With the preseason coming to a close, Blizzard’s new Overwatch League (OWL) began full force on January 10th, 2018 with twelve teams competing for a chance to be the inaugural champion and take home the $1 million USD bonus. They split the twelve teams into two divisions: the Atlantic Division (AD) and the Pacific Division (PD).
In the AD we have:
- Boston Uprising
- Florida Mayhem
- Houston Outlaws
- London Spitfire
- New York Excelsior
- Philadelphia Fusion
On the other side, the PD houses:
- Dallas Fuel
- Los Angeles Gladiators
- Los Angeles Valiant
- San Francisco Shock
- Seoul Dynasty
- Shanghai Dragons
The league is set to last from January 2018 until July 2018 and concluding with the world championships and all-star weekend.
Blizzard Competing Against Riot Games
Blizzard’s attempt at an eSport, competing against Riot Games, is expected to make quite the splash. Each team is franchised which means their spots are secured regardless of performance. This gives the players and the organizations financial security to home grow their talent instead of just picking up teams of already proven players.
From just analyzing the preseason, it would seem that the PD is the more competitive of the two divisions with two overseas team and former League of Legends organization Immortals owning a spot. Each spot was said to cost a cool $20 million USD to secure making this league very important for investors. Minimum salaries for players are $50,000. The high-end players are rumored to make several times more, along with a 50% share in the performance bonuses by the teams.
Overlapping eSports Tournaments
It will be very interesting to see how the viewership will split during game weekends which run Wednesday through Saturday of each week. The timings will overlap with Riot Games’ North American League Championship Series (NALCS), so there will be fans who will have to pick one or the other. As Overwatch falls closer into the first person shooter (FPS) genre, there might be less overlap with the NALCS and more with CS:GO. It seems that OWL is attempting to push this to new heights. The Los Angeles stage where the preseason games were held was highly professional, clean, and seated a considerable amount of fans. Expect Blizzard to market the OWL in full future over the holidays leading up to the launch day.
Overwatch League is Still a Volatile Market
Betting on the Overwatch League will be very volatile to start. The team at SafestBettingSites provides direct and helpful advice on eSports betting. Many factors will go into deciding the best picks for the moneyline on each game. Each team will have a very specific style of play based on their most comfortable team composition, roster depth, and experience. There will be teams who have less synergy than others who will default to one play style.
On the other hand, the elite teams will have multiple compositions in their playbook which will allow them to adapt and bring back games or even counter their opponents. This would mean that specific map bets based on the rounds below would cater better to some teams rather than others. This is where the bets can be the most lucrative.
OWL Tournament Rounds
The games are set to be best of four rounds. They are as follows:
- Payload Escort
- Two Control Point Capture
- One Control Point Capture
- Control Point Plus Payload Escort
Offense, Defense, and Tie Breakers
Each team will get an opportunity to play offense while the other plays defense in each round. A gain of max two points from each round and if there is a tie after the four rounds, they play a fifth round as a tiebreaker. The maps will not be available to the public beforehand (Blizzard might change this), it will be imperative that the teams have different strategies for each map.
With the rosters set and the teams having about a month to practice before the matches begin, all we can do is sit tight and wait. Be sure to pick your favorite Overwatch teams and follow their players on Twitch if you’d like to see how they play before the season begins.