After four exciting quarterfinals and some huge shocks in the group stages of the tournament, normality was restored in New York over the weekend with two very different semifinals between the four remaining teams in the 2016 League of Legends World Championships.
Recapping the Worlds semifinals
The opening semifinal on Oct. 21 is another game that will go down in the annals of esports history.
At the start of the tournament, the two clear favorites were ROX Tigers and SK Telecom T1 and experts by and large felt that the winner of the tournament would likely be one of these two Korean giants.
Despite being upset by Russia’s Albus NoX Luna in the group phase, ROX Tigers joined SK Telecom T1 in the quarterfinals, where both recorded 3-1 victories to progress into arguably the most anticipated match of the 2016 Worlds.
In an epic semifinal, SKT took the opening game, but ROX Tigers bounced back to win both the next two games to put themselves 2-1 up and on the cusp of reaching the final.
However, SKT showed their class as current champions to win the fourth match and set up the first fifth-game decider of the event.
The final game swung both ways, but in the end it was SK Telecom that emerged triumphant, largely thanks to the play of Faker and Bengi. They earned their place in the final this weekend at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Just 24 hours later, the third Korean giant, Samsung Galaxy, took on the outsiders, H2K, and this was a very different affair.
Samsung Galaxy emerged easy winners in a 3-0 drubbing that left no doubt as to where the highest quality League of Legends gaming in the world lies.
That win was Samsung Galaxy’s tenth in a row, yet they enter the final on Saturday as the rank outsiders with Bet365 having them down as 10/3 shots.
The reigning champions, SK Telecom T1, are 1/5 on to retain the title from last year and win their third World title in total.
Bet365 is also offering some exciting and unique markets on the Player of the Tournament competition, which will be announced following this weekend’s final.
At the moment it is Faker from SKT that is the slight 6/4 favorite, with teammates Bang (10/3), Bengi (7/1), and Duke (7/1) also among the frontrunners.
Crown (10/1), CuVee (12/1), and Ambition (16/1) of Samsung Galaxy are next, with SKT’s Wolf a 20/1 shot.
There are plenty of other betting markets still available, including the chance to bet on the correct score for the final, with SK Telecom to win 3-0 or 3-1 as the current 2/1 joint favorite selections.
Who will emerge triumphant at the Overwatch World Cup?
As a comparative newcomer to the esports scene, the success of Overwatch was not certain even just a few months ago.
Blizzard Entertainment’s 6v6 first-person shooter, with strategic elements common to Dota 2 and League of Legends, didn’t enjoy a smooth passage to success.
But the news that Blizzard is developing a professional Overwatch league certainly means it has a more pronounced signature on the esports radar.
The World Cup starts on Oct. 29 and will initially be open only to PC gamers.
Three online elimination qualifiers were held in September to decide the finalists alongside the six invited teams. To ensure a good mix of teams from around the world, the finalists are composed of six teams from Europe, six from Asia-Pacific, and four from the Americas.
- South Korea
- United States
The first part of the competition is a round robin group stage with four groups of four teams, and within each group each team will play the other teams once to decide which two teams from each group qualify for the playoff stages.
The groups have already been drawn for the event and are as follows:
- Group A – Sweden, Spain, Canada, Brazil
- Group B – United States, Russia, Germany, Chile
- Group C – South Korea, Finland, Australia, Taiwan
- Group D – China, France, Singapore, Thailand
Once the eight qualifiers are known from the group games, the playoffs begin with the quarterfinals, and it is then a straight knockout competition until the final on Nov. 5.
Overwatch Cup betting
Betting interest in the event has been high especially on the To Win Outright market, and seeing as this is the first-ever Overwatch World Cup, the esports betting odds on the teams competing are generally competitive and there are some intriguing bets to be had.
Currently, Bet365 has Sweden as the surprising 7/2 favorites to win the event, with the United States and South Korea, who many would expect to be the default favorites, both 9/2 joint second favorites to win.
Finland, who impressed in European qualifying, are 5/1, with China 7/1, Russia, and Germany 10/1, and Spain 12/1.
Outside of this group of teams, there are more outside bets including Thailand at 20/1, Taiwan and Canada at 50/1, France and Singapore, 80/1, Australia 300/1, China 500/1, and the rank outsiders are Brazil at 1000/1.
Bet365 is also offering plenty of other bets on the event, including on which team will reach the final, the region the winner will come from, the winner of the event’s group, group betting, as well as extensive match betting on matches in the initial round robin stage.
Image credit: Katherine Welles / Shutterstock.com