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One look at the table and you could potentially tout it as a mismatch, but these are still early days in the competition. London Spitfire have won two out of three and are currently ranked third in the West standings. Houston Outlaws are ranked eight, having won and lost two games apiece.
But teams being stacked closely in the table means one win is enough for them to vault back into the top five. Despite being positioned where they are on the table, the bets are with Outlaws, who are expected to win this game comfortably.
If Spitfire wins, you could potentially earn 4X the amount you will wager on them. It’s a massive gamble, but don’t rule out that possibility, even if the safest option will be to bet on Outlaws.
Spitfire has plenty to prove. They had a wretched 2021, where they were tied with Vancouver Titans for last place in the West Region. They managed all of 1 win in 16 matches. Considering that, they’ve already managed to double their 2021 win tally in just three games. Last year, they were mostly stuck across the Atlantic, battling it out on European ping.
Their horror show needed them to recalibrate ahead of the 2022 season. And one of the steps they took for starters was to bring in a new head coach. While they have kept faith in much of their previous year’s line-up, they did add new talent. All said, SparkR and Shax, two key players who showed spurts of brilliance last year, will be hoping to repay the faith and be consistent over long periods.
New signing Backbone, a European talent, will be hoping to carry forward his good work from the Overwatch Contenders scene. He will provide his flex skills to fill in the rest of the side’s DPS requirements. Poko, their big-ticket signing, brings with him the promise of a veteran. Clearly, they are hoping for big things from him.
Until the start of last year, few teams had yo-yo’ed between being outrightly brilliant and ordinary like the Houston Outlaws. In their inaugural season, they peaked in stage one, they spent the rest of it playing catch up to move into the upper echelon of the league standings.
Last year, they were far more consistent and this is something they will hope they’re able to carry forward into this year’s tournament as well. They have started a tad poorly, but they know all too well that these are still early days, and there’s enough time for them to come roaring back.
They wouldn’t want to leave it too late, though. In a bid to add heft to their roster, they signed Pelican, the 2021 Rookie of the Year from Atlanta Reign. Can he make a big difference? He will have some support from flex support Ir1s, who has also been part of Reign earlier.
San Francisco Shock
They have racked up four big wins to be among the early pace-setters of the competition in the West Region. Los Angeles Gladiators are hot on their heels in second place with two wins in three. So a win on Sunday will narrow the gap at the top.
This is as exciting as a contest can get as it pits two ultra-aggressive teams that don’t back down from a fight. Playing safe isn’t a trait associated with either side, and invariably when both teams go gung-ho in their approach, it can only mean one thing: plenty of fireworks and thrill.
So sit back and stay locked for what could be the game of the weekend. Shock has the odds with them, but by a small margin. Don’t expect Gladiators to cave in.
San Francisco Shock have an aura of invincibility around them. For much of the league’s existence, a mere mention of their name has sent shivers down the spines of many an outfit. Much of it is because of their play style many teams have tried to imbibe, some with a degree of success, others not so much.
The two-time champions fell from grace in 2021, and are hungry to reclaim their crown and return to where they belong. There’s little doubt that the Los Angeles Gladiators will be up against it from start to finish. They’re a team still coming to grips with the retirement of legendary Ji-hyeok “Birdring” Kim, who has stepped away after five years in competitive sport.
Boston Uprising will have their task cut out when they take on third-placed Toronto Defiant. Uprising have one win and two losses and are currently 10th. The Defiant are sitting pretty with two wins and a loss. A win here and they will be hot on the heels of second-placed Gladiators.
On the betting charts, the odds are with Defiant. Uprising are rank outsiders for this one, and can potentially give you three times the return on investment should they win. But that could be an ask too steep on current form.
Whatever they do this season, Uprising will walk away with an entry in their own records books. They managed a win in their very first game of the season for the first-time ever. But the loss against the Gladiators opened Pandora’s box. It exposed several weak points.
Several times during the course of their matches they have opted out of traditional compositions in favour of the fund, but it hasn’t worked. They’ve been trying new things on the fly. Players had a rough idea of plans, but at times they appeared disjointed, a trait borne out of confusion. Uprising started later than most in terms of scrims, so potentially this is their chance to make up for some lost time. That said, there are some strong areas too.
Punk has been their most offensive weapon for the past three seasons. As a solo-tank he has proved his utility this year and remains the team’s biggest hope for a better finish.
Defiant have shown the propensity to be volatile. They’ve been on the periphery of success, only to slip at different times. It’s been a clear case of going one step forward and two steps back. After 2020, they parted ways with 10 players after a poor season.
They had a massive roster shift in 2021. This year, they’ve made minor tweaks by bringing together some of the biggest and most valuable free agents in the Overwatch League from other teams and Contenders. Can this lift their profile even more? It certainly brings with it the promise.
Atlanta Reign are in a five-way race at third spot currently with two wins in three games. Vancouver Titans are nowhere in their sight, lagging behind at 13th spot having lost each of their four games. More than the losses itself, the manner of defeat will hurt them big.
Now, they will have to try and play catch-up, needing to win nearly every single game from here on to make the move up the order to try and finish in the top six. That seems a distant dream at the moment in its current form. Back Atlanta Reign to win this one. They’re the overwhelming favourites.
Former Vancouver Titan sHockWave returns to the team. And so far it has held out the promise of this being a happy reunion. It surely can’t be as bad as their 1-15 drubbing last year. He has now built some experience with Philadelphia Fusion, and the infusion of newer ideas and fresher perspective adds some heft to the team.
Vancouver have also borrowed a bit of the Defiant’s best with flex support Aztac, who was one of the best players in 2021. These two signings make them a dangerous team, even though there’s a simple matter of actually starting to execute their plans better to climb the tricky slope uphill.
This is the biggest mismatch on paper, and it’s no exaggeration to say Dallas Fuel can probably turn up, play to half their proficiency and still expect to dominate. It’s a different matter that such an approach is unlikely to manifest itself into game play because as professionals you don’t want to take any team lightly.
Just to see the odds the way it is makes you wonder what Eternal must be thinking going into the clash. Every dollar punted on them will earn you returns upto 11 dollars should they win. The odds disparity is among the biggest. It’s for them to prove this isn’t the mismatch everyone predicts.
With a dead-even win-loss record of 8-8 in the regular season last year, Paris Eternal ended as a middling team looking to climb up the latter. They made up for a tough start last year to finish on a high.
They brought with them the promise for much more this year because they made no major roster changes. But the sailing has been far from smooth so far. Three heavy losses threaten to derail the gains from last year.
Games on back to back days can be challenging but when you’re at the lower end of the spectrum, it helps to have games come thick and fast for it gives you little time to overthink. Players often have a chance to be driven by instincts rather than brood over past results.
This should help Boston Uprising as they hope to end the weekend with two wins, which could vault them into the top eight. That is easier said than done though against an in-form Washington Justice outfit that is currently joint-third and hold the aces going into the clash.
This has been a climb up like one few expected. In 2021, Washington Justice were just a mid-table side that finished 10th overall in the 20-team league. It was their best finish in three seasons; this could be their breakout years yet. Last year, they made it into the first tournament and came out of the May Melee qualifiers with a favourable 4-0 result, but missed the playoffs bus.
A similar fate followed in the regular season playoffs, where they finished last in the West region of the Countdown Cup. The start this time couldn’t have been more stark, and that they’ve managed to turn it around without making wholesome changes bodes well for their immediate future. The signs are promising, it’s their chance to prove the naysayers wrong.
|Overwatch League 2022 Information|
|Teams||Paris Eternal, Dallas Fuel, Boston Uprising, Washington Justice, Atlanta Reign, Vancouver Titans, Toronto Defiant|
|Time||Saturday, May 21 at 3.00 PM EST onwards|
|How to watch||Official Twitch channel|
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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