The Overwatch League's final tournament begins next week, and on the horizon is playoffs.
Regardless of region, the Overwatch matches have been intense, forcing teams to adapt or fall to the wayside. From the results of the Summer Showdown and May Melee, there are clear indicators as to who we can expect to see in the playoffs come September. Teams' performances at the Countdown Cup will either solidify their spot in playoffs or send them to the bench with the Boston Uprising.
In North America, no team has been as consistently dominant as the San Francisco Shock this season. The Paris Eternal managed to upset the world champions in the Summer Showdown Semifinals. A long and arduous Rialto gave the Eternal all the fuel they needed to clinch a 3-2 win. On the same map, the Paris Eternal were able to shut down the Philadelphia Fusion and deny them another tournament title. Only time will tell if the San Francisco Shock and Philadelphia Fusion will be able to regain their status as Grand Champions, or if the Paris Eternal will swipe the number two North America slot.
The narrative of the Shanghai Dragons is one that keeps getting better and better with each win. The world record-setting team has been on a hot streak ever since their devastating performance during the Inaugural Season. The consistency of the Chinese team all season has made them a shoo-in for playoffs in Asia. During the Summer Showdown, the Guangzhou Charge pried a win away from the Dragons in what was heading towards a reverse sweep. Former contender for the crown, New York Excelsior, has struggled to make it out of tournament semifinals. The team has a track record of losing steam, but if all goes well in the Countdown Cup, they may have a chance at playoffs.
Chances to Win
The last time odds to win the 2020 Grand Final were posted (pre-pandemic), reigning champion San Francisco was heavily favored at +175, followed by New York (+350), Atlanta (+600), and Vancouver (+600). Shanghai was the top Asian team at +900. According to Sports Betting Dime, when the odds reopen, SF and NY will still be at or near the top, but Atlanta and, in particular, Vancouver will be massive longshots. The Titans have literally zero players left on their roster from the squad that finished second last season and their new-look team is just 3-7 on the year with a -12 MD. The top-three favorites will likely be SF, Shanghai, and the much-improved Philadelphia Fusion all in the +350 to +450 range.
The Countdown Cup bracket begins next weekend and will be the last chance for many teams to rise amongst the ranks. The teams mentioned above may be the likely choice for playoff contenders, but we have seen the likes of the Florida Mayhem and Seoul Dynasty defy the odds.