Thursday, February 4th Recap

 

Afreeca Freecs vs Hanwha Life Esports (Net: 0 units)

Some great things from both squads in this one. There were more or less three clinical wins in this series and Hanwha just happened to have two of them on the day. Ultimately this was Chovy difference. Fly put up a decent fight but Chovy is simply too good and that was the main factor in this series.

Morgan got the start for Hanwha over DuDu this time around and had a solid series dealing with the always challenging Kiin.

KT Rolster vs Fredit Brion (Net: -2.18 units)

Man oh man… KT lost a 47 minute game one with Seraphine, the most broken champion in the game, and ocean soul. I’m fairly certain my beer league team could win that game against a professional squad in that circumstance. Absolutely brutal beat. KT clinically stomped game two. In game three they tempted fate and didn’t ban the Seraphine and were hard punished for it.

I’m going to touch on it at the end of this but we haven’t had anything as busted as Seraphine in awhile and I think she’s going to be an upset machine over the next few weeks, especially once Patch 11.3 hits. Some teams are going to play chicken or get cute thinking they can work around it but she’s more or less going to be a “fade the team going against Seraphine” blindly over the next couple of weeks.

Invictus vs OMG (Net: +0.1 units)

Not a whole lot to say here. Invictus stomped this series. It was interesting seeing TheShy play a great weakside Gragas but this was against OMG so.

FunPlus vs LNG  (Net: +2.0 units)

The first game in this series was a MASSIVE draft difference in favor of FPX. Second game was close through the first 20 minutes before FPX completely took over. Crisp had one hell of a day today and that’s something we haven’t seen for awhile. As if this team needed more things going for them. FPX look like a potential league winner and my model currently has them more or less tied with TOP atop (lol) the table.

LNG playe Ale in game one but unfortunately the flexibility of FPX’s solo lanes quickly made this a nightmare with Nuguri taking the Gangplank into Ornn and essentially free farming. Hard for Ornn to do much in a game like this. M1kuya had a few nice counterpunches on the opposite side of the map in a game that looked like it was going to snowball through FPX’s bottom lane. He really is a great Gnar player and there’s a painfully obvious difference between the good and bad ones on that champion.

LNG were just outclassed here. They’re still a good team but it’s looking like an uphill battle against the truly great teams in the LPL.

 

LPL Net Total: +2.1 units

LCK Net Total: -2.18  units

I kind of mentioned it in the KT/Brion recap but Seraphine is going to be a menace on the next patch. I almost never “auto-fade” anything, specifically busted champions but we haven’t had anything this broken in awhile. It’s just too easy to play out, too easy to enable, too easy to execute, and way WAY too powerful. Seraphine does low end carry damage but also a full low end carry’s damage worth of healing at the same time. It’s frequent to see stat lines like 10,000 damage done to champions AND 10,000 healing done. She’s simple and abuses the overpowered support items better than just about anyone. I’ll be going against any team that tries to play around her. We’ll probably lose a few of them but over the next couple of weeks I’m betting you’ll be profitable just auto-fading the teams that dare to leave her up.

Daily Net Total: -0.08 units

 


LOL Pro League (China)

Week 5 – Day 5

 

I typically start to transition to a more data driven approach after a few weeks of data starts to shape for each of these teams. I can then compare that to what my eyes are telling me in film review and start to use it as a tool. Moving forward you’ll see a lot more data creeping into these breakdowns.

 

LGD Gaming +128 (+1.5 maps @ -250, -1.5 @ +339)

vs

TT Gaming -167 (-1.5 maps @ +188, +1.5 @ -500)

 

Total Maps Played: 2.5 (over -103 / under -123)

Kill Total: 25.5 (over -108 / under -122)

Kill Spread: +4.5 @ -120 / -4.5 @ -109

Team Kill Totals: 11.5 / 13.5

Time Total: 33:00 (over +104  / under -135)

Starting Lineups:

(Individual player model positional ranking in paranthesis, “living” number)

LGD – Cult (18), Flora (21), Uniboy (15), Kramer (19), Chance (3) (AVG Rating: -0.312)

TT – Chelizi (8), Xiaopeng (19), Twila (19), SamD (10), Teeen (10)  (AVG Rating: -0.1563)

 

TT have won back-to-back series now while LGD continue to struggle and throw darts as they figure out what they’ve got in a number of players on their roster.

TT were a team I had some optimism for going into the season mostly because I was excited about the young core they had but their suspect decision making forced TT to bring back Twila to be a veteran voice to help with that. They’ve pieced together two in a row here but this is by no means a good team.

That said, LGD are an absolute dumpster fire at the moment and other than their opening series haven’t really shown me anything at all to be optimistic about. LGD might be the worst team in the league although my model thinks that is definitively Rogue Warriors at the moment. With LGD you can at least see some upside with the bottom lane slowly figuring things out and Uniboy perhaps creating some opportunities.

This is a fair price. I make this number just about the same at -175 / +134. Given the fact that this is two very poor teams I’m just going to stay away from a side in this one. Gun to my head TT win this 2-1.

Other Markets:

 

 

Kill Total Model Projections:

Odds-Weighted: 23.86

Time-Implied: 24.498

Underdog Win: 24.347

“Gelati” Total Projection: 24.17 kills

Time Total Projection:

Combined AVG Game Time: 30.651 minutes

Volatility Rating: 0.20958 (this is on high end, these teams are variant)

Odds-Weighted: 33.29 minutes

There are two things that happen when “bad” teams play each other; complete loosey-goosey clown fiestas or incredibly slow and boring games where neither wants to screw up. With how these two teams tend to operate that latter definitely seems the most likely. The model likes the under here a lot as well as alternate unders. We’re going to do a spectrum-style kill total under play here to create a better “synthetic” line. The idea is to blend the original line with higher risk numbers to create a better overall number. In this case we’re not exactly getting crazy odds and actually our biggest edge compared to the number is to pay up for the under 26.5 (18.5% vs 14.09%).

I’d lean toward the over 33:00 at plus money but given the volatility rating for these two teams in terms of time total I’ll pass in that market.

 

My Picks:

 

Kill Total (alt): Map 1 UNDER 26.5 @ -128 (1.28 units)

Kill Total (alt): Map 2 UNDER 26.5 @ -130 (1.3 units)

Kill Total (alt): Map 3 UNDER 25.5 @ -123 (1.23 units)

 

 


 

EDward Gaming -222 (-1.5 maps @ +144, +1.5 @ -714)

vs

Suning Gaming +171 (+1.5 maps @ -185, -1.5 @ +437)

 

Total Maps Played: 2.5 (over +105 / under -133)

Kill Total: 25.5 (over -116 / under -112)

Kill Spread: -5.5 @ -112 / +5.5 @ -116

Team Kill Totals: 14.5 / 10.5

Time Total: 32:00 (over -125 / under -104)

Starting Lineups:

(Individual player model positional ranking in paranthesis, “living” number)

EDG – Flandre (13), Jiejie (10), Scout (1), Viper (3), Meiko (18) (AVG Rating: +0.172)

SN – Bin (9), SofM (4), Angel (4), Huanfeng (2), ON (15) (AVG Rating: +0.3183)

EDG are my kind of team playing in a league that traditionally doesn’t give a damn about how I like the game to be played. I’ll admit that I’m a tad biased in favor of them but I recognize that and I’m going to check that at the door. EDG leverage their years of experience, great individual player talent, and intelligent, disciplined approach to the game to take advantage of a league full of teams that beat themselves very often. They remind me A LOT of Summer 2019 BiliBili Gaming. As a matter of fact, there are a few teams in the LPL playing that way right now including Team WE and even FunPlus Phoenix (albeit in a little unorthodox way). It’s a sight to see and it’s going to elevate this league overall.

Anyway I digress…

Suning appear to have “gotten right” after whooping on LGD and OMG, a few of the bottom-dwelling teams in the LPL in their past two matches after a relatively underwhelming start to the season. This team still has a lot of flaws, specifically in regards to how they’re playing more than their actual play itself. Suning have never been a team that plays through mid-jungle synergy and if you can attack that they can be badly exploited but if you play their game they can beat anyone as we saw at the World Championships this year.

EDG are an intelligent team and I’d like to think that their coaching staff can identify this Suning weakness and exploit it but identifying it and actually attacking it are often two different things. Suning had a rough start and unrealistically high expectations from a lot of people this season which has the majority of people down on this team at the moment but they still have an impressive collection of players and a bizarre style that can sometimes throw teams off. They beat TOP Esports 2-0, albeit on opening day, and their only losses are a 1-2 to RNG, which doesn’t look so bad now, an 0-2 to RareAtom who I think are underrated, and an 0-2 vs FPX which I think we can forgive anybody for at this point. Suning have already played the top three teams in the LPL (in my opinion).

At first glance this line looked pretty fairly priced, upon further examination and a crunching of the numbers I made this line -191 / +148 which gives us a small edge even considering vig. I’ll take a position on Suning here.

Other Markets:

 

Kill Total Model Projections:

Odds-Weighted: 26.617

Time-Implied: 26.532

Underdog Win: 26.705

“Gelati” Total Projection: 26.017 kills

Time Total Projection:

Combined AVG Game Time: 33.625 minutes

Volatility Rating: 0.21266 (this is on high end, these teams are high variance for time totals)

The over kill totals are appropriately juiced until that numbers that matter. Suning tend to play these weird, sloppy games or very spread out games. EDG tend to keep things on the slower end preferring to teamfight on item spikes like any good disciplined team would want to do. I don’t really see an edge on the kill totals given the volatility present here.

The model flagged the time total over, dragons over 4.5, Suning team total over, and under 12.5 towers. Three of those make sense to me (SN team total over, the time total over and dragons over 4.5) both of which show very large edges on the book price. Given that I’m backing Suning already I’ll be sticking to a half stake on the team totals but playing full on the others. The dragons over is still more than good even at the increased price on maps 2 and 3.

 

My Picks:

 

Map Spread: Suning +1.5 maps @ -185 (1.85 units)

Moneyline: Suning +171 (0.5 units)

Map Spread: Suning -1.5 maps @ +437 (0.25 units)

Time Total: Map 1 OVER 32:00 @ -133 (1.33 units)

Time Total: Map 2 OVER 32:00 @ -125 (1.25 units)

Time Total: Map 3 OVER 32:00 @ -125 (1.25 units)

Kill Total (team): Map 1 Suning OVER 10.5 kills @ -116 (0.29 units)

Kill Total (team): Map 2 Suning OVER 10.5 kills @ -125 (0.3125 units)

Kill Total (team): Map 3 Suning OVER 10.5 kills @ -127 (0.3175 units)

Prop: Map 1 OVER 4.5 dragons slain @ -137 (1.37 units)

Prop Map 2 OVER 4.5 dragons slain @ -152 (1.52 units)

Prop: Map 3 OVER 4.5 dragons slain @ -156 (1.56 units)

 

This is a lot of positions on this series but the edges on the time total and dragons were substantial enough for full positions. If you prefer, split your staking into thirds for the props.

 


LOL Champions Korea

Week 4 – Day 3

 

The LCK will also start transitioning to more data in the next week or so but as it stands right now I’m still mostly weighting my film review over everything else so these will be slightly less detailed but not for much longer as I’m starting to build a firm profile for each of these teams and it will calcify as the weeks go on.

 

Liiv Sandbox +743 (+1.5 maps @ +209, -1.5 @ +1700)

vs

DAMWON Kia Gaming -1250 (-1.5 maps @ -278)

 

Total Maps Played: 2.5 (over +227  / under -323)

Kill Total: 22.5 (over -118 / under -112)

Kill Spread: +9.5 @ -125 / -9.5 @ -106

Team Kill Totals: 6.5 / 15.5

Time Total: 31:00 (over -133 / under +100)

Starting Lineups:

(Individual player model positional ranking in paranthesis, living number)

LSB – Summit (5), Croco (6), Fate (5), Route (10), Leo (11), Effort (3) (AVG Rating: with Route +0.0542 )

DWG – Khan (2), Canyon (3), ShowMaker (2), Ghost (8), BeryL (6) (AVG Rating: +0.311)

Despite the early season hiccups I still think DAMWON are the best team in Korea and maybe the world. Their underlying metrics are still absolutely absurd. Sandbox have struggled and appear visibly frustrated at their recent results, and with good reason. That said, this team is still filled to the brim with talented players.

This handicap is simple; this number is just too big.

I think Sandbox aren’t as bad as their record and they’re being priced as the worst team in the league here. I like them a lot more than Fredit Brion and while I do think that was an outlier performance we’ve seen that for as dominant as DAMWON can be, they’re beatable. You’ll get yourself in trouble just throwing every single dart against DAMWON but I do think this is a pretty good one to throw given the individual talent on this team. I like Sandbox to take a game. There’s also a chance we see DAMWON try some of their academy team, something we haven’t seen them do but similar to Gen.G, these teams now have “free” access to this and both are teams full of veterans that have played many extended seasons in a row. Rest could happen which gives the dogs upside.

 

Other Markets:

 

 

I’d lean to the over here, I could see this being chippy but that’s purely a “gut” thought. I won’t be taking any prop positions here.

 

My Picks:

 

Map Spread: Sandbox +1.5 maps @ +209 (1 unit)

Moneyline: Sandbox +743 (0.25 units)

Map Spread: Sandbox -1.5 maps @ +1700 (0.1 units)

 


 

Gen.G -400 (-1.5 maps @ -125, +1.5 @ -2000)

vs

Nongshim RedForce +306 (+1.5 maps @ -102, -1.5 @ +793)

 

Total Maps Played: 2.5 (over +145 / under -185)

Kill Total: 22.5 (over -116 / under -112)

Kill Spread: -6.5 @ -114 / +6.5 @ -114

Team Kill Totals: 13.5 / 7.5

Time Total: 32:00 (over -130  / under +100)

Rosters:

(Individual player model positional ranking in paranthesis, living number)

GenG – Rascal (7), Clid (4), Flawless (14), Bdd (9), Ruler (2), Life (7)  (AVG Rating: with Clid +0.1199)

NS – Rich (8), Peanut (5), Bay (11), Deokdam (5), Kellin (2) (AVG Rating: -0.0789)

Unfortunately the position I had on Gen.G got caught off guard by the Karis start and I had to hedge out. I still thought Gen.G should have been able to handle that match but DRX apparently have a rabbit’s foot in every pocket. I digress…

Nongshim continue to improve after a bit of a rocky start but I can’t help but think we get a  double dose of “snap back to reality” here. I’m still not fully buying this Nongshim team and Gen.G are coming off of an embarrassing loss where the sub didn’t look very good and lost three of their last four matches, something that they didn’t do the entirety of 2020. They’re going to want to get right here and I fully expect them to. It’s a bit of a “gut” handicap but Gen.G get right and smash here.

 

Other Markets:

 

 

I like Gen.G team totals over here as well but given my position I’ll be taking small stakes there. The position I like most in the derivatives is the time total under at +100. Gen.G. Nongshim have shown a tendency to get run over as underdogs and Gen.G are more than equipped to do just that.

 

My Picks:

 

Moneyline: Gen.G -400 (4 units)

Map Spread: Gen.G -1.5 maps @ -125 (0.625 units)

Time Total: Map 1 UNDER 32:00 @ +100 (1 unit)

Time Total: Map 2 UNDER 32:00 @ -105 (1.05 units)

Time Total: Map 3 UNDER 32:00 @ -105 (1.05 units)

Kill Total (team): Map 1 Gen.G OVER 13.5 @ -119 (0.2975 units)

Kill Total (team): Map 2 Gen.G OVER 14.5 @ -104 (0.26 units)

Kill Total (team): Map 3 Gen.G OVER 13.5 @ -111 (0.2775 units)

 


LOL European Championship (LEC)

Week 3 – Day 1

LEC Overall Trends through two weeks:

  • Favorites are 16-9 straight up but just 11-14 against the kill spread.
  • Kill Totals have gone UNDER in 15 out of 25 (60%) of all contests (average: 25.06 kills)
  • Time Totals have gone OVER in 13 out of 25 contests (average: 32.28 minutes)
  • Favorites have covered their team total in just 10 out of 25 contests (average: 14.82 kills)
  • Underdogs have covered their team total in 12 out of 25 contests (average: 9.78 kills)
  • There have been over 4.5 dragons slain in 17 out of 25 contests and over 11.5 towers in 15 out of 25.

 

Spring in Europe appears to be fairly chalky again which makes some sense given the number of rosters that are re-tooling. Even if we’re optimistic about some of these rosters it’s no surprise to see the “old guard” still rolling.

 

I’ll also be introducing the player model to the LEC. Obviously this is an extremely small sample size to choose from so there’s going to be some weird looking stuff. I’m not putting a ton of weight on the player ratings right now although there are probably a few surprises that warrant exploration and a few that are more accurate than I think people may realize. Again, this is a statistical model. It’s not taking into account all of the things all of these players contribute to their teams. There are clear players, like Hylissang for example, that are never going to have a great looking metric sheet but contribute in different ways. It’s just another way to compare and contrast. More data will make it more meaningful as we go.

Rogue -208 vs FC Schalke 04 +162

 

Kill Total: 22.5 (over -105 / under -123)

Kill Spread: -5.5 @ -111 / +5.5 @ -118

Team Kill Totals: 12.5 / 8.5

Time Total: 32:00 (over -119  / under -110)

Rosters:

(Individual player model positional ranking in paranthesis, living number. Avg rating is avg of each players ratings compared to league average of 0)

Rogue – Odoamne (3), Inspired (5), Larssen (2), Hans sama (1), Trymbi (5) (AVG Rating: +0.358)

Schalke – BrokenBlade (5), Gilius (7), Abbedagge (1), Neon (4), Limit (6) (AVG Rating: +0.0576)

I still think Schalke are going to end up being pretty good but Rogue are just way too fundamentally sound and look like they’re in mid-season form at the moment, something I can’t say the same about Schalke. Gilius is a bit of a variance machine sometimes and I could see him and Abbedagge maybe coming up with something wild to flip this match on it’s head but again, Rogue are just so damn consistent in everything they do. Rogue are legit and I’m going to be on them here.

I could maybe see the over being a decent play as well depending on how weird you think Schalke is going to be but the vast majority of situations are going to have Rogue somewhere near this total.

The under has hit in all four matches where Rogue were favorites with an average book total of 23.0. I do think that’s the play here.

 

My Picks:

Moneyline: Rogue -208 (2.08 units)

Kill Total: UNDER 22.5 @ -123 (0.615 units)

 


Misfits -172 vs Excel Esports +137

 

Kill Total: 24.5 (over -106 / under -122)

Kill Spread: -3.5 @ -114 / +3.5 @ -115

Team Kill Totals: 13.5 / 10.5

Time Total: 34:00 (over -110  / under -119)

Rosters:

(Individual player model positional ranking in paranthesis, living number. Avg rating is avg of each players ratings compared to league average of 0)

Misfits – Hirit (9), Razork (1), Vetheo (9), Kobbe (9), Vander (8) (AVG Rating: -0.257)

Excel – Kryze (10), Dan (9), Czekolad (7), Patrik (5), Tore (4) (AVG Rating: -0.32145)

Misfits have been a viewers delight so far with a lot of fun, highlight reel plays but they haven’t exactly blown the doors down as a League of Legends team. In many ways Excel have been the opposite. They opened the year with a focus on double enchanter compositions featuring Ivern top. This strategy is potent and they had some pretty good showings despite the bizarre game states they’ve ended up in.

What’s interesting about Excel is that they were sort of ahead of the curve. On Patch 11.3 that strategy is going to be extremely potent but the LEC is going to be on 11.2 for this week.

As bad as Excel have looked I really just don’t think Misfits deserve to be laying money to anyone. They’ve had a few memorable moments that I think are clouding the judgement of a lot of people and Excel of had the opposite, a few bad looks that people are putting too much weight on. In other words, I think we’ve seen extremes for both of these teams but I see them both finishing as similar quality teams at the end of the day. That might be now or it might be later.

I’ll be light on the side here but I do like the under 24.5. Misfits have been very scrappy but Excel have not. There’s a chance Excel throw the playbook out this week and play a more traditional look but given the players on this team and what they’ve showed so far I don’t necessarily think they’ll want to scrap with Misfits and Misfits aren’t such an overwhelming “goad you into the bar fight” type team you can just roll over them. 24.5 is a pretty high total for non-G2 teams.

My Picks:

Kill Total: UNDER 23.5 @ -114 (1.14 units) (this moved while typing this, still like the under 23.5)

Moneyline: Excel +137 (0.5 units)

 


G2 Esports -556 vs Team Vitality +370

 

Kill Total: 27.5 (over -118 / under -111)

Kill Spread: -9.5 @ -109 / +9.5 @ -120

Team Kill Totals: 18.5 / 8.5

Time Total: 31:00 (over -111  / under -118)

Rosters:

(Individual player model positional ranking in paranthesis, living number. Avg rating is avg of each players ratings compared to league average of 0)

G2 – Wunder (4), Jankos (2), Caps (6), Rekkles (2), Mikyx (1) (AVG Rating: +0.5569)

Vitality – Szygenda (2), Skeanz (4), Milica (5), Comp (6), Labrov (3) (AVG Rating: +0.2365)

G2 look as promised. It doesnt’ even look like we’re going to have that weird “getting to know you” phase either. They’re in mid-season form just like Rogue are and that’s absolutely terrifying for the LEC as that was one of the only “outs” for G2 to not be your title favorites. They haven’t been flawless but they look damn good.

Vitality have looked really good to me even in their losses. They’ve been able to jump out to leads and individually have been great but they’re just sloppy in the mid and late game right now and that has cost them a few games already. Vitality are better than their record for sure but G2 aren’t exactly the type of team you want to see when late game woes are what you’ve been struggling with.

I do think Vitality have shown me enough of potential to make this worth a play. I could see G2 trying something weird or Vitality just jumping out to a lead on them and not screwing it up this time. I don’t fire on all big underdogs but I do think Vitality are worth a look at this price. I like the under kill totals as well. I know G2 are bloody but the current state of the game isn’t exactly a kill bonanza and I think more games will end up that way than not particularly if it’s one sided in either direction.

Vitality’s team total over isn’t a bad thought here either but I’m taking the kill spread/moneyline split.

My Picks:

Kill Spread: Vitality +9.5 kills @ -120 (1.2 units)

Moneyline: Vitality +370 (0.5 units)

Kill Total: UNDER 27.5 @ -111 (1.11 units)

 


MAD Lions -213 vs SK Gaming +165

 

Kill Total: 23.5 (over -105 / under -123)

Kill Spread: -5.5 @ -111 / +5.5 @ -118

Team Kill Totals: 13.5 / 8.5

Time Total: 33:00 (over -108  / under -122)

Rosters:

(Individual player model positional ranking in paranthesis, living number. Avg rating is avg of each players ratings compared to league average of 0)

MAD – Armut (1), Elyoya (3), Humanoid (3), Carzzy (7), Kaiser (2) (AVG Rating: +0.3948)

SK – Jenax (8), TynX (8), Blue (10), Jezu (10), Treatz (7) (AVG Rating: -0.4774)

MAD look really really good and the two new guys have been the standouts to me. Armut has been excellent in his debut in a new league. SK Gaming I actually think are the opposite of Vitality. I don’t think they’re entirely fraudulent but just looking at their economy metrics and overall player talent I’m not seeing this team being that much better than what we’ve seen so far while MAD have plenty of upside.

This is a bit of a sucker bet potentially but I like MAD a lot here.

My Picks:

Moneyline: MAD -213 (2.13 units)

 


Astralis +334 vs Fnatic -476

 

Kill Total: 24.5 (over -116 / under -112)

Kill Spread: +8.5 @ -118 / -8.5 @ -111

Team Kill Totals: 7.5 / 16.5

Time Total: 32:00 (over -114  / under -114)

Rosters:

(Individual player model positional ranking in paranthesis, living number. Avg rating is avg of each players ratings compared to league average of 0)

Astralis – WhiteKnight (7), Zanzarah (10), Nukeduck (4), Jeskla (8), Promisq (9) (AVG Rating: -0.302)

Fnatic – Bwipo (6), Selfmade (6), Nisqy (8), Upset (3), Hylissang (10) (AVG Rating: -0.2414)

Astralis just look out of sorts which is honestly not that surprising given the number of new faces. Zanzarah has been the standout to me despite rating last amongst junglers in my individual player model. He’s been able to make some plays and get things going for Astralis but the game gets to a certain point and they just look completely lost. I’d assume they’ll get better eventually but things don’t look great right now.

Fnatic have been all over the place but I do think they’re starting to round into form. I’d expect them to smash but given how variant they’ve been I’m skeptical to lay this kind of chalk. They’ve also been willing to skirmish more than they probably have to in a lot of situations. I’d lean to the under but I’m passing this match altogether. If I absolutely had to take a pick it’d be Astralis +8.5 kills.

My Picks:

No wagers

 


LOL Championship Series (LCS)

Week 1 – Day 1

Opening Day

 

I’ll be relatively light on the LCS except for spots that I think are fairly obvious or egregiously priced. A lot of these teams will now have had some time with their full lineups to practice, others are still awaiting imports dealing with visa issues, and still others are likely to be slow growers.

In previous years I’ve had a lot of success sticking aggressively to my pre-season evaluation and firing very aggressively into the markets early but over the years I’ve learned that it’s better to take a wait and see approach in MOST situations (not all). It’s a quick way to run your bankroll down and I’d rather deal with what I know and be a bit more selective, especially in volatile best-of-one leagues.

Favorites went 51-39 in Spring 2020 in the LCS but with the new format, a lot of turnover, and the full season format change which makes Spring matter again, I’d expect to see that number tick up a bit. Still, early season is very volatile. Be selective.

Don’t put too much stock into what you saw at the Lock-In Tournament. Essentially nothing was on the line and a lot of teams are fielding new players that are just getting their feet wet either in a new region or that are new to the professional scene altogether. A player like Fudge or Lost isn’t someone that I’m going to instantly banish to the dumpster off of one poor tournament performance. This was an excellent way for these new players to get their feet wet and not have to deal with the pressure of panicky management yanking them out the second things go south because of a short regular season format. With the longer, full season format now as well as that pre-season tournament I think teams will be more patient and we should be as well.

 

Team Solo Mid -196 vs FlyQuest +151

 

Kill Total: 23.5 (over -118 / under -111)

Kill Spread: -5.5 @ -115 / +5.5 @ -114

Team Kill Totals: 13.5 / 9.5

Time Total: OTB

We talked a lot about this one on the podcast mostly regarding the dogs. FlyQuest looked immediately better with Josedeodo in the lineup even without much practice time but Palafox was a bit underwhelming to me. It’s his first few weeks on stage, I’m sure that this Lock-In tournament was GREAT for younger prospects that were able to get their feet wet without a lot of consequences (we’ll talk about Fudge later).

TSM looked hot and cold during the Lock-In tournament. Going into the season I had pinned TSM as a team that would be a “slow grower” and one that might have a bit of a rough start.

TSM deserve to be favorites here just on talent alone but I think this line is a bit heavy handed for this early in the season. I don’t think TSM are as bad as they looked at the Lock-In but I think the same about FlyQuest so we’ll see. I’m staying away from this one. Gun to my head FlyQuest moneyline but I’ll pass.

My Picks:

no wagers


Team Liquid -833 vs Immortals +512

 

Kill Total: 22.5 (over -122 / under -108)

Kill Spread: -9.5 @ -109 / +9.5 @ -119

Team Kill Totals: 15.5 / 6.5

Time Total: OTB

I’m gonna keep this one short and sweet. This number is too big. Take a shot on Immortals.

Unlike a lot of teams, Immortals mostly didn’t play their LCS roster at the Lock-In partially due to visa/travel delaying things and partially because they wanted their academy team to get a shot. This is sort of a double swing advantage. Nobody has film on Immortals besides scrims and they’ve had a few weeks practicing behind the scenes in preparation for this match. Even if that wasn’t the case I’d probably take a stake in Immortals because +512 in a best-of-one is often a “must bet” unless you have good reason not to. Add in the fact that it’s still February and the above mentioned Immortals angle and I think this actually qualifies for a full position rather than a quarter stake.

I’ll split this between the kill spread and moneyline. 9.5 is a massive number to cover when the total is 22.5. Could it happen? Absolutely but it doesn’t take a lot going wrong for Liquid for Immortals to cover.

My Picks:

Kill Spread: Immortals +9.5 @ -119 (1.19 units)

Moneyline: Immortals +512 (0.5 units)

 


100 Thieves -154 vs Evil Geniuses +120

 

Kill Total: 23.5 (over -120 / under -109)

Kill Spread: -3.5 @ -122 / +3.5 @ -106

Team Kill Totals: 13.5 / 10.5

Time Total: OTB

Both of these teams looked very VERY good at the Lock-In tournament. 100 Thieves were unsurprisingly competitive and mid-season form which made sense due to continuity. Evil Geniuses I was a bit more surprised about but I absolutely love that this team has embraced a philosophy and it’s working out great for them so far.

I like 100 Thieves a bit more here but this line is way too rich. This is Evil Geniuses or nothing but I’ll pass.

My Picks:

no wagers


Counter Logic Gaming -127 vs Dignitas -101

 

Kill Total: 23.5 (over -111 / under -118)

Kill Spread: -1.5 @ -118 / +1.5 @ -111

Team Kill Totals: 11.5 / 10.5

Time Total: OTB

CLG will still be without Broxah who is still struggling with visa/travel issues. RJS will also be starting in the mid lane over Pobelter. There has been a lot of speculation as to why. This isn’t really the place for that I’ll let the teams announced things in an official capacity. For us it’s a matter of how this affects things on the rift. Pobelter is criminally underrated as a player. Good teams, bad teams, new teams, teams with no identity, it doesn’t seem to matter, he finds ways to perform well. This is a big BIG loss and while RJS and Wiggily (Griffin) are more than capable of filling in, it’s a definite downgrade.

Dignitas had a few good games but looked more than a little out of sorts during the Lock-In however I do think the fact that they have roster continuity to their advantage here makes them worth a position against an off-balance CLG. Dignitas might well be the worst team in the league but this is about as good a spot as they’re going to get this season.

My Picks:

Moneyline: Dignitas -101 (0.505 units)

Kill Spread (alt): Dignitas -2.5 @ +125 (0.5 units)

 


Cloud 9 -568 vs Golden Guardians +414

 

Kill Total: 22.5 (over -122 / under -108)

Kill Spread: -9.5 @ -103 / +9.5 @ -129

Team Kill Totals: 15.5 / 6.5

Time Total: OTB

I mentioned earlier in the Immortals/Liquid series that it’s tough to not take +400 sized favorites in a best-of-one format but I do think you need to pick your spots with them. If you just end up firing on all these underdogs and you only connect on 10% of them you’re still down money.

Golden Guardians have a lot to work on but the one thing that was an issue for them (and a strength coincidentally) was Niles. Niles vs Fudge, two guys with a ton of upside that had rocky introductions. That’s a lane the C9 might not have a clear advantage in and that’s more than enough for me to be interested in GGS as a dog here. Add in the fact that Iconic has looked tremendous so far, even in losses, and that Cloud 9 have had a few “weird” games and I’d anticipate more of those to come. Golden Guardians are worth a shot here.

 

My Picks:

Kill Spread: Golden Guardians +9.5 kills @ -129 (1.29 units)

Moneyline: Golden Guardians +414 (0.5 units)

 


I believe in accountability. For years I’ve tracked all of my picks publicly. 2021’s selections will be via this spreadsheet but it isn’t updated until AFTER the games have started. The Esports Department subscribers get the first look.

Check out The Gold Card Podcast and can find me on Twitter @GelatiLOL

(all lines from Nitrogen unless noted otherwise)

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