Every week, we take a look across esports for the most interesting matches to bet on.
When done responsibly, betting on a match can make it all the more enjoyable to watch, the intensity of the game amplified by the personal consequences of the outcome. We’ve teamed up with Rivalry.gg to provide weekly insight into some of the matches that might be most interesting for prospective betters.
Whether you’re looking for a comfortable favorite, a bigger payout for a bit more risk, or a shoot-for-the-moon underdog, there’s a match for you. This week in esports, the highlight events are League of Legends’ Mid-Season Invitational, and the ESL Pro League Season 7 Finals in CS:GO.
- Get a $1.50 free sign-up with no deposit required.
Play It Safe
ESL Pro League Season 7 Finals
Astralis TO WIN vs Team Liquid
When: Thursday May 17th, 22:00 UTC
Odds: 1.22 vs 3.54 – BET
By most estimations, Astralis is the number one team in the world right now – although it’s a title they themselves have denied. Though they fell in an incredibly close final series against FaZe Clan at IEM Sydney, Astralis have all the makings of a world-beater over the coming months.
While they certainly don’t lack for star power – the move to Astralis seems to have rejuvenated Emil ‘Majisk’ Reif in particular – what’s most remarkable about Astralis’ rise is the structural element. Unlike other number one candidates over recent months, this isn’t a team reliant on individual superstars for success.
That model has proven unreliable, but Astralis’ success comes off the back of phenomenal team cohesion and a solid strategic and tactical foundation. The Astralis system has produced what looks like the most consistent elite team CS:GO has seen for some time.
On the flip side, Team Liquid certainly isn’t a weak team right now. As Cloud9 continues to struggle TL have established themselves as the clear number one North American team, and they have both the pieces and the structure to challenge as one of the world’s top teams over the coming months.
So far in the tournament they’ve cruised through the opening rounds, but the opponents they’ve faced – Grayhound and Space Soldiers – don’t come close to the challenge that Astralis represents.
This Astralis isn’t prone to being upset, and it took the best shot of the most talent-stacked team in the world to take them down at IEM, and even then only by a handful of rounds. Over a best-of-three, Astralis is about as safe as it gets right now.
- Read more: Former Cloud9 Star shroud Makes an Exciting Announcement About a Return to Competitive CS:GO
Houston Outlaws TO WIN vs London Spitfire
When: Friday May 18th, 01:00 UTC
Odds: 2.49 vs 1.43 – BET
Given recent history, it’s perhaps a little surprising to see so great a disparity in odds between these teams.
Both teams are coming off of a particularly weak Stage 3. London Spitfire finished in sixth while Houston Outlaws placed ninth, although the difference between the two was only one match win.
Typically, it has to be expected that the all-star squad of London Spitfire would be more likely to recover its form, but historically this is a match-up that the Houston Outlaws have always gotten the better of.
Houston has beaten London in all three stages so far, with London only having won the duel once, in the Stage 1 playoffs. Even in London’s most successful season in terms of regular season record – Stage 2 – a weakened Houston were responsible for one of their two losses.
The stakes for each of these teams are also different in this match. With this being the final stage of the regular season, it’s the last chance to secure a spot in the $1.7million end-of-season playoffs, and so every victory might be crucial.
London Spitfire, however, already sits fairly comfortably in third place, several wins clear of the current top-six cut-off for playoffs. Houston Outlaws, meanwhile, sits in eighth place – for them, every single match could be the difference between qualifying or not.
If you were betting on which team would end the stage with a higher placement, London would be a safer choice. In this head-to-head match, however, history says the Outlaws at the very least have a good shot at taking it.
LoL Mid-Season Invitational
Flash Wolves TO WIN vs Kingzone DragonX
When: Saturday May 19th, 10:00 UTC
Odds: 3.33 vs 1.25 – BET
Kingzone is supposed to be the best team in the world. They dominated the LCK Spring split, losing just two matches in the regular season before taking the title relatively comfortably. This is a team already positioned to go down as an all-time great squad.
The roster is deadly at every position. Top-laner Kim ‘Khan’ Dong-ha is for most the best in the world at his position. Likewise mid-laner Gwak ‘Bdd’ Bo-seong, who might be the first player to surpass Lee ‘Faker’ Sang-hyeok as the king of mid since Faker’s reign began.
In the bot-lane is one of the longest-standing and accomplished duos in the world. Kim ‘Pray’ Jong-in and Kang ‘GorillA’ Beom-hyeon remain, as they have been for several years, arguably the strongest bot-lane in the world. Capable of playing with limited resources or as the primary focus, they are arguably the core component of this exceptionally stacked squad.
Rounding out the line-up is Jungler Han ‘Peanut’ Wang-ho, reunited with former ROX Tigers team-mates PraY and GorillA. Peanut might be coming off an underwhelming season with SK Telecom in 2017, but in Kingzone he’s reclaimed to dominant form that saw him raised as one of the best junglers in the world.
On paper this makes Kingzone an incredibly daunting prospect, and domestically that’s exactly how things played out – a multi-threat team capable of pivoting to almost any strategy, almost impossible to put into a position of discomfort in pick-and-ban and with a ludicrous level of individual skill across the board.
In the MSI group stage, however, Kingzone looked distinctly mortal. Two losses to Flash Wolves themselves helped drop them down into a third-place finish.
Flash Wolves themselves have been a revelation so far at MSI. With the LMS having lost its major region status in 2017 after perhaps the weakest year the region has ever seen, the Flash Wolves had to win a match in the play-in stage to even reach the main group stage.
Meanwhile, for the first time in years the Flash Wolves is without jungler Hung ‘Karsa’ Hau-Hsuan, whose synergy with mid-laner Huang ‘Maple’ Yi-Tang has historically been one of the team’s greatest strengths. At the same time, in a meta favoring strong AD Carrys, Flash Wolves’ Lu ‘Betty’ Yu-Hung was largely overlooked while the major region teams each feature a legend at the position.
While expectations might have been low, the results certainly haven’t been. Flash Wolves blitzed the first round-robin of the group stage, defeating every single opponent and reaching a 6-0 record before eventually dropping a game to Fnatic.
History suggests that Kingzone still deserve to be significantly favored in the semi-finals – Korean squads have typically been most dangerous in best-of-five series, and Kingzone can hit a peak that Flash Wolves can’t match. With Flash Wolves having won both previous engagements, however, it’s not at all impossible that they could pull off the upset.