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The LPL isn’t like the LCK, with some of the world's strongest LoL teams, but the quality gap between the teams isn’t significant. This makes it one of the hardest LoL esports leagues to call. The outright odds listed currently will undoubtedly change in the coming month.
JD Gaming, winners and league leaders in spring, are the bookmakers’ favorites. They lost just three league matches and won all their playoff matches, so it’s no surprise they’re favorites this summer. They also won the title last summer; the other sides will have to up their game drastically to stop this juggernaut from claiming another title.
Despite getting knocked out of the competition in round three in the spring, LNG Esports are highly favored by the bookmakers. LNG didn’t get past the fourth round last summer, so it’s a bit strange that the bookmakers rate them so highly. They’ve added bot laner GALA to the roster, but it’s hard to judge them without seeing him play in a big tournament.
The other contenders are EDward Gaming, Top Esports, Bilibili Gaming, Weibo Gaming, and Oh My God. Bilibili Gaming were last season’s runners-up and have really valuable odds, so they might be worth a punt.
JD Gaming have been outstanding for two consecutive seasons. If they win LPL Summer 2023, it’ll be three titles in a row, and the bookmakers have backed them to do it. They won 13 of their 16 games in the spring season before winning all their playoff matches.
Their biggest challenge came in the fourth round against Bilibili Gaming, who they met again in the finals and beat 3-1. The LPL gets praised for its competitiveness, but JD Gaming are making it incredibly difficult for fans to perceive it in that manner.
Key to their rise in recent years has been mid-laner Knight. He has averaged 4.41 kills, 1.84 deaths, and 6.46 assists per game this season. There aren’t many players in the world, never mind in the league that are this complete. He’s aggressive, evasive, and an excellent support player.
His teammates aren’t too bad, either. Most of them are specialists in their roles, like Missing, who averages an incredible 11.06 assists per match this year. There aren’t many support players who come close in this department.
Top laner 369 is the only player who doesn’t really stand out in any department, but he’s still managed 5.97 assists per game this season. Getting at him is the only way teams can get a positive result against JD Gaming.
The only reason you shouldn’t pick JD Gaming for this tournament is the lack of value. There isn’t much in the way of winnings if you pick JD Gaming. For what it’s worth, winning three in a row requires perfection at all levels, and JD Gaming have never looked invincible. Like all teams, they’re also at mercy to the unpredictable nature of esports.
LNG Esports had the same win-loss record as JD Gaming and EDward Gaming last season (13 wins and three losses) but weren’t able to show the same form in the playoffs. OMG knocked them out 3-1 in the third round, which was a massive disappointment considering how well they did in the league campaign.
It was a similar story last summer when EDG knocked them out in the fourth round (losers bracket). They just can’t seem to elevate themselves in the playoffs. To change that, they’ve got Bot Laner GALA into the side.
In the three matches he’s played for LNG this year, he has averaged 4.33 kills, 2.33 deaths, and 3 assists per match. Of course, these matches weren’t the most important. He’ll undoubtedly do much better once the season starts, but these numbers are impressive. However, they aren’t as impressive as LP’s, who left the team to make space for GALA.
LP was absolutely phenomenal this year. He averaged 5.02 kills, 2.14 assists, and 6.02 assists but still couldn’t take LNG to greater heights. It’s clear that there are other issues on the side, and it’s hard to see how GALA will solve this. In fact, things might get worse this season.
LNG have another star performer in Scout, who has averaged 4.22 kills, 2 deaths, and 7.04 assists per match this year. Any team with two players who average over 4 kills per match should be doing a lot more. It remains to be seen if the team can get along in the biggest moments; the talent is certainly there, but team sports are never about talent alone. We’re still not convinced by LNG like the bookmakers.
No one’s talking about Bilibili Gaming just before the league, and that’s probably how they want it. Last season’s runners-up won 10, lost six of their league matches, and were knocked out in the first round of the LPL Summer 2022. They also have highly valuable odds, with the bookies putting four teams ahead. They seem the perfect pick if you don’t want to play it safe.
Not to mention, Bilibili Gaming have a player capable of starting for any team in the league or world. Bot laner Elk has been out of the world this year. For starters, he has played 94 matches already. In that time, he’s managed 5.48 kills, 2.22 deaths, and 5.38 assists per match. Like some of the other stars mentioned in this piece, he can change the trajectory of a match on his own.
The issue is that he doesn’t have teammates of the same quality. This is a team that’s always capable of going deep into the playoffs and causing an upset, so you should give them heed. We think there’s far more value in picking them over the likes of EDG, Top Esports, and LNG Esports.
With an interest in strategy and mathematics, applying that to sports writing was the natural progression. A writer at night and the founder of a gaming company, Nikhil’s previous experience includes working with ESPN for five years. His specialization includes soccer, basketball, tennis, and esports betting. Email: [email protected]More info on Nikhil Kalro
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