Thursday, June 10th Recap
ThunderTalk vs JD Gaming (Net: -2.75 units)
The first game was a completely blowout by JDG. The second was much more interesting and I’d argue probably should have been a win for TT but as is customary with this team they looked a little lost in translation with the early lead they jumped out to and faltered in a setup for JDG to catch a pick and blow this one open. Logic was sound but TT outclassed is no surprise.
LGD Gaming vs RareAtom (Net: +0.44 units)
RareAtom played very poorly in this series. They had times where they had leads and were just incredibly sloppy with their vision setup particularly in the first game. The second game was an absolute circus of throws back and forth with LGD making the fatal blunder to end it and then RareAtom decisively took care of game three. This should have been a 2-0 for LGD and it wasn’t a good look for RA but they still picked up the win.
LGD looked much improved from the Spring version. Shad0w had a nice debut performance but many of LGD’s 2020 problems are beginning to rear their ugly head again. Inability to take advantage of leads efficiently, sloppy closing… I’ve got real issues with this coaching staff and have for a long time now. The roster looks ok, I just don’t trust the staff. Hell even Garvey had a decent outing against Cube and they still couldn’t get this one done. LGD will probably pull some upsets at some point but I could see them losing to themselves too.
KT Rolster vs Nongshim RedForce (Net: +0.5 units)
Real back and forth series. Nongshim still a little bit clunky looking with how they navigate the game as a team. Transitions are challenging for them but once they are together and fighting they’re surprisingly formidable. I think this could work out long term but it’s a little rough so far. Decent debut for Gori.
KT Rolster looked way WAY better. My biggest concern with this team was that they would try play their scaling game again and they showed that they’re willing to put that aside and play the metagame which was a sight for sore eyes. KT might end up near the bottom of the table but if the entire league in the LCK can improve overall it’ll level everyone up so you love to see it.
DRX vs Gen.G (Net: -1.18 units)
DRX did the classic DRX thing. They had a great scaling draft in game one that abused Xin Zhao and Lulu to hard punish the Nocturne pick and it worked despite a beautiful opening ten from Rascal and Clid. The next two games weren’t particularly close even after all the technical pauses.
I’m just not seeing it with DRX but I suppose time will tell. They’re still not doing a lot of proactive things and rely way WAY too much on their opponents mistakes to win games and I think the further we get into the year the less you can rely on that to win.
Daily Net Total: -2.99 units
LPL Summer 2021
Week One – Day Five
I’ll be getting back into the more detailed data driven posts over the course of the next week once I get a feel for how much of it is going to apply in cases with a lot of roster changes which includes this one.
I’m also steering clear of totals and props because I want to see how the new patch and metagame develop a bit as well as which roster changes are positive and negative.
LNG Esports +127 (+1.5 maps @ -294, -1.5 @ +402)
BiliBili Gaming -164 (-1.5 maps @ +217, +1.5 @ -625)
Map Moneyline: LNG +119 / BLG -152
Kill Total: 24.5 (over -114 / under -114)
Kill Spread: +3.5 @ -114 / -3.5 @ -114
Team Kill Totals: 11.5 / 13.5
Time Total: 32:00 (over +100 / under -130)
Eco/Obj Model Projected Line: +176 / -230 (map), +246 / -340 (series), -141 / +110 (+1.5 / -1.5 maps)
Suggested Play: LNG series moneyline
BLG- BiuBiu, Weiwei, Zeka, Aiming, ppgod
LNG – Ale, Tarzan, Icon, Light, Iwandy
BiliBili looked decent against EDG and perhaps the most intriguing part was their willingness to experiment a bit even with significant roster changes. For those that read my pre-season preview, I think BiliBili are going to end up being the “best of the rest” and will probably end up with the last playoff spot this split if things go as expected. Obviously they don’t always go that way but I’m relatively bullish on this roster.
The model does not like their chances here and actually has LNG favored by a substantial amount. Keep in mind this is pulling from Spring data and with some major roster changes it’s fair to say that this isn’t the same team at all so take the model suggestion with a grain of salt here.
LNG probably should have lost the first game of their series against V5 but did end up with the 2-0 after a dominant game two. This is a team that I think will be in that mix along with BiliBili but they completely wilted under any sort of quality opponent last season. It’s going to be interesting to see whether or not they do that against a fellow “mid tier” team because there really wasn’t anybody else filling that role last season unless you want to make a case for V5.
This is a more qualitative handicap but I just like BiliBili’s roster a lot more here. There’s a strong case to be made for backing continuity when you have similarly rated teams. I can also see the case for “this is a 50/50 just take the underdog” but I’ll be abstaining from this one. I think BiliBili wins but I’m not paying this price for it as I make it similar after adjustments.
Team WE +104 (+1.5 maps @ -294, -1.5 @ +360)
Suning Gaming -135 (-1.5 maps @ +219, +1.5 @ -526)
Map Moneyline: WE +111 / SN -141
Kill Total: 25.5 (over -115 / under -112)
Kill Spread: +2.5 @ -114 / -2.5 @ -114
Team Kill Totals: 11.5 / 13.5
Time Total: 31:00 (over -109 / under -119)
Eco/Obj Model Projected Line: -140 / +111 (map), -159 / +122 (series), -260 / +196 (+1.5 / -1.5 maps)
Suggested Play: Team WE series moneyline
WE- Breathe, Beishang, Mole, Elk, Missing
SN – Bin, SofM, Angel, Huanfeng, ON
So most of the community has looked at this as a slam dunk position but I’m going to flesh out some thoughts here to consider.
Most people are treating Mole as a rather sizeable upgrade over Shanks which is contributing, I believe, to the extra exuberance regarding this play. Let’s take a look here just from a statistical performance perspective. Below are the mid lane rankings from my individual player model.
To the LEFT is a modernized, win-adjusted performance rating. It adjusts for average performance of that position in wins and includes non-traditional measures such as vision provided and denied, lightly factors counterpick percentage, and kill participation. It also includes your more traditional measures like CS, XP, and Gold differentials at 10, 15, and 20 along with carry efficiency for carry roles (damage per gold per minute)
To the RIGHT is a more “traditional” rating system which uses your classic measures of CS, XP, and Gold differentials and carry efficiency (damage per gold per minute).
There is a pretty obvious cross-section of the true elite mid laners in this league. Rookie, Knight, FoFo, Scout, Doinb perform very well in both. Maybe throw Yagao into that mix as well. Shanks performed incredibly well in the adjusted modern version of the model and was only slightly worse than Mole in your traditional sense. Now, keep in mind that Mole isn’t always going to have strong “traditional” carry numbers as he as a player prefers to get out on the map at the expense of his own economy.
Qualitatively, Mole is a slightly better player to me but we also have a much larger sample size to draw from. I think a lot of the evaluation comparing these two needs to, and doesn’t seem to, include the fact that there is entirely new context now. Which Team WE are we going to get in Summer? The disciplined, two-core team fighting squad that we saw through much of 2020? The more uptempo looks that we’ve seen thus far in 2021? Mole fits much better into the latter and Shanks to the former based on what I’ve seen in the two careers of these players so far.
Now personally I don’t think Team WE will be attempting to jam a square peg into a round hole here. They brought over some of the Victory Five coaching staff and there’s a chance that they’re going to commit to that uptempo look. For what it’s worth I do think that’s a better way to play right now. They’ve shown the ability to play this way in the past but just keep in mind that there could be a bit of a transition period.
TL:DR – Don’t treat this as a strict upgrade, at least not right away. If anything I think this is closer to a horizontal move then anything even though I do give a slight edge to Mole. Context matters though.
Back to the match at hand…
Suning have this reputation of being overrated but the weird thing with them is that they came into the 2021 year overrated, had a rough start that beat their numbers down, and then proceeded to steadily improve as the year has progressed. They continuity working for them in this match and they looked decent against Invictus on opening day. Team WE are more of an unknown because we don’t know 1) how this roster change will impact them stylistically and in terms of chemistry and 2) what their current form is (don’t listen to scrim rumors….).
I do think Team WE is the play here if you feel you must make one but I just don’t think it’s quite the slam dunk position that many of my colleagues do. Suning performed significantly better than WE did against the other top nine teams overall. They have better adjusted economy, and are the second best “losers” in the LPL with the second best gold differential per minute in losses in the LPL. They’re a tough out that can play multiple styles even if their wins aren’t always sexy. Suning actually played better against good teams than the bottom half. Team WE demolished the bottom half which contributes greatly to their numbers. Below is the overall tale of the tape for the entire Spring season.
|Suning||Tale of the Tape||WE|
|-626.4||Gold Diff @ 10 min||-167.0|
|-348.9||Gold Diff @ 15 min||-65.7|
|520.6||Gold Diff @ 20 min||-436.1|
|-66.9||GPM first 20 min vs Avg||26.9|
|29.1||Gold Diff / min first 20||30.3|
|124.0||Gold Diff / min Rest of Game||436.8|
|1846.0||Gold /min (GPM)||1844.7|
|51.6||Gold / min vs Avg||50.3|
|136.6||Gold Diff / min||93.3|
|1.9||Gold Percent Rating (GPR)||1.3|
|1625.0||Kill Agnostic GPM||1647.3|
|52.4||Kill Agnostic Gold Diff/min||75.0|
|1952.0||GPM in wins||2006.0|
|348.5||Gold Diff per min in wins||392.7|
|1648.1||GPM in losses||1635.9|
|-258.9||Gold Diff per min in losses||-294.1|
|152.1||Adjusted Gold Diff / min||108.8|
|20.7||Win-Adjusted Gold Dif/min||64.9|
|53.7||Dragon Control %||53.5|
|58.0||Herald Control %||59.2|
|55.8||Baron Control %||55.3|
|50.0||% of wins as Quality||77.3|
I’ll be passing on this contest. These teams are closely enough matched that I don’t think you can back the favorites but the short dog isn’t enough for me to justify a position. We simply don’t know how this move is going to work out even if it should, in theory, be an upgrade. I have no problem taking a wait and see approach to Team WE.
LCK Summer 2021
Week One – Day Three
Just like with the LCS and LPL, I’ll be getting back into the more detailed data driven posts over the course of the next weeks once I get a feel for how much of it is going to apply in cases with a lot of roster changes which includes this one. For the most part I’m also steering clear of totals and props because I want to see how the new patch and metagame develop a bit as well as which roster changes are positive and negative.
Fredit Brion +156 (+1.5 maps @ -204, -1.5 @ +413)
Afreeca Freecs -204 (-1.5 maps @ +159, +1.5 @ -625)
Map Moneyline: BRO +140 / AF -179
Kill Total: 25.5 (over -110 / under -118)
Kill Spread: +5.5 @ -120 / -5.5 @ -108
Team Kill Totals: 10.5 / 14.5
Time Total: OTB
Eco/Obj Model Projected Line: +280 / -389 (map), +491 / -830 (series), +126 / -160 (+1.5 / -1.5 maps)
Suggested Play: Afreeca -1.5 maps and series moneyline
Oh Afreeca… this team…. I talked about it ad nauseam last season but they’re one of those squads that really tests your allegiance to your system. Basically every piece of data you could look at and hell, even the film most of the time, says that they should be a significantly better team but they just shoot themselves in the foot so often that it’s almost uncanny at this point. I actually think this metagame SHOULD reward a team like Afreeca for the things that they’re good at. I’m sticking to my model’s position although I’m far from as bullish as it is on this Afreeca team.
Brion looked excellent in their debut series against Sandbox. Their opening sequences were smooth, coordinated, and well executed. Sandbox didn’t even play particularly poor, Brion just played really well. We saw this a few times from this team last season. Flashes for a series of just how good a team they could be but then they’d immediately turn back into a pumpkin for four or five series in a row.
I think you all saw this coming but I’m going to be backing Afreeca here. I don’t trust Brion to string two good series together yet and as cliché as it sounds, I really do think the season just got away from Afreeca in Spring. It was almost a comedy of errors. The numbers say they should have been a gatekeeper team, their opening sequences were absolutely dominant for most of the season. It’s much easier to fix mid to late game transitions and macro choices because it’s conceptual more than execution. It’s much harder to just be talented individually and open games as strongly as they did last season. I’m showing a little faith here. It’s been punished more than enough times this season but we’ll know pretty quickly if we’ve got another case of the LA Chargers or not.
Moneyline: Afreeca -204 (2.04 units)
Map Spread: Afreeca -1.5 maps @ +159 (0.5 units)
T1 +161 (+1.5 maps @ -196, -1.5 @ +474)
DAMWON Kia Gaming -213 (-1.5 maps @ +149, +1.5 @ -769)
Map Moneyline: T1 +154 / DWG -200
Kill Total: 24.5 (over -105 / under -123)
Kill Spread: +5.5 @ -115 / -5.5 @ -112
Team Kill Totals: 10.5 / 13.5
Time Total: 32:00 (over -120 / under -108)
Eco/Obj Model Projected Line: +118 / -151 (map), +136 / -177 (series), -238 / +178 (+1.5 / -1.5 maps)
Suggested Play: none (light play on T1 map moneyline)
I happen to agree with the model that this is, roughly, a fair price by the numbers. Slight value on T1 sure but nothing warranting a position strictly from a numbers stand point (play the map moneyline if you’re sticking to the numbers).
Qualitatively, however, I think this is a great spot for T1.
First, teams coming off of international competition, MSI specifically, generally start the Summer season sluggish. Most of those teams take some time off during this time period as they won’t be getting a lot of that for the rest of the season while other teams are grinding the current patch and prepping for the early weeks. Some teams don’t adhere to this but even the ones that don’t have struggled historically. DAMWON, it could be argued, are an exception as they’ve proven time and time again that they’re a significantly better Summer team than Spring team performing better with each roster iteration and coaching staff over their lifespan.
Second, T1 looked VERY sharp on opening day against Hanwha. I’d be hesitant to bet against this team right now that they’ve solidified, in my opinion, the optimal roster configuration and are putting full time in with that version of the team.
Third, in the early weeks of a season we tend to see a lot of volatility as it is. The current patch is drastically different than what we’ve seen most of 2021 so far and with all of the melee solo lanes and multi-flex picks it makes drafts higher variance and in game play more volatile through snowballing. Melee champions struggle significantly more than things like control mages from a deficit as it’s harder to build that economy back up. Generally the game is very volatile at the moment which favors dogs.
It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see DAMWON being “Summer DAMWON” and laying a biblical beatdown on basically everyone the rest of the season but I think this is about as good a spot as any to go against them.
Moneyline: T1 +161 (1 unit)
Map Spread: T1 -1.5 maps @ +474 (0.5 units)
LEC Summer 2021
Week One – Day One
G2 Esports -115 vs MAD Lions -111
Kill Total: 28.5 (over -120 / under -109)
Kill Spread: -0.5 @ -118 / +0.5 @ -110
Team Kill Totals: 14.5 / 13.5
Time Total: 32:00 (over -133 / under +103)
Eco/Obj Model Projected Line: G2 +135 / MAD -175
Suggested Play: MAD Lions moneyline
I mentioned it in my preview article but this largely depends on how you handicap G2 going into this season. More specifically regarding this game, we discussed on the podcast this week that basically no matter what you do you could feel like an idiot in a few weeks on this one. Either this is going to look like an absolute steal for G2 or a steal for MAD Lions. The model likes a play on MAD Lions but they’re also coming off of the MSI hangover and this is the most time off G2 has had basically since they came into existence so I’d expect them to be well-prepared. If anything that’s the angle to play here more than any pro-G2 narrative specifically.
I’m just going to pass on this. If I had to take a side it’d probably be G2 alt kill spreads to get to plus money. Something like G2 -3.5 kills @ +105.
SK Gaming -101 vs Astralis -127
Kill Total: 26.5 (over -112 / under -116)
Kill Spread: +3.5 @ -111 / -3.5 @ -116
Team Kill Totals: 11.5 / 13.5
Time Total: 32:00 (over -114 / under -114)
Eco/Obj Model Projected Line: SK -140 / AST +109**
Suggested Play: SK Gaming moneyline**
** not as relevant with drastic roster swaps
SK made a lot of changes and their performance last season, while chippy, was also highly fraudulent in a lot of ways. I don’t think these changes will be a bad thing for them necessarily but I don’t really know what to expect from this team. Astralis has continuity on their side and they were steadily improving as the split went on. I could see this being a metagame that they thrive in, Zanzarah in particular. I’m not ready to back them as favorites against anyone quite yet but if I had to pick a side it’d be Astralis kill spreads.
Rogue -500 vs Excel Esports +337
Kill Total: 24.5 (over -116 / under -112)
Kill Spread: -7.5 @ -115 / +7.5 @ -112
Team Kill Totals: 15.5 / 8.5
Time Total: 32:00 (over +119 / under -154)
Eco/Obj Model Projected Line: ROG -658 / XL +415
Suggested Play: none
If we were in a vacuum looking at last season this line is actually fairly close but we’ve got a number of factors working in favor of the dog. As I’ve discussed a lot this week with all of the leagues starting up, this patch is highly volatile. Combine that with the fact that we’ve got a significantly different patch then we’ve played all of 2021 on, new rosters, time off, and the underdogs getting the traditional pre-season bump for being, as I like to say, “the most prepared they’ll ever be” this early I actually think this is a pretty good spot to back the dog. I’m about as bullish as you’ll find on Rogue as a team but I like the moves for Excel to make them a better team immediately and this is a pretty good spot to back them.
Kill Spread: Excel +7.5 kills @ -112 (1.12 units)
Moneyline: Excel +337 (1 unit)
Team Vitality -139 vs Schalke 04 +109
Kill Total: 25.5 (over -109 / under -119)
Kill Spread: -3.5 @ -115 / +3.5 @ -112
Team Kill Totals: 13.5 / 11.5
Time Total: 33:00 (over -125 / under -104)
Eco/Obj Model Projected Line: VIT +172 / S04 -226**
Suggested Play: Schalke moneyline**
** roster changes significant
Obviously there’s been a lot of moving parts between these two teams which is going to make this challenging. I’m staying away. My gut tells me that this Vitality roster is strictly more talented and SHOULD be the better team but there’s a lot of questions regarding the overall construction and how things are going to work with all the personalities and all of the changes. I have these two teams in a similar tier so I could see the case for Schalke but I see no problem with taking a wait and see approach with these two.
Misfits +103 vs Fnatic -125
Kill Total: 28.5 (over -125 / under -106)
Kill Spread: +3.5 @ -106 / -3.5 @ -125
Team Kill Totals: 12.5 / 15.5
Time Total: 32:00 (over -101 / under -131)
(lines via Pinnacle)
Eco/Obj Model Projected Line: MSF -200 / FNC +154
Suggested Play: Misfits moneyline
I’m optimistic about the changes for Fnatic but I’m actually going to take a stance on my evaluation of Misfits and back them here as underdogs. The model likes them a lot more than I do but I still think this is a team on the up and up. Fnatic should be better than they were in Spring but Misfits not only have continuity on their side but the upward trajectory as well. I think by seasons’ end these will be evenly matched teams. Give me the dogs.
Moneyline: Misfits +107 (1 unit)(Nitrogen)
LCS Summer 2021
Week Two – Day One
Team Solo Mid -152 vs 100 Thieves +119
Kill Total: 24.5 (over -118 / under -110)
Kill Spread: -3.5 @ -118 / +3.5 @ -110
Team Kill Totals: 14.5 / 10.5
Time Total: 33:00 (over +117 / under -152)
Eco/Obj Model Projected Line: TSM +105 / 100T -133
Model Suggested Play: 100T moneyline
I’m skeptical about getting in the way of this TSM team right now. They were very clean, confident, and focused in week one and multiple players have come out and discussed the overall culture and “vibe” of the team is very positive right now which is something a lot of other teams are struggling with. Just goes to show the value of good character which is often brushed aside in favor of “this person is better why you no do this!?!” by armchair analysts. Anyway, I digress…
The model is on 100 Thieves primarily because of last season and I do think they’re the “value” here but I won’t be betting a side in this contest. I think 100 Thieves are going to be a good team and they already look pretty solid but, call it a gut read, I can’t really justify a play on them here. TSM look like they’re dialed in right now playing the best they have all of 2021 so I’ll wait and see.
Team Liquid -222 vs Dignitas +169
Kill Total: 24.5 (over -109 / under -119)
Kill Spread: -6.5 @ -112 / +6.5 @ -116
Team Kill Totals: 15.5 / 8.5
Time Total: 31:00 (over -133 / under +102)
Eco/Obj Model Projected Line: TL -379 / DIG +273
Model Suggested Play: Liquid moneyline
(Note: Yusui will be taking Soligo’s place in the mid lane this week and Jenkins will remain at top lane for Team Liquid)
The good things I said about TSM feeling it right now, the opposite could be said about Liquid. Obviously we can only speculate on the behind the scenes stuff but it’s safe to say that something is going on with the Alphari benching now continuing for a second week. Jenkins did look pretty good in his debut weekend but Liquid were not their trademark crisp and clean selves and it was a team wide issue. Whether that was the introduction of a new player, maybe a tougher meta for the usual stylings of Liquid, just generic poor form right now, or a blend of all of these things, Liquid didn’t look like themselves despite the wins.
I’m trying to temper my reaction to week one but there is absolutely no way I’m laying this moneyline with Liquid right now until I see them clean things up a bit. I would have maybe been interested in Dignitas here but they’re bringing Yusui up for a weekend and I’m not sure what to expect from that either. Typically I’m a “fade the narrative” typee because I think substitutions are frequently overreacted to, but I’m just not sure what we’re working with here so I’ll pass.
Evil Geniuses -105 vs Immortals -122
Kill Total: 24.5 (over -123 / under -105)
Kill Spread: -2.5 @ -112 / +2.5 @ -115
Team Kill Totals: 12.5 / 11.5
Time Total: 32:00 (over -118 / under -111)
Eco/Obj Model Projected Line: EG -232 / IMT +175
Model Suggested Play: EG moneyline
(Note: Pretty is starting in mid lane for Insanity for Immortals for Friday)
The timing on this is unfortunate because Immortals looked just about as good as they’ve ever looked last week but Pretty will be stepping up from academy to fill in for Insanity at least for Friday night’s match. Evil Geniuses can’t seem to avoid circus games but this is a spot where I could understand a case for backing them. This is a double overreaction narrative at least in appearance. The thing is, I expected Immortals to take a step forward this season and it appears that they have so I’m really not sure just how much of an overreaction this actually is. Evil Geniuses is probably the play here and the substitution of Pretty is a reasonable tiebreaker if you were on the fence. Insanity is one of the most underrated players in the LCS so missing him is a huge deal for this team.
Moneyline: Evil Geniuses -105 (1.05 units)
Golden Guardians +131 vs Counter Logic Gaming -169
Kill Total: 24.5 (over -120 / under -108)
Kill Spread: +4.5 @ -119 / -4.5 @ -109
Team Kill Totals: 10.5 / 13.5
Time Total: 32:00 (over -175 / under +133)
Eco/Obj Model Projected Line: GGS +149 / CLG -193
Model Suggested Play: CLG moneyline
We spent way too long discussing this one but the general takeaway was just how bad do you think Golden Guardians are? If they truly are in that dumpster fire tier like they were last split then just hold your nose and take CLG here. The concern with CLG is similar to that of Liquid, concerns about behind the scenes issues, disgruntled players, and a very poor performance in week one.
I’m actually going to take CLG here even with all of the speculation surrounding them. They looked pretty bad but Golden Guardians turned right back into pumpkins after an upset on day one over Cloud 9 and I’m not entirely sure how much this team has progressed just yet. I’m willing to pay for them to show me.
Moneyline: CLG -169 (1.69 units)
FlyQuest +265 vs Cloud 9 -370
Kill Total: 25.5 (over -108 / under -120)
Kill Spread: +8.5 @ -123 / -8.5 @ -105
Team Kill Totals: 8.5 / 16.5
Time Total: 31:00 (over -127 / under -102)
Eco/Obj Model Projected Line: FLY +384 / C9 -588
Model Suggested Play: C9 moneyline
This is a smash spot for Cloud 9 for me. I’m not a believer in this FlyQuest squad at all. I don’t think they’re a terrible team by any means but regardless of my opinions on the individual players, they just haven’t impressed me in any way. Their win last week was on the back of picking up BOTH Viego AND Gwen against CLG and the other win last weekend was the complete clown fiesta with Evil Geniuses on Sunday.
Cloud 9 got their numbers knocked down a bit because of their loss to Golden Guardians but looked right back in form the rest of the weekend. You could use that game as a case for backing FlyQuest here but I think this is actually a cheap price for Cloud 9.
Moneyline: Cloud 9 -370 (3.7 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)