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Esports: Monday LPL Spring match previews

The only region other than South Korea's LCK to have a team in the semi-finals of the League of Legends World Championship last year was China's LPL and that division is back with its first split of the year.

The dust has just settled on the fifth week of action in China's LPL Spring 2023 and it is already becoming clear which teams are on course for the playoffs.

Of the 17 teams competing in the LPL Spring regular season, only ten will progress to the playoffs and compete for glory, with the winners and runners-up of the split set to feature in the Mid-Season Invitational - a prestigious international event taking place later this year.

LNG Esports, Top Esports and Edward Gaming are among those leading the pack as it stands, while Anyone's Legend have had a torrid time of it, losing each of their first seven matches in the LPL Spring.

The split is now at the halfway point with Monday marking the start of Week Six with a double-header of matches.

First up is lowly Ninjas in Pyjamas, who merged with and replaced Victory Five in the LPL, up against ThunderTalk Gaming, while the later game features struggling pair LGD Gaming and Royal Never Give Up.

Ninjas could struggle against ThunderTalk

WhatNinjas in Pyjamas v ThunderTalk Gaming
When09.00, Monday 20th February
How to watchLPL Twitch & Youtube channels
OddsNinjas in Pyjamas 11/8, ThunderTalk Gaming 8/15

ThunderTalk Gaming slipped to defeat against Oh My God in their most recent LPL Spring endeavour but they are going well in the split and are worth a bet at 8/15 to respond with victory over Ninjas in Pyjamas.

During the offseason, ThunderTalk Gaming enjoyed decent preparations for the LPL Spring, making the final of the Demacia Cup, and they have made a solid start to the first split of the year.

They find themselves in the mid-table positions with a positive 4-3 win-loss record and can count Weibo Gaming and Invictus Gaming among their scalps this season.

ThunderTalk Gaming missed out on the playoffs in both the LPL Spring and LPL Summer last year but they are a team on the up, having improved from placing bottom in the LPL Spring last year to finish 12th in the LPL Summer.

It remains to be seen if they have what it takes to last, but for now they should have enough in their locker to see off Ninjas in Pyjamas, who have lost five of their seven matches in the LPL Spring.

Most recently, Ninjas in Pyjamas were beaten by struggling LGD Gaming and they should be opposed once again here.

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Royal Never Give Up can edge LGD Gaming

WhatLGD Gaming v Royal Never Give Up
When11.00, Monday 20th February
How to watchLPL Twitch & Youtube channels
OddsLGD Gaming 4/1, Royal Never Give Up 1/7

Royal Never Give Up were one of the standout teams in China's LPL last season, finishing second in the LPL Spring regular season, winning the subsequent Mid-Season Invitational and then placing fourth in the LPL Summer regular season.

They even managed to get out of their group at the League of Legends World Championship, losing to LCK powerhouses T1 in the quarter-finals.

Overall, it was a respectable season but, like most LPL sides, they made a couple of roster changes during the offseason and have since struggled.

They have two new players in the mid-laner positions in Xiang "Angel" Tao and Lin "Tangyuan" Yu-Hong, while support player Shi "Ming" Sen-Ming rejoined the team earlier this month after having originally departed during the offseason.

It is perhaps no surprise then that Royal Never Give Up have made a stuttering start to the LPL Spring, posting a 3-4 win-loss record after seven matches.

They are currently outside of the playoff places but things are looking up after successive wins against FunPlus Phoenix and Team WE.

Fortunately for them their first opponents in week six are an LGD Gaming side with a 2-5 win-loss record, so Royal Never Give Up are fancied to win this one at 1/7.

And while it is fair to say they are on an upward trajectory and should get the job done, it would be no surprise to see them drop a map, so punters should consider backing a 2-1 win for Royal Never Give Up at 11/5.

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