Overwatch esports can be confusing when you're first starting out, which is why we we have put together this guide to help. The first thing to keep in mind is that, though the Overwatch League and Overwatch Contenders are alike, they're not quite the same. Read on for a closer look at the Overwatch Esports structure, and most importantly, how to bet on Overwatch!
For more betting advice, check out our detailed guide to esports tournaments.
Bookmakers for Overwatch League bets:
What is the Structure of Overwatch Esports?
Overwatch esports is structured around a central tournament called the Overwatch League (OWL) and an academy-style tournament called the Overwatch Contenders (OWC). Players from the Contenders participate with the goal of making it to the OWL, and the teams in the OWL then battle each other throughout a 24-week period. Both the OWL and OWC are made up of players all over the world.
Continue reading to learn more about the above two Overwatch events and Overwatch League betting.
The 2021 Overwatch League is made up of four main tournament cycles: the May Melee, June Joust, Summer Showdown, and the Countdown Cup. The participating teams play four qualifier matches in each of the cycles, and the results of these are used to calculate the seeding for each tournament thereafter.
Overwatch League Teams
There are 20 teams in total that take part in the OWL, and these are divided into an East and West division: 8 in the East, 12 in the West. The regular season is therefore used to determine the best teams per region.
What’s interesting is that the organisers behind the OWL have created a strict rule in which teams have to represent a city in their name, much like in Major League Baseball. This makes for some interesting scenarios, as teams under a certain location name often do not have a single player from said country or place, and the organisations behind these teams are rarely related to the name of the team as well.
For instance, London Spitfire is owned by Cloud9, an American organisation, and currently fields a roster of only one British player out of the eight players signed. This ‘home-city’ structure also means each team has a ‘home’ and ‘away’ jersey, which poses another – perhaps forced – overlap between esports and traditional sports.
The OWL has its own dedicated YouTube channel where you can watch all the action unfold, as well as the official website, which has all the latest news and updates.. There is also a mobile app for iOS and Android, designed to keep you updated on the go.
The standings for the OWL are calculated on a points basis, which are earned through winning qualifier matches (standard season) as well as tournaments (East vs West all together at 4 key points through the year). For every standard season win, teams get 1 point, with 1st place in tournaments getting 3 points, 2nd place getting 2 points, and 3rd place getting 1 point.
Overwatch League Standings
Even though it is only the start of the season at the time of writing, Shanghai Dragons and Dallas Fuel are running ahead of Vancouver Titans, London Spitfire and Los Angeles Valiant. They are in a dual-joint first place, with an advantage of a single (1) point.
Currently, the top 6 teams are on either 4 or 5 points, which means the following weeks will very easily decide who the best is. We think that Philadelphia Fusion, Washington Justice, Houston Outlaws or Florida Mayhem are capable of rising to the top. However, if the top two teams carry on playing well, then this single-point advantage they have gained may be the reason they remain the top in the future, as it can often come down to such a miniscule differential at the end of the season.
The same principle works in reverse, where the teams at the bottom who only have 1 point more than the bottom 3 teams may ultimately make the playoffs. This is purely because of the singular positive point they have obtained at this early stage of the season.
Overwatch League Prize Pool
The prize pool for the OWL esports season may not be as high as that of DOTA 2, but $4,250,000 is still quite a sum.
There have been three iterations of the Overwatch League so far, and London Spitfire won the first year, while San Francisco Shock has dominated the two years following. The big question is: will SF Shock reign a third time, or will another team give them a run for their money and rise to glory instead?
Overwatch League Schedule
The 2021 OWL season began on April 16, with the West matches starting at 8PM UK time, and matches for the East starting at 9AM.
During the June Joust and the Countdown Cup, the OWL ‘hero pool’ system will be in place. This means that, to keep the competition fresh, two Damage, one Tank, and one Support hero will be unavailable for selection in the tournament. These will be chosen randomly from all heroes available, which have a play rate of at least 10%.
A similar system will exist for the possible map choices, where only three of Hybrid, Escort and Assault maps can be played at any stage of the OWL season.
Overwatch League Predictions
As far as standings go, the 2021 season has only begun recently, and the teams have only played 4 matches. Currently, Shanghai Dragons and Dallas Fuel stand at the top spot with 5 points apiece, but there are 4 teams right behind them with four points, and getting ready to come for the crown.
It may still be pretty early to make Overwatch League predictions, but Dallas Fuel’s impressive fight for first at the May Melee tournament cannot be ignored. If you were to base things purely on the matches that have taken place so far, Shanghai Dragons are leading and here to stay. Meanwhile, Philadelphia Fusion and Washington Justice are also doing impressively, having only dropped 3 maps apiece so far and won 12. With all this in mind, these are the teams you should keep an eye on for Overwatch League betting.
London Spitfire, however, seem to be losing their way towards picking their 2018 crown back up, as they have lost all their matches so far – just like Vancouver Titans and Los Angeles Valiant.
The Overwatch Contenders is a junior competition to that of the Overwatch League, and was created to develop and showcase upcoming Overwatch talent.
The Contenders were founded in 2017 in a bid to combine previous international Overwatch competitions. There have been several changes to region distribution, as well as the amount of teams that can compete per region. In 2019, the organisers added a rule which limited the amount of import players (those outside the division’s region) to a maximum of three, meaning half of each Contender team roster has to be from the region.
There are a total of five regions that compete in 2021 Overwatch Contenders, with the import player limit rule having been revoked. The format for the Contenders also now mirrors that of the OWL, designed with a point system with four key Contenders tournaments. That being said, the Contenders support any player who dreams of playing in the OWL.
Thus, the season begins with an Open Division, which is a six-week Swiss-type tournament open to any player of any skill. The climax of this is a one-week, single elimination tournament. There is a series of promotion and relegation opportunities for teams participating in the Open Division and the subsequent Contenders Trials, which highlights the opportunity Contenders tries to give aspiring OWL pros.
Due to this, there are certain rules that must be followed for any team promoted from the Open Division into the Contenders Trials. For one, they must have a team owner who is not a player and not affiliated with a team player in any personal way. Contenders teams may, however, be ‘academy’ teams of those already competing in the OWL, and players can move between and take part in the OWL and OCL during certain points of the OWL season.
As such, there are three types of ownership of a Contenders team. The first are OWL affiliates (those who already have a team in the OWL). Then there are third-party sponsored teams (other organisations who do not field an active OWL roster), and unsigned rosters (those without an organisation).
Interestingly, the mininum age a Contenders player can be is 13 (16 in China). Due to the Trials nature of the competition, there is a variety of amateur teams participating, although there are also some teams who are backed by well-established organisations. For instance, Talon Esports, Team Envy, Immortals and Team CC have all participated (and won the regional tournament) in Overwatch Contenders.
The actual format and schedule of the competition depends on the region, so, depending on which one you are interested in, there may be some difference in tournament format. For Europe, however, it is as laid out in this guide. China also has matches coming up in June, which you may want to check out. If you are betting from China, we have a China esports betting guide with all the information you'll ever need!
Want to earn points and win prizes while predicting Overwatch Match Results? Then the Overwatch Pick'Ems are the perfect game for you to play. By entering, you'll be able to track points on a global leaderboard during each tournament in the 2021 season – those who manage to earn the most points win rewards.
Sourced directly by the organisers of the Overwatch League, the Overwatch Pick'Em Tool keeps you up-to-date with the results, matches, times and other relevant information. And, what is more, if you link your Battle.net account, your progress through the Pick'Ems will be saved, and you can guarantee the sweet victory prizes at the end will be hitting your account as soon as possible.
The Pick'Em tool can double as your go-to schedule, as it displays the times and dates of all the upcoming Overwatch League matches. You can also try to guess the outcome of all the upcoming OWL tournaments per region, and view the leaderboards to see who the current champion is.
Betting on Overwatch
If you feel super confident in your abilities to predict OWL matches, then Overwatch League betting should naturally be the next step. If that is the case, we have got you covered with our expert Overwatch League betting tips below.
1. Make Sure You Understand the Game
This should be pretty obvious, but if you want to start betting on Overwatch, you have to make sure you understand the game itself. While you don't have to watch every single Overwatch match religiously, it is generally a better idea to stick to betting on just one region and really getting to know how they play the game.
2. Keep Your Eye on the Best Teams of the Moment
Just because a team won the Overwatch Grand Finals once does not mean they will be the best forever. You can use the general standings to get a bit of an understanding on which team to bet on, and, similarly, in which matches the underdog may actually triumph. Keep an eye on who is performing exceptionally during any given point in the season, and you may slowly but surely find yourself making more profitable bets.
3. Understand That There Will Be Upsets
The very nature of betting means that there is always an element of risk involved. Even the best current team can lose to another at the bottom of the leaderboard. If you have suffered an unexpected loss from such an upset, take a break from betting and return when you feel ready. Remember to never chase your losses or spend more than you can afford.
4. Manage Your Bankroll Strategically
This links back to our previous point. Overall, it is better to spread your gambling funds across many different matches than stake a huge amount on a single game. That way, if there is a sudden upset, you can potentially gain back your losses through some of the other games you have wagered on. By doing this, you will also automatically be forced to be more attentive to the Overwatch scene in general, helping you make smarter decisions in any future bets.
Found these tips useful? You may also want to check out our Overwatch betting guide for further guidance.
Overwatch League Betting FAQs
What is Overwatch?
Overwatch is one of the world’s most popular video games. It is a 6v6 shooter/MOBA crossover, with great graphics and a devoted competitive scene.
What is the Overwatch League?
The Overwatch League is the professional esports league for the titular game Overwatch.
Who are the best Overwatch League team?
Currently, the best Overwatch team is San Francisco Shock. They have won two-thirds of the seasons of OWL.
How can I bet on the Overwatch League?
Can I bet on Overwatch Contenders?
Normally, yes! Visit any of the bookmakers mentioned at the top of this article to check to find markets available for Overwatch Contenders betting.
Where can I bet on Overwatch League?
How many teams are there in the Overwatch League?
There are 20 teams taking part in Overwatch League – 12 of them in the West region and 8 of them split into the East.
When are the Grand Finals of Overwatch League 2021?
The Grand Finals are normally in September. The regional knockouts of the Countdown Cup (the last of the four tournaments of the year) begin on August 14th.
What are the best Overwatch League betting bookmakers?
Who will win the Overwatch League?
Right now, it is a little early to say. However, Dallas Fuel did put up an impressive, persistent performance at the first tournament of the year (May Melee).
Where can I play Overwatch Pick'Ems?
You can play this game on the official OWL site! It can also handily double up as a schedule, which is useful if you want to know which team is playing and when.
Who will win Overwatch Contenders?
This is quite a broad question, especially if you consider how community-based the tournament is. To put it simply, just watch the upcoming matches, as the teams playing can change all the time.
What game modes are there in Overwatch?
There are currently seven game modes in Overwatch, but only four of them are available in competitive play in the Overwatch League: Assault, Control, Escort, and Hybrid.
What are the Overwatch League standings?
Currently, the Shanghai Dragons are unsurprisingly at the top, along with Dallas Fuel. London Spitfire, Los Angeles Valiants, and Vancouver Titans sit at the bottom of the leaderboard. However, it is early in the season, so anything can still happen!
What are the Overwatch Playoffs predictions?
Based purely on map difference domination, we predict the Philadelphia Fusion and Washington Justice are set to enjoy a really good run in the future.