In the last Masters event, in Las Vegas in February, Virtus.pro defeated SK Gaming to claim the $200,000 top prize. Many of the teams that competed in Nevada will be in Sweden to try and lift the top prize.
Let’s start our preview by taking a look at the structure of the tournament as well as the 16 teams that have either been invited or qualified.
Malmo tournament structure
This event will begin with a group stage: 16 teams drawn into four groups. They will play in a double elimination system. This means the first three games in a group are played in a best-of-one format, which decides which team qualifies as the group winner and which will enter the final playoff for second place. That playoff game is a best-of-three format.
At the end of the group stage, two teams from each group will qualify for the playoff stage of the tournament. This is a straight knockout portion, with the top teams from each group playing against the teams ranked second from a different group.
The winners of these games will then contest the semifinals, with the winner of those games then competing in the final. All matches in the playoffs are best-of-three, apart from the final, which will be contested as a best-of-five.
Who’s competing in Malmo?
The group draws for Malmo have been decided. Take a look:
- Group A – SK Gaming, North, Cloud9, B.O.O.T-dreamScape (Asia-Oceania Qualifier)
- Group B – Astralis, Virtus.pro, Natus Vincere, Renegades (North American Qualifier)
- Group C – Gambit Esports, FaZe Clan, Ninjas in Pyjamas, mousesports (Europe Qualifier)
- Group D – Immortals, G2 Esports, Team EnVyUs (Europe Qualifier), Fnatic
Furthermore, the opening matches in each of the groups are known:
- Group A – Sk Gaming vs. B.O.O.T | North vs. Cloud9
- Group B – Astralis vs. Renegades | pro vs. Natus Vincere
- Group C – Gambit Esports vs. mousesports | FaZe Clan vs. Ninjas in Pyjamas
- Group D – Immortals vs. Fnatic | G2 Esports vs. Team EnVyUs
The favorites and the odds
The outright winner market on Bet365 makes for interesting reading. It’s no surprise SK Gaming are the favorites to win the event at 10/3; although they are joint favorites with Astralis, who are also in incredible form.
The full list of odds for the 16 teams for the outright winner market is outlined below:
- SK Gaming & Astralis – 10/3 joint favorites
- FaZe Clan – 4/1
- G2 Esports – 8/1
- Virtus Pro – 10/1
- Natus Vincere – 12/1
- Ninjas in Pyjamas – 14/1
- Mousesports , North – 16/1
- Fnatic – 20/1
- Gambit Esports, Immortals, Team EnVyUs – 25/1
- Cloud9 – 33/1
- Renegades – 150/1
- O.O.T-dreamscape – 300/1
In addition to the outright winner, Bet365 is offering markets on which teams will reach the final, the region of the winner and perhaps most unusually, betting on which individual player from a team will be named as MVP for the event.
Can LoL SK Telecom complete their incredible playoff run?
Another key esports betting opportunity next week comes in the League of Legends Summer Playoff events taking place around the globe. Perhaps the most interesting questions is whether current World Champions SK Telecom T1 can complete their stunning performance in the playoffs so far and claim victory in the final of the Korean LCK Summer Playoffs.
After a somewhat stuttering performance in the league stage, where they were the fourth qualifier out of five, it seemed SK Telecom T1’s dominance was on the wane. That qualifying position left them taking on all four of the other qualifiers if they wanted to win the playoffs.
They started with a 2-0 win over No. 5 seeds Afreeca Freecs before moving on to No. 3 seeds Samsung Galaxy, who they destroyed in a comprehensive and surprising 3-0 victory. That left the semifinal against old rivals KT Rolster. After an epic clash, SK Telecom T1 came through 3-2.
On Saturday, Aug. 26, SK Telecom T1 will take on top seeds Longzhu Gaming in what promises to be a closely fought encounter. Their two games in the Summer Split finished in 1-1 draws.
In some ways, the pressure is already off SK Telecom T1, who confirmed their place in the World Championships later this year by beating KT Rolster. Longzhu Gaming have yet to do that, and the onus is on them to get the win and qualify for the biggest stage.
The bookmakers already have SK Telecom as the massive favorites with Bet365 offering 3/10 on the current champions. Longzhu are 9/4 to take the final on Saturday.
Don’t forget the other Summer Playoff games from North America, Europe, China, and Macau/Hong Kong/Taiwan are all taking place over the coming weeks.