamwork to defeat the other team and win the game.

In 2011, the game's producer, Valve Corporation, hosted the world's first esports tournament with a $1 million prize pool, called The International. This changed the landscape of professional video games forever, adding legitimacy to the industry and making it a viable career choice for the world's best gamers. Valve also published a very interesting documentary, about the history of DOTA 2 and The International.

Fast forward to today, and the industry has seen an explosion over the past several years. With the growth of live streaming websites like Twitch and YouTube, coupled with rising player salaries and tournament prize money, those previous pipe dreams have now become a reality. We now see esports tournaments being broadcasted on television, selling out huge sports stadiums, and prize pools regularly exceeding $1 million. It is projected that the global esports audience will reach 380 million this year, with revenues estimated at over $900 million in 2018, according to a report in July from the World Economic Forum.

Next week, Vancouver will play host to this year's version of the DOTA 2 International, the eighth installment of the tournament, taking place at Rogers Arena from Aug. 20-25. Tickets on Ticketmaster sold out in a matter of minutes, even at $250 per ticket for the finals. Today, the tournament prize pool sits at $23.8 million USD, with the majority being crowdfunded by DOTA fans all around the world. Last year's International had a world record prize pool of $24.7 million dollars, a number that could again be eclipsed this season.

So, why are we telling you all of this? Well, some of us here at PlayNow Sports happen to be huge nerds and big esports fans ourselves. One of PlayNow's own happens to be in the 98th percentile for DOTA 2 players in the world. As you can imagine, we're very excited to kick off this tournament in our home city. PlayNow Sports is pleased to offer betting on all your favourite esports games, including DOTA 2, Counterstrike GO, League of Legends, Overwatch and more. We have included a betting preview for next week's DOTA 2 International tournament below (including a few community memes, you know, for the boys).

esports Betting Breakdown:

Dota 2 International Match Betting

Team Liquid

DOTA 2 International odds: 4.00

Team Liquid

Last year's International champions, Team Liquid comes in again as one of the favourites to beat in Vancouver. They are led by their German captain Kuroky, the winningest player in DOTA history. Kuroky was right in the way that he constructed this team. With their roster featuring arguably the best player in the world, Miracle-, along with an extremely talented supporting cast, Team Liquid has all the makings of a potential back-to-back title run in 2018.

Virtus Pro

Virtus Pro

DOTA 2 International odds: 4.20

Virtus Pro comes into The International as the 1st place team in the 2018 Dota Pro Circuit seasonal rankings, having won 5 tournaments this season including the Bucharest Major. Led by their dynamic, young core players RAMZES and No[o]ne, VP is the team that no one wants to see on their side of the bracket. These guys are brash, aggressive and play a unique style of DOTA that often goes against current trends in the meta. This could be the year for the CIS squad to get over the hump and bring home the grand prize. It would be an amazing feat, almost as amazing as the new Mercedes E-Class Sedan.


DOTA 2 International odds: 4.60


Powerhouse Chinese team PSG.LGD are co-favourites in the betting market for TI8. And yes, you read that correctly: This team is sponsored by European football powerhouse Paris Saint-Germain FC. Led by star mid player Maybe (we'll always call him Maybe, Somnus just doesn't feel right), PSG.LGD was the best team in an extremely competitive Chinese region. Since its inception, the International champion has alternated between China and the rest of the world, with Wings Gaming being the last Chinese champion in 2016. If things stay true to form, PSG.LGD could bring the trophy back to China in 2018.

Evil Geniuses

Evil Geniuses

DOTA 2 International odds: 6.00

Is EG still not top tier? TI5 Champions and North American favourites Evil Geniuses are back in the mix after a couple recent roster moves. Bringing in DOTA veterans Fly and s4 vaults EG back into title contention this year. Fan favourite and star carry player Arteezy was born in Uzbekistan and raised in Vancouver. We'll be cheering him on to bring the title back to the NA region. Punks will be satisfied.

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