Overwatch esports can be super confusing. There is the Overwatch League and Overwatch Contenders, which are alike but not quite the same, so we have put together this guide for you in order to simplify the scene. Read on for a look at the Overwatch Esports structure, and most importantly, how to bet on Overwatch!
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Bookmakers for Overwatch League bets:
What is the structure of Overwatch Esports?
Overwatch Esports has a central tournament, called the Overwatch League, and an academy style tournament called the Overwatch Contenders. Players from Contenders participate with the goal of making it to the OWL, and the teams in the OWL battle each other through a 24 week period in order to try and become the best at the esport. Both the OWL and OWC are made up of players all over the world.
So, let’s find out some more about the two respective Overwatch esports structures, and then have a look at Overwatch League betting.
The Overwatch League (OWL) 2021 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 total, 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. However, this proves for some interesting situations, 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 catch the action, as well as the website which also contains all the latest news and updates about any OWL proceedings. There is also a mobile app for iOS and Android, which enables you to stay updated even if you are on the move.
The standings for the OWL are calculated on a point basis, which can be 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 3 place getting 1 point.
Overwatch League Standings
Even though it is only the start of the season, Shanghai Dragons and Dallas Fuel are running away from Vancouver Titans, London Spitfire and Los Angeles Valiant. They are in a dual-joint first place, with 1 point ahead of the next space. Currently the top 6 teams are on either 4 or 5 points, which means the following weeks will very easily decide who really is the best. Any of Philadelphia Fusion, Washington Justice, Houston Outlaws or Florida Mayhem may rise 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 backwards, where the teams at the bottom who only have 1 point more than the bottom 3 teams may ultimately make the playoffs 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 season may not be up to the standards of DOTA2, but $4,250,000 is still quite the sum. The way in which the prize pool is split is laid out for you below:
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 question for many is simple: will SF Shock reign a third time, or will another team give them a run for their money and rise glorious instead?
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.
Overwatch League Schedule
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 picking in the tournament. These will be selected randomly from all heroes 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, it is still all to play for as 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 on four points and 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 it on purely the matches that have occurred so far, Shanghai Dragons are leading and here to say, and Philadelphia Fusion and Washington Justice are also doing impressively, having only dropped 3 maps apiece so far and won 12. So, these are the teams you should look out for in Overwatch League betting.
London Spitfire, however, seem to not be on the track to 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 is intended to grow and showcase upcoming Overwatch talent. Contenders was founded in 2017 in a bid to combine the previous international Overwatch esports structures. There have been several changes to the 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 who are from 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, and the import player limit rule has been revoked. The format for the Contenders also now mirrors that of the OWL, where there is a point system with four key Contenders tournaments. However, Contenders is designed to support any player with a dream of playing in the OWL. Thus, the season begins with an Open Division, which is a six-week Swiss-type tournament, which is 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 promoting 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 play in OWL and OCL during certain points of the OWL season. Thus, there are three types of ownership of a Contenders team. The first is 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).
Also, interestingly, the age allowance for a Contenders player is a minimum of 13 (16 in China). Due to the Trials nature of the competition, there are a variety of amateur teams participating, but 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 a little different tournament format. For Europe, however, it is as laid out in this guide. China has matches coming up in June which you may want to check out. And, if you are betting from China, we have a China esports betting guide for you all lined up and ready!
If you are into doing Overwatch Pickems, the way to do these to get the best rewards is through the Overwatch Pickem Tool. As it is sourced directly by the organisers of the Overwatch League, you can be sure the results, matches, times and everything else will be totally up to date. And, what is more, if you link your Battle.net account, your progress through the pickems will be saved, and you can guarantee the sweet victory prizes at the end will be hitting your account ASAP. With this tool you can even try to guess how many maps each team will claim, and, if you are a little late, there should always be something for you to pickem, as the various games are tiered in lock, meaning they do not all become unavailable for pickems on the same day, but rather, a certain amount of time before the actual match. What’s more, the pickem tool can double as your go-to schedule, as it displays the times and dates of all the upcoming Overwatch League matches. What is more, all the key OWL tournaments of the year can be found under this simple link. Here you can try to guess the outcome of all the upcoming OWL tournaments per region, and view the leaderboards to see who is the biggest OWL pickems mastermind- maybe it will be you.
Betting on Overwatch
However, there are just some matches you will not be able to gamble on using the Pickem site, or, you may be feeling super confident in your abilities and want to play the equivalent of pickems with money. After all, some would prefer to do Overwatch League betting over Overwatch League picks. If that is the case, we got you covered with this Overwatch League guide. You may also want to check out our Overwatch betting guide. Before you start, it may really help to take attention to some Overwatch League betting tips we have put together.
In this guide, we will cover some basic tips for you in getting started ahead of the games.
- Make sure you understand the game
This one is pretty obvious, but if you are going to dive deep into Overwatch betting you have to make sure you understand the game itself. While you may not watch every match of Overwatch religiously, it is in general a better idea to stick to betting on just one region and really getting to know how they play the game.
- Keep your eye on the best teams at 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 get the win. Keep your eye on who is super hot during any given point in the season, and you may slowly but surely find yourself making some money.
- Understand there will be upsets
The risk of betting is there and it is real. There will often be upsets where the best current team loses to a team found on the bottom of the leaderboard. This will happen and you have to make sure you are in a good mental state to handle that. Making some easy money is nice, but your mental health comes first, so if you know you cannot handle an unpredicted, unexpected loss take a break and come back to the betting world later.
- Place a few eggs in many baskets
This links to our previous point. In general, it is better to spread apart 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 make it back through some of the other games you placed a bet on. Through doing this, you will also automatically be forced to be more attentive to the scene in general, helping you make smarter decisions in any future bets.
Overwatch League FAQ section
What is Overwatch?
Overwatch is one of the world’s most popular games. It is a 6v6 shooter/MOBA crossover, with great graphics and a devoted competitive scene.
What is Overwatch League?
Overwatch League is the competitive esports scene for the game Overwatch.
What is the best Overwatch League team?
Currently, the best Overwatch team is San Francisco Shock. They have won ⅔ of the seasons of OWL.
How to bet on Overwatch League?
Can I bet on Overwatch Contenders?
Normally, yes! Visit any of our partners mentioned at the top of this article for the opportunity to take part in Overwatch Contenders betting.
Where can I bet on Overwatch League?
How many teams are there in Overwatch League?
There are 20 teams taking part in Overwatch League, 12 of them in the West region and 8 of them split into 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 tell. However, Dallas Fuel did put up an impressive, persistent performance at the first tournament of the year: May Melee.
Where can I do Overwatch Pickems?
You can do the pickems on the official site! It can also handily double up as a schedule, which is handy if you want to know which team is playing when.
Who will win Overwatch Contenders?
This is a super 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?
If you look purely at map difference domination, then we predict the Philadelphia Fusion and Washington Justice to have a really good run in the future.