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.


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