League of Legends, also known as LoL, is the biggest online game on the planet. Developed and published by Riot Games, it boasts millions of participants. While most players view the game as an enjoyable hobby, others approach it as a way to earn money and fame by competing in professional competitions.
Due to the growing tournament scene in the world of eSports, League of Legends betting has become more accepted among sportsbooks in the last decade. Most oddsmakers are still struggling to fully understand this relatively new sport, however, so dedicated bettors stand to make a sizable profit if they’re willing to put in the work.
In this article, we’ll look at the basics of wagering on League of Legends. From the fundamentals of the game to basic tips on success, it’s my hope that the information contained within helps jumpstart a promising career as an eSports punter.
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How League of Legends Works
A tournament game of League of Legends takes place between two teams. Each member of the team controls a champion, and there are over 100 characters to choose from. The objective is to destroy the opposing team’s Nexus, which is located on the opposite side of the map near the Spawning Pool (where characters start the game).
Champions begin each game at a low level, and they improve throughout the course of play. Champion levels range from one to 18, and the higher levels allow unique character abilities to be employed. Players may also earn gold during the game in order to buy items, and this form of currency is acquired by defeating enemy minions and champions, destroying structures, and killing neutral monsters.
Each champion has a primary and secondary specialty drawn from the following list:
- Marksman – These champions possess lethal ranged attacks and a high level of maneuverability. They become especially dangerous as the game wears on. Examples include Jinx, Caitlyn, and Graves.
- Assassin – These champions specialize in killing the players from the other team. Examples include Akali, Katarina, and Zed.
- Fighter – Characters that can absorb a decent amount of damage while also dishing it out. Examples include Vi, Garen, and Aatrox.
- Mage – Champions that use magical spells to damage opponents or provide support to other members of the team. Examples include Orianna, Karma, and Viktor.
- Support – These champions specialize in aiding other members of the team. This can take the form of attacks or skills. Examples include Bard, Thresh, and Taric.
Each game takes place on one of the three maps known as “Fields of Justice.” A fourth map known as The Crystal Star was used for years, but it has since been retired. Current settings include the following:
- Summoner’s Rift – The most-played map in LoL, it pits two five-player teams against one another in a race to destroy the opposing team’s Nexus. In addition to destroying enemy structures such as turrets and inhibitors, the champions must fight powerful neutral monsters such as Baron Nashor, Rift Herald, and the Dragon.
- Howling Abyss – A pair of five-player teams compete to destroy the enemy Nexus. Intermediate objectives include destroying enemy turrets, destroying enemy inhibitors in order to generate super minions, and reaching health shrines to gain healing.
- Twisted Treeline – In this game, two three-player teams compete to destroy the Nexus of the opposition. Intermediate objectives include destroying turrets, capturing altars, reaching the Speed Shrine, and destroying a neutral monster known as Vile Maw.
Types of LoL Wagers
Visit any sportsbook and you’ll find a number of betting options for football, basketball, and soccer. The same holds true for LoL and other eSports, with options limited only by the imagination of the oddsmakers
The most common LoL betting option is the overall winner of a tournament match. This type of wager can use a moneyline, fractional odds, or a point spread.
Future bets are also available, allowing you to predict the winner of an upcoming tournament days or even weeks before it actually takes place. With this option, expect the odds to adjust as the event gets closer due to new information and the book’s desire to attract action on both sides.
Live betting is a growing trend among sportsbooks, and it also applies to the eSports scene. This style of betting takes place while a match is underway, allowing you to watch events unfold and place wagers during the heat of battle.
In addition to the options listed above, most matches may have anywhere from a dozen to 20 other ways to wager. Here are some examples:
- Betting on which team destroys an inhibitor first on a certain map.
- Betting on whether or not both teams slay Baron Nashor on the Summoner’s Rift map.
- Betting on which team draws first blood against an opposing champion.
- Betting the over/under on the total number of dragons slain on a specific map.
- Betting the over/under for the total number of kills on a map.
- Betting the over/under on the total number of towers destroyed on a map.
Useful Tips for LoL Bettors
If you’re serious about betting on League of Legends, you’re going to need to take advantage of every tip and trick you can find. While the following list is far from exhaustive, it should give you a basic idea of the kinds of details you should be paying attention to.
- Substitutions make a major difference. If a team is forced to add a member at the last minute, this can throw their chemistry into disarray. When you’re looking for a promising underdog candidate, try finding a less-established team that’s taking on a veteran squad with a substitute player.
- Understand champion match-ups. Some characters perform especially well against certain other champions. By learning the best and worst possible match-ups, you can use it to your advantage when it’s time to make a wager.
- Not all regions are created equal. Just because a team is top-ranked in a specific region doesn’t mean they can hang with contenders from other parts of the globe. Study the level of competition before automatically hitching your wagon to a specific regional champ.
- If you’re live betting on LoL, watch out for the snowball effect. Teams that get behind early tend to have trouble mounting a comeback, and a smart bettor can take advantage of this when posting wagers during a match.
- Conduct your own research. How often does the favorite achieve first blood or destroy the first inhibitor? Knowing this information can give you an edge when it comes time to bet on something other than the overall winner.
- Beware of betting against South Korean teams. Players from this nation have traditionally been dominant in LoL tournaments. That doesn’t mean they’re unbeatable, but bets against them should be backed up by more than just a gut feeling.
- Live betting requires more evaluation. In addition to the standard research, you’ll need to pay close attention to elements such as characters bans, team composition, the success of a team’s jungler, and the selection of lanes.
League of Legends betting has grown substantially in recent years, mainly due to the overall popularity of eSports. Since most oddsmakers have spent their careers learning everything there is to know about more traditional sports, the astute gambler has a better-than-average chance to find edges among the betting lines.
For those who’ve cut their teeth on games such as soccer and American football, there can be an adjustment phase due to the wildly different jargon and culture. However, the best advice is to treat eSports and LoL like any other betting option, do your homework and hope Lady Luck rewards your efforts.