Wednesday, August 26th Recap
T1 vs Afreeca (Net: -3.47 units)
Well that was an absolute stunner…
I give credit to Afreeca for bringing some of their best games this season and mixing up a few things in the draft to put their best players in a position to succeed. It would be malpractice to ignore how badly T1 beat themselves in game three after a MASSIVE draft advantage. Any time you can get a perfect spot for a Karthus or Evelynn jungle those champions show you just how powerful they can be. T1 set this up perfectly in the draft and Afreeca drafted as if they had no idea it was coming. I was honestly really disappointed we didn’t see bans on it in the second draft phase. Sure enough, Cuzz got Karthus and this series was looking like it was going to be a 2-1 victory for T1 before Cuzz took one of the most bizarre paths I’ve seen… I don’t know if he just thought he was going to be invaded or level one cheesed or if he wanted to level two gank top lane to help out against Kiin’s counterpick Kalista or what but he played this path so overly cautious that he got double scuttled by a Volibear… as Karthus…. that shouldn’t happen in any universe. From there, he died and there was a failed gank attempt and got himself behind.
T1 ruined an actual perfect spot for the Karthus jungle against four squishies… what a brutal time to do it too. Like I said, credit to Afreeca for taking advantage but it’s tough to give a lot of credit for that third game.
One other thing I want to mention because, quite frankly I’m tired of saying it today. This series had nothing to do with Faker. He’s not “done” or shouldn’t “hang em up.”
First of all, a lot of the people saying this clearly didn’t watch this series because I caught multiple people not realizing that Clozer even played the first game which just immediately deletes your opinion to me because you didn’t even watch the series or even both to watch a box score before running your mouth. I love discussing and disagreeing about the game but if you aren’t watching the games or doing the research don’t waste other people’s time or infect social media with your uninformed opinion.
Second, Clozer wasn’t anything special in this first game despite being jump started by an early assist and a bully tempo jungler in Olaf on his side. How this game ended up was more of a team issue than anything Clozer did wrong in particular but Faker came in the next game and turned in a solid performance.
This wasn’t a loss for T1 if Cuzz does anything remotely close to normal. Hell he could have did it wrong and still won that game but what he did was so unbelievably on the far margin of incorrect that it cost them the game almost singlehandedly. Maybe it was a coach I don’t know but someone has some explaining to do… T1 will enter the Regional Gauntlet and will have to beat at least one of these other top teams there to make it to worlds. As it stands right now, I figured they might be the odd man out of this top four even before this morning. This didn’t help. We’ll discuss that when we get there. For now we’ve got a grand finals to get to…
LPL Summer 2020
Playoffs – Grand Finals
TOP Esports -172 (-1.5 maps @ +133, -2.5 @ +392, +1.5 @ -417) vs
JD Gaming +134 (+1.5 maps @ -169, +2.5 @ -588, -1.5 @ +299, -2.5 @ +793)
Total Maps: 3.5 maps (over -357 / under +259), 4.5 maps (over +145 / under -189)
Kill Total: 26.5 (over -125 / under -104)
Kill Spread: -4.5 @ -119 / +4.5 @ -110
Team Kill Totals: 15.5 / 12.5
Time Total: 34:00 (over +131 / under -172)
There’s nothing quite like a good rematch….
Before we get too deep into things I just thought I’d mention that we’re lucky that, regardless of the result of this final, both of these teams will be representing the LPL as either the #1 or #2 seed at the World Championships this year.
The objective/economy model rates teams in a number of categories relative to league averages meaning that it’s a living and constantly changing piece of work. It factors in trending (short and medium term) and season long measures and determines a z-score for a team which in turn can be used to compare teams by observing their percentile in certain measures relative to the population. One of the cool things I can do with this is sort by opponent or time. I took the time to compare JDG’s full season sample against TOP’s relatively weaker second half. TOP’s second half, while significantly less dominant, still would have graded as the #8 team in the LPL. Below is the result of cutting TOP’s first half vs the league’s season long (left) and TOP’s second half vs the league’s season long (right)
Obviously there is a stark difference here. Now the question comes down to what do we attribute these results to besides the obvious (wins). Was TOP coasting in the second half after an eight win streak to open the season? Was it that their schedule became more difficult? Did they get figured out? Did the league just catch up to them? Were they concealing strategies? Trying out inferior strategies? Misguided? … I think you get it. There’s a lot of questions. The reason I bring this up is because a large part of how you handicap this series has to do with whether or not you think the TOP we’ve seen since mid-July is closer to the real thing or if they’re closer to their early season form. JDG have undoubtedly been the more consistent team this season and you could even make an argument that they have advantages in three or even four positions on the map on an individual basis.
TOP just got done completely dismanting Suning, although one of the games was fairly close. JDG dropped a game in their series to LGD but dominated in the others (ignore the box score for game four, they effectively won that game when LGD didn’t open strong enough). Both are coming in off of strong victories but that’s about all that we’ve seen from them since the end of the regular season. TOP completely destroyed JDG in their regular season meeting back in week two in under an hour but JDG won the Spring finals 3-2 after TOP took a 2-1 map lead.
So where do I stand here? I like TOP Esports to win this series for a few reasons.
First, TOP showed us in their last series that they can outplay a top/jungle duo that had been otherwise lethal this entire season in Bin and SofM, both of which you could make a compelling MVP argument for. 369 showed that he can execute counterpicks like Jax and Quinn at the highest level. They also just outplayed game two against an uptempo Ashe/Jayce/Olaf composition with a comp that probably should have struggled significantly more with it. It’s only one series as a sample but TOP looked more like their early season form than the lethargic, “scaling only” team that we saw during the second half.
Second, 369 has a strong track record on the strongest top lane champs, specifically the best counterpicks and showed that he can execute at a high level against one of, if not the best top/jungle duo in the LPL in their last series. Am I ruling out that Zoom could have picked up a few of these champions? No but for someone that relied heavily on Ornn, Volibear, and Wukong which made up 22 out of the 39 games played this season, I’d have my questions. Obviously Zoom is an incredible player but 369 looked in peak form in the last series and that’s terrifying for a team that also has Knight. Add to it the next point….
Third, TOP Esports will have side selection for this series because they are the higher seed. If they want to open with the 10.16 standard blue side to demand an answer to Caitlyn they could do that, or they could reserve red for a counterpick for 369. This is going to offer a ton of leverage to begin.
Fourth, they have the best player on the rift in Knight against arguably the weakest link on JDG. Yagao is obviously not a weak link by any means and during Spring finals his heroics playing into Knight’s counterpicks were a big part of why JDG was able to come back and win that series. I wouldn’t bet on history to repeat itself. You could make an argument for every other position for JDG but none of them besides support have the level of differential (“gap”) that this mid lane matchup does. Historically it’s the most important position on the map at the highest level and I tend to break ties in favor of the truly elite mid laners.
A few other interesting tidbits:
Loken doesn’t appear to play Jhin (looking at his public solo queue accounts and match history) and while a lot of people, myself included, are varying degrees of down on the champion compared to professional opinion, the fact that it’s not available could be a silent killer or helper for JDG. Maybe the fact that they aren’t tempted to take it could be a good thing but it could also be a point of draft leverage for TOP potentially in some scenarios to force him onto lower tier picks. There’s also the Loken “revenge” narrative against his former team although a season into it I’m not really sure that’s a thing.
Now, I like TOP Esports but this line is too rich. I was expecting a much closer number than this and it’s growing further apart which is actually tempting me to take some JDG but I’m going to be taking a different angle on this series and sticking with alternate markets.
Underdog Win: 29.84
“G” Projected Total: 26.73 kills
In 37 games this season, TOP’s combined total fell on or between 24 through 28 on 13 occasions. Matches went on or OVER 27 in 21 matches and 26 or under in the other 16.
In 39 games this season, JDG’s combined total fell on or between 24 through 28 on just six occasions. Matches went on or OVER 27 in 21 matches and UNDER in 18.
The LPL playoffs have averaged 28 kills per game but that number is slightly boosted by the clown fiesta of a series LGD and Suning played in the third place match which went well over in all three games. The Spring finals (Spring playoffs averaged 25 kills per game) had kill totals of 16, 20, 17, 23, and 26. I think this number by the book makes a lot of sense but I actually like a play on the under quite a bit. Not only are we getting -104 on it but I think we’ll see a much cleaner series from these two even though neither is particularly opposed to a brawl.
TOP game times: 32.03 / 32.67 / 33.87 (average / in wins / in losses)
JDG game times: 31.67 / 32.58 / 29.51 (average / in wins / in losses)
Projected Time (avg of avg game times): 31.85 minutes
Odds Weighted: 31.95 minutes
First Blood: TOP 48.65% / JDG 45.95%
First Tower: TOP 54.05% / JDG 43.24%
First Dragon: TOP 56.76% / JDG 59.46%
First Herald: TOP 59.46% / JDG 40.54%
TOP place a very high priority on the rift herald. JDG do not. This market is split -116s. Take TOP on first herald for the first three maps. JDG place a high priority on the dragon but TOP have actually been one of the stronger dragon teams in the LPL as well. Still, I like buying into these teams’ identities especially at plus money.
If you can get TOP at anything -150 or better I like them but at -172 I’m passing on the moneyline despite thinking they’ll win this series.
Kill Total: Map 1 UNDER 26.5 @ -104 (2.08 units)
Kill Total: Map 2 UNDER 26.5 @ +101 (2 units)
Kill Total: Map 3 UNDER 26.5 @ +106 (2 units)
Prop: Map 1 JDG first dragon @ +105 (1 unit)
Prop: Map 2 JDG first dragon @ +107 (1 unit)
Prop: Map 3 JDG first dragon @ +105 (1 unit)
Prop: Map 1 TOP first herald @ -116 (1.16 units)
Prop: Map 2 TOP first herald @ -116 (1.16 units)
Prop: Map 3 TOP first herald @ -116 (1.16 units)