League of Legends Betting

Often abbreviated to LoL, League of Legends is a multiplayer online battle arena game. It was developed by Riot Games who began life as an indie developer, until their first creation, League of Legends: Clash of Fates, sent them into the stratosphere. League of Legends can be played by teams or individuals, with the role of the player being to control one or more fighters (known as “champions”) and to complete objectives set for them. These include destroying an enemy base, known as a “nexus”.

In terms of hours played, League of Legends is the most popular game in all of Europe and North America, and its following has also spread throughout Asia.

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About League of Legends

League of Legends has one of the largest competitive gaming scenes, making it one of the biggest esports in the world. There are professional teams of players hailing from all over, including South Korea, the US and the UK. The game is relatively easy to pickup and play, but to make it to a competitive standard requires a lot of skill and a lot of practice. Experience in other MOBA games will also help, as League of Legends borrows a lot from some other big titles, which in turn borrow themes and features from League of Legends.

riot games logoIt has been estimated that around 70 million people play this game per month. It is free to play, with no subscription costs, but the best players tend to spend a lot of money on in-game purchases — known as micro payments — and it is these that fund the game and generate a huge revenue for the developers.

There are four different game modes on League of Legends, each with their own goals and objectives, but Summoner’s Rift is the most popular by far. There are also many different “champions” for the players to control, each with their own unique skill sets, and many different maps on which the battles are contested.

Types of Bets

The most common bets on League of Legends are match bets, which you can find plenty of. In these bets, you’re simply gambling on the outcome of a single contest. There are no “draw” bets here, which serves to shorten the odds, but the beauty of League of Legends is that there are no huge favourites with ridiculously short odds.

For instance, if we use the betting markets for October 1st 2015 as an example, we can see that Fnatic is playing Invictus Gaming. Both of these teams are very good, but Fnatic are generally considered to be one of the best competitive gaming teams in the world. Despite this, their odds were still 1.80, whilst a bet on Invictus Gaming returned 1.91. The shortest odds on this day were for Edward Gaming, who were 1.04 to beat Bangkok Titans, but this was as much of a sure-thing as you’re ever going to find in this game.

Outright bets will return much higher odds, even for the favourites. With an outright bet you are gambling on the outcome of an entire tournament or league, as opposed to a single event. Because there are so many variables at play and so many teams involved, the odds tend to be considerably higher. In some events you can even gamble on how far Chinese, South Korean and European teams will advance, and whether teams from certain countries will win the event. Because these bets group together many different teams, the odds tend to be shorter than they would be if you were betting on the winning team.

Basic Betting Strategy

To be able to bet profitably on LoL, you need to make sure that your bets have positive expected value. Knowing basic sports betting stuff like the math behind valuing a bet, bankroll management and so on, is vital for your bankroll and wealth to grow. Read up on these things if you want to make sure you are betting with an edge. I recommend checking out Weighing the Odds in Sports Betting by King Yao which is a good start to learn about the betting markets and cover the bigger sports in the US, but you can easily translate the information over to other betting markets, like e-sports.

Handicapping League of Legends matches can be quite tricky given that this is a team effort and not a one on one game. To compare this to other sports; there are a lot of models and methods developed to handicap and analyze baseball, but this has not been done equally for basketball, and even less for american football and soccer. When there are fewer participants, it is easier to isolate what and which factors that predict skill level and win rates. Because of this, League of Legends is a lot harder to handicap than for example Starcraft 2 when it comes to e-sports betting. However, this goes both ways: it is also harder for the bookmakers to create good lines, so for those who are looking to invest some time and energy into this, betting on League of Legends can prove to be very lucrative.

league of legends gameplay

What are good metrics to look at for finding the win probabilities for a team against another? A first one is to look at a teams win rate. The higher the past win rate, the more likely it is that they will continue doing just that, win at the same rate. Now, this is a very simplified approach, and you should only use this as a base. After you have found a teams win rate, you can adjust for how the opposing team has fared (hint: use adjusted win rates). With these calculated win rates, you have probabilities for how often teams would look to win over each other if they played a lot of games against each other, if everything is held equal, even more adjustments to come to a better conclusion is needed.

After this it is wise to adjust for other factors, like summoner picks and playing styles of the teams. Some teams are better at drafting their summoners and composing a team. There are different factors to this; some are just plain smarter and do better at this, while others have a set of characters that they work better with, so they are very easily countered. This is often reflected through win rates if a team is better at the pick stage, but sometimes this can have a larger effect, and needs to be adjusted for.

The same goes for playing styles. Aggressiveness is often rewarded in games of every type, but at times this can be countered when an effective strategy is employed. For a time, jungling was very effective and people could do this at will almost freely. This was then later countered by opposing teams were bunching at the opponents blue, to try to pick up first blood. Aggressive play is often rewarded, but so is solid, methodical play, it just depends on which meta-level players and teams currently are at.

Biggest Tournaments

Played throughout the month of October, the biggest tournament in League of Legends is the League of Legends World Championship. This is hosted by the LoL developers, Riot Games, and it has been going since 2011. There is a grand prize of $1 million on offer to the champions, with big prizes for the placers as well. In 2014 this event was dominated by Chinese and South Korean teams, and other previous winners have included the European team Fnatic, who were victorious in season 1, before making it to the semi-final in 2013.

There is also a trophy for the winner, known as the Summoner’s Cup. The event is played all over the world, with the 2015 final hosted in Berlin and the 2014 final hosted in Singapore, and a set amount of teams from each region can compete. Theoretically, anyone can make it to the League of Legends World Championship, but as this tournament is strictly for the best of the best, you need to have some experience and some notoriety behind you.

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Game Information

October 27, 2009
Riot Games