Taking advantage of game metas and esports betting. Case study: Overwatch League & GOATS

Sean (zseano)
Feb 8 · 4 min read

Back in the day the only sports you could bet on was generic sports like Football, and to nerds, that’s boring. Enter ESports betting.

Please note i only bet for FUN and I only risk money I don’t care about losing. As they say, when the fun stops, STOP. Also betting companies may of changed how they base odds now, I done this last year.

So firstly, what is Overwatch League? OWL is a competetive overwatch scene where teams from around the world battle it out over a period of months and the winners walk home with the OWL trophy (and bragging rights of course). A lot of other games such as Fortnite also host similar tournaments.

Secondly, what is GOATS? GOATS was a meta on Overwatch for over 6months+ which consisted of 3 tanks (Reinhardt, DVA and Zarya) and 3 support, (Either Lucio, Moira Zen or Brig) and it was the most powerful team composition to play. It was extremely hard to kill 3 beefy tanks being healed all the time and some teams struggled to adjust to this play style. Other teams, such as San Francisco Shock adapted very quickly and went on to the win the competition. The fact not all teams played GOATS to begin with is what created this window of opportunity. Betting companies do NOT care about the META (or map!) being played and only base their odds based on team stats/how strong a team is. Some teams were STRONG but really sucked at GOATS. For example Vancouver Titans were considered the best team and always won their matches but they also lost on certain maps, over and over again. (Some maps were not goat friendly and if i’m honest the titans were only good at goats). Betting companies did not care about map win/loss ratio for teams when setting odds. They also didn’t care what META was played.

How I got it wrong to begin with

Now this case study is only on Overwatch and other games may be handled differently but betting companies will typically let you bet on the following:

  • Team to win
  • Correct score
  • Winning a certain map
  • If “x” team can win any maps, or if “y” team will 4–0 them

I started with just £20 when I first started betting on Overwatch & I was simply betting on teams I favoured to win.

It worked.. a little bit. But I don’t like losses.

It was also very tiring to watch every game (stacked over 3,000 tokens thoguh!) & analyse their play, I needed something to help me. Luckily the kind people at Blizzard publish public stats on https://overwatchleague.com/en-us/schedule so I had an idea:

Every team plays the META, so let’s build a script to scrape all the matches, determine which maps teams are NOT good at playing, determine which teams they’ve lost to before, and output me a win %. Here is an early demo:

Let’s try this again..

Armed with some data to back my bets and knowing every team plays nothing but GOATS, I changed my betting approach after building this script and put it to the test:

In the end I stopped betting on every match and only bet on matches my script determined would be a high win % with big returns. I managed to keep a 95% win rate since building the script and walked away with over £x,xxx profit from just starting with £20! (whilst also enjoying overwatch league:D)

Future Betting

With OverwatchLeague starting later today I will be keeping an eye out for another opportunity like this however with blizzard forcing 2–2–2, goats can no longer be played, and with the announcement of hero pools each week I don’t believe a meta can form. But, I will be watching regardless and I hope it is as good as last year! I don’t care if I can’t bet :)

Hope you enjoyed this read.

Sean (zseano)

Written by

UK WebApp Security Researcher. Creator of https://www.bugbountynotes.com/ — designed to help people learn and get involved with hacking.

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