Thursday, August 20th Recap
T1 vs DAMWON Gaming (Net: +3.09 units)
The box score for this first game was not indicative of the knife’s edge the first 15 minutes of this game balanced on. There were a number of extremely close fights that ended up going the way of DAMWON but eventually T1 cracked when forcing the issue at a drake fight in what looked to be a fairly close dance but were poked out too much by Lillia, Twisted Fate, and Ezreal so much that DAMWON just had to wait for them to commit to the drake and pull the trigger. Game two started similarly, super fast-paced, a lot of really close fights but eventually Kassadin was too much for T1 to handle in the late game.
We saw a number of great things from both squads in this game. Drafts were interesting with DAMWON showing the Ziggs bot as an option against Senna. ShowMaker busted out the somewhat forgotten Kassadin. DAMWON showed that they aren’t just an early game snowball team as they navigated many of these mid and late game team fights excellently in both games. They really can do it all.
Clozer played a pretty good series in his first against the elite mid laners but he also had two lanes that are difficult to interact with and “outplay” playing Sylas against Twisted Fate and Kassadin. He found his opportunities and pretty quick to the punch for the most part but particularly in game one ShowMaker was just a few seconds ahead on plays and showed why he’s as good as he is. I’ll say that T1 didn’t lose this because of Clozer he actually played pretty well they were just outmaneuvered as a team.
Afreeca vs KT Rolster (Net: -2.705 units)
This series was horrible by both teams. I didn’t really have high hopes for whichever of these squads made playoffs to make any sort of noise but this more or less solidified that. I don’t know if it was just tilt or nerves or what but it looked like nobody was thinking whatsoever. Just so many dumb, erratic decisions by both teams at all times. I could write a book on all the issues in this series but I’ll just leave it at that.
LCK Total: +0.385 units
Cloud 9 vs FlyQuest (Net: no action)
This was an absolutely horrible series by Zven and while I think that’s an over simplification, it generally sums up what happened here. Credit to FlyQuest for a good game plan and good level ones, and criticism to Cloud 9 for not showing any kind of patience, and not adapting to the game one cheese, but simply put they win games three and four if Zven isn’t feeding his ass off. The pause probably didn’t help but… well just see the Discord for my tyrade.
LCS Total: no action
Parlays: +1.17 units
Daily Total: +1.555 units
LCK Summer 2020
Week 10 – Day 2
SANDBOX Gaming -312 (-1.5 maps @ +113) vs
Hanwha Life Esports +232 (+1.5 maps @ -145, -1.5 @ +597)
Kill Total: 22.5 (over -114 / under -115)
Kill Spread: -6.5 @ -118 / +6.5 @ -111
Team Kill Totals: 14.5 / 8.5
Time Total: 33:00 (over +110 / under -143)
Both series tomorrow mean nothing to the standings as all four participating teams are already eliminated from playoffs. Similar to Week 17 in the NFL, MOST teams will be showing up and trying but you never really know how each team will be treating things. Some teams just play fun picks for their last series, others take it just as seriously as anything, others are mentally checked out and get rolled. MANAGE YOUR RISK ACCORDINGLY!
I think Hanwha and SeolHaeOne are a cut below the middle of the table teams in general but not by this much. Sandbox aren’t -312 better than anybody. I know this is an overly simplified handicap of this game but that’s the way I’m approaching this. If this was during the season and there was still something to play for I’d still be interested in Hanwha at this number. Sandbox and Hanwha are directly next to each other in my economy/objective model. It’s a clear cut difference but not enough to justify this massive gap in the moneyline. This is Viper/Lehends vs Summit in a carry war. Hanwha have looked a little bit better as the season as has gone on. They still aren’t very good but that counts for something as Sandbox haven’t particularly impressed me either. Give me the final game dogs when both are eliminated and these teams were close anyway.
Underdog Win: 21.66
“G” Projected Total: 25.5 kills
As is often the case in these final game scenarios I love the over. We could see some wonky stuff in this one.
SB game times: 32.39 / 33.445 / 31.76 (average / in wins / in losses)
HLE game times: 31.1 / 34.65 / 30.34 (average / in wins / in losses)
Projected Time (avg of avg game times): 31.74 minutes
Odds Weighted: 32.27 minutes
Lean to the over but pass.
First Blood: SB 40% / HLE 42.5%
First Tower: SB 47.5% / HLE 30%
First Dragon: SB 47.5% / HLE 50%
First Herald: SB 47.5% / HLE 42.5%
I like the Hanwha Life props here but they’re all priced appropriately. I’m waiting for over/under total dragons to come out, I could see these games going over but anticipate that it’ll be priced cheaply.
Spread: Hanwha +1.5 maps @ -145 (2.9 units)
Moneyline: Hanwha +232 (1 unit)
Spread: Hanwha -1.5 maps @ +606 (0.5 units)
Kill Total: Map 1 OVER 22.5 @ -114 (1.14 units)
Kill Total: Map 1 OVER 23.5 @ +102 (0.5 units)
Kill Total: Map 1 OVER 24.5 @ +114 (0.25 units)
Kill Total: Map 1 OVER 25.5 @ +134 (0.25 units)
Kill Total: Map 2 OVER 22.5 @ -105 (1.05 units)
Kill Total: Map 2 OVER 23.5 @ +108 (0.5 units)
Kill Total: Map 2 OVER 24.5 @ +122 (0.25 units)
Kill Total: Map 2 OVER 25.5 @ +141 (0.25 units)
Team Dynamics -222 (-1.5 maps @ +147) vs
SeolHaeOne Prince +171 (+1.5 maps @ -192, -1.5 @ +474)
Kill Total: 24.5 (over -109 / under -119)
Kill Spread: -4.5 @ -123 / +4.5 @ -105
Team Kill Totals: 13.5 / 9.5
Time Total: 33:00 (over +105 / under -137)
There is a significantly larger gap in the model between these two teams than the last two but we did just see the best performance of the season by SeolHaeOne against DragonX. You could criticize DragonX’s drafts and play in that series but SeolHaeOne still took it to them. I usually love these kinds of spots. More often than not a truly bad team turns back into a pumpkin after that kind of performance but public sentiment wants to back them and beat the number down and we collect value on the overhype. That hasn’t happened here. This number has been stagnant.
I think Dynamics win this series and people are again reminded of how poor SeolHaeOne actually are but this number is a little bit large. I’m going to play it for half stake because I feel quite confident about it but tail at your own risk.
Underdog Win: 26.88
“G” Projected Total: 26.68 kills
Just like the last match, final week narrative plus model projecting an over is a juicy opportunity.
DYN game times: 32.58 / 34.85 / 31.45 (average / in wins / in losses)
SP game times: 30.83 / 33.657 / 30.38 (average / in wins / in losses)
Projected Time (avg of avg game times): 31.71 minutes
Odds Weighted: 32.59 minutes
Lean to the over given that Dynamics tend to take their time closing and have been pretty good at stalling out against snowballs. Also these could turn into clown fiesta games. I’ll be passing.
First Blood: DYN 33.33% / SP 52.78%
First Tower: DYN 41.03% / SP 19.44%
First Dragon: DYN 56.41% / SP 58.33%
First Herald: DYN 41.03% / SP 27.78%
There is some nice value on SeolHaeOne first dragon.
Moneyline: Dynamics -222 (1.11 units)
Spread: Dynamics -1.5 maps @ +147 (0.5 units)
Prop: Map 1 SeolHaeOne first dragon @ +115 (1 unit)
Prop: Map 2 SeolHaeOne first dragon @ +113 (1 unit)
Kill Total: Map 1 OVER 23.5 @ -116 (1.16 units)
Kill Total: Map 1 OVER 25.5 @ +104 (0.5 units)
Kill Total: Map 1 OVER 26.5 @ +126 (0.25 units)
Kill Total: Map 2 OVER 23.5 @ -116 (1.16 units)
Kill Total: Map 2 OVER 25.5 @ +111 (0.5 units)
Kill Total: Map 2 OVER 26.5 @ +131 (0.25 units)
LEC Summer 2020
Playoffs – Losers’ Bracket Round One
These will be posted later Thursday night.
SK Gaming +223 (+1.5 maps @ -109, -1.5 maps @ +437, -2.5 maps @ +1100) vs
Schalke 04 -303 (-1.5 maps @ -118, -2.5 maps @ +273)
Total Maps: 3.5 maps (over -270 / under +201), 4.5 (over +175 / under -227)
Kill Total: 24.5 (over -105 / under -123)
Kill Spread: +5.5 @ -118 / -5.5 @ -111
Team Kill Totals: 9.5 / 13.5
Time Total: 33:00 (over -120 / under -109)
This is going to be a polarizing series for a lot of people in terms of opinions but before I go into that I think we need to all just take a collective look at this line and call it what it is, egregious. Regardless of whether or not you think Schalke deserve the hype or not, which we’re going to get into in a bit, there’s just no way you think they’re favored by anything remotely close to this much going into this series. Even the most bearish hater of SK that’s also the most bullish Schalke supporter can’t look me in the eye and tell me this line is accurate. You should bet SK Gaming here but how much and where is a matter of what you think of these teams so let’s take a look.
I talked a lot yesterday about how I don’t give as much credence to regular season results in either Western league. I observe the data, analyze the film, and make my evaluation much in a more qualitative than quantitative manner. I’ll always be a film first, primarily qualitative handicapper and analyst but especially so in the Western leagues where we get a smaller sample size.
One of the most popular questions I’ve gotten over the past few weeks is essentially “how good is Schalke?” and I’ve almost always answered in the exact same way, “good, but not as good as their record.” In a leauge with as much parity as the LEC, in a season with as much parity as season ten, you don’t go on a miracle run like that without a little variance in your favor but just how much of this run can we contribute to that versus improved play? That’s the million dollar question. To me, Schalke have made significant improvements, have established a team identity, and are playing at a level that I’d figure is somewhere around the top end of their expected or possible outcomes.
Give credit to Schalke. They’ve upped their level and deserve this playoff spot but we also have to be pragmatic as handicappers. This team caught a number of wins that they probably shouldn’t have. They also managed to catch a few teams who didn’t really have a lot to play for or that had already more or less clinched. That’s not to excuse those wins but you see what I’m getting at here. The other thing, is that during this run it doesn’t seem like anybody has really put a lot of time into figuring out Schalke which leads to my next point and perhaps the most important one here.
Series are much different than best of one weekly play. I actually think season ten doesn’t reward adaptation and breadth of strategic diversity over a series as much as previous seasons have due to the current design of the game but it’s still a key factor to consider. We haven’t seen anybody take more than a few days to prepare for Schalke. Typically, during the season, most teams prepare a set strategy for the weak more than they prepare for a specific opponent. You still see opponent specific decisions being made just far fewer because of the nature of best-of-ones which lead to very “vanilla” strategies.
The LEC has also had an extra week off and this contributes in a few different ways to this series. For a lot of teams, like SK Gaming, they were in the thick of a playoff race themselves and likely weren’t too concerned with the happenings of everyone else that wasn’t on their schedule that week. This is sort of an issue I have with the league format but that’s a different topic. If you have a few of those teams in a row it’s pretty easy for a team to figure something out or get hot and go on a run. In short, I think Schalke caught a number of opponents that weren’t game planning specifically for them and that’s going to be a real test for them given their seemingly linear, “don’t fix it if it ain’t broke” approach during this run, which I respect by the way. The other angle at play here is that the time off might disrupt the momentum. Whether or not you agree with these kinds of narratives is your own perogative. I tend to think they’re overblown but still a very real thing. Losing the momentum with the extra week off AND a team having time to prepare for just you over two weeks I think is going to bring this team back down to earth a bit.
Schalke have legitimately improved and you could make the same arguments I’m making for them against SK Gaming as well but I think SK are the more talented team and we’ve seen this version of them over a larger sample and know to expect good, solid, but maybe not great from them. I see a lot of issues in how Schalke have been winning games and their game plans going into them. Nobody has attempted to ban out Gilius and I’d be curious to see how they react to that type of thing. SK we’ve seen a number of different looks and strategies from so I can’t help but think that over the course of the series that SK have the more difficult question to answer than the other way around.
I don’t think SK Gaming are a particularly great team by any means. I’m also not opposed to the idea that Schalke can continue to improve and could potentially grow even more in these two weeks but I simply can’t justify ignoring this line. I’d handicap SK Gaming as short favorites and we’re getting them at +223… that’s all there is to it.
Spread: SK Gaming +2.5 maps @ -400 (8 units)
Spread: SK +1.5 maps @ -109 (2.18 units)
Moneyline: SK +223 (1.5 units)
Spread: SK -1.5 maps @ +437 (1 units)
Spread: SK -2.5 maps @ +1100 (0.5 units)
LCS Summer 2020
Playoffs – Winners’ Bracket Round Two
Team Liquid -556 (-1.5 maps @ -208, -2.5 maps @ +160) vs
Golden Guardians +367 (+1.5 maps @ +161, +2.5 @ -208, -1.5 @ +731)
Total Maps: 3.5 maps (over -185 / under +144), 4.5 (over +248 / under -345)
Kill Total: 20.5 (over -119 / under -110)
Kill Spread: -7.5 @ -106 / +7.5 @ -122
Team Kill Totals: 14.5 / 6.5
Time Total: 33:00 (over -164 / under +125)
Similar to yesterday’s Cloud 9/FlyQuest series I think this is actually a much closer series than the number indicates. Golden Guardians might not be elite in any facet of the game but they have enough weapons in their arsenal that they can punish teams like TSM, FlyQuest, and potentially Liquid who tend to draft much more conservatively taking percentages where they can along the road to very balanced team compositions. When you have players as good as these teams, at least in comparison to the LCS, you can’t really fault them for just playing the numbers and assuming they’ll win but it does expose them to more aggressive drafting decisions. A team could go over top of or underneath of these types of drafts.
The reason I’m saying all of this is because I think that Golden Guardians will make this a competitive series and it has nothing to do with with their 3-0 stomping of TSM either. That series was clearly a severe underperformance by the TSM bottom lane, similar to the severe underperformance by Zven and to a lesser extent Nisqy against FlyQuest. FBI and Huhi played extremely well in that series as well but I digress… I just think Golden Guardians are the type of team that’s not afraid to take risks in the draft and that can be rewarded against teams that are marching out these more “base” looks. Think of it like a football offense playing against a 4-3 defense that’s just playing cover one every play. If the other team has stud players it’s going to be hard no matter what you do but if they’re just going to march a base 4-3 without any wrinkles or variety or different play calls you can find holes in it.
Now the argument here is whether or not you think Golden Guardians have the personnel to attack like this. I’d argue that they do to some extent. Damonte and Closer are more than capable of taking over any given game and with the form FBI and Huhi showed in the last few weeks I certainly wouldn’t rule it out. Long story short, I think Liquid win this series, and I’m fairly certain of it because they get multiple games to just grind a team out, but I also think that this is going to be more interesting than the 3-0 or 3-1 it projects out to be. I’m going to be playing the OVER 3.5 maps and a few light plays on Golden Guardians including the kill spreads on the first three maps. 7.5 is a fairly large spread given that Liquid’s averages in margin of victory/defeat and the low total of 20.5.
Total Maps: OVER 3.5 @ -185 (3.7 units)
Spread: Golden Guardians +1.5 maps @ +161 (0.5 units)
Moneyline: Golden Guardians +367 (0.25 units)
Spread: Golden Guardians -1.5 maps @ +731 (0.25 units)
Kill Spread: Map 1 GGs +7.5 kills @ -122 (1.22 units)
Kill Spread: Map 2 GGs +7.5 kills @ -122 (1.22 units)
Kill Spread: Map 3 GGs +7.5 kills @ -122 (1.22 units)