18 of the world’s best Dota 2 have been fighting for a spot in The International 2021, and there are only 12 left for the WePlay AniMajor playoffs.
The competitors were decided over a lengthy Dota Pro Circuit season, then pared down by the wild card and group stages. Only legendary teams and feisty challengers remain. The playoffs will begin on June 9 at 4 a.m. CT with Team Aster facing T1.
All of these matchups are completely unprecedented. Most of these squads haven’t played each other in over a year, so recent performances and regional comparisons are the most important factors. Here are the smart betting picks for the WePlay AniMajor.
The match at the top of the AniMajor playoff bracket is also the most contested. Virtus.pro scored one of the only perfect records in the last Dota Pro Circuit season, going 7-0 in the ESL One CIS League. Nigma’s regional third-place finish might not spur much confidence, but the squad’s performance at the AniMajor has been incredibly impressive to this point. That strength in the earlier stages of the tournament is reflected in the lines, as the Russian lineup sits at 2.17 odds compared to Nigma’s 1.61.
Virtus.pro hasn’t played a single game in preparation for the playoffs, while Nigma was one of the top performers in both stages of the tournament including going undefeated against other CIS teams in the WePlay AniMajor. Both squads are heavily reliant on their No. 4 players, so keep an eye on Vitalie “Save-” Melnic and Maroun “GH” Merhej.
Alliance shattered expectations with their dominant Western Europe DPC finish, albeit with a splash of misguided cheating accusations. It’s a shame they’re up against PSG.LGD, who look completely unstoppable in Kiev. The Chinese icons haven’t lost a single series, only tying against Team Spirit, Vici Gaming, and Nigma.
PSG.LGD’s absolute stomp over Evil Geniuses in the group stage sent a clear message and bookies heard it loud and clear. Alliance’s odds are high at 2.95 for match win compared to PSG.LGD’s 1.35. Alliance has strong players in Nikolay “Nikobaby” Nikolov and Linus “Limmp” Blomdin, but PSG.LGD’s strength in the event to this point is hard to look past.
China has dictated the 7.29 metagame, and Team Aster was way ahead of the curve during the China’s DPC season and are arguably among the favorites to win the AniMajor. While T1 certainly impressed in the regular season, they’ve got a long road ahead. Both squads are built around their carries, but Du “Monet” Peng’s body of work over the last year greatly exceeds Nuengnara “23savage” Teeramahanon’s journeyman run. A game one ultra kill from either would nail a 6.50 return.
T1 may have finally put together a world-class team and has the chance to prove it here. To do so, they’ll need to out-perform a team that has finished in the top-four of almost every event it has competed in since putting its current roster together.
The battle of the Americas will end the first day of competition. Both of these squads weren’t expected to start in the playoffs, with NA champion Quincy Crew going 7-0 while NoPing e-sports got the better of ONE Esports Singapore Major top-six finisher Thunder Predator and the previously consistent beastcoast.
Quincy Crew bombed out of the Singapore Major without much to say with the asterisk of being forced to compete with a late substitute while NoPing has looked quite solid since its formation. South America generally stayed more competitive in the online era than their northern neighbors which could mean that the 2.87 odds on NoPing have their underdog status a bit overstated. There is definitely room for an upset there.