It’s almost time for The International 2018! The year’s premiere Dota 2 event will see the 18 best teams in the world compete for an overall prize pool of about $23.5 million USD. For Dota 2 fans, this is the equivalent of the Super Bowl or the World Series.
There are some really compelling storylines going into this year’s event, too. Some perennial heavyweights like Red Bull OG, OpTic Gaming, and Evil Geniuses all battled adversity and had to make their way in through grueling regional qualifiers. Meanwhile, the red-hot Team Liquid is looking to establish the beginnings of a dynasty by winning their second TI in a row.
You won’t want to miss a minute of the action, nor any of the wagering opportunities. So what sites are the best for placing your bets? Check out the shortlist below:
Our Top Recommended The Best Places To Bet On The International 2018 Gambling Sites
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So why these particular sites for action on The International? I look for betting sites that meet specific standards in certain categories. Not every site has to be the absolute best in every category, but there are certain requirements they need to tick off and I generally expect them to be at least above-average in every way.
Usually, each of these sites has one or two standout qualities that make them one of the best in the market (if not THE best).
Want to know how these top sites for betting on the 2018 International were chosen? No problem. I’ll explain the full criteria for each category below.
Safety and Security
Security and safe handling of your information and money is concern #1 for me. What good is winning a big bet or going on a hot streak during 2018’s International if you never end up getting your money?
The first thing I look for is good government oversight. Legit sports betting sites are required to register and be regulated by a government gaming board or department in their home country or state. Lack of government oversight is about as big as red flags get; so is claiming that they are registered with a certain organization but not actually being listed on that organization’s register of licensed gambling properties.
Any online betting site that can’t be traced back to a legit street address and government license is immediately off the list.
There’s more to it than just that, though. Unfortunately, not all of the government licensing boards are equally good. Some have a history of turning a blind eye to shenanigans or failing to intervene properly in legitimate player disputes. So I avoid listing sites that are licensed in very questionable territories.
Next up is how they handle your personal identity and financial documents. Any betting site will require you to provide some identification to open up an account, like a government-issued photo ID and a document showing where you reside. A site that has proper security procedures should have an encrypted system for you to upload those files directly to their servers. Asking you to email documents to them is a big no-no.
Finally, are there payment methods secured properly? These should also be encrypted, and they should use big-name mainstream payment methods like Visa, MasterCard, and the major e-wallet services. A betting site that insists you bet on The International 2018 only in BoratCoin is just not gonna work.
Overall site reliability is a close second on my list, because again, what good is that huge International 2018 upset win if you never get your hands on it?
Reliability can be broken down into two basic areas: do the betting systems and interface work the way they are supposed to, and does the casino honor their terms?
A betting site straight-up refusing to pay out is pretty rare. Making sure that they are licensed by a legit government agency with a good reputation eliminates 99% of these offenses. Regulated sites just don’t get away with that sort of thing and stay in business.
There is a more common problem, however – bonus terms. There are some shady sportsbooks out there that promise you the moon in terms of bonuses and then try to renege later. Part of this is on the player; you do need to do your due diligence and read the terms and conditions (legally required to be posted somewhere on the site at any legitimate gaming site) to make sure you understand how they work. The problem is that some shady casinos go back on their own terms.
The best way to screen these offenders out is to research their history. I always like to scan popular discussion forums and review comments for this purpose. You can’t take every comment at face value, because some people do dumb things and then take it out on the site unfairly, but a pattern of very similar stories regarding bonus payouts can indicate trouble.
Doing similar research is also the best way to figure out if a site has ongoing problems with glitches and hang-ups that could disrupt the betting process. I only recommend sites that have an adequate policy for protecting your money in the case of hardware and software failures.
Options Tailored to Esports Bettors
Everyone’s here for esports betting, right? So it would be nice if these sportsbooks and sites understand what International 2018 bettors are looking for and cater to their preferences.
The trouble is, esports betting is still new and many sites still see it as a “niche market” of sorts. Not everyone has caught up just yet. It can be hard to find sites that even offer a good range of action on the major games of the day, let alone all the wagering options that one would prefer to see.
In addition to covering a good range of games, I’m looking for sites that offer a good array of the popular betting options. At minimum, you expect to see money lines and handicaps on each of The International 2018 matches. I prefer sites that also add an interesting variety of over/unders and prop bets as well because you can get some real value here when bookmakers who aren’t too familiar with esports don’t do their homework.
Great Odds and Terms
Each sportsbook sets their own odds. The traditional practice for books is to try to attract an even amount of wagers on each side of the bet. That’s why they move lines constantly; if too much money is drifting to one side, they make the other side more appealing to try to even it out.
I’ve noticed that the books that specialize in esports sometimes take a different approach, however. Increasingly, they feel so confident in their analysis that they just try to outright beat players with fixed odds. It’s riskier for them, but potentially much more profitable if they’re right. Of course, that works in the player’s favor if they get their analysis wrong. So you can find some better-than-usual odds at the books that have decided to just outright pick The International match and tournament winners rather than playing both sides of the fence.
The terms and conditions are also something I take into consideration. The lower a margin the bookmaker is willing to take, the better the odds are usually going to be. I also like to see sites that don’t charge ridiculous fees or put tight caps on how much you can bet or withdraw.
Deposit and Withdrawal Options
A good betting site needs to provide a variety of options for depositing and withdrawing, keep withdrawal fees reasonable (and ideally non-existent), and keep transfer times in both directions reasonable.
I look for sites that allow you to deposit and withdraw quickly using the standard major credit cards, e-wallet services and prepaid cards at minimum. Fast deposits are especially important given that The International 2018 is close to starting!
Bonuses and Promotions
Nice bonuses and promotions aren’t a total necessity to make the list, but boy do they help.
I always look over things like welcome bonuses, deposit bonuses and loyalty programs to see if they add significant value to their wagering. Good ones that can be applied to International 2018 betting will definitely be mentioned.
A lot of people are gaming on smartphones and tablets these days. It’s therefore reasonable to expect wagering sites to have a functional mobile app that has all of their esports betting options available.
Having a good app available for both Android and iOS is a big plus. Apps are especially important for those interested in live in-play betting, which may not be taking place during a time that is convenient to computer access!
Technical mishaps can happen even at great sites. Front-line customer service is what determines whether these mishaps become no big deal or an internet horror story.
Betting sites usually offer email support, live browser chat, and phone service. Any quality site should have at least two of the three and at least one option that is available 24 hours a day.
The Best Sites For The International 2018 Betting
So that’s the thought process that has gone into this list of top betting sites for the International. Between all of these sites, you should find the sorts of odds, options, and promotions you’re looking for.