League of Legends Worlds is one of the biggest esports events of the year, every year. The culmination of a yearlong season, 24 teams will gather in Berlin, Madrid and Paris to duke it out over the course of a month, playing dozens of best of fives to decide which of them is the best in the world. Odds by Betway as of 9/27/19.
G2 are favored headed into Worlds, and for good reason. To call them dominant this year would be an understatement, winning both splits this year as well as the Mid-Season Invitational and Rift Rivals. They’ve picked up wins over SKT, Team Liquid, and just about every team in the LEC.
The team is galvanizing behind veteran PerkZ, a man who needs no introduction to die hard LoL bettors. He’s taken G2 to Worlds every year since 2016, albeit without much success. Now, paired with maybe the best Jungler in the world in Jankos, he’s poised to finally bring home the trophy he’s been hunting for.
FunPlus Phoenix +375
FunPlus Phoenix were a middle of the road team in 2018, without any notable wins over any top tier teams. Cut to 2019, after some smart roster moves, and Phoenix placed third in the LPL Spring Split, took second at Rift Rivals, and won the Summer Split convincingly. Their record in the Summer group stage was 13-1, and they dropped just two games out of their two best of fives on their way to the Grand Finals.
The biggest thing that worries me about the Phoenix is their near complete lack of top level experience. Doinb, arguably their best player, hasn’t been to Worlds once over the course of his three year career. This will be his first time doing it on a stage this size, which can be a difficult transition.
SK Telecom T1 +400
SKT are one of the most storied organizations in esports, due in large part to Faker. They’ve won three World Championships, two of which have been won back to back. After a disappointing 2018, SKT revamped their team, making several changes to both their roster and their coaching staff.
These changes clearly paid off, as they won both Splits in 2019, as well as Rift Rivals. They fell short in the Semifinals of the Mid-Season Invitational to G2, albeit in a close 2-3 loss.
SKT’s performance in the Summer Split was exactly what you’d expect from a team of this caliber, finishing 11-7 over the split, and proceeding to win the tournament from the Wild Card game, dropping just two maps in the Bo3 and three Bo5 they played.
Invictus Gaming +650
Invictus Gaming are the defending champs from last year, not that you’d be able to tell by their odds. After a dominant Spring split they petered out in Round 1 of the Summer playoffs, losing 0-3 to LNG Esports.
Obviously that’s not a great result for a team with Worlds level aspiration. They ended up winning the Regional Finals, in two close 3-2 Bo5’s, earning them a spot at Worlds.
Invictus have been losing steam all year. They’ve had to make some changes to their starting roster due to underperformance from key players, and they just haven’t looked great in general.
Royal Never Give Up +700
Royal Never Give Up (who I’ll refer to as Royal from now on, because that name is ridiculous), have had some serious ups and downs this year. A disappointing performance in the playoffs of the Spring Split caused some roster changes, shuffling some players around in their lineup.
The adjustments worked, as they took a second place finish in the Summer Split. That performance was enough to qualify them for Worlds, where they’ll be looking to finally break that 3rd-4th place barrier and make an appearance in the Grand Finals.
Griffin take a lot of inspiration from the Toronto Raptors. That archetype of regular season excellence, post season disappointment seems like it will hold true for Griffin this year, if history repeats itself. While they finished first in both Splits this year, they came up short in the playoffs both times to SKT. While this team is talented top to bottom, it seems like they still haven’t found their Kawhi that can turn them from regular season juggernaut to a real championship contender.
DAMWON Gaming +800
DAMWON is the first Play-In team that we’ve talked about. Obviously life is going to be much harder for a team in that position, as that’s a lot more games to play, but if anyone in the Play-Ins can do it, it’s DAMWON.
They’ve had an exciting year for such a young team, making playoff appearances in both Splits. They made it into the Regional Finals in September, where they beat the team that knocked them out of the Spring Split playoffs. How poetic.
The League of Legends World’s format is so expansive, that it can be tough to make smart outright bets this far in advance. Dozens of games will be played over the next month and a half, narrowing down a field of 24 to one. That being said, I like SKT at +400. I always find it hard to bet against Faker, as there aren’t a ton of players in any game that can do the things he can compared to his contemporaries. Not to mention that +400, for the best team of all time, who won both splits this year, dropping just a handful of games, feels like pretty good value to me.