These are the last remaining team positions I have for the tournament.
Outright: DAMWON +400 (3 units)
To Reach Final: Suning +2100 (1 unit)
Region of Winner: LPL @ -125 (12.5 units)
When I laid out my futures portfolio for the tournament outrights I discussed strategy for these types of situations and how you typically need to fade one or two of the middle to top of the table teams entirely. In my case it was G2.
“Often times, similar to DFS, when you’re setting these portfolios up you’re fading a few teams. G2 are the team that would completely blow up my spot with a tournament win but we’ll have plenty of opportunities along the way to recoup the value on this, especially because I’d imagine we get slightly better odds than we did last year on them as we go.”
G2 are in the final four and one of my worst case scenarios is definitely in play here which is that G2 win finals against a non-Suning LPL team, in this case TOP Esports. One of my options would be to recoup some of my DAMWON position here at nice plus money odds with G2, especially because I have no G2 outrights. However, as you’ll find out below, I don’t think G2 are going to win this match and my DAMWON position would more or less cancel my RoW: LPL position in a finals between TOP and DWG.
If G2 were to win this series there’s a very good chance they win the tournament but I can’t see them being heavy favorites against with Suning or TOP so we’ll have an opportunity to back them in the finals.
I’m going to let the G2/DAMWON side of the bracket ride here and back G2 in the finals if it comes down to it. In hindsight I wish I’d put more on DAMWON and trusted my gut when the number was good.
I’ll be able to get a nice hedge position with TOP on Sunday because of my Suning to reach final ticket and we could lock in a 7+ unit profit just off of that match if we want. I’ll touch on that in tomorrow’s piece.
From this point forward in the article the positions and opinions listed will not be taking into account these futures. I like to give the readers my thoughts and positions agnostic to any futures positions while also informing you of my approach and strategies in those markets. I keep these separate because not everybody has the same outright portfolio that I do so it’s not helpful if I’m just listing hedges. If I had no futures positions below is how I’d handicap and bet the match.
World Championships 2020
Semifinals – Day One
DAMWON Gaming -244 (-1.5 maps @ -115, -2.5 @ +286, +1.5 @ -625) vs
G2 Esports +199 (+1.5 maps @ -111, +2.5 maps @ -400, -1.5 @ +398, -2.5 @ +983)
Total Maps Played: 3.5 maps (over -333 / under +246), 4.5 maps (over +181 / under -227)
Kill Total: 27.5 (over -108 / under -122)
Kill Spread: -5.5 @ -122 / +5.5 @ -108
Team Kill Totals: 16.5 / 12.5
Time Total: 33:00 (over -104 / under -125)
As with all of these we discussed them in a lot of detail on The Gold Card Podcast this week.
I don’t have a true cross-regional model for league for a number of reasons. You can factor in elo-based weightings and such and jam the numbers together but it’s typically quite difficult because the different leagues are good at different things and your medians and standard deviations are all thrown out of whack. If you were to insert G2 into my LCK economy/objective model using their full Summer stats (beginning of Summer through current), they grade out as around the same rating as Afreeca Freecs and the model would make this line just about an 80-20 (80.77%-19.23% to be exact). The LCK model is extremely EXTREMELY top heavy because of DAMWON, Gen.G, and DragonX having such ridiculous numbers. In the LPL model, G2 look much better grading out at about the same rating as Invictus, JDG, and Victory Five but still well short of TOP Esports. If you use just G2’s stats from Worlds these numbers are slightly improved but don’t close the gaps enough to be noteworthy.
The reason I bring this up is to give a sense of comparison from strictly a statistics and metrics perspective relative to the Eastern leagues.
As many of you have likely seen via my Twitter and the Discord, I’m putting very little weight negative or positive on G2’s 3-0 win over Gen.G, or should I say the shell of a team that showed up for that match. The mistakes Gen.G made in that series were mostly unforced so much so that it quite frankly didn’t matter the team that was playing against them. Sure, G2 looked good but I’m basically throwing that series out. Matches like that are the worst as handicappers because they give us no real data points or takeaways to work with and make adjustments for. We’ve seen complete no-shows like this at this tournament before it’s just miserable when they happen and you can’t overreact one way or the other to them.
G2 are always a challenging team to handicap because they’re capable of just about anything. They’re a bizarre team that can take you off of your game plan and they do that better than just about any team I’ve ever seen. The challenge for them in this scenario is that they’re facing a team that’s versatile and individually more talented than they are. And unlike a lot of the Korean teams that G2 have had success against over the years, DAMWON are much more willing to scrap and play these bloody, high kill games with you. In other words, DAMWON can play G2’s game and frequently did over the course of this season so they’re not going to be thrown off by the off-the-cuff, improvisational style G2 have made famous. They’re the best of both worlds.
The case we’ve seen against DAMWON has been more a commentary on the LCK as a whole and questioning their overall strength of competition domestically rather than a specific criticism of DAMWON themselves. If you have a generally bearish outlook on the LCK as a whole then a lot of people find it reasonable to downgrade DAMWON’s potential based on that. Sometimes there is something to this idea and to the eyes of a lot of people we’ve seen it play out that way for Korea specifically in the past few years. I don’t entirely agree and think this is a very results-oriented and lazy form analysis. To me, good teams are good regardless of their region and that’s based primarily on film study and not statistics. Where the regional aspect tends to come in is more stylistic and metagame considerations. It’s the whole Patriots against the AFC East. Even if you think the division is weak all they can do is beat on a bad division and DAMWON did. So even if you’re bearish on the LCK in general, you should take a team that utterly destroyed that league the way DAMWON did seriously.
As mentioned earlier, my model has this as roughly an 80-20 matchup. Do I think that’s an accurate or appropriate line for this series? No. These are Worlds semifinalists we’re talking about here and it’s difficult for me to imagine anyone being that heavily favored unless someone got here fraudulently. However, I think a lot of people lose sight of what a series line looks like compared to a game line. Something I like to do is to simplify for perspective. For the individual maps in this series, DAMWON are -185 to G2’s +142. That’s roughly a 61-39 matchup with the vig removed. That’s a very big delta between my model and the sportsbook line. I said that I don’t think the 80-20 matchup is an accurate representation of these teams so what is? G2’s statistics don’t tell the full story of who they are at all and neither do DAMWON’s, however it’s a pretty solid foundation for a starting point.
So what are my adjustments?
- Is there a strong case for a draft advantage in either direction here? G2 do some outside of the box things but so does DAMWON and I’d argue that one of these teams has been more versatile over this Summer than the other. This is a wash.
- How about an individual player comparison? G2 doesn’t have an edge, statistically at any position over the full Summer or even intra-tournament sample size. Strong edge for DAMWON.
- Is there a stylistic consideration that could affect strategy or approach for these teams one way or the other? DAMWON are capable of doing anything they need to do. G2 appear to have a strong grasp on the meta and there is some chance that they’ve got something special cooked up that they haven’t had to show yet but you could make the same exact argument for DAMWON as both these teams had easy quarterfinals. G2 are a weird team to play against but this isn’t DAMWON’s first rodeo. We saw this matchup last year and DAMWON were much much worse team then than they are now.
- Do G2 do anything better than DAMWON does? This is the question I’ve struggled with the most. I don’t think so. I had more trouble preparing for DAMWON in my mock draft/strategy preparation than any other team in this tournament including G2.
- Other outliers/narratives? If anything DAMWON have the revenge narrative here. They’ve had their eye on G2 this entire tournament after being eliminated in quarters by them last year.
I can understand why people like G2. They’re a fun team, they’re very unique, and they’re gifted in ways that don’t always manifest on the page but I think if you’re going to back G2 here it’s either because you’re abnormally bearish on DAMWON or you’re throwing caution to the wind and trusting G2. I simply can’t find a way to justify a G2 position. I’ve been trying to all week long. I don’t see a way that G2 can consistently beat DAMWON that isn’t a matter of “well these teams are both good this is probably a coinflip.” Of course anything is possible but if I can’t tell myself a story that doesn’t involve a dramatic underperformance then it’s shaky ground to stand on if backing G2. I think this is in the 70-30 matchup and because of that this line is a value for DAMWON at its current price. As good as G2 are and they’re capable of a lot of things, it’s just tough for me to ignore that this isn’t as dominant a team as we saw last year and I think a lot of people, especially Western fans, are just enamored with them especially after overreacting to the performance we just saw. If you’re backing G2 it’s either because you’re BOTH bearish on DAMWON AND bullish on G2. Otherwise it’s just a hope and a prayer and I’d like to see your case and evidence if you don’t think that’s the case.
DWG first tower has been the play all Summer long and we’re getting a tasty -161 on it here. This is by no means a lock but there’s a double digit edge here just take it. Really all of the DAMWON props are the way to go here but given the exposure I’m going to have on DAMWON in this series I’ll just stick to my favorite of these, the first tower.
For totals the interesting thing here is that DAMWON have been a significantly lower kill team at this tournament than they were domestically. G2 have been their normal bloody selves. The thing with G2 is that they force everyone to get down in the mud with them which is part of why they’re so consistently producing high total games. This is a relatively low total for G2 who are usually in the 29+ range. If you think DAMWON are going to clean stomp one or two of these games then I think you stay away from the total. If you think this is a slugfest you have to ask yourself whether this will be a tight, closer to the vest game or a bloodbath. I think there are actually more scenarios where the under is the play here than the over but given the number we have here I’m just going to pass on this market.
I’m a huge fan of the under time total and not just because DAMWON are blazing fast. These two teams are capable of explosive starts and have excellent closing speed. About half these games were very lopsided but only 5 out of the 15 knockout stage games played so far have gone over this total. Close games can go under. The tournament average is 31:47.
G2 are an extremely intelligent macro team and while DAMWON have been lights out in this department, I think G2 will do everything in their power to trade evenly across the map in these games. I’m a little shocked we’re getting plus money on the 12.5 tower over given how intelligent both of these teams are in this department.
MY POSITIONS LISTED HERE ARE WITHOUT FACTORING FUTURES POSITIONS (read intro). Many readers don’t have futures positions or have different ones than I do. These will be tracked on the spreadsheet still. If you have futures positions please consider the implications of them but I like to list the positions I’d have regardless of other action so you all know where I’d be at without other influences.
(I got these earlier this week but I’d still bet it at this current number)
Moneyline: DAMWON -222 (6.66 units)(Nitrogen)
Spread: DAMWON -1.5 maps @ -110 (2.2 units)(Nitrogen)
Spread: DAMWON -2.5 maps @ +269 (1 unit)(Nitrogen)
Time Total: Map 1 UNDER 33:00 @ -125 (1.25 units)(Nitrogen)
Time Total: Map 2 UNDER 33:00 @ -132 (1.32 units)(Nitrogen)
Time Total: Map 3 UNDER 33:00 @ -141 (1.41 units)(Nitrogen)
Prop: Map 1 DWG first tower @ -161 (1.61 units)(Nitrogen)
Prop: Map 2 DWG first tower @ -161 (1.61 units)(Nitrogen)
Prop: Map 3 DWG first tower @ -161 (1.61 units)(Nitrogen)
Prop: Map 1 total towers destroyed OVER 12.5 @ +111 (1 unit)(Nitrogen)
Prop: Map 2 total towers destroyed OVER 12.5 @ +116 (1 unit)(Nitrogen)
Prop: Map 3 total towers destroyed OVER 12.5 @ +116 (1 unit)(Nitrogen)
(all lines from Nitrogen unless noted otherwise)