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Esports: Wednesday's Weibo Cup preview

One of the most highly anticipated of those regional competitions is China's League of Legends Pro League, which has produced some serious Worlds contenders over the years.

And as the build-up to the LPL Spring 2023 continues, League of Legends fans and punters can turn their attention to the Weibo Cup.

The Weibo Cup is an A-Tier online event in China which features teams from both the country's League of Legends Development League (LDL) and the LPL and acts as a pre-season warm-up event.

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The event's group stage took place in a double round robin format and has already concluded with Invictus Gaming Young and Team WE Academy progressing from Group A ahead of MAX and Oh My Dream.

In Group B, meanwhile, EDG Youth Team and LGD Gaming Youth Team both secured top-two berths ahead of Bilibili Gaming Junior and FunPlus Phoenix Blaze.

The successful quartet now move to the quarter-finals, which are completed by four LPL teams - Bilibili Gaming, LNG Esports, Oh My God and Weibo Gaming - joining the fray.

Wednesday features two quarter-finals as the Team WE Academy side take on LPL big guns Bilibili Gaming and LGD and EDG's youth sides lock horns.

Bilibili Gaming can make LPL experience count

What: Team WE.A v Bilibili Gaming, Weibo Cup
Where: China
When: Wednesday January 4th
Odds: Team WE.A +600, Bilibili Gaming -1200

This is by no means a close betting heat but it is nonetheless an intriguing encounter for punters and fans alike as it puts Team WE's academy side to the test and gives insight into how Bilbili Gaming are shaping up ahead of the new campaign.

Bilibili Gaming did not exactly set the world of the LPL alight last year, firstly finishing eighth in the LPL Spring and then crashing out in the second round of the playoffs.

And they actually took a step back in the LPL Summer, finishing 10th and then losing in the first round of the playoffs.

They are a pretty average LPL outfit as it goes and they are one which academy sides like Team WE would target as beatable.

That said, Bilibili Gaming come into the Weibo Cup in pretty good form.

At the end of last year, they managed to secure a third-place finish in NEST 2022 and they went on to win the iconic LPL pre-season event the Demacia Cup.

In the Demacia Cup, they slammed last year's Mid-Season Invitational winners Royal Never Give Up 3-0 in the semi-finals before beating TT Gaming 3-2 in the Grand Final.

There is the argument that the big guns in that event like Royal Never Give Up do not take the Demacia Cup as seriously as others but Bilibili Gaming nonetheless performed well to beat those in front of them and will take confidence from that triumph as the new season edges closer.

Team WE Academy placed second in Group A with four wins from their six matches, finishing above a pretty strong MAX side, but this will be a different challenge entirely.

Bilibili Gaming are expected to run out comfortable winners and punters should look at backing a 3-0 win for the LPL side at +110.

EDG can build on solid group campaign in Weibo Cup

What: LGD.Y v EDG.Y, Weibo Cup
Where: China
When: Wednesday January 4th
Odds: LGD.Y +175, EDG.Y -250

With LPL rivals Weibo Gaming and Oh My God having been drawn against one another in one of the other quarter-finals, it means one last-eight clash pits two academy sides together - LGD Gaming Youth Team against EDG Youth Team.

This is an intriguing one in the sense that both of these teams came out of the same group at the Weibo Cup.

EDG Youth Team finished top of Group B with a 4-2 record, while LGD had a 3-3 record, scraping through ahead of Bilbili Gaming Junior.

Indeed, EDG Youth Team won both of their meetings with LGD and are expected to do so again.

LGD were not exactly barnstorming in the group stage and EDG can be fancied to win this comfortably, with -1.5 on the match handicap priced at -110

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