Dexerto has teamed up with Rivalry.gg to bring weekly insight into the world of esports betting.
Whether you’re a newcomer or esports veteran, looking to play it safe or go for the riskier plays by supporting an underdog, we take a look at the most promising options and why you might want to back a particular team.
This week looks to the Stage 2 playoffs for the CWL Global Pro League for a comfortable favorite, examines the Overwatch League grand finals, and looks at the troubles of a once-great team in the LCK.
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Play It Safe
CWL Global Pro League Stage 2 Playoffs
OpTic Gaming TO WIN vs FaZe Clan
When: Saturday July 28, 00:30 UTC
Odds: 1.45 vs 2.43 – Bet HERE
Once perhaps the greatest match-up in Call of Duty, both the OpTic Gaming and FaZe Clan squads of today are far removed from the heyday of this historic rivalry.
Right now, OpTic Gaming is in the establishing phase of a new line-up, with the most successful squad of the last three years having finally run its course in WWII. The new roster made their event debut with a top-six finish at CWL Anaheim – a respectable result for most teams, but nothing to shout about in the context of an organization that until this season expected to play in almost every grand final, and win most of those.
Though they didn’t quite deliver in Anaheim, there’s still every reason to believe this new OpTic could be a championship contender. In the group stages of Stage 2 OpTic Gaming claimed the top spot in the incredibly stacked Division B, offering all the evidence necessary that this is a squad that can claim titles when firing on all cylinders.
FaZe Clan is no pushover, but whether they’re quite at the level at which OpTic has been playing is another matter. When you narrow down the top eight teams with as rigorous a process as the Pro League there are no weak opponents, but FaZe Clan does enter with the weakest group stage record.
At the Stage 1 Playoffs, FaZe pulled a miracle run and beat OpTic Gaming in the grand finals – a result that was likely a major contributor to OpTic’s roster change. That event aside, however, FaZe hasn’t routinely challenged for titles, and in Stage 2 of the Pro League they barely managed to clinch a playoff spot in what was arguably the weaker division.
OpTic Gaming is out for blood at the Stage 2 Playoffs. This event is of huge import in beginning to build a new age for the team and move out from under the shadow of the previous line-up. Based on the form they showed to secure a top seed, it’s hard to imagine they’ll fall at the first hurdle here.
Overwatch League Grand Finals
London Spitfire TO WIN vs Philadelphia Fusion
When: Friday July 28, 23:00 UTC
Odds: 1.98 vs 1.68 – Bet HERE
The Overwatch League finals was never supposed to feature these two teams. As the fifth and sixth seeds in the playoffs, London Spitfire and Philadelphia Fusion had to overcome the odds to even make it this far.
These are two of the most skilled teams in the league, however, and in the playoffs both found a run of form that allowed them to bring that skill to bear.
It has long been theorized that London Spitfire should have the highest skill peak in the Overwatch League, and that seems to have finally born out. After a rough start to their quarter-final match, the Spitfire is now on a twelve-map win streak in the playoffs.
The fact that Phildelphia Fusion took out the first and third seeds on their way to the final might have helped give them an edge in the odds, but it’s worth noting that of the two other quarter-finalists, the LA Gladiators – who the Spitfire defeated – had been in substantially better form at the end of the season, and many players had predicted that Spitfire’s semi-final opponent, the LA Valiant, would ultimately lift the trophy, despite the dominant season that New York Excelsior had.
On paper, however, it’s actually London that look like they have the edge. Their duos at every position – tank, DPS, and support – are arguably candidates for the best in the league, and now that the team is finally functioning as an effective unit London has been utterly oppressive on their way to the finals.
Philadelphia is no slouch when it comes to skill, but if both teams execute to the same degree it seems likely that London will emerge victorious. Given that the Spitfire seem to have the edge, backing them to win on odds that suggest the opposite is a solid choice for those willing to accept the risk that inevitably comes when two world-class teams face off.
Jin Air Green Wings TO WIN vs SK Telecom T1
When: Friday July 27, 11:00 UTC
Odds: 3.14 vs 1.28 – Bet HERE
As far as wildcard picks go this one is perhaps on the wilder side, but there is reason to be suspicious of SK Telecom as a favorite right now.
The most legendary organization in League of Legends is in the worst state it’s ever been. The team struggled in Spring, barely pulling together a third-place finish after narrowly clinching a playoff spot, and Summer looks even less convincing. Right now, they sit at seventh place in the overall standings.
It seems that, finally, even Lee ‘Faker’ Sang-hyeok cannot pull this team through, as he has done so often in the past and as the team has arguably been leaning on since 2017. More bizarrely, however, is the fact that SKT isn’t even fielding Faker at all times – he hasn’t played in either of the team’s last two series.
SK Telecom’s most recent opponent was bbq Olivers, the only team currently below Jin Air in the LCK standings. Even here, against the weakest team in the league on paper, SKT didn’t look overwhelmingly convincing. After taking the first game they lost the second, before closing it out in the third for a 2-1 win.
Crucially, at 1-1 in the series SK Telecom chose not to field Faker, implying that the team really is moving away from their super-star mid-laner. Though the reasons for such a decision remain a mystery, that reality means this team bears little resemblance to the one that dominated two years of LoL.
Without Faker, only Bae ‘Bang’ Jung-sik and Kang ‘Blank’ Sun-gu remain of the rosters that reached the finals of last year’s Worlds, won last year’s Mid-Season Invitational and LCK Spring – and even then, this is the first time that Blank has had to shoulder the weight of the starting Jungler alone.
Jin Air might not be a playoff contender, but they have defeated Kingzone DragonX, a team who – even in something of a slump right now – are far more formidable than SKT. In their current form, SK Telecom are not a team to be trusted as a big favorite, and so if you’re looking for a big upset to back this could well be it.