Ready, Steady, Cook – The International 7 tipster series – Outright markets

Welcome to Ready, Steady, Cook – a guest tipster piece that will be brought to you throughout The International 7. The International 7 is now the largest esports event in history by prize pool having eclipsed The International 6′ previous record. 18 of the finest Dota teams in the world will fight it out for a truly life changing amount of money. 

The Ainsley Harriott to ESI’s Ready Steady Cook is none other than professional gambler and esteemed mousesports’ Dota 2 analyst Allen Cook. Allen kindly agreed for his musings to be published on ESI. The series kicks off with Allen’s pre-tournament selections. 

You can follow the man, the myth, the legend on Twitter here.

Disclaimer: Follow Allen’s tips at your peril.

Allen Cook
Credit: mousesports/Allen Cook

I’ve started with some ante post selections (these are bets that you strike before the event for the duration of the event). I will be adding match bets as I see them come up during the event.

So, the first thing, and the most important thing to understand about any decent punter is that they don’t back things that they expect to happen. It’s fair to say if you put a gun to someone’s head, and said “Pick me the winner of TI” that most people would likely pick between VP, OG, EG and Liquid (in my opinion). But that’s not what successful punters do. The main word on professional punters lips is “value”. And it doesn’t matter if you think the outcome is likely, as long as it’s more likely than the odds suggest. If you’re likely to bet more than once in your life, then I would suggest that you also consider this as a major factor every time you bet on anything.

Throughout the tournament, I will be using a point based staking plan. And starting with a pool of 150 points. I will assign unit stakes to each individual bet dependant on the value I consider in the bet. We will use a simple 1–5 points per bet (1 being small value — 5 being major value).

With that in mind, I’ve had a look at some of what I consider “Major” bookmakers and had a look at their odds. The bookmakers I’ve used are one’s I consider reputable and not some kind of esports popup betting website. List of bookmakers I’ve taken odds from are: Pinnacle, Bet365, Ladbrokes/Coral, Paddy Power, William Hill and Betway.

The outright winner market

Firstly, and probably the most obvious place to start will be the outright winner market.

Team Secret at 14/1 (15.0) is a stand out bet for me for the outright winner market. Available with Bet365 — this is one that I would consider a maximum bet. I can’t see many likely outcomes where Team Secret finish below 4 other team in their group, meaning that they will likely start the main stage event in the Upper Bracket. This will give excellent opportunity for a decent cash-out later in the event. (for the purpose of this blog I won’t actually be cashing out and any bets we make will stand to the end).

Team Secret to win outright  – 5 points @ 14/1 (Bet365)

IG would be my second bet in this market. Going into the Kiev Major IG we’re the 2nd favourites with most bookmakers at around 9/2 (5.5). One thing I consider to be true is that most viewers of esports have particularly short memory when it comes to how they rate teams. IG placed 3rd-4th in Kiev having been beaten by VP in the semi-finals. Semi finals at Kiev and winners of the DAC (only 3 months ago) means that at 20/1 to win TI this team are greatly underestimated by Bet365 again.

Invictus Gaming to win outright  –  4 points @ 20/1 (Bet365)

Winning Region market

EU/CIS are combined on the Pinnacle website and are offered at a price of 1.68. Implying a probability of about 60% — in my opinion greatly underestimating the strength and depth of the Chinese region who they give about a 21% chance of winning at a price of 4.79.

Whilst I accept that the EU/CIS region is more likely to win that China, I don’t think the chances are 3 times as great so I’m happy with a play on the Chinese region at 4.79.

Winning Region  –  China  –  4 points @ 4.79 (Pinnacle)

Player Match Betting

I won’t go too much into depth on the reasoning between each decision here, mostly because they would be the same reasons each time. But something to consider on any of these is how many games your selected player will get, length of time of games and type of hero they will play. One thing I will note however, my support selections are 5 point bets — I feel that with the expectation of kills being so low in this position an extra game or two can make all the difference, even one good game could see any outsider become favourite in any of these markets.

Most kills at whole event (all Pinnacle):

N0tail to beat Arteezy – 3 points @ 2.62  

N0tail to beat Matumbaman – 3 points @ 2.62

Solo to beat KuroKy – 5 points @ 2.41

Faith to beat Puppey – 5 points @ 2.35

Jerax to beat Zai – 5 points @ 2.27

QO to beat Fata – 5 points @ 2.13

Hero specific markets

Since the blog went up Pinnacle/365 have added some match bets on heroes, and whilst in general I don’t feel too strongly about these (mostly due to the likelihood of a new(ish) meta evolving at TI), there is one that catches the eye.

There is some interesting thought process behind some of the pick/banned markets. For instance Pinnacle put picked/banned together, so with my selection of Sand King is due in part because I don’t believe Earthshaker will be banned as much. I think Sand King is still strong in a couple of roles, whilst support Shaker feels underwhelming now.

Sand King more picked/banned than Earthshaker – 3 points @ 3.69 (Pinnacle)

I don’t think IO should be 18/1 for most banned, it’s a solid pick for some of the teams likely to be going deep in the event. Also it’s likely a hero that’s banned 1st phase independently of anything else that’s happened in the draft.

Most banned hero IO – 2 points @ 18/1 (Bet365)

I don’t like a lot of the compendium markets, I think a lot of the outcomes are more random than people may expect. I do however like Zeus for highest average assists. Zeus sees quite a bit of support action with the likes of Team Secret, and makes for interesting value in this market. Nature’s Prophet is as a hero with global mobility and an ultimate that does global damage is also WAY too good to turn your nose up at.

Hero with the highest average assists Zeus – 3 points @ 8/1 (Bet365)

Hero with the highest average assists Nature’s Prophet – 3 points @ 33/1 (Bet365)


Starting Bank: 150 points

Staked: 49 points

Balance: 101 points