6/13 LEC and LCS Picks

6/12 Recap (with twitter live bets): 2-8 -9.25u

Opening days of the season are tough. It is very difficult to know what to take from SK and Vitality’s big upsets in the LEC. It is very difficult to know what to make of all but one of the LEC matchups going under and both the LCS matches going over. Everything at this stage of the season is “educated” guesswork. That’s something to consider going forward. The implied edges on lines felt smaller than I thought yesterday, so today we’re going to scale back our sizing until we have some more solid ideas about who these teams are.

The Picks:

S04 ML vs. SK (-140) 0.5u, Under 23.5 Kills (-115) 0.5u

Schalke looked terrible yesterday. SK played out of their minds yesterday. We have 18 games of evidence from the spring split that says Schalke is a better team than SK. Granted, they made a change in the mid lane and Zazee looked like an upgrade. They came in with a great gameplan against OG and took away a lot of OG’s style in a one-off. Did they prepare to this level for S04? I have my doubts. Schalke, on the other side, looked completely unprepared for Vitality. That is partially understandable against a team of rookies. It would not be understandable here. Schalke have to be better prepared today and we’re going to count on yesterday being a fluke. The under came in on 4 of 5 totals for the LEC yesterday. This is a pretty high total for what we saw yesterday: tanks, poking, and late game teamfights.

Misfits ML vs. Rogue (-115) 1u

Misfits completely outplayed FNATIC for most of their game yesterday. Kobbe looked great in his return to the LEC and Febi was doing Febi things. Then, they took a terrible 50-50 baron after not quite being able to land the poke necessary to take the base and FNC pounced. Rogue destroyed Excel. I think we’re going to see a lot of “____ destroyed Excel” this season, but credit to Rogue. They won in every lane and did their low risk plays to end the game. I don’t think that will work against Misfits. They have a completely different class of player in all lanes than Excel. If Rogue does not just slowly win in every lane, I want to see how they react.  

MAD vs. XL Under 26.5 Kills (-115) 0.5u, MAD -6.5 Kills (-105) 1u

MAD’s bot lane is their biggest strength. Excel’s bot lane is their biggest weakness. I smell a mismatch. When MAD wins, they win big with an AMOV of nearly 10. I think they win big here after being embarrassed by G2 yesterday. Big totals are tough to cover in blowouts.

Vitality ML vs Fnatic (+290) 0.25u 

Vitality shocked me yesterday. They looked improved in every facet of the game. It could be that they are actually just a playoff team now. We’ve seen rookies come in and be instantly good in the LEC. If that’s the case, this money line will be more like +190 later in the season. We’ll take a little shot on Vitality to surprise a historically bad week 1 Fnatic.

G2 vs. Origen Under 29.5 Kills (-115) 1u

As previously mentioned, the conditions of the game lean towards the under right now. G2 played a full poke composition yesterday and still almost went over this number. They were not playing Origen though. Origen looked like the same old “wait and scale” Origen yesterday. They will be eager to slow the game down against G2 and wait for late game teamfights, meaning less kills overall.  In a previous meta, they might have still gone over. In this one? 30 kills is a lot.    

TSM ML vs. Team Liquid (-110) 0.5u

Doublelift rarely loses in revenge spots. I have no idea why Doublelift would feel slighted by Team Liquid, a team that tried to form their entire brand around him, but he does. That’s bad news for Liquid. Tactical looked like an LCS talent in his few games with the team last split. He stood out in Academy too. I doubt that matters today. When Doublelift has wanted to smash someone in lane, he pretty much always has in LCS. 

Flyquest -5.5 Kills vs. Immortals (-115) 1u

Flyquest put up a nice fight yesterday against C9. They mostly did that through the play of jungler, Santorin. Santorin has long been underrated. In the opposing jungle is a completely untested player in Potluck. He showed some promise in the Academy, but in no way looked ready for the bump up. Combine that with the fact that jungle is one of the toughest roles to plug into because of its heavy reliance on communication and team play and I think Immortals are in for a disaster. Say nothing of Mid and Bot where Immortals are also completely outclassed. Jungle Gap!

6/12 LEC and LCS Picks

With Best of 1s, the LEC and LCS have been the toughest leagues to profit on for me in the past. Bettors have to really pick their spots in these two leagues and vary their approaches. In LPL and LCK, I’m profitable on largely moneyline bets alone. In LEC and LCS, there might be two moneyline spots a week I like. So, we’re going to try to apply a few principles we’ve seen develop in the first two weeks of LPL to LEC and LCS.

Working Principles from LPL:

1. The best teams may look a little fatigued.

Obviously, this could have been entirely because of the Mid Season Cup, which does not apply to LEC and LCS. However, JDG, FPX, and IG have all looked like shadows of themselves so far. The other teams look like they’ve had more time to practice this patch, fix issues, and make strategy plans for the season.

2. Good teams with bad coaching or drafting are improved.

I’m obviously talking about RNG here. Since returning from the break, RNG look like the top team they were expected to be. Instead of drafting themselves into weird boxes, they have played solid, easily executable meta compositions. If TSM can follow RNG’s lead, there might be a couple of opportunities on them this weekend.

3. Full rebuilds could surprise.

No team in LEC or LCS took the build from scratch approach of Victory 5, but some made significant changes. Victory 5 have looked totally refreshed with their new lineup and have really jumped out on two teams so far. I could see that happening with Excel or CLG in the Western leagues.

4. Be ready to adjust, but use your working knowledge from the end of Spring Split

If a team was an over machine in the spring, they’ll most likely be an over machine in the summer. If a team usually covered kill spreads in wins in the spring, they’ll probably cover kill spreads in the summer. Be ready to let go of some of these quick.

With those principles in mind, on to today’s picks:


G2 vs. MAD Lions OVER 29.5 Kills (-115) 1u

G2 and MAD were two of the most reliable over teams in the Spring Split. 8 of their 9 matchups went over the 29.5 total posted. There is no way in the first game of the split these two teams just sit back on one another. I honestly think I would have taken this all the way up to 32.5.

FC Schalke 04 ML vs. Team Vitality (-170) 1u

A moneyline spot in the LEC! Schalke will be eager to get off to a good start and cement themselves as a playoff team. Vitality should be at the bottom of the table again. Vitality ended their split with a GSPD of -7.4% one of the worst marks you will see in any league. Schalke were a positive GSPD team in their run at the end of the split. Feels like if this game took place next week it would be more like -250. 

Origen -8.5 Kills vs. SK Gaming (-125) 1u

Origen kill bad teams. They have an AMOV (average margin of victory) of a little over 10 kills. That would be even better if you eliminated their wins against playoff teams. SK is a bad team. As long as we see the same, consistent Origen they’re covering this number,

XL-Rogue and FNC-Misfits are both passes for me. Could see an argument for the ML on both dogs though.

100T ML vs. EG (+120) 0.5u

Definitely my lowest confidence spot of the day, but I just keep staring at the Kumo vs. SSumday matchup and asking how do 100T lose this game? If Jizuke bodies Ryoma, that could lose, but the plus money on a stomp by Ssumday is worth a small shot. 100 Thieves also have the kind of veteran leadership that usually leads to stability from patch to patch. I like EG over the course of the season, but in a one-off on day 1? Give me 100T.

Cloud9 -7.5 Kills vs. Flyquest (-130) 2u 

Cloud 9 covered this number in 11 of their 17 wins in the spring split. That includes the later games in the season against TL and CLG where they were champion testing. On the other side, Flyquest were the highest death total team to make the playoffs, not named 100T. They lost by 8 or more kills in 7 of their 8 regular season losses. If you like Cloud9 at a near certainty to win this game (and I do), you have to like them on the kill spread too.  

LCS Betting Tiers

We are headed for one of the most wide-open LCS splits in recent memory. Team Liquid’s longtime stronghold on the league was broken in the Spring by an upstart Cloud9. The odds say this is C9’s split to lose. I’m not so sure. There were lots of factors that led to the last split being a complete C9 domination in LCS. Not all of those factors were C9’s great play. Doublelift seemed to be struggling with motivation, Impact was doing his feed in the spring split strategy, TSM drafted one good composition in the whole split. No shade to Evil Geniuses or Flyquest, but those are not the best teams to challenge C9. I think this split we’ve got two traditional powers ready to challenge again.

Here they are, the LCS Betting Tiers listed with their odds to make the final followed by their odds to win it all:

The “Just stop” Tier: Immortals (+1200, +5000), Dignitas (+2500, +10000), Golden Guardians (+800, +3300), Counter Logic Gaming (+2200, +8000)

This tier is named after the phrase you should say whenever someone is trying to talk you into any of these teams making the Summer Final. Just stop.

  •  Immortals (+1200, +5000)

This is probably the worst team in the league. They have below average players at every position outside of the jungle. So what do Immortals do? They go and bench jungler, Xmithie. I hope this is management seeing the writing on the wall with this team and deciding to give young talent a shotg, but the rest of the roster doesn’t make any sense then.

  • Dignitas (+2500, +10000)

This might be controversial: I think Dignitas are going to be truly bad. Aphromoo did not look like an LCS player last split. Froggen’s style is just not effective in today’s League of Legends. V1per is an average at best LCS top laner and they signed Dardoch. Dardoch has been a great early game jungler throughout his career. He has also made some of the worst decisions and plays I’ve seen a pro player make in late game teamfights. He has also had personality issues on every single team he’s ever been on. This team could blow up quick.

  •  Golden Guardians (+800, +3300)

That +800 number to make the final is baffling to me. That has an implied odds of 11%. Does anyone truly believe that in 11% of the outcomes for the Summer Split Golden Guardians make the final? Closer is a legitimate rising star. He is one of the best junglers in the league. GGS have that over the other team’s in this list, but a jungler rarely wins games alone. Damonte was a good, not great mid laner in the academy league last split. I think he will be pretty consistently outclassed at this level. They could squeak into the playoffs again, but make the final? Get outta here.

  •  Counter Logic Gaming (+2200, +8000) 

CLG is much better than they showed last split. With Pobelter, they were a middle of the pack team statistically. That’s where I expect them to finish this split. They are a new team with a new identity. There’s reason to believe they will grow into a playoff team in the summer. That +2200 and +8000 started to look really juicy and then I remembered “Just stop”.

The first round exits tier: Flyquest (+500, +1600), 100 Thieves (+400, +1400)

  • Flyquest (+500, +1600)

There’s a lot of power rankings floating around out there with Flyquest as the second best team in the LCS. I get it. They made the final last split. PowerofEvil was a legitimate MVP candidate. Ignar is a very solid support. But go write down every roster on a piece of paper. Can anyone really say they would take the rest of Flyquest’s roster to make the playoffs? They eeked out a lot of wins and ended the regular season with a GSPD that had them ranked second worst in the league. They got hot and made minimal mistakes in the playoffs. I just can’t see that happening again.

  • 100 Thieves (+400, +1400)

100 Thieves are the playoff gatekeepers of NA LCS. They are going to win a few games off the talent of Ssumday alone. They are also going to win some games off of solid late game shotcalling and teamfighting from veteran Meteos. Cody Sun and Stunt are an above average bottom lane. Ryoma is improving? They just aren’t good enough to keep up with the league’s elite. They don’t dominate lanes outside of top, they don’t play aggressive LoL, they just survive. In LCS, surviving will be good enough to make the playoffs. 100 Thieves will not make or win the final.  

The “No Value Boys” Tier:  Evil Geniuses (+175, +650), Cloud 9 (-1000, -250)

  • Evil Geniuses (+175, +650)

I like Evil Geniuses. They should have made the final last split. They were statistically the second best team in the league. They can win through every lane (save for Top) and the meta is going to favor Svenskeren’s champion pool. They could legitimately make the final. There’s just no value in these numbers. +175 puts them at 37% to make the final. That feels pretty steep with an improved TSM and TL on the horizon. If you want to bet them, I wouldn’t call you crazy.

  • Cloud 9 (-1000, -250 ) 

I would call you crazy to bet either of these numbers for Cloud 9. Cloud 9 were absolutely dominant in the last split. They have a legitimate argument for the best player at every position. This number has them as a near guarantee to make the final. That’s wild for a few reasons: spring split was at its lowest importance ever this year and multiple teams showed signs of motivational issues. Blaber was not forced to play meta champions by any legitimate challengers. Zven has always been a better weak side player and ADC just got buffed. Finally, Doublelift has never lost a split after changing teams. Cloud 9 will stay the same team in summer. I just think a couple of other teams might have caught up.

The Big Value Boys: TSM (+300, +1000), Team Liquid (+500, +1600)

  • TSM (+300, +1000)

TSM have the best mid laner in LCS history, the best ADC in LCS history, a top 3 support in LCS history, the best young top laner in the league, and an average LCS academy jungler. I am not sure what TSM saw in Spica to plug him into this collection of talent. He stands out like a sore thumb. The rest of the talent is as good a team as LCS has ever seen. We’ve seen great players carry below average junglers before. With ADC buffs coming, give me Doublelift to make and win finals at +300 and +1000.

Gambling Positions: 1u on +300 to make finals, 1u on +1000 to win finals 

  • Team Liquid (+500, +1600)

Team Liquid is one split removed from being the most dominant team in LCS history. They made an on-paper upgrade in the jungle over the offseason with Broxah. He was not good last split, but everything about Liquid was strange. I would count on Broxah to figure it out this split. They lost Doublelift, but it was clear relationships had soured there. Their replacement, Tactical, is a very good academy ADC with high upside. Impact had an atrocious spring split, but he often does and then figures it out. The true upgrade for TL came at the coaching position. Longtime NA caster, Jatt is moving in to lead this team. Jatt has long been thought of as one of the best minds in LoL. His understanding of the game stands out on every single broadcast. If he can manage the personality side, TL is going to be very good.
Gambling Positions: 2u on +500 to make finals, 2u on +1600 to win finals

LEC Betting Tiers

When a LoL bettor sits down to outline their strategy for betting futures in the LEC, they should ask themselves two key questions: “What are the odds for G2 to win?” and “What are the odds for FNATIC to make the final?” If you can find anything close to plus money on either of those two situations, go ahead and put all your savings on that and call it a day. Unfortunately, I haven’t found that anywhere, so we’re gonna have to squeeze out some value on the tough numbers they gave us.

Here are the betting tiers for the LEC Summer Split 2020 listed with their odds to make the final followed by their odds to win the final :

The “might as well set your money on fire” tier: SK Gaming (+3300, +10000), Team Vitality (+1800, +4000),  Excel Esports (+1800, +4000), Schalke 04 (+1200, +2400)

  • SK Gaming

With a storied history of domestic success, SK Gaming are in a bit of a down period. This team can’t quite decide which way they want to go: into full rebuild with Jenax switching to top and Zazee coming in to man the midlane or try to find the magic again with veterans like Trick. That usually means a team is about to suck. Some of the younger players showed promise last season, but Trick has fallen all the way to “worst jungler in the league” status. It is very difficult to win in today’s League of Legends with that kind of Jungler.

  • Team Vitality

Another team that made changes in the offseason, but not to the position essentially every LoL analyst, bettor, and dfs player wanted to see. Their support, Jactroll, has not shown himself to be of LEC quality. Hell, I think he would have struggled in EU Masters. I’m not going to pile on the guy too much more, but with such an obvious weakness, this team is going nowhere.

  • Excel Esports

Excel did get rid of, arguably, their worst performing players in Mickey and Expect. It’s tough to say if they got immediate upgrades though in youngsters Kryze and Special. Special was an above average, but not standout, mid laner at the 2020 Spring EU Masters tournament. Preferably, you would want to sign a guy who pops off the screen at that level. I think this team has real potential into the future, but the future isn’t starting on Friday.

  • Schalke 04

I debated putting this team a tier above here. I think S04 will make a legitimate push for  the playoffs this split. They played like a playoff team in spring after giving up on veterans Forgiven and Gillius, and replacing them with budding stars, Innaxe and Lurox. Lurox, in particular, could make a leap this split. If he does, I think this team makes the playoffs, they just ain’t winning the whole thing.  

The “first round exits” tier: Rogue (+800, +2000), MAD Lions (+600, +1600)

  • Rogue

To be totally frank, +800 on Rogue to make the final is criminal. They are a perfect gatekeeping team. They rarely beat themselves.  They have slightly above average players in every lane. They play a slow, methodical style that bad teams struggle with, but good teams can pick apart. Rogue will have stats all season long that make them look better than they are because they will destroy bad teams and just slowly concede to good teams. When they matchup with good teams in the playoffs, their season will be over.

  • MAD Lions

MAD Lions played out of their damn minds on April 3rd and shocked the LoL world and emptied the pockets of LoL bettors everywhere by beating G2. They, then, went on to get swept by FNATIC and beat convincingly in the rematch with G2. I think that’s a little more telling of where MAD is at right now. They could pop off on a random Friday because of the aggressive nature of their laners and shock great teams, but most of the time they still lack the consistent execution to be a great team. They ended last season with a Gold Spent Differential of 0.6% not exactly a mark of a team about to jump into European elite. A lot of folks have this team moving into the top 3, I’m saying pump the breaks.

The “3-0’d by Fanatic or G2” tier: Origen (+350, +1000)

  • Origen

Origen is the Baron-buffed version of Rogue. Instead of being the playoff team gatekeepers, they are the elite team gatekeepers. They have near-elite players in every lane. They make minimal mistakes. They play a slow, methodical style that is hard to beat for bad teams, easy to exploit for the elite. Stop me if you’ve heard this before. Origen will once again find themselves with 11-14 regular season wins and 0-2 playoff wins against G2 and FNATIC in the playoffs.

The “No ceiling, no floor” tier: Misfits (+800, +2000) 

  • Misfits

If you told me that Misfits will win the 2020 Summer split, I would be surprised, not shocked. If you told me that Misfits will get 8th in the 2020 Summer split, I would be surprised, not shocked. The range of outcomes for this team is wider than what I can see for any other team. They have players who were once part of the European Elite in Kobbe and Febiven. They have young, hungry, improving talent in Razork. They have young, hungry, and unpredictable talent in Dan Dan. If they put it all together, they could be elite. That will ultimately all be up to mid laner, Febiven. Febiven was a world-class mid laner from 2015-2016. I swear I saw it with my own eyes! Since then, he has failed to recapture that form and truly carry a team like he did with the FNATICs of old. We saw little hints at ol’ Febi in Spring before they started drafting him things like Ornn mid. If Febiven is great again, Misfits might just shock the league.

Gambling Position: 0.5u on Misfits to reach the final (+800), 0.25u on Misfits to win it all (+2000)

The “Seriously, we’re gonna beat them this time!” tier: FNATIC (-140, +400)

  • FNATIC

FNATIC are a top 5 team in the world. I truly believe this. They are lane for lane one of the most talented rosters in the world. They just, unfortunately, play in the same league as G2. Stats, lanes, champ pools, preparation, everything seems even between FNC and G2, but every time they match up in the playoffs, G2 comes out on top. Last split’s finals were a bit of a fluke in my opinion. G2 were just significantly more prepared on the day. They had an answer for everything FNATIC were bringing. I don’t see that happening again. FNATIC will be better than every other team in the LEC save for G2. I think it might just be their split against G2 too.

Gambling Position: 3u on FNC to reach the final (-140), 2u on FNC to win it all (+400) 

 The Favorites tier: G2 (-800, -200)

  • G2 Esports

Full disclosure: G2 is my favorite team to watch in the world. They are so flexible, so aggressive, so unpredictable, so everything that makes LoL a great game to watch. G2 decided to switch back to the lane assignments that provided them with all of their success in 2019. Perkz is back to the bot lane (just in time for adc buffs!) and Caps is back to the mid lane. They are the only team in the world with this kind of flexibility. When they are on their game, they are unbeatable. I just can’t lay the kind of numbers the books are asking. G2 has been known to limit-test and, at times, outright troll the regular season. We’re counting on them to do that again this season and enter the playoffs at better numbers than we’re getting here to hedge our other positions with. 

Gambling Position: TBD

LPL Week 1 Picks

There was a lot of turnover in the LPL between splits. I am not going to break down every roster move. Mostly, because that’s already been done here by Gelati of The Esports Department in great detail (keep in mind this was written on Monday, TeacherMa will be starting for WE) and is worthy of your reading if you want to win money betting on the LPL this split. TL;DR: A lot of shit changed, but not really. I say “not really” because I think with one or two exceptions we could see a very similar finishing standings for the LPL in the Spring. Here’s my power rankings following the off-season and Mid Season Cup:

1. Top Esports

2a. JD Gaming

2b. Fun Plus Phoenix

4. RNG

5.EDG

6. IG

7. BilliBilli

8. LGD

9.Estar

10. OMG

11. Vici Gaming

12. WE

13. Suning

14. Rogue Warriors

15. LNG

16. Victory 5

17. Dominus

You could honestly convince me of any order of 5-14 and 1-3. LPL has real parity and that’s what makes it the best league in the world. You can probably already see where I’m leaning on some of the games in week 1 based on that ranking.  I like some value opportunities on V5 with a new roster and am quite high on EDG and low on WE. That will definitely shape how we attack this weekend:

6/5/2020: EDG ML vs. WE (-180) 2u, EDG -1.5 vs. WE (+165) 1u 

EDG finished their season in a 3-1 loss to FPX in the playoffs. That series was a lot closer than that score line suggests. They were very  close in 3 out of 4 of those games and had a few things gone their way, they would have been at MSC. We saw how good FPX is in the playoffs and MSC. EDG weren’t that far off.  They also carry the statistical profile of an elite team. They sported the 4th best Kill:Death Ratio in the LPL’s Spring split. Like in all sports, the best teams in LoL blow bad teams out. EDG blow bad teams out.

MSC might as well have stood for Mid Lane Season Cup, with Chovy, Knight, and Doinb all making the semi-finals. Sometimes LoL is as simple as “mid diff”. If that’s the case here, EDG has got to like their chances with a star in the mid lane, Scout. Bottom line: EDG is a better team than WE. They should be motivated to show that in their first series.

6/6/2020: Victory 5 +1.5 Games (-120) 1u vs. Dominus, Victory 5 ML (+270) 0.5u

Both these teams suck. Like, I would parlay them to be the bottom 2 teams in the league if it were available kind of suck. That’s why getting near even money on a +1.5 and a +270 ML  are valuable plays. It has very little to do with the play or moves of either team. V5 will start a whole new roster, so you can throw last split out essentially.  Dominus will stick with the roster that went on a little run at the end of the split in the spring with nothing to play for. That might make you lean Dominus, not me. New rosters have done some interesting things lately in LoL. With the success of Estar, MAD Lions, and even Excel to a lesser extent, I think Victory 5 could upset some people with no ability to scout them. If that’s true, Dominus has to be one of the teams they’re going to upset. 

6/7/2020: Suning (+160) 1u, Suning +1.5 Games (-195) 2u

I have these teams right next to each other making this series a coin flip. Getting +160 on a coin flip is too good to pass up. Suning had a gold differential per minute of -8 in the LPL regular season. That would have put them at 8th. They were unlucky at times and bad at times, but this team is definitely closer to WE than the +160 says. This will be as must-win a Week 1 matchup can be for both teams. That makes me believe it will go 3 games, a result we’ve historically seen a lot of in the LPL. 

6/7/2020: BilliBilli Gaming ML vs. Vici (+130) 1u

Another week 1 must-win in this matchup between BilliBilli and Vici. BilliBilli steadily improved over the course of the LPL spring split and ended with a statistical profile of a team that looked like a playoff team. You could say similar things about Vici. Both teams made lateral offseason moves in my opinion. I just believe BilliBilli were the better team last split and will build on their end of split form here. I have already established that I’m taking plus money on all matchups I have as tossups. I have this as a tossup.

Mid Season Cup Final Picks

Group B and Semi-Finals Recap: 10-5 for +4.175u 

Group B largely went according to plan for us, outside of Gen.G. IG picked the rarely seen melee range 0-10 Lucian, DragonX should have been favored against IG and Gen. G and showed it, and JDG largely looked like a top 2 team in the world. Gen. G definitely surprised me. They played completely unafraid in the group stage after looking terrified of T1 in the LCK finals. They were proactive, had solid gameplans, and picked winning comps. Then, came the semi-finals.

Gen. G were still not afraid playing against Top Esports, but they should have been. They were completely outclassed lane by lane and in team play. Trying to keep up their early-game centric compositions against TES turned out to be a total disaster. Not a lot more to say about a stomp like that. The Gen. G results we expected to see in the group stage, we saw in the semi-final.

The other semi-final was significantly more interesting and well played. We got to see why Kanavi will never be allowed to play Nidalee as long as she is in the meta during Game 1. Then, FPX 2019 showed up. DoinB got three straight games of lane pressure on highly mobile champs with reliable CC. When that happens, FPX is the best team in the world. Yagao got a bit exposed in this series. He’s still a very solid player, but not up in the DoinB/Chovy/Knight tier yet. Time and time again through the final 3 games, Doinb was able to get lane pressure and be faster to every play on the map. Can’t wait to watch these two teams play again. On to the Final:

Remaining Futures Situation: FPX (+550) 1u, TES (+475) 1u
With -3u on the JDG and DragonX futures, we stand to profit with either team winning. Which is lucky for us, because I’m not really in love with either ML for these teams or the game line. I will probably pass on both of those, but I am leaning towards a TES 3-1 or 3-0 victory. This series is going to be won and lost in the mid lane. Both of these team’s entire identities are built around what their mid laner does. Doinb tries to push in every wave he can so that he can get out and gank other lanes. Knight tries to gain a tsunami of small individual advantages in CS, in solo kills, in gank pressure, and has been known to get out of lane and carry other lanes too. If I had to lean towards one of them having the individual skill  and getting the pressure necessary to win, it would be Knight. His play so far in this tournament has spoken for itself. 

In their group stage match, FPX got a Senna-Sett bot lane and early drakes that snowballed the game out of control. I wouldn’t take a ton away from that game because I don’t expect FPX to get both those champs again. I expect this to closer resemble their regular season series on April 20, in which Knight fairly successfully forced Doinb to stay in lane or was able to gank and counter gank when he left. Everywhere else on the map is about as tossup as it gets, with slight lean on TES’ bottom lane.

Bottom Line: Lean TES ML(-150) and Game Line -1.5 Games (+135). Not betting either.

The 3-1 Yahtzee bets: Under 4.5 Total Maps (-205) 2u, 3-1 TES (+356) 0.5u, 3-1  FPX (+490)

As fun as it is, this thing ain’t going 5 games. A few things make me feel this way:

1. In the past 3 splits of LPL playoffs, Worlds 2019, and MSI  2019 the knockout stages have seen 7 full 5 game series out of 26 total series. That’s about 26%. At -205, we’re getting an implied odds of 67% when recent history of more important tournaments says the under 4.5 Maps is closer to 75%. The only final 3-2 we’ve seen in that time was this spring between JDG and TES.

2. Fatigue is becoming a factor. This was a lot of games packed into four days. The sharper teams definitely won and won handily yesterday. When one of these teams gets down 2-0 or 2-1, it’s going to take a lot of mental fortitude to convince themselves they can win 2 or 3 in a row. I, generally, try to avoid investing in the mental fortitude of 19 year olds.

3. These teams feel like rhythm teams to me. Feelings are tricky. Momentum exists and doesn’t exist depending on who you ask. With these two teams, my inclination is it exists. You could see both teams click in last night and never look back. They know what they are good at and when that is clicking both rarely lose. I think one will get clicking and rip off a few games in a row.

4. The 3-1 numbers are attractive to me. It is historically the most likely result of a 5 game series and I think both teams have too much pride to get swept. We hit one of the teams to win 3-1 and scream Yahtzee in the streets of my new neighborhood at 5 in the morning.

Live Betting Opportunity to watch for:

Knight on Syndra. Knight has a better than 80% win rate on this champion. Syndra doesn’t have any devastating counters. Knight is the best player in the world. If you see Knight on Syndra, find live odds for TES win. Bet those odds up to -150. Make money.

GL HF!

Mid Season Cup Day 2 Picks

Group A Recap: 2-3 for -2.875u

Last night was a reminder that in sports betting and sports, you can make solid, analytical, data-driven decisions over a long period of time and can hope that brings long term success. A random Thursday Morning in May though? T1 can decide to play like they’ve never played before and take a dump on everything you thought about the way a tournament will go. That’s the rush. The unexpected is why we and they play.

A few thoughts before getting into Group B:

  • Fading T1 for the futures bets was the right move for all the wrong reasons. I thought T1 would get run over in the early game, not throw multiple mid and late game team fights and Barons. We’ll take it though. If IG don’t get out of groups tomorrow, we’ve got profit locked up on the futures.
  • The assumption about the teams playing to win, but loose, held fairly true. No one, besides T1, did anything totally out of character. Sure, Top Esports made some wild TPs and disrespectful attempts at outplays, but that’s nothing new for them.
  • Speaking of outplays: holy shit Knight. Nothing more to say.
  • FPX is still one of the best teams in the world. They did some weird stuff this split, but when the games matter, they’re going to be there.



Rankings For Group B:

  1. JDG
  2. Dragonx
  3. Invictus Gaming
  4. Gen.G

More reasoning on these rankings here. Now into the picks.

The LPL Champs are getting out of Groups bets: JDG ML vs. Gen.G (-170) 1u, JDG ML vs. IG (-160) 1u, JDG ML vs. DragonX (-190)

LoL has gone to the youngsters. Last year, FPX won worlds with a roster with a grand total of 0 international games under their belt.JDG have a roster of young studs ready to prove themselves on the international stage after previously falling short. I think they will be the most motivated team at the tournament. Intangibles aside, I have them modeled to win each of these games at better than the implied odds of each ML. However, as previously discussed and seen, crazy shit happens in best of 1s. JDG could lose one tomorrow. Will they lose more than one? I highly doubt it. We profit a little if JDG wins 2 out of 3 and big if they win 3 out of 3. Count me in on the team that swept Fun Plus Phoenix.

DragonX are underrated bets: DragonX ML vs. Gen.G (+100) 1u (Twitter POTD), DragonX ML vs. IG (+100) 1u

Full Disclosure: I bet these at better numbers earlier in the week. I still like them here. I’m not sure what made DragonX putting up a legitimate fight against T1 less valuable than Gen.G’s shitshow against T1, but take it. DragonX were the statistical best team in the LCK this year. I’m of the opinion DragonX were the best team in the LCK full stop, T1 just showed up better in the playoffs. Yesterday showed us that teams with big boy carries doing big boy carry things are getting out of groups. Chovy is a big boy carry. That makes the 50% implied odds against Gen. G easy money in my opinion. The IG game is a bit closer to a legitimate tossup. IG matchup well with DragonX on the top side of the map. The other side of the map is where DragonX will get their advantage. We saw lots of new picks being used in Group A in the bot lane. Deft has a bot lane champion ocean, rather than a pool. If Syndra and Yasuo become the bot lane carries of the tournament, who do you want to bet on: Deft or Puff? Give me DragonX.

Other Leans:

1. Lean towards JDG to cover Kill Spreads. JDG have a high Average Margin of Victory and typically win by 5 or more kills. Having them at -4.5 and -5.5 in their games is something to keep an eye on.

2. Lean towards the under across the board. Unders went 4-2 yesterday, which makes sense in a group stage where everything’s a bit tighter. It feels like group stages typically go this way, but would require some serious labor to find out if that feeling is based in fact.
 

3. Lean towards IG ML vs Gen. G. TheShy will get off in one of these games. My guess is it’s against Rascal.

Mid Season Cup Day 1 Picks

At first look at the Odds for the Mid-Season Cup, I thought we were in trouble. Here I was, having just started an esports betting blog, a major tournament incoming, and sharp odds with minimal bets I liked. I thought I might be writing an article analyzing 1 or 2 picks. Thankfully, the kill spreads came out, some lines moved, and I think I’ve found some ways to attack these lines. Before we get too deep into that though, let’s go through a few assumptions I’m running with for this tournament. 

In International play, there is always going to be some level of guesswork. There are very limited or no samples for the teams as they are currently constructed playing against one another. So, you have to build some educated assumptions about how the games will go. Here are mine:


1. The LPL is a slightly better league top to bottom than the LCK.

Does this mean I think you should take the LPL team straight up against the LCK everytime? Nah. I will definitely be on DragonX in a lot of spots tomorrow. Does it mean if the odds are better than 50-50 for a top LPL team against a top LCK team that I’m taking the LPL team? Almost definitely. A lot of the games in group A are essentially tossups, the odds don’t have them as tossups. If the LPL has a good day tomorrow, we’ll have a good day tomorrow.

2. All the teams will want to win, except for Invictus Gaming

Occasionally in LoL handicapping, you have to ask yourself the question: How hard is the team actually trying to win this game? It’s not really in the culture of either of these leagues to not try to win every game in front of them, outside of IG. IG all bets are off. Honestly wouldn’t be shocked if they locked in Teemo jungle at this point. Outside of them, we’re running with the assumption that the teams’ playoff forms will hold fairly true to this tournament.

3.   Teams will play looser than your typical international event.

This contradicts with number 2 a little bit, but not really. I think all the teams are trying to win this thing. However, a lot of group stages at MSI and Worlds can end up slow and cagey, with no team wanting to make the first mistake. Without the pressure of a crowd and the decreased importance, the teams will be a bit looser. This also supports my LPL>LCK stance with LPL being the generally looser league. I expect to see lots of kills early and often in this tournament.

With those out of the way, here’s how I have the teams ranked in A:

1. Top Esports

2a. T1

2b. Fun Plus Phoenix

A giant chasm

4. Damwon Gaming


More on those rankings here. On to the bets:


Twitter POTD: Fun Plus ML vs. T1 (+125) 1u

Fun Plus and T1 are very even teams in statistics, in talent, in history. As previously mentioned, all things being equal I’m going with the LPL. There are a couple of other reasons to lean FPX here too. The stylistic matchup favors FPX, in my opinion. T1 improved their early game in the LCK playoffs, but they were very poor there in the regular season. FPX is a solid, if not great, early game team. If they jump out early on T1, I don’t see them giving it up.  The plus money is the value.

Fun Plus +4.5 Kills vs. SKT ( -125) 1.5u

This is a lot of exposure to one game. If you want less risk, go with just this bet. Here’s why: I already made the case for FPX to win. If T1 win, it is very possible that FPX still cover. T1 have the lowest regular season average margin of victory in the tournament outside of IG (and you already know what I think of them). They are a slow-paced, low kill team who kill teams by getting objectives, small advantages in lanes, and win necessary team fights in the mid-late game. T1 could easily win this game in 45 mins, 12-8.

Top Esports -5.5 kills vs. Damwon (-125) 1u

TES since JackeyLove joined has been a very serious, very good team.
That would usually make me want to go bigger here against the worst team in the tournament. BJKL (Before JackeyLove) though, they were known to lose a game or two to inferior teams. I hope that TES have gained the maturity to not overlook this game, but if Damwon’s going to get an upset tomorrow, I think this might be it. There’s not enough value in the +150 to bet Damwon. So, we’re going with the kill line. Top covers -5.5 in almost all of their wins. If they win here, they will cover.



Fun Plus -5.5 Kills vs. Damwon (+100) 2u


Damwon is the kind of team FPX just don’t lose to. FPX lost just 4 total games (LPL plays Best of 3s) to teams in the bottom half of the LPL. Damwon would be a bottom half team in the LPL. They have the better players everywhere, except Top Lane, and should win this game as the -200 favorite. -200 is pretty steep. I have them as better than the implied odds of 67% so betting the ML is reasonable in my opinion. But in a best of 1, crazy shit happens and that kid of juice is tough to justify. So, rather than lay 2 units to win 1, we’re going after the kill line again. FPX have a strong Average Margin of Victory at around +10.7 and Damwon have a poor Average Margin of Defeat at around -9.6. When FPX win this game, they will almost definitely cover.


Top Esports ML vs. T1 (-105) 1u

Top play up and down to their level of competition. They will think highly of the greatest franchise in the history of LoL. I think Knight will relish the opportunity to play against Faker and prove himself as the best player in the world. Using season long stats, would lead you to go heavy on T1, but TES is not the same team anymore. They were incredible through the LPL playoffs against better teams than T1. Getting them at -105 (essentially a tossup) is value.

That’s my card for Group A. I’m going to enjoy this and hope you do too. It’s a few hours we all get to feel normal in this time, let’s cherish it and win some money.

The LPL/LCK Mid Season Cup Betting Tiers

Riot Games announced the format and schedule for the Mid Season Cup between the top teams from the LPL and LCK this morning. Giving out a single pick to win a tournament is a difficult and kind of crazy thing to do. Especially in a tournament like this where there is a lot of parity at the top.  So, rather than take a single shot and most likely lose, I thought it would be useful to put the teams in tiers ranked from bottom to top of the value on their odds to win the tournament.

Each team in each tier has about the same chance of winning the tournament in my opinion.

The Futures Odds (according to Bovada):

T1 +350

JD Gaming +425

Top Esports +475

FunPlus Phoenix +500

Gen. G +550

Invictus Gaming +700

DragonX +900

Damwon +1400

The “Just Happy to Be Included” Tier: Damwon Gaming (+1400)

Damwon’s main victory in this tournament will be seeing their names listed among the other teams. I imagine the conversation when they received an invite went something like this:

“Hi! We want to invite you to play in a lpl/lck showdown!”

“Hell yes, we’re in! Who are we playing?”

“IG, JDG, SKT, GEN.G, FPX, and DragonX”

“uh…. we’ll have to check our scrim schedule”

In all seriousness, Damwon had a great second half of the season and played a great series against a good DragonX team to end the season. They just don’t have the individual talent to compete in this tournament. Their best player, Top Laner Nuguri, is not even a top 3 Top Laner at the tournament. They also own one of the worst Gold Spent Differentials in the tournament on oracleselixir.com , one of my favorite metrics for determining a team’s relative strength. They could pop off an upset in the group stage, but I would not expect a lot more.

Gambling Bottom Line: Don’t bet on this team

The “Why do these teams kinda suck?” Tier: Gen.G, Invictus Gaming

  • Gen.G (+550)

    Perhaps, this tier is a bit harsh for Gen. G. They only really suck against one team, T1, but holy crap do they suck against them. Gen. G won the regular season in LCK with absolutely insane stats. They sported a tournament-best Kill to Death ratio of 1.59. Then, they got the LoL equivalent of the Scottie Pippen-Patrick Ewing dunked on in the LCK finals by T1. It was kind of dumbfounding. Which usually would lead me to think it was a bad day, and that they could rebound in this tournament. However, with a little digging into the stats, record, and film on Gen. G you start to see signs of a team that beats up on the bad teams and loses to the good teams. Against T1 and DragonX this season, they have 1 series win and a 4-10 game record. That does not bode well for a tournament where I slightly favor the top LPL teams over the top LCK teams. 
  • Invictus Gaming (+700)


What is there to say about this team? If you made a list of the best players in League of Legends over the past two years, TheShy and Rookie would be auto-includes. Not a lot of other teams can say they have players like them. They are game breakers. They can win all by themselves. TheShy can also lose all by himself. They are probably the most frustrating team to handicap in all of League of Legends because you just never know when they are going to get their shit together. I wouldn’t count on it being in this tournament. As good as TheShy and Rookie are, their jungle situation is that bad. Leyan and Ning have been consistently outclassed by even lower level LPL junglers. In a tournament with Clid, Kanavi, and Cuzz, I will be staying away from Invictus Gaming.

Gambling Bottom Line: The reason I ask “Why do these teams kinda suck?” is because both won the regular season in their respective leagues and at times have looked elite. Is there a world in which one of these teams has a good weekend and wins the tournament? Probably. Is that a world I would put any of my money in? Hell no.

The “Legit Shot” Tier: T1, FPX, DragonX and TES

  • T1 (+350)

    Most of the time in LoL, you can count on everybody plays everybody and T1 wins. I’m not so sure about that in this tournament. They are still one of the most disciplined and best late game teamfighting teams in the world. However, they showed some definite cracks in the early game this split. Sporting low numbers in all the early game indicators like First Drake %, First Tower %, First Blood %, and overall Early Game Rating on oracleselixir.com. With early game monsters like JDG, TES, and even to a lesser extent Dragonx in this tournament, I see very serious reasons to fade T1. However, if the game is 6-6, even gold at 25 minutes, give me faker and co. 100 times out of 100.
  • FPX (+550)

    The reigning world champions had a bit of an up and down split that culminated with a close at times, but not really, 3-0 loss to JDG in the playoffs. They really struggled to recapture that roaming mid and smashing side lane style that made them so special last year, especially against the best teams. Their Game 1 in the semi-finals against JDG was particularly concerning, where they allowed the other team to gain a nearly 10k gold lead without a single kill. If you were going to make the case for them though, it would be what they showed in game 2 and game 3 of that series and their subsequent 3-0 of IG in the 3rd place match. That was DoinB at his best: Carrying team fights and being in the right places at the right time on signature picks.
  • DragonX (+900)

    If you’re looking for a dark horse, DragonX is it.
    They have everything you would want in a championship contender: experience: Deft, one of the best players in the world: Chovy, Versatility: Deft’s champion pool, Impressive statistics: best GSPD in the tournament, and they have never looked scared to me the way Gen. G have. They lost to T1 in the playoffs, but not by playing scared. Losing in winnable mid game and late game team fights is what teams have been doing since the beginning of time to T1, no shame in that. DragonX could be very motivated to show they are one of the world’s best here and I think they just might be.
  • Top Esports (+475)

    April 3rd will be an organizational holiday if Top Esports go on to win Worlds this year. That was the date JackeyLove joined Top Esports and they started to look like the best or second best team in the world. Frankly, the transformation has little to do with JackeyLove’s in-game play. Rather, improved drafting and decision making throughout the game by the other players and draft. The veteran whipped this team into shape quick. That, and  the play of the best player in the world, Knight. Knight styled all over the LPL playoffs against some of the other best players in the world. He will be styling again in this tournament and could easily carry his team to victory.
    Gambling Bottom Line: Put a small size on each of these teams. I’m going 1u on each, except for T1. I just don’t think there’s any value in that number. They will, of course, go on to stomp this tournament now.

The Favorites: JD Gaming (+425)

Remember when the Warriors had the best Point Guard, Shooting Guard, and (arguably) Forward in the NBA in 2017? JD Gaming have the Best Top Laner, Jungler, and (arguably) bot lane duo in the world in 2020. The Warriors went on to easily win a championship. I would guess we’re looking at the same thing here with JDG. They are hungrier, more talented, and statistically better than any team in the tournament. Having JD gaming as anything but the favorite is a bit bonkers to me. We will absolutely take it though. 

Gambling Bottom Line: Value Town! I’m going with 2u on JDG.

Futures bets:

FPX (+550) 1u

DragonX (+900) 1u

Top Esports (+475)1u

JD Gaming (+425) 2u