There are hundreds of esports tournaments all over the globe, some big, some small, but none have the reputation, prestige or sheer financial weight of The International. The biggest Dota 2 tournament of them all, The International was launched in 2011, with a prize fund of $1,600,000. Yet for this tenth edition, the prize pool is an impressive $40,018,195.
After a year without the biggest esports competition of them all, due to the pandemic, this year’s renewal is set to be the greatest ever, viewed by millions of fans and eagerly anticipated by esports bettors.
The top of the futures market for this year’s tournament is PSG.LGD. The team, formed out of a combination of PSG and LGD gaming, has made a huge impact on Dota 2 since forming in 2018, winning two Dota Majors in its first season and reaching the final of The International 2018. They were less successful in 2019, ultimately exiting the tournament when they lost the Lower Bracket Final, and will be keen to go further this time and lift the Aegis of Champions Trophy.
Team Secret and the 2015 winners Evil Geniuses are close behind in the online betting bookies, and there is little to choose between a cluster of four teams: ViCi Gaming, Elephant, Virtus.pro, and the reigning champions OG, who will be aiming to lift the trophy for the third edition in a row.
The tournament features 18 teams, 12 of which qualify through the Dota 2 Pro Circuit, with another 6 coming from the summer qualifying tournaments.
In the Group Stage, which runs from October 7 to October 10, two groups of nine teams play a round-robin format. The bottom team in each group is eliminated, while the top four in each proceed to the Upper Bracket Finals and the bottom four to the Lower Bracket.
The next stage, played between October 12 and October 17, sees the remaining 16 teams whittled down to two through a series of knock-out games, with teams knocked out in the latter stages of the Upper Bracket Finals having an additional chance to progress through the Lower Bracket. Eventually, there will be just two teams standing, who will take part in the Best-of-Five Grand Final.
Betting for the tournament winner suggests three teams have an edge on the field: PSG.LGD, Evil Geniuses, and Team Secret.
It’s no surprise to see PSG.LGD at the top of the betting, given their fantastic record in Dota 2 since coming into existence in 2018. They are the best team in China, and given that nation’s strong record in Dota 2, that automatically makes them serious contenders here. That said, it is worth noting that they could only finish second to Evil Geniuses, the leading North American contender in the Dota Pro Circuit. They have a strong record in The International and make more appeal than the favorites.
The best bet of the big three, however, could be Team Secret. They are one of three Western European teams in this year’s competition and the region’s leading hope, according to the market. Teams from that half of Europe have won five of the nine editions of this tournament and although Team Secret have not been that impressive in 2021, they seem to save their best for The International. They finished fifth in 2018 and fourth in 2019 and this could be their moment.
China once again dominates the tournament, boasting 5 of the 18 teams involved, and all five are rated in the top ten according to the betting market.
PSG.LGD lead the way in the race for the top Chinese team but Invictus Gaming looks like an interesting bet to cause an upset. They are ranked fourth of the five in this market, but they were the second-best Chinese team on the Dota 2 Pro Circuit. The team has three times placed in the top eight in The International, including a victory in 2012 and they have a settled team of experienced pros, including Hu ‘Kaka’ Liangzhi who reached The International Grand Final with Newbee in 2017.
There are always plenty of betting opportunities throughout The International, but at this stage, there are two more in particular that appeal in the Futures Markets.
Team Secret are the favorites in this category, but if you want to hedge your bets, OG are a good shout. Their record in this tournament is phenomenal, as is their habit of defying the odds, which means they could surprise a few people despite a poor 2021 season. I doubt they have the consistency to win The International, but they look a good covering bet in the Best Western European market.
Despite the domination of the Chinese, I think their odds in the Region of the Winner market are a touch too short. As we have seen, both Western Europe and North America have serious contenders and a bet on either of those options or even both, could represent good value here.
See below the top sportsbooks, like BetOnline, where you can wager online and choose the best one for you: