The Group Stage of The International 2018 has begun and the next 3 days will be full of Dota 2 betting opportunities. A total of 52 more matches await and the bookmakers will shower you with a huge variety of betting odds for them.
This article will give you a better understanding of who the participants are, what they did on day 1 and what will most likely happen during the Group Stage.
Group A is arguably the tougher of the two and the battle in it will definitely be fierce. No less than 4 teams in this group are top contenders for winning the Aegis of Champions at this edition of The International. These teams are Evil Geniuses, Team Liquid, PSG.LGD and Mineski.
For sure, the 1st and the 2nd are stronger than the 3rd and the 4th, but when they meet each other, expect a lot of draws because their skill level is too close for any of them to run away with a 2 – 0 victory over another. Keep in mind that the matches will be Bo2 during the Group Stage, so the betting odds will be very high, regardless of your choice (1 – X – 2), simply because there are 3 options to choose from instead of 2. This of course also makes things trickier due to the fact that when betting on a match result you’re actually betting on 2 combined results (game 1 and game 2).
The 4 teams that are most likely to advance to the Upper Bracket of the Main Event are the ones mentioned above. As for the ones who will be fighting for their tournament lives, I would definitely mention OG, VGJ.Thunder and Invictus Gaming. All 3 of them, in spite of being very strong teams in lower-tier tournaments, are considerably weaker than the rest of the pack at this level of competition. One thing you’ll want to do is bet against them whenever they are playing against a much stronger opponent.
In Group B, the 4 main candidates to qualify for the Upper Bracket of the Main Event are Virtus.pro Team Secret, Newbee, and VGJ.Storm. The first of these teams is by far the strongest and most likely to win the group, while the other 3 will probably draw a lot of matches among themselves.
At the other extreme, struggling for their tournament lives will be paiN Gaming, TNC Predator and Vici Gaming. One of these 3 is almost guaranteed to leave the tournament after the Group Stage. Which one, we’ve yet to see. But you should definitely bet against these teams whenever they face strong opposition.
Group Stage match schedule
The Group Stage will last for 4 days, starting on Wednesday (August 15th). Every day, the first series of matches will start at around 7 PM European Time. During the first 3 days, a total of 5 series of 4 simultaneous matches will be played per day. On the fourth day, only 12 matches will be taking place instead of 20.
Keep in mind that The International 2018 takes place in Vancouver, Canada. So according to where you live in the world, the matches will be easier or more difficult to watch. Luckily, the bookmakers tend to release the odds for each day ahead of time, so unless you’re interested in live esports betting, you got nothing to worry about.
Day 1 review
On day 1, some of the tier 1 teams disappointed their fans, while some of the underdogs achieved impressive results. Among the teams that heavily underperformed were Vici Gaming (0 W – 4 L), Team Secret (1 W – 3 L) and PSG.LGD (3 W – 3 L).
The teams that did better than expected were Evil Geniuses (5 W – 1 L), Winstrike Team (2 W – 2 L), Newbee (3 W – 1 L), Team Serenity (2 W – 2 L) and paiN Gaming (1 W – 1 L). Everyone else performed at the level they were expected to perform.
Based on what we’ve seen on day 1, regard Team Serenity, Winstrike Team and paiN Gaming as potential dark horses that will no doubt cause a lot of issues for the top contenders.
Evil Geniuses, VGJ.Storm, Virtus.pro and Team Liquid are the teams to bet on, the first 3 being super dominant while the 4th one being fairly dominant.
Vici Gaming, Team Secret, OG and VGJ.Thunder are the teams you’ll want to bet against, as they have proved to be quite weak compared to the rest of the pack.
Overall, the ranking tables after day 1 look like this:
TI 18 Main contenders:
Virtus.pro finished the 2017-2018 competitive season at the top of the Dota Pro Circuit rankings table, with over 12.000 points. This team is regarded as one of the main favorites for winning The International 2018 and its results during the regular season were impressive: 4 Major titles and many other top 4 placements at Dota Pro Circuit LAN events.
Going into The International 2018, Virtus.pro should secure a ticket for the Upper Bracket of the Main Event and then make it all the way to the Grand Final.
PSG.LGD is the strongest team in China and finished the regular season in 3rd place with over 7000 DPC points. These points came as a result of PSG.LGD winning 2 Majors (MDL Changsha Major and EPICENTER XL) and getting top placements in numerous other events: 2nd place at PGL Open Bucharest, 2nd place at Dota 2 Asia Championships 2018, 2nd place at StarLadder & i-League Season 4 and so on.
Going into The International 2018, PSG.LGD is expected to get at least a top 4 result, just like last year.
Winner of The International 2017, Team Liquid will try to defend its title at this edition of TI. And its chances of succeeding are pretty high. The team had a very good regular season and finished in 2nd place with over 9000 DPC points. Furthermore, at the final and most important Dota Pro Circuit event of the regular season, Liquid claimed the title by defeating Virtus.pro in the Grand Final (score 3 – 2). So the stage is set for KuroKy and his teammates to do it all over again.
It is not yet clear how the TI 7 champion will fare against the likes of PSG.LGD, VP, EG and Secret at this tournament, but expectations are definitely high and they’re backed up by numerous trophies during the regular season, including 3 Minors and a Major.
Evil Geniuses truggled throughout the entire duration of the regular season, winning just one Minor and placing 3rd at a Major on one ocasion. Apart from these results, EG went from one disappointment to the next, ultimately going through two sessions of massive roster changes. In the latest of these sessions, EG brought it Fly and s4 and ended up with 3 former OG players, including Cr1t-.
Now, the team looks set to get at least a top 6 finish at The International 2018, having proved its strength at DOTA Summit 9 and in the regional qualifiers for TI 8. The new roster is made up of 5 superstar players, all very experienced, successful and regarded as being among the world’s best at their respective roles.
Team Secret ended the regular season in 4th place with more than 5000 DPC points. The team won 2 Minors Captains Draft 4.0 and DreamLeague Season 9 and a Major (DreamLeague Season 8) and also placed 2nd at ESL One Hamburg 2017, another Major tournament.
These results, combined with the fact that Team Secret is led by a player who’s already been in 3 TI Grand Finals, makes this squad one of the favorite to win the whole event. It remains to be seen if Puppey can actually pull it off, but his team proved in the 2017-2018 competitive season that it is definitely capable of great things.