Before diving into the fascinating slate of matches we have on Saturday I wanted to take a bit to offer some clarity and thoughts on my approach on a few futures positions that I have in play this weekend.
Pre-Season Outright: DragonX to win LCK Summer @ +400 (2 units)
“Statistically, DragonX were one of, if not the best team in the world this season and with two rookies maturing and getting valuable experience I think they’ll only improve. DragonX are versatile, talented, well-coached, and offer tremendous upside. They’re my pick to win LCK Summer…There are reasonable arguments for a number of teams in the LCK this season. I personally like DragonX at their odds but you could say the same about Gen.G.” -from LCK Summer Preview
I didn’t have too much else other than I thought this price was wrong. Obviously a taste of DAMWON at +1000 should have been in consideration given that they played their best league of the season in playoffs and at the Mid-Season Cup and had the talent to manage but I took a smattering of the other mid table teams instead.
The challenge here is that a hedge isn’t a particularly great option when the favorites are as heavy as DAMWON are in this situation. For that reason I’ll probably be letting this one ride. More on this match in that section of this post.
Pre-Season Outright: Team Liquid to win LCS Summer @ +1600 (1 unit)
Back on June 12th I wrote a Summer Tier List and Futures Strategy post here at The Esports Department. In it I said “If you believe in this TSM roster they’re not a bad look at similar numbers to Liquid. TSM have the talent to win it’s just a matter of putting it all together which is normally what you like in an outright situation if you’re getting reasonable odds. I’ll be sticking to just Liquid.” In hindsight it would’ve been nice to have both but c’est la vie right? Anyway we’re live to make a ton of money on a Liquid win this season and because of that I’ll be looking for some hedge opportunities in this match as well as the finals if they make it there.
LCK Summer 2020
Playoffs – Grand Finals
#1 DAMWON Gaming -385 (-1.5 maps @ -159, -2.5 @ +223, +1.5 @ -909) vs
#2 DragonX +277 (+1.5 maps @ +122, +2.5 @ -303, -1.5 @ +517, -2.5 @ +910)
Total Maps: 3.5 (over -238 / under +180), 4.5 maps (over +208 / under -278)
Kill Total: 25.5 (over -112 / under -116)
Kill Spread: -6.5 @ -116 / +6.5 @ -112
Team Kill Totals: 15.5 / 10.5
Time Total: 32:00 (over +118 / under -154)
DAMWON are 3-2 in games (1-1 in series) against DragonX this season
Four out of five games between these two went under 32:00. The one over was 34:27
Other than the weird pause for ping issues and the move to the live server, this was a tremendous series, particularly from an individual perspective with a few absolutely ridiculous performances with Chovy leading the pack. This series was one of the most dominant performances I’ve ever seen when you consider that Bdd is one of the best mid laners on the planet. Just insane…Still, this series was close overall but Gen.G legitimately stomped in games two and three and looked well on their way to a 3-1 win after a stunning game one by DragonX. As we’ve seen throughout playoffs, it’s important not to put too much weight on the result of a series when considering a team’s prospects for the next one but when you see systemic changes or characteristics (“green flags”) or vice versa (“red flags”) we should take note. While impressive, this win over Gen.G doesn’t really change how I’m handicapping this series.
DragonX have a very strong grasp on this metagame and their willingness to draft aggressively and that they’ve experimented with unique compositions over the course of the season will pay dividends when things change like this. Chovy and Doran are playing extremely well right now. Those are the key takeaways here.
DAMWON have lost just a single map in their past ten series (to Gen.G). Their last match loss was a 1-2 loss against DragonX on July 11th. They had one “break” week during that span meaning they’ve only had seven days off at most at most (they stomped Dynamics in about 50 total minutes in their first match back). Their last match was on August 22nd which was two weeks ago.
The reason I mention both of these points is because we’ve seen in the past that having the bye to the LCK finals with the #1 seed isn’t always a blessing. Sometimes teams are cold or rusty or their opponent can be coming in hot. We saw this with Gen.G last split. They just looked shellshocked when a red hot T1 blazed through the bracket to meet them in finals. I don’t think DragonX are coming in particularly blazing hot but or anything but they have to be feeling confident after defeating Gen.G in a long slobberknocker of a series. Perhaps more importantly is the combination of these factors. I’d be concerned that if DAMWON lose the first game that the compound impact of their first loss in a long time, plus the time off, could prove extremely challenging psychologically. When you see teams that are this dominant in any competitive activity or sport, sometimes a loss can rattle them.
DAMWON just capped off the single most dominant statistical season in history and they certainly deserve to be favorites here but I think this number is downright disrespectful to DragonX. I’ve been saying it all season long and it’s largely come to bare; all of these top four LCK teams are capable of taking games off of each other. Regardless of whether not you want to call one of them better, such as DAMWON, the fact is they’re all incredibly good and live to win any match. These true odds imply roughly a 75-25% split (~80-26 book implied). Do you really think another world class team is 25% to win this series? Ask yourself that. Even if you think DAMWON are the best team in the world and you don’t think DragonX are anywhere close does it really warrant a line this large? I don’t think so.
As mentioned in the preface, I’ve got DragonX futures at play here and a hedge opportunity at these odds doesn’t present a worthwhile opportunity (it’s literally about 6 cents on the dollar…). I’ll be letting that future ride. If I didn’t have a stake in this game already I’d actually be betting DragonX in this spot. DAMWON should win the series but the number is simply too large.
Underdog Win: 25.13
“G” Projected Total: 24.13 kills
These two combined for an average of 28.6 combined kills per game in their five appearances this season. The playoff average is 27. DragonX have averaged 26.0 combined kills per game through five games this playoffs vs Gen.G.
The first three games of that series went over 25.5 but games four and five totaled 23 each. Gen.G were one of the bloodier teams this season but so were DAMWON. They averaged about 0.837 combined kills per minute even with an average game time around the 30.6 minute mark. I think we’ll see a similarly bloody series. This is a departure from my normal read on LCK playoff series. Typically the level of control by both teams that are good enough to make a final lends to lower kill games but DAMWON in particular have been an exception to just about every rule this season and given how these games shook out over the course of the regular season I’d expect we see a lot of games slightly over this total.
DAMWON game times: 27.885 / 27.45 / 30.85 (average / in wins / in losses)
DragonX game times: 32.47 / 32.29 / 32.9 (average / in wins / in losses)
Projected Time (avg of avg game times): 30.18 minutes
Odds Weighted: 30.525 minutes
Unders are definitely in play here. If DAMWON win there is likely to be some extremely fast games for a final but I could also see the snowball going the other way as well. Even with the juice there’s value on the unders.
First Blood: DWG 56.41% / DRX 46.67%
First Tower: DWG 89.74% / DRX 46.67%
First Dragon: DWG 38.46% / DRX 40%
First Herald: DWG 74.36% / DRX 40%
DAMWON first tower is the best value on the board here at -182. You can get DAMWON first herald at ~-169 but since these two are heavily correlated I don’t tend to lay money on both. If anything I pick one or split exposure between the two. I also like DragonX first dragon both because of the odds and the DAMWON haven’t placed a premium on it this entire season.
I’ll also be taking the under 4.5 dragons taken prop here. DragonX averaged 4.6 dragons per game (both teams) while DAMWON averaged just 3.9 dragons per game. 4.25 combined between the two. Just two of the five meetings between these two had more than four dragons.
** = Hypothetical wager if I didn’t have futures on this already. Won’t be counting toward my ledger total
**Spread: DragonX +2.5 maps @ -303 (3.03 units)
**Spread: DragonX +1.5 maps @ +122 (1 unit)
**Moneyline: DragonX +277 (0.5 units)
**Spread: DragonX -1.5 maps @ +517 (0.25 units)
**Spread: DragonX -2.5 maps @ +910 (0.25 units)
Kill Total: Map 1 OVER 25.5 @ -112 (1.12 units)
Kill Total: Map 2 OVER 25.5 @ -114 (1.14 units)
Kill Total: Map 3 OVER 25.5 @ -112 (1.12 units)
Time Total: Map 1 UNDER 32:00 @ -154 (1.54 units)
Time Total: Map 2 UNDER 32:00 @ -147 (1.47 units)
Time Total: Map 3 UNDER 32:00 @ -161 (1.61 units)
Prop: Map 1 DWG first tower @ -182 (1.82 units)
Prop: Map 2 DWG first tower @ -182 (1.82 units)
Prop: Map 3 DWG first tower @ -182 (1.82 units)
Prop: Map 1 DRX first dragon @ +106 (1 unit)
Prop: Map 2 DRX first dragon @ +104 (1 unit)
Prop: Map 3 DRX first dragon @ +104 (1 unit)
Prop: Map 1 total dragons UNDER 4.5 @ +133 (1 unit)
Prop: Map 2 total dragons UNDER 4.5 @ +131 (1 unit)
Prop: Map 3 total dragons UNDER 4.5 @ +137 (1 unit)
LEC Summer 2020
Losers’ Bracket – Finals
G2 Esports -370 (-1.5 maps @ -149, -2.5 @ +225, +1.5 @ -909) vs
Rogue +266 (+1.5 maps @ +117, +2.5 @ -303, -1.5 @ +535, -2.5 @ +1400)
Total Maps: 3.5 maps (over -233 / under +179)
Kill Total: 27.5 (over -105 / under -123)
Kill Spread: -5.5 @ -114 / +5.5 @ -114
Team Kill Totals: 15.5 / 10.5
Time Total: 33:00 (over -103 / under -127)
We talked a lot about this one on The Gold Card Podcast this week. The short version of the discussion is that Rogue are being disrespected yet again… but it’s G2… That “but it’s G2…” clause is something that comes up really often with a team like this but for good reason and over the years it’s proven true. It used to be the SK Telecom clause.
Rogue did just show some new stuff in a complete shellacking of the MAD Lions. I’ve been pounding the table all season that this team had been mischaracterized as a more “slower and controlling team.” Lower kills doesn’t mean slower and controlled. Neither does longer game time necessarily. Rogue had the best early game in the LEC by a mile this season and were more than well-versed in both uptempo and controlled styles. Look at the film, look at the numbers before making generalizations. Anyway, I digress… what I’m trying to say is that Rogue have been mischaracterized and disrespected all around this season and they pulled out some more unique looks for the first time in awhile IN A PLAYOFF MATCH AGAINST MAD LIONS. And they stomped…
G2 have shown us a lot of early game creativity of late but they’ve also punted some early games badly. More than almost any other team on earth I trust G2 to find solutions to problems like a bad early game and Rogue have had a few late game macro blunders this season which is concerning. I also think Rogue are more than capable of snowballing games against this G2 team which can be sloppy at times. This number is too large even for G2. It’s worth noting that G2 and MAD are similar in style and we just saw Rogue completely run them over. I’ll be taking a light position on Rogue sides here even though I do think G2 will get this done.
I initially thought that the under was a slam dunk here but with the new look and this new found “nothing to lose” attitude Rogue have I could see these games getting wild in a hurry. I’m completely reversing course and going with the overs. I’ve been punished for getting cute and taking unders in the past few G2 series… dumb mistake, they’re back in action. I’m waiting for them to be posted and will update this post but alternate overs are intriguing in this spot too.
Spread: Rogue +2.5 maps @ -303 (3.03 units)
Spread: Rogue +1.5 maps @ +117 (0.5 units)
Moneyline: Rogue +266 (0.25 units)
Spread: Rogue -1.5 maps @ +535 (0.25 units)
Spread: Rogue -2.5 maps @ +1400 (0.25 units)
Kill Total: Map 1 OVER 27.5 @ -105 (0.525 units)
Kill Total: Map 2 OVER 27.5 @ -108 (0.54 units)
Kill Total: Map 3 OVER 27.5 @ -109 (0.545 units)
LCS Summer 2020
Losers’ Bracket – Finals
Team Liquid -185 (-1.5 maps @ +128, -2.5 @ +374, +1.5 @ -417) vs
Team Solo Mid +143 (+1.5 maps @ -164, +2.5 @ -556, -1.5 @ +293, -2.5 @ +740)
Total Maps: 3.5 maps (over -323 / under +235), 4.5 maps (over +159 / under -204)
Kill Total: 22.5 (over -122 / under -108)
Kill Spread: -5.5 @ -112 / +5.5 @ -116
Team Kill Totals: 13.5 / 9.5
Time Total: 33:00 (over -114 / under -114)
I think TSM are very live to take this series. More or less I think these two teams are very similar to style and approach to the game but with slightly different strengths. TSM’s strongest matchup breaker is obviously Bjergsen while Liquid has been the bottom lane. Liquid are deserving favorites but I’m not entirely sure they deserve to be by this much even after this line has come towards the TSM side (it opened -225 / +166). As we saw in the FlyQuest series, when you have two ideologically similar teams that are both solid it can end up closer to a coin flip than perception might suggest.
One caveat here is that Liquid did do some experimenting in drafts in their series against FlyQuest, going outside of their comfort zone for the Zyra and the Akali in a couple of games. Both picks are great in certain spots (Akali in most spots…) in this metagame and I think they were smart to use the opportunity. It’s reasonable to say “we didn’t see full power Liquid” in that series. Just like we discussed earlier, I don’t put too much weight on the results of previous series in playoffs so my handicap of this game isn’t really factoring that “Liquid lost to FlyQuest” as a good or bad thing. As a matter of fact it’s not really factoring it in much at all. I just think these teams are too similar to be this far apart in the odds.
That said, there is now decent value on Liquid if you think they’re the better team. You’ve shed about 40 cents of extra weight so if you feel strongly about Liquid now is the time to fire away. TSM are still in my range to back in this spot at their current number but see below…
I’ll be doing a partial hedge on my Liquid to win the LCS Summer futures but only for a smaller portion of the total it’s not an even split since we’d presumably still have another series to collect on if they manage to win this one. I think TSM have better chances of winning this series than the odds imply already plus we’re getting a nice spot to start collecting on my Liquid future here so I’ll be backing TSM a little more strongly than I normally would be in this spot.
I may add a few prop markets to this post in the morning but I want to see if this line moves back toward Liquid before doing so.
** Partial hedge on Liquid future **
Moneyline: TSM +143 (3 units)
Actual series wagers
Map Total: OVER 3.5 maps @ -323 (6.46 units)
Spread: TSM +1.5 maps @ -164 (1.64 units)
Moneyline: TSM +143 (1 unit)
Spread: TSM -1.5 maps @ +293 (0.5 units)
Spread: TSM -2.5 maps @ +740 (0.25 units)