A Brief Introduction
Combine a high-speed and exhilarating online competitive game with the intensity and briskness of certain RTS and RPG genre elements and you get one of the most successful MOBAs (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) of all time, League of Legends. At its most basic level, this free to play game pits two teams of powerful champions against each other via various modes and battlefields. The creators of League of Legends, Riot, have done a phenomenal job of engaging their player base by continually balancing champions, introducing new characters, creating cutting-edge content, and expanding an ever-evolving tournament scene. No matter your skill level, League of Legends offers endless replayabilty and content.
Globally League of Legends is also one of the most played games. Over the past half a decade, Riot has done a marvelous job of developing their product in other regions. The Asian market, mainly China and Korea, has expanded significantly in this time frame. The European market has also seen sustained success, with the Central American/South American market well underway towards success as well. Since League of Legends is such as globally expansive game, the competitive scene has blossomed tremendously, with competitive games even being featured on ESPN channels.
For the competitive League of Legends player, playing in the LCS is the dream scenario. The LCS, or League Championship Series, is a season long event unique to each region. The season is divided into two splits, Spring and Summer, with the top teams in each region battling it out on a weekly basis for supremacy. At the end of each season, a tournament takes place to find out which teams will represent their designated region on the world championship stage. Seeding is based off that season’s win-loss record, with the top six teams participating.
With a final grand prize of $1,000,000, the world championship is nothing to sneeze at. While the pot is not quite as large some of the other popular MOBAS (such as DOTA 2’s ridiculous $6,000,000+ grand prize), the prestige of being known as a world champion (and the lucrative contracts offered from competitive teams) makes it just as important. Viewership of this event has also increased each year, with this year’s LCS World Championship Series being aired on ESPN 3.
The Challenger Series is also regionally dependent, and is the path for new, upcoming teams to make their way to the LCS. The Challenger Series is composed of six teams – three teams that failed to advance the previous promotion tournament, one team from the previous Challenger Series split, and the top two teams from the public ranked ladder.
Betting on League of Legends
Like most major eSports games, betting has grown in tandem with the popularity of the game. An ever expanding competitive scene has added fuel to the raging fire. The most common betting is on the winner of two teams for a specific series. The betting is standard (If CLG had 2.00 odds on winning against TSM and you bet $100 on CLG, you would get $150 back for CLG winning) and the odds vary from bookmaker to bookmaker. Other bets include picking the team that has the best record at the end of each split/season, which player scores the most takedowns, or which team is relegated (removed from the LCS at the end of the season). Some unique bets include which team scores the most takedowns in a single season, the most towers downed, dragons killed, barons slain, etc.
Don’t want to bet with real money? No problem. Some betting institutions, such as GosuGamers, have a feature called ValueBet. This feature allows bettors to place bets on matches using items found in their Steam inventory (an estimated value is given for each item).
Like any sports, upsets happen. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to bet on teams that have an 80% or higher win rate. A $20 bet would only net a $4 payout or less, all at the chance of losing your $20 for essentially a low return. Finding a high bet, or where the odds are closer to 60-70%, are considered valuable bets. Medium bets, or where the competition has odds of 50-60% per team of winning, is also important to look at. Essentially the teams are even in competition, but if the bettor has done their homework, they may find subtle differences that would incline them to pick the winning team. It’s important to make bets on games you have an ample amount of information about (I strongly recommend not betting on games that you can find no information on). Once you start betting just because everyone else is can lead to problems. Always make informative bets.
Develop an Edge
The best way to gain an edge when making the most logical and educated bet is to examine each team and player on an individual basis. League of Legends is a team based game, and team play can vary from week to week as far as coordination and synchronization. The skill level in a player tends to be less erratic but has to be monitored nonetheless. So how can you monitor each team and player during the course of an entire season? There are a few sources that you want to refer to. First, LCS VODS are previous videos of competitive team fights in the LCS and Challenger series and can be viewed at any time. This is a great place to start if you’re not familiar with the popular teams and players. Quite a few of the LCS competitive players also use streaming services (such as twitch.tv) to stream their ranked games. Teams will also typically scrim against each other during the week and vital information can also be used from these matches (such as new team tactics, overall skill level, new champion picks, etc.).
There are also numerous websites that provide information on team news, roster changes, and team ranks. Surrenderat20.net is always up-to-date on the latest news and results from competitive play as well as patch news and new game developments. Gosugamers.net is another website that offers a ton of sources, such as upcoming matches, rankings, team/player stats, popular streams, and videos from previous matches.
Making your Bet
Just like most eSports, League of Legends has typical bets between two teams facing off against each other. Going into a competitive tournament, the first thing you want to do is look for valuable bets. We’ve outlined what high, medium, and low bet values are, so now we want to look for one of those medium-high bets that will return a maximum profit. Generally I don’t want to all-in one matchup, so if I’m looking to spend $20 I’ll bet on 2-3 matchups. This would be a theoretical bet
In matchup 1, Team A (EDG) has a 75% chance of winning over Team B (TSM). I feel confident in EDG winning, so I bet $16 with a payout of $4.
In matchup 2, Team A (LGD) has an 85% chance of winning against Team B (Cloud9). I know Cloud9 has started to play much better as of late, and I feel they have a slight chance of getting the upset. I bet $2 on Cloud9 with a potential payout of $10.
The most likely outcome is that I win the bet for Matchup 1 and lose the bet on the second matchup. The end result is I come out even on the day. However, if I win Matchup 2, then I end the day up $14.
There are other unique bets that can be made, as well as multiplier (accumulator) for higher returns. If you don’t fancy betting on just head-to-head matchups, you can always find bookmakers with prop bets, such as the team with the most kills, the team to get first blood, the most towers taken down, etc. As always, have fun with betting. While a select few make it into a career, the majority of people are just casual bettors. Unless you’ve had years of experience, make smaller bets until you have full confidence in your skills.