The biggest Dota 2 esports tournament of the year is set to take the stage on August 15 at Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai, where the crème de la crème will battle over the lion’s share of the biggest prize pool in professional gaming history.
This year marks the ninth annual edition of The International. Featuring 18 of the best Dota 2 teams from all over the world, the 2019 event promises to be even bigger and better than any of its predecessors.
A few changes to the qualifying process made it so 12 teams earned their invite via Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) standings while the remaining six had to fight through regional qualifiers.
SEE ALSO: THE INTERNATIONAL DOTA 2 BETTING GUIDE
Team Secret, Virtus.pro, Vici Gaming, Evil Geniuses, Team Liquid, PSG.LGD, Fnatic, Ninjas in Pyjamas, TNC Predator, OG, Alliance and Keen Gaming emerged as the top 12 teams on the 2018/19 DPC standings and earned a direct invite to TI9.
Joining them will be Infamous, Chaos Esports Club, Royal Never Give Up, Mineski, TI1 champions NaVi and TI4 champions Newbee, who all fought their way through regional qualifiers.
Looking at that lineup, there are several teams that stand out as the best chances to claim the title and well over US $13 million in prize money. We give you our top bets and predictions ahead of the 2019 version of The International.
Team Secret TI9 odds
+235 at BetOnline
Team Secret currently lead the race and are considered the favourites to go all the way in the biggest esports tournament of the year, and rightfully so.
The European team has dominated the 2018/19 DPC scene by winning both Chongqing and MDL Disneyland Paris Majors on top of finishing second at the Kuala Lumpur Major.
Those results helped them achieve a total of 14,400 DPC points this season – some 900 more than second-placed Virtus.pro.
Virtus.pro TI9 odds
+600 at BetOnline
Although they sit second on the DPC leaderboard, most esports betting sites rate Virtus.pro as the fourth-most likely team to walk away with The International 2019 title.
As the most dominant team in the CIS region, a lot of hopes have been pinned on Virtus.pro to match it with the best of Asia, Europe, North America and the rest of the world.
A pair of fifth-sixth finishes in the last two instalments of The International is a good starting point, but it remains to be seen whether they can improve and reach for the stars this August.
ViCi Gaming TI9 odds
+400 at BetOnline
ViCi Gaming impressed with a runners-up finish in TI4 followed by a fourth-place finish in TI5, but they have failed to leave a mark in all Dota 2 Internationals since.
The Chinese squad finished 13th-16th in TI6, failed to even qualify for TI7 and wound up an underwhelming 9th-12th in TI8.
They have improved drastically this season, however, reaching third place in the DPC rankings with 11,250 points and Dota 2 Major wins in DreamLeague Season 11 and the EPICENTER Major.
Team Liquid TI9 odds
+550 at BetOnline
One of the most successful esports organizations of 2019, Team Liquid’s Dota 2 team is currently ranked third in TI9 outright betting and for all the right reasons.
While the North Americans might not be one of the most dominant teams on the Dota Pro Circuit, where they sit in fifth place, they have highly experienced players who can match any team that is thrown at them.
Liquid also finished second in the last two Majors, showing ominous form ahead of TI9.
Evil Geniuses TI9 odds
+800 at BetOnline
Last but not least we have Evil Geniuses, who finished fourth in the DPC standings by running third in three Dota 2 Majors.
The highest-earning team in Dota 2 esports might not be in peak form right now, but it is EG’s experience and history that make them terrifying.
Evil Geniuses won TI5 and finished third in TI4, TI6 and TI8, which sets them up nicely for a fifth podium finish this August.