The first day of the Manila Major main event will be taking place at the Mall of Asia Arena tomorrow, and already the bracket is looking like a minefield. Both sides of the bracket contain the usual suspects as well as some underdogs, so tomorrow’s games should prove to be exciting right off the bat.
We’ve got the tips for tomorrow’s matches right here, so read on to know which teams you should put your money on.
Upper Bracket (Best of 3)
Team Liquid (3/10 Betway) v MVP Phoenix (5/2 bet365)
MVP Phoenix’s journey to the upper bracket in the group stage didn’t go as smoothly as we initially expected, with the Koreans finishing in second place instead of first as we predicted. They looked quite vulnerable against LGD and even dropped a map to tournament underdogs Mineski, and so we’re now inclined to believe that they will lose this matchup against Team Liquid.
Speaking of Liquid, they’re looking fantastic in this tournament so far and seem to be in top form coming right off their championship run at EPICENTER. On paper they are heavily favored to beat MVP — hence the steep price attached to them in this market. This should be an easy trip to the second round of the upper bracket for them, provided that they don’t do anything foolish like allowing Bristleback and Io to fall into MVP’s hands.
Team Liquid to win the series with Betway at 3/10 (1.30)
Natus Vincere (7/5 Betway) v OG (1/2 Paddy Power)
The buck should stop here for Na’Vi, who put on a spirited performance through the group stage in order to land in the upper bracket. Although they sliced through Group B without dropping a single map (thus giving their fans hope that they might truly be back this time), this matchup is not likely going to end well for them. The last time they faced OG was in the DreamLeague Season 5 grand finals, where they failed to even scratch OG’s armor.
We think more of the same will occur here. Although OG finished second in their group, it should be noted that Group A had Newbee in it, making it harder than most would say. OG did well to survive that group despite being swept by Newbee, which makes us think they have plenty left in the tank to beat Na’Vi again.
OG to win the series with Paddy Power at 1/2 (1.50)
Newbee (1/4 Paddy Power) v Digital Chaos (5/2 bet365)
Well… Newbee are doing it again. They seem to be starting another one of their winning streaks, this time by going 4-0 in maps in the group stage. Keep in mind that they had to beat OG 2-0 to do so, which in itself is not as easy thing to do. All things considered, they’re looking like a huge threat in this tournament.
But, there’s something to be said about how people seem to be underestimating Digital Chaos. Not only did they beat Wings Gaming twice in two separate series, but they did so in very convincing fashion. Resolut1on in particular looks like a man on a mission. Given the difference between these two teams in terms of their odds, we reckon it’s a good idea to bet on the less-favored team here. In all honesty, Newbee will probably win this series, but DC didn’t seem like total pushovers in the group stage so we think there’s a decent chance they could halt the streak early.
Digital Chaos to win the series with bet365 at 5/2 (3.50)
LGD Gaming (4/5 Paddy Power) v Fnatic (9/10 Betway)
Okay, so maybe we were wrong about our initial assessment of LGD coming into this event. We first wondered why bookmakers thought so highly of them prior to the group stage, but now we see that having xiao8 in the offlane really does work wonders for them. Their other players have also settled nicely into their roles, allowing them to play crisply and consistently.
That said, they’re still more or less evenly matched with Fnatic. Armed with their adjusted lineup and the support of the Filipino and SEA communities, they managed to survive Group C in spite of the tough competition surrounding them. The bookmakers seem to share this opinion, as the odds on both teams are quite close to each other once converted. This series could honestly go either way, so we think it’s best to put money down on Fnatic given their strength as a team of five and the fact that they have the local fans’ support.
Fnatic to win the series with Betway at 9/10 (1.90)
Lower Bracket (Best of 1)
Wings Gaming (3/5 Betway) v CompLexity Gaming (6/5 bet365)
To be honest, we think that both Wings and CompLexity deserve to be in the lower bracket. Wings looked far from their ESL One Manila form, while CoL simply continued their recent string of misfortunes with a 0-4 map record in the group stage.
However, it’s still pretty clear which team in this matchup is more favored: the Chinese. Wings still have their meta-defying drafts to lean on against a team like CompLexity, who will be more concerned about executing their own plans and keeping communication breakdowns to a minimum. In a best of 1 series, such things could turn the tide in an instant.
Wings Gaming to win the series with Betway at 3/5 (1.60)
Alliance (1/3 Paddy Power) v Mineski (7/4 bet365)
If this were a best of 3 in any other circumstances, we would have called this matchup a surefire early dismissal from the tournament for Mineski. On paper they simply don’t have the talent required to make it past top 12, much less win the whole event. However, after seeing them take a map each off of EG and MVP Phoenix, we think an upset here is in the realm of possibility.
Alliance will have to treat this matchup seriously if they want to keep playing in Manila. Although Mineski wouldn’t normally be able to beat them in a best of 3, the unpredictability of a best of 1 series may prove to be their undoing. Mineski should look to exploit any carelessness shown by Alliance, which is something we have seen plenty of times before.
Mineski to win the series with bet365 at 7/4 (2.75)
Evil Geniuses (3/4 Betway) v Vici Gaming Reborn (1/1 bet365)
If you had told us several months ago that Evil Geniuses would be in the first round of the lower bracket of the Manila Major, we definitely would have laughed at you. As it turns out, the new EG roster isn’t working as well as they’d hoped at the roster lock. They look like a sinking ship right now, to be quite frank.
This would normally make Vici Gaming Reborn the easy choice in this fixture, especially considering the odds — but EG is still EG. While captain Ppd is still onboard the vessel, there is a chance for them to win games before the creeps even spawn. Considering VGR failed to even win a single map in the group stage, we think they’re destined to fall at the first hurdle.
Evil Geniuses to win the series with Betway at 3/4 (1.75)
Team Secret (4/5 bet365) v Team Empire (5/6 Paddy Power)
And now, we have an even more depressing comparison between an old lineup and a new lineup. Team Secret, the defending Dota 2 Major champions (the old lineup, at least), are looking like they’re about ready to pack their bags and leave the Philippines after tomorrow. They still haven’t fixed the problems they encountered at EPICENTER and the chemistry issues they’ve had since day 1 (or since the roster lock, to be more specific), which culminated in a 0-2 loss to Na’Vi and a 1-2 loss to Wings in the group stage.
It’s not looking good at all for Puppey’s team. Perhaps it was a mistake to have EnVy drafting for them last Friday, or perhaps the problem just goes far deeper than a captain’s decision gone wrong. Either way, we think Empire will get past them in this matchup, because even if Empire doesn’t match up completely in terms of talent, Secret just have this knack for beating themselves with their lack of proper teamwork. Besides, the last time these two faced off, Empire came out on top in spectacular fashion.
Team Empire to win the series with Paddy Power at 5/6 (1.83)