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Esports: Demacia Cup match preview

As the year draws to a close, the League of Legends regional seasons are gearing up to start once again with official tournaments set to get underway in January - but only after a handful of pre-season events.

One pre-season tournament taking place at the moment is the Demacia Cup, which is a domestic, offline event in China. 

The event began on Wednesday 14th December and is set to run until Tuesday 27th December. It is split into three stages with Stage One and Stage Two having already been completed. 

Stage One featured an initial 16 teams, 11 of which were amateur sides with the other five coming from China's development league. 

Only three teams progressed from Stage One to Stage Two, which introduced 13 teams from the League of Legends Pro League (LPL) - the top division in China. 

That played out in a single-elimination format and the top four sides progressed to stage three which introduced JD Gaming, Top Esports, Edward Gaming and Royal Never Give Up - the four best LPL sides who competed in the 2022 League of Legends World Championship. 

Stage three is also a single-elimination bracket, starting with four quarter-finals, the last of which takes place on Saturday between TT Gaming and JD Gaming. 

The winners of the match will move to the semi-finals and face either Huya MOJ or EDward Gaming.

What: TT Gaming vs JD Gaming, Demacia Cup 
Where: China (offline) 
When: 09:00, Saturday 24th December 2022 
Odds: TT Gaming 5/6, JD Gaming 5/6

LPL Summer champions JD Gaming can reflect on strong season

JD Gaming have enjoyed a pretty successful year in the world of League of Legends and going into China's pre-season event the Demacia Cup, they are primed with the same roster which has sought so much success in 2022. 

The year began with a respectable third-place finish in the LPL Spring 2022 before they placed fourth in the tournament's playoffs. 

The objective going into the LPL Summer was to make the top two and they did exactly that before going on to enjoy their best moment of 2022, winning the LPL Summer Playoffs with a 3-2 victory over Top Esports in the final. 

Many had them down as dark horses going into this year's League of Legends World Championship and they again impressed. 

JD Gaming topped their Worlds group with a 5-1 record ahead of DWG KIA, Evil Geniuses and G2 Esports and they made light work of Rogue - the best team in Europe - in the event's quarter-finals. 

Their Worlds campaign came to an end in the semi-finals with a 3-1 loss to T1 but it nonetheless represented a strong tournament.

Expect JD Gaming to take Demacia Cup seriously 

With all that considered and given they are putting out a strong roster for this tournament, JD Gaming are well worth a bet to beat TT Gaming at 5/6

They are likely not shorter in price given their underwhelming showing at NEST 2022 in which they finished in the 9th-14th places, while some may be uneasy about backing a big side in a relatively unimportant tournament. 

However, the Demacia Cup should be taken seriously by JD Gaming, who will want to make a strong start to the 2023 campaign and lay down a marker before the action begins in January.

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Little appeal about backing TT Gaming 

On top of that, there is not much appeal about backing TT Gaming in this best-of-five encounter. They were unimpressive in both the LPL Spring and Summer leagues, finishing 17th in the first one and 12th in the second and failing to make the playoffs in both events. 

They showed signs of improvement at NEST 2022, making the quarter-finals but ultimately it has been a tricky campaign and fans will be hoping for a lot more next year. 

The Demacia Cup will not be top on the list of priorities for LPL sides but even an underperforming JD Gaming outfit should have enough in their locker to see off TT Gaming and punters may want to split stakes on a 3-0 win for JD Gaming at 5/1 and a 3-1 win at 15/4

JD Gaming are 2/5 at +1.5 on the match handicap, while TT Gaming can be backed at 7/4 at -1.5 on the match handicap. 

The Demacia Cup semi-finals take place on Sunday and Monday with the final scheduled for Tuesday.

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