League of Legends is one of the world’s most popular eSports, with professional teams from around the globe participating in tournaments such as the League of Legends World Championship and regional leagues like the League of Legends Championship Series.
Multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games provide entertainment to millions around the globe, and many aficionados are taking things to the next level by betting on LoL matches at online sportsbooks.
This comprehensive LoL betting guide covers everything you need to start making profitable wagers on League of Legends. Read on for gameplay basics, how to read LoL betting odds, a breakdown of the different wager types available, and tips to ensure you know exactly how to bet on League of Legends successfully.
League of Legends Basics
LoL matches feature two teams of five players, each of whom summons a ‘champion’ to compete on a single map known as Summoner’s Rift. The objective is to be first to destroy the other team’s nexus – a structure found in the heart of each team’s respective territory.
Each nexus is defended by both the other team’s champions and several non-player entities like minions, monsters, and turrets. Destroying these entities allow champions to gain strength and additional capabilities as the match goes on.
Matches are a best-of-three round format. Rounds are complete once the nexus of one team is destroyed.
League of Legends Champion Class Types
Players can choose to summon over 135 different champions in League of Legends. While each of these champions has unique characteristics, LoL creators at Riot Games have divided them into six classes that help bettors and spectators better understand the nuances of each team’s roster and capabilities.
|Assassin||High mobility and offensive capabilities – excellent at quickly inflicting damage on weaker enemies||Poor defensive capabilities – unlikely to emerge victorious in drawn-out confrontations|
|Mage||Ability to both support teammates and attack enemies with various spells – can attack multiple enemies at one time||Relatively vulnerable – low mobility, low health pool, and unable to quickly deploy spells/engage enemies|
|Fighter||Very versatile – fighters have high resiliency and can inflict substantial damage on enemies||No highly specialized capabilities|
|Marksmen||Excellent at long range attacks that slowly wear down defenses to destroy key objective points||Very poor defensive capabilities – not suited for direct confrontations with enemy champions|
|Tank||High health pool and resiliency – able to ‘draw fire’ and sustain significant affronts by enemies||Poor offensive capabilities – not efficient at destroying enemy objectives or champions|
|Support||Possess healing abilities and deliver ‘buffs’ (various advantages) to their teammates||Relatively ineffective on their own – best used to support the efforts of teammates with direct offensive capabilities|
Betting on LoL requires you to evaluate the abilities of both the players themselves and the champion they control. Contrast and compare the abilities of the champions summoned on each side the same way you might handicap the skills of individual players when wagering on traditional team sports.
League of Legends Odds
If you’re new to betting on eSports, correctly interpreting the odds is the first thing you need to understand. Odds provide two crucial pieces of information:
- Which side is favored to win and by what margin
- How much money you stand to win on each side of the wager
Those new to betting on sports of any kind will benefit from a detailed read of our comprehensive guide to understanding sports betting odds, but let’s run through the basics quickly. Most online sportsbooks will give you the option of viewing eSports betting lines with either fractional or American odds.
American odds generally assign a negative number to the team favored to win and a positive number to the underdog. The farther apart these numbers are, the more lopsided the match is expected to be. The numbers also indicate your potential reward for betting each side.
- Negative odds tell you how much you must risk in order to profit $100 backing the favorite
- Positive odds tell you how much you will profit if you risk $100 backing the underdog
Let’s look at an example to see how American odds play (and pay!) out in practice.
LoL Betting Odds Example
Say Team SoloMid is taking on Team Liquid in a regular season LCS matchup and the betting line looks like this:
Right away, you know Team SoloMid is the favorite since they are assigned negative odds. In order to win $100, you must risk $230 if backing them. The odds aren’t terribly favorable, which reflects the fact that the bookmakers are confident SoloMid will emerge victorious.
Team Liquid is an underdog since they are assigned positive odds. The positive number ascribed to them tells you that you stand to profit $160 if you risk $100 backing them as the underdog. This is clearly a better payout than you’d see backing SoloMid, but it’s also the less likely outcome.
Chances are you’re not ready to throw down $100 on your first LoL betting experience. Use this Odds Converter and Payout Calculator to determine how much you stand to win with a wager of any size.
League of Legends Betting Types
As a relatively complex game, there are a variety of different ways to wager on LoL. Bettors have the option to bet both before and during LoL matches at most online sportsbooks. It’s also possible to wager on both match and tournament outcomes in addition to more specific elements within each game.
Moneyline bets are the easiest wagers to understand. When betting the moneyline, you simply choose one side to win the round or match in question, straight up. The simplicity of the proposition makes moneyline bets an excellent option for those new to betting on League of Legends.
Perhaps you’ve heard of a point spread in traditional sports betting. A similar option is also offered with LoL betting. Spread bets level the playing field in matches with a clear favorite, allowing bettors to bet on either team at relatively even odds by ‘giving’ points to the underdog and ‘taking’ them from the favorite.
Because LoL matches are a best-of-three format, the spread is always set at +/-1.5. The team that is favored will have 1.5 points subtracted from their score at the end of the match, while the underdog will have 1.5 point added to theirs.
This means that those backing underdogs cash out on LoL spread bets even if the dog wins just one round of the match. If backing the favorite, they must win the match with a clean 2-0 sweep for your bet to be graded a winner.
Totals present an option for those who don’t want to back one team but have strong sense of the likely duration and progression of the match. League of Legends totals ask bettors to determine how many rounds will be played in the match overall. Because best-of-three competitions can only contain two or three rounds, the ‘total’ will always be set at 2.5.
Take the under if you expect the match the be a one-sided affair in which one team sweeps the first two rounds. If you expect the first two rounds to have split results, you’ll want to take the over.
Prop bets, or propositions, ask you to wager on an element of the game not directly related to the outcome of the round or match itself. Props differ based on the match, sportsbook, and teams competing. Here are a few examples to get a feel for the options:
- Which team will be first to kill a dragon?
- Which team will draw first blood?
- Which team will be first to destroy a tower?
Props are particularly attractive options when betting on live, in-game League of Legends action. The best eSports betting sites will constantly update the options as the match progresses, keeping you on your toes throughout.
Futures bets ask you to predict the outcome of major events ahead of time, often long before the event in question. When it comes to League of Legends, this typically involves selecting the winner of a major tournament or picking the World Champion.
Other futures bets are structured as propositions rather than outright picks, i.e. ‘Will Echo Fox make the Playoffs?’ or ‘Will the Golden Guardians reach the Semi-Finals?’ However they are structured, successfully betting LoL futures is all about timing.
Odds are generally most favorable when they are first released, weeks or even months ahead of the event in question. As more relevant info becomes available – such as a team exceeding expectations in regular season play – the odds will be updated accordingly.
The key is striking the balance between having enough information to make an informed wager while also taking advantage of the higher payout provided by longer odds.
Three Final LoL Betting Tips
Now that we’ve covered the extensive League of Legends betting options, it’s time to find a reputable online sportsbook to place your first wager. Here are three quick-hit tips to keep in mind as you jump into the fold.
- Shop around for the best odds and promotions – Online betting sites are competing for your business. Some offer juicier promotions, while others offer more enticing odds. Small differences in terms make a big difference to your bankroll in the long run, so shop around to get the best possible value for your money.
- Play League of Legends – One the biggest benefits of wagering on eSports compared to traditional team sports is the low barrier of entry to gain hands-on gameplay experience. While it’s unlikely you’ll find 20 other people and 100-yard field to play a game of competitive football, you can play LoL literally anytime. Doing so is the best way to gain a deeper understanding of the strategies and gameplay elements likely to inform your wagers. Watching several competitive matches is also advisable. It’s easy to do so at Twitch & YouTube.
- Pay close attention to champions selected – Always research the champions summoned in each match and consider how their unique abilities and vulnerabilities are likely to affect the pace and outcome. This is particularly important when betting props – Caitlyn, for example, is known for her keen abilities to destroy turrets early in the game. Olaf is well-suited to quickly kill dragons. If you see a champion in the lineup well-aligned with a prop on offer, there’s value to be exploited.
League of Legends is just one of many eSports you can wager on at online betting sites. Check out the eSports section in our how to bet on sports guides to explore other opportunities.
Always remember to wager responsibly and enjoy the action out there!