Originally released on October 27, 2009, League of Legends has slowly cemented itself as one of the most popular esports in the world. Riot Games has gradually fostered a community of dedicated fans, not just for the game itself but also for the competitive scene. League of Legends even holds the record for most concurrent viewers ever on Twitch with 1.7 million people tuning in to the platform to watch the 2019 World Championship Finals.
Of course, with the audience base still growing, so too is the need for a betting market. League of Legends betting is one of the biggest markets in the world of esports. However, if you are just getting interested in wagering on LoL, here is all of the information you need to know.
League of Legends Gameplay Basics
At the core, gameplay for League of Legends is pretty simple. Two teams of five battle it out with the objective of destroying the opponent’s base known as the Nexus. There is no time limit on games; a game of LoL goes as long as it takes for one team to destroy the Nexus.
Players use characters known as Champions in order to complete their task. Each of the nearly 150 champions in the game has unique abilities in order to accomplish the goal. In each competitive game, champions can only be selected once, which is why each game starts with a picks and bans phase.
The picks and bans phase is a simple concept. Teams go back and forth, either picking a champion for them to play with or banning a champion they don’t want the other team to use. There are a lot of complex strategies that go into the picks and bans phase but ultimately it is as simple as trying to make the best team composition for yourself and the worst for your opponent.
Once the game begins, there are several smaller objectives teams will need to complete in order to eventually destroy the opponent’s Nexus. These come as towers and inhibitors. Towers are structures that need to be destroyed in order to safely make it to the opponent’s base. Inhibitors are structures that, once destroyed, will allow your team to spawn stronger CPU-controlled minions to attack the base.
Understanding League of Legends Betting
The most basic form of betting on League of Legends is wagering the moneyline. This is simply when a bettor places a wager on which team they believe will win the game or series. How much a bettor stands to win is based on the odds.
Odds are determined by each team’s perceived chances of winning. If the game is seen as very close and competitive, odds will be close to one another, as the perceived chance of winning for either team is about even. However, if one team is widely expected to win, the odds will be adjusted accordingly.
Understanding Betting Odds
There are various ways the betting odds can be presented to you. The two major types of betting values you will see are American odds and Decimal odds.
If you are looking at American odds, you could see something like this:
Mad Lions -150
Misfits Gaming +120
The minus sign (-) denotes the favored team in the matchup. The number following the minus sign denotes how much you would need to bet in order to win $100. That means, in the above example, that you would need to wager $150 on Mad Lions to win $100.
The plus sign (+) will denote the underdog in the matchup. The number that follows the plus sign indicates how much you would win if you bet $100. Using the above example again, if you bet $100 on Misfits Gaming and they won, you would win $120.
The other form of odds you will routinely see is decimal odds. Our earlier example presented the Mad Lions vs Misfits Gaming matchup in American odds, but as decimal odds, that same matchup would look like this:
Mad Lions 1.67
Misfits Gaming 2.20
In order to understand what you stand to win as a bettor, you simply need to take your wagered amount and multiply it by the decimal number. Let’s say you placed a $50 wager on Mad Lions in this game and Mad Lions are paying out 1.67 to your bet. You would simply take the 1.67 and multiply it by the $50 you are wagering to determine you could win $83.50. This would be a $33.50 profit, as your winnings would include your initial $50 wager.
The same idea carries over to Misfits Gaming on a $50 wager. You simply take the amount you are wagering ($50) and multiply it by the odds of Misfits Gaming winning (2.20). That means a bettor is looking at a $110 return, which would be a $60 profit.
Types of League of Legends Bets
There are a plethora of different betting options for League of Legends – everything from moneyline bets to futures to props on a specific game.
Moneyline or straight-up bets are the most basic. You are simply betting on which team will win a given match or series. The League of Legends competitive scene is separated into multiple regions, each with its own rules. That means that a series could consist of a best-of-one, a best-of-three or a best-of-five. Make sure you know which you are betting on before you do so.
Another form of wagering on a specific series is spread betting. A number next to the team name will essentially determine a handicap that they need to win by in order for your bet to cash. When you are looking at a series, you might see something like this for a spread:
100 Thieves -1.5 (+150)
TSM +1.5 (-225)
Though it looks complicated, it is pretty easy to understand. If you bet 100 Thieves -1.5, you are expecting them to win the series by at least two maps because they are minus 1.5 maps. As long as they win by at least two maps, you win. However, if 100 Thieves were to win by just one map or lose the series outright, your bet would not pay out.
This also goes for TSM. Since they are +1.5, you are taking them to either win the series outright or to lose by just one map. If either happens, your bet wins.
Totals are not betting on a specific team, rather it is betting on the number of maps played. In a best-of-five series, the total may be set at 3.5. As a bettor, you can either wager on OVER 3.5 maps or UNDER 3.5 maps being played. In this scenario, if the series goes to map four or five, the OVER is the Sportsbook. If the series were to be finished after three maps, the UNDER would win.
Futures betting is about wagering which team will win an event. In theory, say you wanted to bet on which team will win the League of Legends World Championship, you would see something like this:
FunPlus Phoenix +375
Invictus Gaming +400
G2 Esports +450
You are betting on which team will eventually win Worlds before the event itself takes place. If you think that G2 Esports are going to be the last team standing, then you can get them at +450.
Betting on futures is always going to present more profitable lines than betting just a matchup. However, it is far more difficult to predict the Sportsbook of an entire tournament with a field of 12-plus teams compared to just two competing head-to-head.
Proposition bets, or simply props, are wagers that are a little more unique. These are typically geared more toward bettors who understand the gameplay and the teams at a deeper level. This is because props are usually highly specific objectives within a game of League of Legends.
There are plenty of different prop bets you can find for any League of Legends series but some of the more popular ones you will see are:
First Team to Slay Baron
First Team to Slay a Dragon
First Team to Destroy a Tower
Which Team will get the First Blood
Which Team will have the most Kills
Now That You Know The Basics
You now know the basics of how to properly understand and bet on League of Legends. The next step is to find the best sportsbook to place those wagers. Luckily, we here at Odds Shark have done exhaustive research into the best sportsbooks specifically for esports bettors.
Once you find the best book and place your wager, simply sit down, relax, tune in and watch some League of Legends.