On the eve of the 2019 World Championship Main Event, LCK champions SK Telecom T1 have emerged as the favorite to win the tournament.
The team emerged from its region as the #1 overall seed in Korea and potentially the #1 team in the world. The odds would certainly argue so. In fact, SKT’s odds to win the tournament currently sit at 3/1, the best among the entire field.
To give those numbers some life, if you were to place a $1 bet on SKT to win Worlds outright, you would receive $3 if the team wins. If you put down a $100 bet, you would win $300.
And while SKT has emerged as the favorite to take home Korea’s first Worlds title since 2017, last year’s champion, Invictus Gaming, sits not too far behind with 13/2 odds to win outright. Sandwiched between SKT and IG are two other serious contenders for the title, FunPlus Phoenix and MSI Champions G2 Esports. who sport odds of 4/1 and 5/1, respectively.
And after missing out on the World Championship last season, the Korean hopefuls Griffin have 8/1 odds to win Worlds outright. Right behind Griffin, two of the most legendary Western teams in League history, Fnatic and Team Liquid, respectively sit at 16/1 and 33/1. And while they may technically be longshots when stacked up against the tournament’s favorites, it’s important to remember that the favorite doesn’t always win when it comes to Worlds.
If we think back to last year, Royal Never Give Up and KT Rolster were the favorites to win the tournament outright. Neither team reached the semifinals. Even two years ago, Longzhu Gaming was the far-and-away favorite to win the World Championship, and that team met a similar fate.
And if some of those early tournament favorites get knocked out here in 2019, we could see some serious longshots move up into a group of potential contenders. And there is definitely a serious contingent of teams with incredibly high odds that need any help they can get.
Some of these include a pair of LMS squads in J Team and AHQ. And while J Team has solid odds (for a longshot) at 100/1, AHQ’s chances look straight up dire as the team sports odds of 150/1. Alongside them, two North American contenders in Cloud9 and Clutch Gaming sport odds of 125/1 and 150/1, respectively. All things considered, putting your money on a Worlds banner hanging in the LCS Studio come 2020 might not be in your best interest.
Keep in mind that as the tournament evolves and more teams get knocked out of the field, other teams could have their odds affected. For example, if a heavy favorite like FunPlus or SKT gets knocked out in the group stage or quarterfinals, other teams could rise up through the ranks and see their odds of a Worlds title subsequently increase.
Look at last year’s bracket stage. Serious favorites like KT Rolster, RNG, and Afreeca Freecs were all knocked out in the quarterfinals. As a result, teams like Cloud9 and Fnatic, who were considered underdogs at first, saw their odds to win a title increase.
And now, as we move into the tournament’s main event, it’s clear that some times are simply stronger and have better chances of walking out of Europe with a title to show for their efforts. Keep in mind, however, that you don’t have to bet only on who will win the title. If you’re more interested in taking things at a game-by-game basis and don’t really feel comfortable making a long-term commitment, you can always bet on a single game. For example, tomorrow’s opening matchup between Fnatic and SKT posts SKT as 6.5 point favorites while the over/under on total kills is at 26.5.
Still, the tournament is totally up for grabs. And while the odds might only show a few teams with a genuine chance of taking home the title, there’s still plenty of chances for upsets. Make no mistake, this tournament is wide open.
Photo Credit: League of Legends, Riot Games, G2 Esports
Note: Gambling laws, especially those detailing online gambling, are subject to change depending on where you live. Consult your state or country’s official set of laws before partaking in the placing of bets. All references to the odds used in this article are courtesy of Bovada.