Our Esports expert Michael Lee is back for a new week of gaming action from around the globe. Today's best bets come from the LPL 2021 Spring so check out his preview and Esports betting tips below.
LPL 2021 Spring
FunPlus Phoenix will kick off their League of Legends Pro League (LPL) 2021 Spring campaign on Tuesday with a clash with Oh My God, who don't come off as a team that will compete for a high placement this split. In their defence, OMG have kept a few solid players from last season, namely their ADC He "Eric" Qiang, but outside of that, they lack quality to make much noise.
In their season opener, OMG lost to EDward Gaming (1-2) in what was a fairly close contest, but it was fairly obvious EDG were the better team both individually and in macro play. If OMG failed to compete with EDG, it's only fair to question how will they fare against FPX, who are arguably stronger and far more stacked team.
FPX were far from efficient last season, which was largely due to the meta that did not suit their playstyle. With the Season 11 meta shift, they should see more success, especially with the signing of Jang "Nuguri" Ha-gwon, who should serve as a third win condition besides the mid and bottom lane.
The only concern I have with FPX is whether they can overcome the mental block after a disastrous season, but if their performance at the Demacia Cup is any indication, they have the right mindset to start the season the proper way.
LPL 2021 Spring
I don't expect much from Rogue Warriors this season, largely because they're a team that can beat anyone but can also lose to any team in the league. Their inconsistency might see Rogue Warriors pick a few upset wins here and there, but in the long run they fall flat - as seen in their last four splits in the LPL.
Top Esports are running it back from last year with the same five players that earned them the LPL Spring title, as well as the Demacia Cup 2020 title in December. This is arguably the strongest Chinese LoL team, but as seen in their season opener against Suning (0-2), they're not unbeatable.
Even though Top Esports are far from guaranteed to hoist another LPL title, they're still far stronger than Rogue Warriors and should win this match more times than not. I would consider siding with Rogue if they had a bottom lane that could compete with Yu "JackeyLove" Wen-Bo, but unless they find a way to stop him, this should be a clean sweep for the tournament favourites.
Top Esports are the prime example of an aggressive LPL team and with the current meta that stepped away from carry junglers in favour of strong laners, we will likely see much more of that this season. I expect Top to start the series strong and give Rogue Warriors no room to breathe, which is why I am siding with Top to win the first map with at least 10 kills to spare.
Vulkan Fight Series 2020
HellRaisers and ex-ETHEREAL enter this match with only one loss in their last five matches. During that stretch, HellRaisers picked up wins against MBAPPEEK, Espada, Project x and SKADE, while ex-ETHEREAL managed wins against 1WIN, Lyngby Vikings and twice against VP.Prodigy.
Even though these sides share the same 4-1 record, HellRaisers had to face tougher opponents so they should be better prepared for this bout, albeit it's worth noting that this will be their and ex-ETHEREAL's first game after the player break.
HellRaisers and ex-ETHEREAL last met three months ago at the IEM New York 2020 CIS, when ETHEREAL won with 16-8 on Nuke and 16-14 on Dust2. Alexander "zorte" Zagodyrenko and Aleksandr "KENSI" Gurkin did most of the heavy lifting that day and ended the series with 1.53 and 1.50 HLTV rating respectively. On the side of HellRaisers, all of their players managed a positive rating besides Nikolaj "kalinka" Rysakov who ended the series with 0.82 HLTV, so it's not like they got completely outclassed.
Since this match will take place after the break, we can expect some ring rust and sloppy play, so I don't believe we will see a confident display from either side. Regardless, seeing HellRaisers priced as the favourites makes sense to me, largely because ETHEREAL are still playing without a proper organisation which doesn't help their morale.
Expect HellRaisers to step up and claim a revenge win with 2-0!
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