That’s two days in a row that a team has seemingly found themselves one game too late: first it was Team Liquid, then it was PSG Talon. I was always a bit skeptical of the idea that Talon was a huge underdog to Rogue in this group, but I thought they had made too many stylistic shifts with their forced substituting to make any noise on the last day. I was wrong about that. Luckily, I correctly identified them as a low death, objective focused team and went under in all their games expecting them to lose. Sometimes you only have to be partially right when you’re betting totals, and as they say in the business: “We take those.”
I am becoming increasingly convinced that Damwon Gaming is destined to be the 2020 World Champions. Weirdly, it was their loss to JDG that really pushed me over the edge. The way that they fought back from a deficit in that game and were still able to outplay multiple situations that they should have lost was very impressive. Eventually, JDG’s early lead proved to be the difference, but Damwon played under control and had solid decision-making where other lane kingdom teams would have crumbled. Over the course of a 5 game series, they could pull off a comeback win at least once and then do a couple of signature stomps in two others. The rest of the teams have to be shuddering at that thought.
I gave my general thoughts on team strength for this group here. Because I think the games are significantly closer than yesterday, let’s look at each matchup individually.
Fnatic (-215) vs. TSM (+155)
There’s two ways to think about this to me: the LEC is a vastly superior league to the LCS and their second seed should be near 70-30 favorites over the LCS first seed OR Fnatic is overrated coming off a near ideal week one. The truth, as always, is probably somewhere in the middle.
Fnatic is, without a doubt, the marginally better team between them and TSM, but they’re not this much better. In the first game, Fnatic got to play their signature Lucian and Evelynn. That’s the same composition they used to beat G2 who are a vastly superior team to TSM. I do not know what possessed TSM to think they could beat them on it. They will almost certainly not do that again in this game.
Outside of the draft, the game was fairly hotly contested in the early game and some of the lanes were even going in TSM’s favor, but then TSM lost their mind in a few mid-game teamfights and conceded the game. It was very reminiscent of their first week in the LCS playoffs. We know what happened next there.
I do believe Fnatic is slightly overrated coming into this week. They only have a +1.1% GSPD, despite being 2-1. It’s a small sample size, but generally speaking, if a team has a good win loss record, but a close to zero GSPD they may be set up for some regression. TSM needs the win to stay alive in the tournament. They almost seemed to thrive in the high pressure games of the LCS playoffs and did really well with a few days to regroup there. I am counting on that to be the case again.
The Picks: TSM ML (+155) 1u, TSM +6.5 (-115) 2u
LGD (+140) vs. Gen. G (-190)
One of the things that made me very bullish on Gen. G coming into the tournament was their ability to play multiple styles well. They can play the small skirmish, invade-heavy style of G2 or Top, but they also spent the entire spring season playing low kill, objective-focused LoL. In their first game, they beat LGD at their game with wild skirmishing and sheer skill. In Game 2, I would count on them taking it a bit slower.
It’s a strategy that is very effective against LGD because they have essentially never seen a dragon fight they didn’t like. If you can get vision set up early and often around heralds and dragons against LGD, which they will allow you to do, LGD will opt into bad fights. I think Gen. G is smarter enough to do that this time around and takes this one pretty easily in a low kill game.
The Picks: Under 26.5 kills (-115) 1u
TSM (+250) vs. Gen.G (-375)
I expect Gen.g to again win with relative ease, but the kill total is set low enough on this one and I can’t bet a -375 favorite or an 8.5 kill spread, so full pass.
The Picks: None
FNC (-110) vs. LGD (-125)
I will be taking another full pass here because I can tell myself a hundred stories about this game and I think Fnatic wins about 49 of them and LGD wins about 51 of them. The book feels the same way. These teams are very close. I have a “Fnatic to be eliminated” future, so I’m just going to let that ride and pass.
The Picks: None
LGD (-240) vs. TSM (+175)
Again, TSM is a little underrated after an awful week 1. I think they have an argument for the better player at his position for mid, top, and adc. It did not play out that way at all the first time around in which Doublelift got absolutely dumpstered, but one game can’t sway us that much. If you believe like I do, that these two teams are close in talent with obvious stylistic issues, you have to plug your nose and bet on the +175 dog. Even moreso, you have to bet the +6.5 on TSM against LGD who will let any team back into any game ever.
The Picks: TSM +6.5 (-115) 1u, TSM ML (+175) 0.5u
Gen. G (-195) vs. Fnatic (+140)
As you probably predicted, I’m finishing with my “fade Fnatic” strategy here. I believe Gen. G are a full tier above Fnatic in individual talent. In Game 1, it was clear they thought so too when they took a bot laner without flash and Fnatic took full advantage. This time around with the blue side around and a more respectful approach, Gen. G deserves to be about a -200 favorite. Their GSPD of +9.7% tells us the story of a team that probably should have gone 3-0 where Fnatic looked a little lucky to be 2-1. Still, I don’t like -200 in one-offs so I’ll play the kill spread of -5.5 a pretty safe number for a good AMOV team like Gen.G.
The Picks: Gen. G -5.5 (-115) 1u