The world of eSports has become a major multimillion dollar industry in the past few years, with a growing number of fans across the globe being drawn to the thrills and excitement of watching the very best gamers in the world in action.
The ever-increasing popularity of competitive gaming means a growing number of major brands are now getting involved in sponsoring major competitions and teams.
In turn, this has also led to the growth of an eSports betting scene which allows the public to back their favourite sides and try to win big in the process.
While much of the growth seen in eSports can be linked to the industry’s biggest games, such as Dota 2, League of Legends and Counter Strike: Global Offensive, a number of newer titles are also having a major impact on the interest it is generating.
Alongside Fornite, Overwatch has been one of the real eSports success stories of the past couple of years and in this guide we are going to outline all of the key information you need to know about betting on competitions based around the game.
What Is The Overwatch League?
A team-based first-person shooter game, Overwatch was released by Blizzard Entertainment in May 2016 and just months later it was formally announced that the company was planning to establish an eSports event based around the game.
Known as Overwatch League, the competition differentiated itself from other eSports events by taking on a model more similar to standard US sports.
Rather than using a structure based on promotion and relegation, it would instead see a permanent set of city-based teams compete for a major prize pool.
Following a period of pre-season play in December 2017, the first official season of the Overwatch League finally got underway at the start of last year with games being played at the Blizzard Arena in Los Angeles.
What Happened In Overwatch League Season 1?
A total of 12 teams took part in the Overwatch League’s inaugural season, which ran from January to June 2018.
The format saw the competition broken down into four stages, with teams from the West Coast of the US and Asia competing in the Pacific Division and East Coast and European sides doing battle in the Atlantic Division.
Following weeks of action, several of the top-performing teams then progressed to take part in the Grand Finals.
The only part of the competition which took place away from the Blizzard Arena was the major event at the Barclays Center in New York.
After a gruelling battle, London Spitfire defeated Philadelphia Fusion to become the first-ever league champions and secure the top prize money of $1 million.
Plans For Overwatch League Season 2
The second season of Overwatch League is set to get underway on February 14th this year, with the competition introducing a few changes as it looks to refine its structure following the first year of action.
Eight new teams are set to join the league and take the total number of sides up to 20, with one particularly notable aspect of the change being that nine teams based outside of the US are now involved. The full line-up for Season 2 is:
- Atlanta Reign
- Boston Uprising
- Florida Mayhem
- Houston Outlaws
- London Spitfire
- New York Excelsior
- Paris Eternal
- Philadelphia Fusion
- Toronto Defiant
- Washington Justice
- Chengdu Hunters
- Dallas Fuel
- Guangzhou Charge
- Hangzhou Spark
- Los Angeles Gladiators
- Los Angeles Valiant
- San Francisco Shock
- Seoul Dynasty
- Shanghai Dragons
- Vancouver Titans
Another key development for the 2019 season is a change to the structure which will see the number of games played by teams reduced from 40 to 28.
The league stated that the change was brought about to create a more flexible schedule which will ultimately ensure players are able to stay at the top of their game.
There will also be new Homestand Weekend events, where Dallas Fuel, Atlanta Reign and Los Angeles Valiant will host games in their home cities in April, July and August respectively.
Stage Finals are set to be held after the first three stages of the competition, with winning teams earning $200,000 for coming out on top. In contrast, the Season Playoffs Prize Pool will see the overall champions receive $1.1 million.
The total prize pool for the entire season is $5 million, which marks an increase from the pool of $3.5 million which was on offer in last year’s competition.
Developing An Overwatch League Betting Strategy
So now you know the key basics of what to expect from the new season of Overwatch League, it is time to start considering just how you can get off to the right start when it comes to Overwatch eSports betting.
Here are a few steps we think will get you on the right track from the off:
Get To Know The Teams
While there are never any guarantees when it comes to sports betting, making an informed decision is always a good way to get started.
With this in mind, take some time to research and learn more about the way each team approaches the game and the roles that each of their players fulfil.
Watch The Action
This may seem like a no-brainer but it is ultimately fundamental to your chances of success.
Seeing how teams perform is hugely important, as it gives you an insight into which sides might have the potential to go the distance and win the competition.
Does a specific side buckle under pressure or do certain players stay cool and collected at all times? Understanding how teams perform will give you a better idea of whether to back them to win.
Monitor eSports News
As with any sport, keeping an eye on eSports news around it can also be a useful step.
It is important to be aware of any developments which could impact on a team’s performance, from roster changes to rumours or speculation about whether there is disharmony in a camp.
Such issues can have a big effect on whether sides really have what it takes to win.
One thing that beginners should not ignore is the issue of patches. These updates are added to the game to try and address some issues with its balance, particularly in terms of the effectiveness of specific characters.
This in turn can affect a team’s ‘meta’ – the combinations of characters that are used and the strategy they employ.
While it is thought that patches will be timed to avoid having a major impact on league play, be mindful that updates could still have an impact on some teams. Will they be able to adapt to change or could a run of bad form be around the corner?
Get Started With Overwatch eSports Betting
So much of betting ultimately comes down to chance, but we believe that taking some of the steps highlighted above will at least help you make more informed decisions when it comes to betting on the exciting world of Overwatch League.
The competition may still be in its relative infancy compared to other eSports events, but it is undoubtedly one which offers plenty of excitement and action over the course of a season.