Suning Top Esports Betting Breakdown

“I am at a place where I would take them against any team in the world at -250 or better, so that has to include G2. “ was the concluding sentence to my breakdown yesterday. I’m ready to bump that to -300. Damwon just does not have any weaknesses. Initially, there were questions about what happens when they play great teamfighters, beat them. There were questions about what happens when they play teams that can contest them in the early game, beat them. Questions about will they crush under the pressure again? That was an emphatic “hell no” today. If I get Damwon under -200 against whoever wins tonight, I will be making a sizable wager. 

Let’s try and figure out who’s going to be meeting (and losing to) Damwon:

Top Esports (-235) vs. Suning (+170)

  • Top- TES 369 vs. SNG Bin                                                                     The Edge: Even
  • Jungle- TES Karsa vs. SNG SofM                                                          The Edge: SNG
  • Mid- TES Knight vs. SNG Angel                                                              The Edge: TES
  • Bot- TES JackeyLove and yuyuanjia vs. SNG Swordart and Huanfeng  The Edge: SNG

If you listened to the Gold Card Podcast this week, the guys over there framed this matchup perfectly: either you believe in the current form of the teams and you should favor Suning or you believe Top Esports have innate talent edges over Suning evidenced by their 5-0 record over them in the Summer Split. I’m going with Suning. 

So rather than re-hash what they already said and do a written form of what we talked about on The Infinity Edge (TL;DR Suning has gotten better, their stats are better, I like their bot lane more), let’s go through a few things I think Suning can do to win this time around.

Punish JackeyLove

JackeyLove is indisputably a great player, but I think his split has been massively overrated by TES’ team success. He is rarely THE reason they win, but is often THE reason they lose. In a meta with mostly immmobile carries, his tendency to overstay for the last minion, try to outplay 2v1s, and just plain get caught out has made him a liability at times. In their two wins, Fnatic was able to punish him and yuyanjia over and over. Suning’s bot lane resembles Fnatic’s in a lot of ways: there is the safe and solid ADC mixed with the aggressive, roaming support. To me, that’s the best two ways to play those roles right now.

Give SofM Farming Junglers

In the Summer Playoffs, SofM only played one of the Kindred, Nidalee, Graves power trio once. Part of that was because of bans, but even still I would rather see him move into the Hecarim or Olaf tier of that style of champions over moving on to the Lee Sin or Volibear. He is uniquely great when he can get around clearing the camps ahead of the other jungler. That can’t happen when he’s playing Volibear. It also directly counters Karsa’s preferred playstlye of supporting his laners over getting farm. He has been able to play the farmers at this tournament better than in Summer, but you can still see it’s not natural for him. 

Bin plays better

This one’s simple: Bin can’t play like he did in the playoffs or they will lose. Bin was generally very good and dominated lanes many times this year, but against 369 he got his ass kicked even in supposedly “winning” matchups. If that happens again, they lose. I think Bin will be able to hang on this time around even from behind like he did against Zoom.

Finally, the odds are just too big here. I genuinely have Suning slightly favored in my own handicapping, but even if I didn’t, they only have to win 37% of the time to beat the the +170. I don’t know how anyone could have watched the two teams at this tournament and think that Suning only wins 37% of the time. Suning has had the tougher road and won more convincingly, I’m going big on the dogs. 

The other spot that has some value is the total of 27.5. It’s set there because the two teams are from the LPL and that is a historically high kill total region. It has nothing to do with how the game is being played right now or how the teams have played at the tournament. These teams despite their reputations have both been middle of the pack with kills per game and I have them projected for about 25 kills per game. I will be going under the total on maps 1,2, and 3   

The Picks: SNG +1.5 (-130) 3u, SNG ML (+170) 2u, SNG 3-1 (+700) 0.5u, SNG 3-0 (+800) 0.5u, Under 27.5 on Maps 1,2, and 3 (-115) 1u each

Damwon G2 Betting Breakdown

Here we are, two more weeks of LoL. It’s bittersweet. In some ways, I’m ready to think about something else for a stretch, in other ways it’s hard to say goodbye when I finally feel like I’ve got a good grasp on things. There will always be next season to improve on.

Before we get there though, let’s look at our first Semi-final of the weekend:

Damwon (-245) vs. G2 (+175)

  • Top- DWG Nuguri vs. G2 Wunder                                                          The Edge:DWG
  • Jungle- DWG Canyon vs. G2 Jankos                                                     The Edge:DWG
  • Mid- DWG Showmaker vs. G2 Caps                                                      The Edge: Even
  • Bot- DWG Ghost and Beryl vs. G2 Perkz and Mikyx                              The Edge: DWG

I have a feeling that there are going to be a lot of people who believe this matchup is pretty close and are therefore taking the plus odds on G2. The line movement so far favors that theory, G2 opened at +190 and Damwon at -265.  In some ways, it makes sense. G2 has demonstrated their ability to consistently beat and confound top LCK teams capped off by their recent dismantling of Gen. G. Caps, in particular, looked incredible in the series and it has sparked a debate around whether he should be considered in the “best players in the world” conversation (the answer to that is an emphatic “yes” by the way) and G2 seems destined for another shot at finally overcoming the LPL at a Worlds Final. Narratively, it makes perfect sense. In the real world, I think they’re about to get swept. Each part of that narrative: the talent discrepancy, the LCK dominance, and recent results falls apart under deeper scrutiny of G2 and their opponents, Damwon Gaming.

Let’s start with the talent. Caps is, indisputably in my opinion, a top 8 player in the world. Despite not being the kind of dominant laner we are used to on that list, he is the engine of everything good that G2 does. When you watch their wins, Caps is always involved in the skirmishes that pulls G2 into the lead. He is never late, never indecisive, and seemingly never misses a skillshot. He essentially won game 2 of their Gen. G series by himself on the Sylas. Caps could easily be the best player in this series and I would not be shocked.

The problem for G2 is Damwon has 4 players that I would not be shocked to see as the best player in the series. Canyon, Nuguri, Showmaker, and Beryl all have credible arguments as the best player at their position in the world and  Nuguri and Showmaker have arguments as the best players in the world full stop. They have handily won pretty much every lane they were a part of this season including against players like Zoom, Chovy, and BDD. It’s a scary proposition for G2, who depend on Caps to be able to leave lane to win. If Showmaker puts the kind of pressure on Caps and his tower that we are used to seeing him do, we could see a similar series to their first series against Fnatic in the LEC playoffs in which, G2 seemingly did not have a plan B when Nemesis’ Lucian was keeping Caps cemented in lane. G2 is at their best when they can skill check you in small skirmishes or objective trades, I don’t think they want to do that against Damwon. 

Second, the narrative that G2 owns the LCK is true.  They have consistently beat the region at international events over the last 2 years. But Damwon Gaming also owns the LCK this split. The went 34-5 in games in the regular season with a 15% GSPD in the LCK. The other teams that G2 has beaten from the LCK the past two years have been champions, but not the undisputed, never-really-challenged mega-champions that Damwon are. DWG also plays nothing like the slow, macro-focused SKT teams that G2 is famous for confounding. They can play a myriad of styles, but have been at their best when they are the aggressors.  They were, in fact, the best Early Game Rating team on oracleselixir.com in the world during the Summer Split. 

Finally, G2’s series against Gen.G was not nearly as dominant as the 3-0 game score suggests. In the first game, Gen. G was at even gold and had three drakes near the 20 minute mark, a commanding position for most competent teams. From there, you really have to just stall until the fourth drake spawns and set up vision properly around it without getting caught out and the advantage you have from the drake stats should help carry you through the teamfight. Instead, Gen. G got desperate and took terrible, unnecessary fights on the top side that led to a G2 baron. It was dumbfounding and enraging as a Gen. G believer. It’s also the kind of mistake that Damwon has not made this split. From there, Gen. G seemingly never mentally recovered and made all kinds of uncharacteristic, dumb mistakes to wind up getting swept. There was one clear theme though: G2 is willing to trade away early objectives to make top side dives or counter jungle. I think if they do that against Damwon they are doomed. 

All narratives aside, I believe Damwon Gaming to be the most complete and best team in the world. Their stats are perfect, their win conditions varied, and their talent unimpeachable. I am at a place where I would take them against any team in the world at -250 or better, so that has to include G2. 

The Picks: DWG ML (-245) 3u, DWG -1.5 Games (-110) 2u, DWG 3-0 (+300) 1u

Top Esports-Fnatic Betting Breakdown

What a win by Suning this morning! I decided to hedge all my futures positions on JDG with a Suning ML bet last night and, boy, am I glad about that! Everything I thought would push JDG over the edge in this series– teamfighting, macro gameplay, and experience– looked like it belonged to Suning. The fears I had about Suning– a support who sometimes ints his face off and a mid laner who regularly mechanically misplays– looked to belong to JDG on the day. I’m really starting to wish I had pulled the trigger on Suning to win Worlds at 16-1 yesterday. Can’t win’ em all, but we’re going to try tonight:

Top Esports  vs. Fnatic

  • Top- TES 369 vs. FNC Bwipo                                                                    The Edge: TES
  • Jungle- TES Karsa vs. FNC Selfmade                                                       The Edge: FNC
  • Mid- TES Knight vs. FNC Nemesis                                                            The Edge: TES
  • Bot- TES Jackeylove and Yuyanjia vs. FNC Rekkles and Hyllisang          The Edge: TES

It’s pretty clear to me at this point that I underrated Fnatic coming into this tournament. I thought that Nemesis was guaranteed to be a liability and their inconsistent gameplay would bite them against high quality competition. Nemesis has played totally under control and a meta shift towards a sort of “weak” mid lane suits him perfectly. He can play Zilean, Lulu or his signature Lucian every game and Fnatic is seemingly better for it. Then, on the gameplay side, where they might have taken a 3v3 coinflip in the enemy jungle because Hyllisang wanted to in the LEC, they are playing measured, macro LoL on the international stage. In fact, in the matchup they won against Gen.G, it was Gen.G who played the frantic, all-in support who threw the game away. 

Without Nemesis being a clear liability, it was easy to see a path to contention for Fnatic.  Hylli, Rekkles, and Bwipo have all proven themselves on the international stage before and Selfmade cemented himself as the star of the team in Summer. I had doubts about him transitioning his dominant jungling style to the international stage, but so far he has been the breakout player of the tournament and has gotten the better of international stars like Clid and Peanut. Whether or not that lasts into the knockout rounds remains to be seen, but Fnatic has been undoubtedly better than I expected.

Still, they have not played a team like Top Esports yet. That is partially because there is no other team like TES at this tournament. They were far and away the odds on favorite to win it all before the tournament and remain co-favorites with Damwon at the current iteration of the odds. Outside of the support position, you can make  credible arguments that they have the best player at each position in the tournament. Top reminds me a bit of Manchester City Football Club. They have bought  such a talented collection of players that often it does not matter how they play the game. If every player on the map or field can outplay their opponent and produce individual moments of magic, the fact that they don’t execute team concepts perfectly doesn’t matter. They never go into a game wondering if they have the talent to compete.

It is that confidence that makes TES occasionally beatable. In their game against Flyquest, we got a pretty good script on how to upset them. First, you have to contest them in the early game, if you let TES dictate the pace of the game in the early game you don’t have a shot in the mid or late game teamfights. Flyquest elected to go with a level 1 cheese, but Fnatic is good enough that playing the way they normally do with Selfmade heavily contesting enemy jungle camps could be enough. From that point is where TES’ overconfidence can kick in. They will opt into fight after fight, even at a deficit, believing that they can outplay enough to overcome. They did that against Flyquest and were punished, Fnatic is certainly good enough to punish as well. 

This matchup also has some underlying numbers that suggests it’s closer than we might think. Through the group stage of the tournament, the teams sported nearly identical GSPDs with +5.3% for TES and +5.5% for FNC. Neither group was necessarily harder than the other, so for Fnatic to have beat their opponents by a larger gold margin than Top is a surprise, especially with Top having a nearly 1.89 Kill to death ratio.  It is the statistical confirmation of some of the issues we discussed earlier. Top will fight and usually win, but their execution of larger macro concepts and objective control is not always perfect. 

Those issues make the +2.5 games number of -155 ridiculous here. That means they only expect Fnatic to win one of the first three games 60% of the time. I have them winning one of the first three games nearly 75% of the time, so this number presents a lot of value. Top should come out on, well, top, but Fnatic will have something to say before the contest is over.

The other value I see in this contest is the total of 26.5. Fnatic and Top have both been two of the lower total teams on average in this tournament. Fnatic has gone under 27 total kills in 5 of their 6 matchups and Top Esports has gone under 27 kills in 4 of their 6 matchups. This meta with such an emphasis on efficient jungle clearing and farming also feels like it will tend towards lower kill totals. I have the total available on the first three maps and will be going under on every one.

The Picks: Fnatic +2.5 games (-155) 2u, Fnatic +1.5 games (+250) 1u, Under 26.5 kills on Maps 1,2 and 3 (-115) 1u each

Damwon-DRX Betting Breakdown

Above is my finals futures positions for the tournament including my adds from today on JDG and G2. I’m not sure what made the books go sour on JDG in the group stage, but I still think they deserve to be much closer to a co-favorite with Top and Damwon. So, I spent this morning trying to figure out how I’m going to approach the remainder of the way.

Profitable scenarios

The Nuts, Gen. G wins

Gen.G wins against TES/FNC/Suning

46.5u win – 10u loss= 36.5 u win

Gen.G wins against JDG

53.7u win – 7u loss= 46.7u win

G2 wins

G2 wins against Suning, TES, or Fnatic

19.5u win – 11u loss = 8.5u win

G2 wins against JDG

22.7- 9u loss= 13.7u win

JDG Wins

JDG wins against DWG or DRX

28.2u win – 7u loss= 21.2u win

JDG wins against G2

35.7 win- 6u loss= 29.7u win

JDG wins against Gen. G

34.7win-6u loss= 28.7u win

DWG Wins

DWG wins against JDG

15.2u win- 5u loss= 10.2u win

All other winners without hedging

Losses ranging from 1u to 13u

If there is any type of reasonable situation on Damwon against G2 or Gen.G, I will certainly be hedging there. I will also probably hedge a little bit with Top against JDG provided that is the matchup. Either way, it’s going to be a fun end to the tournament with some real sweaty sweats as all my futures besides the baby staked TSM one are still live.

With that out of the way, let’s get into the first quarterfinal:

Damwon vs. DRX

Top- DWG Nuguri vs. DRX Doran The Edge:DWG
Jungle- DWG Canyon vs. DRX Pyosik The Edge:DWG
Mid- DWG Showmaker vs. DRX Chovy The Edge: Even
Bot- DWG Ghost and Beryl vs. DRX Deft and Keria The Edge: DWG

Here’s a link to highlights of the last time these two teams played. That turned out to be a 3-0 sweep in favor of Damwon Gaming in which DRX only put up a real fight in one game. Here’s what’s particularly concerning to me about this video: DRX just looks outclassed all the way around. Even when they are able to contest Damwon off of their patented early leads, Damwon comes back by clawing back experience and gold in the lanes and outplaying objective fights. You can see the hopelessness settle in with DRX in Game 3.

A lot of the time, I find betting on sweeps to be overrated. It is very hard to beat a team 3 times in a row (or in this case 6 times in a row). With that said, I’m doing it here for a few reasons: First, Damwon is ridiculous. I have said it a thousand times, but they have the statistical indicators of every World Champion plus some. For a team to outspend their opponent’s gold by 15% on average in a league as strong as the LCK is just unprecedented. Second, you can see when certain teams have mental barriers to beating the best. We’ve seen it when push comes to shove with Fnatic and G2, we’ve seen it with Flyquest against everyone, and I have a feeling we’ll see it here too. Every strength of DRX you can argue that Damwon is better at. Previously, one could have argued what happens if they make it into the late game at an even state where DRX has excelled and we just haven’t really seen what Damwon can do, but that happened in Game 2 of their series and Damwon still won.

We saw DRX do similar things in their games against Top Esports as well. Both games, but particularly game 2, DRX was able to hold up in the early game and match Top Esports in lanes, but when it came to clutch moments they were just the worse team and could not win. A lot of people will chalk that up to variance, I don’t. They are measurably worse at teamfight execution than the best teams in the world.

If this was a matchup of teams from two different regions with limited familiarity with one another, I’d be on the dog no matter what, but here I just don’t see it with DRX. Damwon has their number and will sweep again. I’ll fire on the -2.5 and then will be betting the -6.5 kills for DWG on every map it’s available to me.

The Picks: DWG -2.5 Maps (+137) 1u, DWG -6.5 kills (-115) 1u each

Group C betting breakdown

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

Group B Betting Breakdown

The curse of TSM puts us a little bit behind in Week 1 of Worlds again. They are one of the most difficult teams to handicap because they are mostly held back by their own mental fortitude. They actually have laned well enough to put them in advantageous positions in two out of the three games so far, but if one of their players dies once early on you can count on them to mental boom. It was BrokenBlade against Fnatic and then it was Doublelift against LGD. 

The good news is I have quite a few futures bets that I feel pretty good about going into the rest of the games. Check me out on twitter as I will probably be trying to hedge a little bit.  

For this article, rather than go through every matchup and tell you that Damwon and JDG are massive favorites to win every game besides against each other, I’m just going to give you my general thinking about Group B and the picks I’m on because of those thoughts.

Group B thoughts

It’s pretty simple: I expect Damwon and JDG to stomp both Rogue and PSG in. The talent chasm that exists between these teams is just too much for either to overcome. Showmaker and Nuguri have won every single lane they’ve been a part of for pretty much all of the Summer Split. They will be toying with Larssen, Tank, Hanabi, and Finn again. JDG, then, is better at the style of game PSG and Rogue got through their region playing: two tank, two carry teamfighting. They may not outclass as heavily as Damwon in the laning phase, but watch what they do when they are setting up around objectives and how controlled each player is in teamights and you’ll see they are a cut above. Even when JDG and Damwon are behind in kills in their games, they’ve typically been ahead on gold from the sheer force of their superior skill.

The conundrum for betting those games is: the moneylines reflect two heavy favorites and the kill spreads are numbers that can be hard to cover. Especially with these two teams who can choke you out with macro play, trying to get them to cover 11 kills is a risky proposition. So, rather than get too deep in the hole with those kinds of bets, I think all the unders are in play here. 

As mentioned before, Talon and Rogue are the “teamfight around objectives/map play” teams in their region. That style of play tends towards lower kills in losses. Rather than the wild skirmishing style of G2 or TES, if Rogue or PSG gets behind they generally try to minimize damage and concede everything they don’t absolutely have to contest. I expect JDG and Damwon to both get sizable leads in the early game and then easily choke the game out with map play. 

Finally, in the Rogue-PSG matchup, it’s the same story in my book. I expect Rogue to get ahead early with their superior mid-jungle duo and then choke the game out with map play like they have all season long. In short: my projections say these totals should be set somewhere around 21.5, but they’re all much larger than that. Take the under across the board.

The Picks: DWG-Talon Under 23.5 (-115) 1u, Rogue-JDG Under 26.5 (-115) 1u, DWG-Rogue Under 24.5 (-115) 1u, JDG-Talon Under 25.5 (-115) 1u, Talon-Rogue Under 24.5 (-115) 1u, Unders parlay (+2184) 0.25u

Damwon Gaming (-195) vs. JDG (+140)

Now this is a matchup worthy of a breakdown! This will almost certainly decide if the two teams play a tiebreaker for first place or if Damwon wins outright after a thorough domination of JDG the first time around. After that game, I wrote this on Twitter: 

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Turns out maybe Damwon Gaming is just the best team of all time like their stats say they are.</p>&mdash; Allen Heffelfinger (@lcspicks) <a href=”https://twitter.com/lcspicks/status/1312424098358792195?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>October 3, 2020</a></blockquote> https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

If you were to argue that they are the best team of all time, I couldn’t argue against it. They have a nearly +19% GSPD in a group that includes a team I picked to win the whole thing. Just think about what that stat means for a minute: they are ON AVERAGE absolutely demolishing their opponents. One could say “small sample size!” and I do think that’s reasonable, but Damwon did this all split long in the LCK. At some point, we just have to trust our eyes with this team and call them the GOATs they may be, but I can’t help but still hold out hope for JDG as the team to contest them.

In some ways, JDG feels like the perfect team to beat DWG. Although Canyon and Beryl have been outstanding this season, Damwon is best when Nuguri and Showmaker are putting relentless pressure on their lanes and carrying the game. Zoom should be the anti-Nuguri. He is an excellent weak-side player who seemingly comes out ahead of even the worst matchups. Then, in the mid lane, Yagao seems perfectly fit for a meta game that de-emphasizes the mid laner. He has played that way for a long time with JDG who are best when Kanavi is their main focus. Yet, in game one, Damwon put the solo laners of JDG in the dumpster after a nightmare level one from JDG. 

I am calling that game an aberration. Damwon with a gifted early lead is invincible, but what happens if JDG  doesn’t get uncharacteristically wild with early game skirmishes in Game 2? It’s a question I hope we get to see the answer to. I want to see the teams in even, mid game teamfights going blow for blow. I lean towards JDG in that scenario, but it’s difficult to know because Damwon so rarely has to play in that stage of the game. With JDG on the blue side and the ability to control who has Nidalee, this feels like a closer game to me. JDG covers and the game goes over.
The Picks: JDG +5.5 (-115) 1u, Over 28.5 Kills (-115) 1u

Worlds Play in Finals

Yesterday’s Recap:

My premise for play-in bets was that one of Mad Lions or Team Liquid was going to go down to SuperMassive. Before I break my hand patting my own back, I definitely thought it would be TL, but still SME is a legit team that was treated like a total longshot to make the group stage. They are the kind of controlled, macro-focused team that thrives against other underdogs and the borderline pychopathic play from Mad Lions in this tournament. They’re not quite to the groups yet, but this team can hold their heads high either way knowing that they showed very well at this tournament. On the Mad Lions side, I hope they step back and learn from what led to their collapse here: undeserved arrogance. Shadow seemingly never learned the ins and outs of the new meta champions, Humanoid did what he did, and Orome still needs to level up. The confidence that brought them early success turned into arrogance that doomed them at Worlds.

There was not a lot to learn in the LGD and Rainbow7 matchup. Neither of these teams really belonged in this game and it showed.

Legacy (+475, +2.5 -155) vs. LGD (-850, -2.5 +110)

These numbers are almost identical to LGD’s matchup with Rainbow7 yesterday. LGD is infinitely ahead of R7 on talent, I’m not sure that’s the case with Legacy. Is LGD the more talented team? Easily. Does Legacy have at least a couple win conditions or a player who could show up better than his opponent on the day? Absolutely.

Legacy’s expectations and statistics are being weighed down by two beatdowns from the best team in Play-ins, Team Liquid. There is no shame in losing to them and TL is the kind of team that when they win, they generally win big. The rest of Legacy’s games were quite impressive. They were able to rely on a different role to carry in every game splitting between mid, top, jungle and bot. They showed a multitude of ways to win, but one theme emerged: their top laner, Topoon, is legit. 

That could spell bad news for LangX and LGD. I am generally pretty low on LangX. He is an acceptable weak side top laner, but has never been particularly impressive to me. Topoon pulled out a Camille in Game 1 against INTZ that didn’t show up in the stats, but essentially won the game for his team with split push pressure. Do you trust LGD to have a sense of control or macro gameplan if he gets ahead on a split pusher? I certainly don’t.

LGD isn’t suddenly fixed because they beat a team made up of players who couldn’t make it in the third tier of Chinese LoL (no shade to R7, but this is true). They still have tons of macro issues and often make calls that make no sense at all. Legacy is good enough to punish those mistakes.

Yet, I still could easily see an LGD sweep. This team has no ceiling when their players are on like they were in the LPL playoffs. If they get 3 early leads again like against R7, they will sweep. So, for me, rather than play too much with the Legacy map handicaps, I’m going to play their kill spreads in the first 3 games and the over 3.5 maps. With the kill spreads, there’s always the chance that they cover in their losses and the odds for the over map total were slightly better than the handicap.

The picks: Legacy +8.5 kills on Maps 1,2, and 3 (-115) 1u each, Over 3.5 Maps (-135) 1u

SuperMassive (+148, +1.5 -144) vs. UoL (-175, -1.5 +128)

Put some respect on SME’s name! Or don’t and I’ll keep betting on them. To me, this game is a -115 esports coinflip. Both teams come from lesser regions, both teams showed great at times and concerning at other times in the group stage, and both teams are filled with players with Worlds experience. So what’s with the -175 price tag for UoL?

It’s a price tag I can’t pay for this team, even though I have been impressed. They seem  perfectly fit for this meta: they pick winning, pushing lanes backed by a farming jungler who can carry and tower dive. It has pushed them to huge leads in the early game in their wins. The question becomes: “What happens to this team when they can’t get those kinds of leads?” I think the answer to that question can be found in their tie breaker game with  Talon. 

Talon, in that game, were able to neutralize UoL’s Boss with a go-even top laner in Gangplank. This was crucial, because in all of UoL’s wins it was Boss who was getting most of the attention of the jungler, getting a big lead for himself, and then transitioning it to other lanes. 

Supermassive could easily follow that game script. Their top laner, Armut, has been easily the best weakside player at the tournament so far. He reminds me of a Zoom-lite. They can safely put him onto something like a Mordekaiser or Shen, and expect him to take Boss out of the game. 

If they survive lanes, it’s where SME, like Talon, thrive. Supermassive is a controlled, scaling team who is comfortable in the late game teamfights even with small deficits. Their goal in the early game is about getting small lane advantages to then transition over to objectives and teamfights. It’s something they’ve been successful at in the World Championship with a +861 GD@15. If you don’t see Boss pushing Armut over and over again or Nomanz abusing Bolulu, I think the Turkish team will see themselves back in the group stage. 

The Picks: SME +1.5 (-144) 2u, SME ML (+148) 1u

Worlds Play-ins Semi Finals

An overall great week of betting last week! When it comes to LoL betting, the early stages of tournaments or leagues can be very volatile. It is where game knowledge and talent evaluation becomes basically the center of your handicapping. Being a proud member of the Silver league myself, it doesn’t come natural to me, but I worked hard to try to identify what makes teams good in LoL and it’s exciting to see a few results pay off on that hard work.

On the soccer side, I’ve had more demonstrable success in betting there before putting out my bets on Twitter, so I have some confidence that as data gets deeper and I watch more, results will come.

Futures Check-In

The Team Liquid lose play-ins bet is a loss and is already marked as so in my tracker. They have shown up in a way that I probably should have seen coming. When they are on comfort picks, they are a consistent and smart team. It feels like it’s easier to get comfort picks in best of 1s and could mean good things for them in groups. I still worry about them in Best of 5s, but for now, impressive showing by them.

The “MAD Lions to lose play-ins” bet is still very much in play. For them to get out of the play-ins, they will have to win two Best of 5s in a row against solid LoL teams. MAD has never won two Best of 5s in a row in their history.  Still, I will be hedging against that bet in their matchup with SME.

Rainbow7 (+425, +2.5 -170) vs. LGD (-750, -2.5 +125)

Let’s keep this short: If LGD were to lose this, it would be one of the largest upsets in the history of the LoL World Championship. If there was ever a team from China or Korea who could lose in play-ins, it would be this LGD team who win off of individual skill alone and are downright terrible from even the smallest of deficits, but I still can’t see it. 

Rainbow7 has some promising talent, particularly Jungler Josedodo, but their players are several tiers removed from being able to compete with LGD in a series. Can they have their day and get a one-off? Yes, they already did. But can they compete with the sheer force of LGD’s talent over 5 games? It’s an unfortunate no. Often analysts talk about how mechanical, micro play is similar across regions and that the gap has essentially closed there. I’m unconvinced. Players in EU Masters miss more CS and spells than players in the LCS just like players in the LCS miss more than their counterparts in Korea and China. The gap between these two teams in that regard is enormous. There’s not a lot more to say here.

The picks: LGD -1.5 (-271) 2u, LGD -2.5 (+141) 1u

SuperMassive (+140, +1.5 -150) vs. MAD Lions (-195, -1.5 +110)

Mad Lions are favorites here on name alone–on their own names and on the name of the league they come from. It is the only way someone could justify saying they think this team will win nearly 65% of the time against SME. If you tried to make an argument for them based on what we’ve seen from them at Worlds so far, it would be laughable. They have been, frankly, awful. 

Shadow has gone from a carry win condition to a liability. He looks completely uncomfortable and, at times, arrogant on the current set of meta junglers. His Evelynn in the first two games was the stuff of solo queue nightmares. I’m not sure if he’s nervous or thought they would have an easy path in play-ins, but he has not adjusted to the way the game is being played at the World Championship and Mad desperately needs him to shape up.

Somehow Shadow hasn’t been the worst performer on Mad Lions, that dubious honor belongs to Humanoid. He is the kind of player that drives me up the wall. He has all the talent in the world, but consistently uses that talent in ways that lose his team the game. Instead of saving his mechanical outplays for necessary moments in late game teamfights, he will try them at every opportunity he can and often give over unnecessary kills to the other team. It is the kind of selfish play that you hope he outgrows so that he can live up to his potential, but I don’t think that will be happening in this World Championship. 

SME is not the kind of team you want to be against when your mid and jungle duo has a tendency to overstep and throw the game away. Not only are they rock solid at those positions, but they are the kind of smart macro team that can turn one kill into a 3k gold lead through map play. In their first two games, they were completely dominant in getting Kakao and Bolulu small leads and then snowballing those into easy wins. Then, they played a tough matchup with Team Liquid that was a lot closer than the scoreboard showed. Finally, they played a somewhat concerning game against Legacy in which they made some uncharacteristic macro mistakes that looked like maybe they weren’t taking their opponents as seriously as they should.

Both of these teams have flaws, but to me, SuperMassive is the team that has shown a better understanding of how the game should be played right now. They have the better stats and film against the same competition. The only point against them is the strength of the league they come from. Against Mad Lions, I’m not sure how much that matters. Mad Lions doesn’t know any other way to play the game and I don’t think they can reign it back and win on talent alone here. If I were making a bet on this game without any hedges, I would bet 2u on the +1.5 for SME and 1u on the SME ML. I think they should be more like +110, but for me I’ll be doing below:

The Picks: MAD Lions ML hedge (-195) 1.5u, SME +1.5 (-150) 2u

If Mad Lose, Win 5.57u

If Mad Win 3-2, Lose 0.93u with potential to still win Lose Playins Future bet

If Mad wins by another score, Lose 4.925 with potential to still win Lose Futures bet

9/16 EU Masters Quarter Finals

I thought Giants were too smart to get cheesed by GamerLegion, I was wrong about that. It’s kind of enraging to watch teams continue to opt into exactly what GamerLegion wants them to do. But credit to them for knowing what they want to do in every game and executing.  On the positive side, I finally won a bet on a game where Bando was involved. 

AGO Rogue (-257) vs. Misfits Premier (+196)

  • Top- AGO Syzgenda vs. MSF Agressivoo                                             The Edge: AGO
  • Jungle- AGO Zanzarah vs. MSF Kirei                                                    The Edge: MSF
  • Mid- AGO Czekolad vs. MSF Ronaldo                                                 The Edge: Even
  • Bot lane duo- AGO Woolite and Trymbi vs. MSF Jezu and Targamas   The Edge: AGO

If this match had been played after week 1 of groups, I firmly believe Misfits Premier would have been the favorites. Now, after a 1-2 week they are nearly a +200 dog? I smell an overcorrection. To me, there’s no way that if these teams play 100 games AGO wins 67+ of them. They are marginally the better and more consistent team, but these odds are way out of whack.

Misfits are a mid-jungle focused team who play like all the best teams in the world right now by getting mid priority and stacking early drakes. AGO Rogue typically puts Zanzarah onto a supportive tank jungler and tries to get ahead in their side lanes to scale up for late game teamfights. To me, Misfits’ style is a better way to win the game right now, but if executed correctly AGO’s style could directly counter Misfits. In their loss to 7more7, they essentially lost the game through the top side as Sinmivake played Camille and demolished Agressivoo. Camille is exactly the kind of champion Syzgenda thrives on. He is, at heart, an old-school carry top who loves to outplay and get solo kills.

Misfits will feel they have an advantage in the jungle matchup here. Kirei has shown the range to play and win on a range of carry junglers like Nidalee, Hecarim, Graves, and Kindred. If he can get seriously ahead of Zanzarah, games could snowball in their favor. Zanzarah has not shown any ability to contest any of those carry junglers making it near impossible for AGO to ban him out. 

In the bottom lane, Woolite has been a reliable carry for AGO. In games where they have gotten to late game teamfights, they are almost always coming out on top thanks to his positioning and damage output. Jezu and Targamas are no pushovers, but are not asked to carry their teams the way that Woolite is. If this series becomes late game and bot lane focused, I think AGO have the edge. However, if the series is mid-jungle focused on dragons, I would give it to Misfits Premier.

Either way, I don’t think the teams are as far apart as these odds so I will be on the dog. AGO is meaningfully ahead in stats I value like GSPD, but in a tournament where the quality of the teams varies  between the groups, stats can be misleading. Woof woof.

The Picks: MSF +1.5 Games (-170) 2u, MSF ML (+195) 1u

Mousesports (-305) vs. K1ck (+215)

  • Top- MSE Tolkin  vs. K1ck IBo                                                                The Edge: K1ck
  • Jungle- MSE Obsess vs. K1ck Shlatan                                                  The Edge: Even
  • Mid- MSE Lider vs. K1ck Matislaw                                                         The Edge: Even
  • Bot lane duo- Jeskla and Promisq vs. Puki Style and Mystiques          The Edge: Even

Here are some matchups that you could have gotten +215 or better on the dog in the summer playoffs: Suning vs. Top, EG vs. Cloud 9, LGD vs. IG, Dignitas vs. TSM, etc. Not only are there teams that pulled off the upset in there, but those are playoff favorites playing against teams that most people expected to lose in the first round. That’s not even close to the case here. I think if you asked anyone who has been consistently watching EU Masters Summer who are some of the teams with a chance to win it all: Mouse and K1ck would be two of the most mentioned teams. So why is this priced like K1ck is a team from Luxembourg’s 3rd division?

The counterargument here is that Mouse was unbelievably dominant in their group. They went 5-1 and had a GSPD of 11.2%. When they won, they absolutely destroyed. They are inarguably a favorite in this tournament, but I do have my doubts about the quality of competition in their group. The only other team with a positive GSPD in their group was the Vodafone Giants who they split 1 to 1 with. Fnatic Rising and Intrepid fox were never real challengers here.

Their opponents, K1ck, were in arguably the toughest group in the tournament with Spring champions LDLC, an LEC academy team, and a surprisingly feisty Italian team. Despite this, they had a GSPD of 7.2% and went 4-2 with a couple of very close losses. K1ck was my pick to win the whole thing before the start and they haven’t given me any clear reasons to doubt that yet.

Although mouse’s talent could easily be better on the day, I don’t think anyone can credibly argue they have a serious talent advantage over the long run. All of the players on both teams have looked near the top of their positions in the tournament so far, trying to split hairs and identify a win condition there is a reach in my opinion. 

I could go on, but I think you get the idea: this one is too close to call, but priced like it’s David and Goliath. I want to be clear about something though because in esports you end up backing big dogs a lot– I am not guaranteeing a K1ck win. In fact, I think they are slightly more likely to lose this matchup than win, but sports betting is about finding edges over implied odds. I think this is a bad line, but if K1ck get 2-0’d or win 2-0 themselves, that will prove nothing besides one data point over a long period of time.
The Picks: K1ck +1.5 (-150) 3u, K1ck ML (+215) 2u, K1ck 2-0 (+550) 1u

EU Masters Quarter-finals betting breakdown

Only 11 more sleeps until Worlds! If you’re interested in my thoughts about the Winner odds amongst some guys who are much sharper than I, I was on the Gold Card Podcast last week and we discussed who we liked there. After the group draw, I will be writing a mega preview and probably betting quite a few futures positions on group winners, teams to make the final, teams to win the final because futures have easily been my most profitable venture in LoL betting. Before Worlds mania begins though, let’s get into my second favorite tournament–the European Masters.

Vodafone Giants (-181) vs. Team GamerLegion (+165)

  • Top- GIA Th3Antonio vs. GL Phones                                                          The Edge: GIA
  • Jungle- GIA Lamabear vs. GL Rabble                                                        The Edge: GIA
  • Mid- GIA Pretty vs. GL Nite                                                                         The Edge: GIA
  • Bot lane duo- GIA Atilla and Erdote vs. GL Hjarnan and Visdom               The Edge: GIA    

Considering I gave the Giants the  talent edge in every single lane, you can probably see where I’m leaning here, but talent isn’t why GamerLegion has been winning. They qualified for the quarterfinals ahead of a team that is inarguably more talented than them in Movistar Riders and they did it for one reason–this team is pure, stinky, limburger cheese. In their 8 games at Eu Masters, this team has played Neeko bot, Swain bot, Galio Bot, and Rengar Jungle. Their ability to create compositions that their opponents are unpracticed against is unmatched in the tournament, but what happens in must-win situations where teams are more likely to pull out stock-standard, two frontliners and two backliners, easy to execute compositions? We got a little glimpse of that in their game against AGO Rogue.

In that game Rogue picked two back line carries–Ezreal and Orianna– to pair with two front line tanks –Volibear and Skarner– and had a clear plan to execute against GamerLegion’s ultimate dependent composition centered around a Vel’Koz. Instead of opting into bad dragon fights at level 6 where Hjarnan could spread his poke and ultimate, they waited for their two carries to scale up and out-ranged and out-damaged their opponents en route to an easy win. It takes discipline and practice to beat teams like GamerLegion, but there is a reason that teams don’t typically play the champions that they are playing. They have clear, counterable flaws. 

Giants are good enough to expose those flaws. Through 6 games they have a GSPD of 12.5%–the best mark in the tournament– despite only the third best kill to death ratio. To me, that’s telling of a smart team who knows how to play the map without needing kills to drive their advantages. That’s exactly the kind of team GamerLegion is going to struggle with because the compositions they are playing require their opponents to take suboptimal fights.

In talent, there’s a matchup nightmare for GamerLegion as well. Giants have been winning off the strength of their mid-jungle duo of Lamabear and Pretty who have gotten the better of their opponents in every game. GamerLegion’s clear weakness is their mid laner Nite who likes to be ahead for outplays and struggles to maintain control when he’s behind. There have been multiple situations in the tournament where Nite tries to outplay from a losing position and puts his team further behind. Pretty has not been significantly behind anyone in the tournament, I don’t expect him to be behind Nite here. 

The odds have Giants winning the series 62% of the time, I think over the course of 3 games where cheese is less effective, their odds are closer to 80%. Most of the time in this tournament, I take value on the dog, but Gamerlegion is a pretty ugly dog in my opinion. I will be laying the juice here.

The Picks: GIA ML (-181) 3u, GIA -1.5 Maps (+157) 1u

Gamersorigin (-235) vs. LDLC (+155)

  • Top- GO Shemek vs. LDLC Bando                                                          The Edge: GO
  • Jungle- GO bluerzor vs. LDLC Tynx                                                        The Edge: LDLC
  • Mid- GO toucouile vs. LDLC Vetheo                                                        The Edge: Even
  • Bot lane duo- SMILEY and HustlinBeast vs. Yellowstar and Exakick      The Edge: GO

There’s not a lot separating these two teams: they are from the same region, they have similar stats in the tournament, they both went 4-2 in groups with some concerning performances, and both believe they can win it all. Gamersorigin has had the better of their recent head-to-heads which has given them heavy favorite status here, but I think it’s a lot closer than these odds imply. 

LDLC’s top laner, Bando, is my least favorite player in recent memory. I’m beginning to think that this guy checks who I have bet on in his games and decides how he’s going to play based on trying to spite me. He can play Gangplank and go 0-7 with a 100 CS deficit one game and then play Camille and absolutely stomp the game in the next. There may be a little “Theshy-itis” developing with him: when his coach asks him to play safe, weak side laners he will check out of the game, but when he’s put on a big carry champion he’s engaged and winning. I’m hoping that version of him shows up against Shemek, who is a solid, reliable weakside player. When LDLC has been at their best, Bando has been at his best, he will most likely be the key to this series. 

I called the mid lane even here because of Vetheo’s ability against matchups of similar quality in this tournament, but it is worth noting that toucouile has come out on top most of the time in the teams’ head to heads. Vetheo prefers to play safe farming, AD mid laners like Corki, Lucian, and Ezreal right now, which can neutralize talent discrepancies, but if the two end up contesting power picks like Akali and the control mages, Toucouille could be an issue for LDLC.

LDLC’s strength is jungler–Tynx– who was easily the MVP of the last EU Masters and has a good argument for it again. He can fill every role on the team and is seemingly always ahead. It will take a very good day from him for that to be the case against Bluerzor who is also a top-5-jungler-in-the-tournament, but Tynx plays Graves and Hecarim to a level that makes them near must-bans. He is the rare kind of player who teams have to make their entire gameplans around and makes the draft a nightmare for his opponents.

As you can see, I think you can make legitimate arguments for either team winning this which makes LDLC’s +155 price tag pretty appealing to me. I’ll be on the former champs here.

The picks: LDLC ML (+155) 2u, LDLC -1.5 Maps (+425) 1u