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There are three big matches taking place on Saturday

Esports: LPL Spring Saturday matches preview

The LPL Spring 2023, which runs through to March, is the LPL's first split of the year and features 17 teams playing initially in a round-robin format.

The top 10 sides will then progress to the playoffs, which comprises a king-of-the-hill phase and a double-elimination phase.

The overall winners of LPL Spring will not only secure close to $300,000 but, along with the event's runners-up, they will qualify for the Mid-Season Invitational - one of the most high-profile international events in the world of League of Legends.

The season will, of course, build to the end-of-year League of Legends World Championships, which last year featured four teams from China's LPL.

On Saturday, the first three games of the event take place with FunPlus Phoenix playing Team WE, Anyone's Legend taking on Invictus Gaming and Bilibili Gaming clashing with JD Gaming.

FunPlus Phoenix can justify favouritism in LPL Spring opener

WhatFunPlus Phoenix vs Team WE, LPL Spring
WhenSaturday January 14th
How to watchTwitch
OddsFunPlus Phoenix -138, Team WE +100

FunPlus Phoenix last won an LPL split in the summer of 2019 - the same year they won Worlds - and are as big as +4000 To Win Outright the LPL Spring 2023.

They are not considered among the biggest hitters in the LPL realm but are -138 To Win their opener against Team WE, who can be backed at +100.

Both of these sides made big changes to their respective rosters during the off-season but Team WE look particularly unstable and it could take time for their new talents such as bot laner Wang "Hope" Jie, brought in from JD Gaming, and former LNG support talent Liao "Iwandy" Ding-Yang to have their desired impacts.

FunPlus Phoenix were unimpressive in the pre-season Demacia Cup but that event is not always taken seriously by LPL sides and it is worth noting they were without Lin "Lwx" Wei-Xiang for that competition.

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Expect a close contest between Anyone's Legend and Invictus

WhatAnyone's Legends vs Invictus Gaming, LPL Spring
WhenSaturday 14th January
How to watchTwitch
OddsAnyone's Legend -120, Invictus Gaming -120

This is the closest betting heat on day one of the LPL Spring 2023 and it is easy to see why. Neither of these sides lit up the LPL Spring 2022 or the LPL Summer 2022 with both failing to make the playoffs in each of last year's splits in China.

Indeed, at the LPL Spring 2022, Anyone's Legend and Invictus Gaming finished with identical win-loss records (5-11) and had the same game differentials (-12).

One season on, it is hard to see much difference between the two rosters and a close contest is expected.

Both sides crashed out of the Demacia Cup at the quarter-final stage, both losing 3-0, and a bet on Over 2.5 Maps at -110 looks the best way to play it.

JD Gaming could face some resistance from Bilibili Gaming

WhatBilibili Gaming vs JD Gaming, LPL Spring
WhenSaturday 14th January
How to watchTwitch
OddsBilibili Gaming +250, JD Gaming -350

JD Gaming were the standout team in China last season and all eyes will be on them in their LPL Spring 2023 opener against Bilibili Gaming on Saturday.

On paper, this should be a straightforward one for JD Gaming, who impressed in the LPL Spring last year, won the LPL Summer and were the only team from outside of South Korea's LCK to make the semi-finals of the World Championships.

They have also upgraded their roster ahead of the 2023 campaign with new additions Park "Ruler" Jae-hyuk and Zhuo "knight" Ding sure to impress in the mid laner positions.

That said, their opponents Bilibili Gaming can be expected to put up a fight in this one, having won the Demacia Cup and finished runners-up in the Weibo Cup as part of their pre-season preparations.

A 2-1 win for JD Gaming at +250 in Correct Map Score (3) could represent value.

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