LoL Worlds 2023 Playoffs kick off on Thursday, November 2, with the first match of the knockout stage between North America’s NRG Esports and China’s Weibo Gaming. Both teams have had a bumpy road to the second stage of the LoL Worlds 2023, but according to the offered esports betting odds, there is no doubt which of the two squads will come out ahead.
NRG Esports vs Weibo Gaming
When: Thursday, November 2, 9:00 CEST (17:00 KST)
Esports bookmakers have NRG Esports priced as 5.50 (at bet365) underdogs against Weibo Gaming (1.14) for Thursday’s LoL Worlds 2023 Playoffs series, which isn’t too shocking. NRG Esports are widely considered as one of the weakest teams at LoL Worlds 2023.
To reach the LoL Worlds 2023 Playoffs, NRG Esports only had to defeat Team Liquid, MAD Lions, and G2 Esports. And even though beating G2 Esports is no small feat, it’s also fair to say that G2 Esports played extremely poorly on that day. On the other side, NRG Esports played extremely well, and it might’ve not been a fluke.
Weibo Gaming haven’t had to defeat much stronger teams to make it this far (NRG, MAD Lions, Fnatic), and they haven’t looked amazing in their series either. But as much as we can try to compare the team’s schedules, this doesn’t give any real indication of which team will do better on Thursday.
Swiss Stage Results Don’t Matter
It’s not entirely true that the LoL Worlds 2023 Swiss Stage mean nothing, but those can’t be used to determine which team is better fit to win a game in the LoL Worlds 2023 Playoffs. In the Swiss Stage, the LoL esports team had only one day to prepare themselves for their next opponent, which completely removes the possibility of squads forging a strategy on how to approach the next game.
Moreover, most of the squads had no chance to play an official match on the new patch until the LoL Worlds 2023 Swiss Stage, so the first stage was used mostly to figure out what works in the current meta.
Should we completely ignore the team’s results leading up to the LoL Worlds 2023 Playoffs? No, but those shouldn’t be taken at face value.
Weibo Gaming Might Field A Different Lineup
According to rumours, Weibo Gaming will play with Hung “Karsa” Hao-Hsuan, who will replace jungler Wei “Weiwei” Bo-Han. How you take this news is up for debate; however, Weibo Gaming have looked much worse with Karsa as their jungle. Arguably, WeiWei is a much more valuable jungler for this team.
Karsa was Weibo Gaming’s starting jungler until May 2023, and he has helped the team place fourth in the LPL 2023 Spring regular season and 5th-6th in the LPL 2023 Spring Playoffs. With Weiwei, WBG haven’t placed any higher in the Summer Split, but there was a noticeable improvement in the team’s performances.
Moreover, adding a player who hasn’t played professional league in a while is never a good idea, and it doesn’t help Weibo Gaming one bit.
NRG Esports vs Weibo Gaming Betting Predictions
Weibo Gaming might field much better individual players than NRG Esports, but there are a few things to consider. Weibo Gaming will play with a stand-in jungler, who might be held in high regard due to his past achievements, but he hasn’t been active in a while, and when he was WBG’s starting jungler, the team didn’t look good.
Looking back at the games leading up to the LoL Worlds 2023 Playoffs, NRG Esports have actually played better games. They drafted much better than Weibo Gaming, which is a huge advantage which NRG Esports might be able to use to punish Weibo Gaming, who honestly haven’t shown much.
If we ignore the fact that NRG Esports are from LCS, which is considered to be a joke region, they’ve earned their right to be in the Lol Worlds 2023 Playoffs. They might’ve not beaten any elite teams, but they played well in the games NRG Esports won. Even against Weibo Gaming, NRG would’ve looked better had they had a better draft, so with some preparation, it’s fair to assume they’ll be able to put up a fight.
In contrast, Weibo Gaming completely fell apart against G2 Esports in the second game of the Swiss Stage, got mauled by KT Rolster, who took advantage of WBG’s mistakes and barely made it past Fnatic, who didn’t play particularly well.
As much as this seems like it’s Weibo Gaming’s game to lose, this team is flawed enough for me to believe we might see what many believed was impossible. NRG Esports can make it past Weibo Gaming and reach the semifinals. If you believe we’ll see the “bad” version of Weibo Gaming that can and has lost to weaker teams due to numerous mistakes and risky plays, the NRG Esports are a great value pick, especially considering they will have side choice.
As weak as NRG Esports seems, they have the tools to make the day much harder for Weibo.
There’s a world where Kang “TheShy” Seung-lok puts his team on his back in the LoL Worlds 2023 Playoffs and runs over NRG Esports. But we haven’t seen any heroic performances from the top laner yet. So why would it be any different?