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Esports: Friday MSI Play-In match previews

This year's edition of the League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational is upon us and the play-in stage is already in full flow.

Second only to the end-of-season World Championship on the League of Legends calendar, the Mid-Season Invitational is one of the most prestigious events in the world of Esports, featuring some of the best teams from across the globe.

Each of the PCS, VCS, LJL, CBLOL and LLA have representatives at the event this year, while two slots have been awarded to each of South Korea's LCK, China's LPL, Europe's LEC and North America's LCS.

A total of 13 teams were involved in the S-Tier event from the start and are battling it out for a prize pool of $250,000.

The MSI is currently in the play-in phase with three teams set to qualify for the main bracket stage at which point five seeded teams will also join the fray.

The first round of play-in matches were played with four teams progressing to the second round of the upper bracket and the other four dropping down to the lower bracket.

On Friday the first round of the lower bracket begins with two matches - Movistar R7 vs GAM Esports and LOUD vs DetonatioN FocusMe.

GAM Esports can make experience count

WhatMovistar R7 v GAM Esports
WhereCopper Box Arena, London
When8AM ET, Friday May 5
How to watchTwitch & Youtube
OddsMovistar R7 +350, GAM Esports -600

As representatives of the Latin American League and the Vietnam Championship Series respectively, neither Movistar R7 nor GAM Esports are considered big hitters in the world of Esports.

That said, one side shapes up better than the other heading into this contest, with VCS side GAM Esports expected to win this lower-bracket encounter against Movistar R7, outsiders at +350.

Both sides lost their upper-bracket contests 2-0 - Movistar were unsurprisingly overpowered by Bilibili Gaming, while it was Golden Guardians who knocked GAM Esports into the lower bracket.

But, looking at the bigger picture rather than one-off matches, GAM Esports are the more experienced of the two outfits.

Although they finished bottom of their section with a 1-5 record in the group stage, GAM Esports made it all the way to the main event of last year's League of Legends World Championship, playing against some of the world's best in DRX, Rogue and Top Esports.

That was an invaluable experience, whereas Movistar R7 were not even involved in the event.

GAM Esports are definitely the bet to win this match, but to squeeze extra value out of their price, punters should back them to win this 2-0 at -138.

DetonatioN FocusMe can justify favouritism

WhatLOUD v DetonatioN FocusMe
WhereCopper Box Arena, London
When11AM ET, Friday May 5
How to watchTwitch & Youtube
OddsLOUD +125, DetonatioN FocusMe -175

In the other lower-bracket encounter on Friday, Brazilian outfit LOUD are up against Japanese representatives DetonatioN FocusMe and in this contest it could pay to go with the favourite.

LOUD were dealt a bad card in the upper bracket, having been drawn against European powerhouses G2 Esport, who unsurprisingly ran out 2-0 winners.

LOUD were not expected to lay a glove on G2 Esports, although they are being given more of a chance to win here at +125.

DetonatioN FocusMe are, however, still the best bet, despite having slipped up against PCS representatives PSG Talon in their first match of the play-in stage.

In the LJL Spring 2023, DetonatioN FocusMe were in fine form with 12 wins from their 14 matches and they made light work of Sengoku Gaming in the split's final.

DetonatioN FocusMe also featured at Worlds last year, having reached the initial knockout stage at the tournament.

That kind of added experience could be key and against a LOUD team who have simply achieved big by being at the Mid-Season Invitational, DetonatioN FocusMe can justify favouritism.

Punters could opt to back them at -175 to win this, while a bet on them to win 2-0 against their South American counterparts offers a bit more value at +175.

Under 2.5 maps is another way to play it at -125 if punters think either side can get the job done quickly in this Friday match-up.

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