Mid-Season Invitational

Knockout Stage – Day One



#2 Royal Never Give Up


#3 Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) Talon


As the first seed DAMWON Kia Gaming had their choice of opponent and opted for the MAD Lions leaving Royal Never Give Up with PSG Talon. There was a bizarre situation forcing a schedule change that I don’t think really has any impact on these specific matches. The short explanation is that due to travel protocols for RNG to return to China after the tournament in time for domestic play, RNG has to get blood tested (for COVID) a number of days before the return and this would have had them getting blood drawn on Saturday when their match was originally scheduled to occur. You can read the full statement by Riot Games Esports Director of Operations Tom Martell (are former Magic: the Gathering pro by the way that’s how I first met him).

So RNG vs PSG is Friday. DAMWON vs MAD Lions Saturday. Finals Sunday.

First the final tournament power ratings from the economy/objective model. This is updated through the rumble stage. Obviously this is a fairly small sample size but I figured I’d share it regardless.


Obviously DFM are the standout performance but considering they played pretty well in almost all of their small sample of games (six) and most of the better teams had to go on to face stronger competition it’s not something we should get overly excited about. That said we shouldn’t discount it completely either. Good showing by the squad from Japan. The rest of this more or less lines up with what you’d think.


With that out of the way, let’s move on to the handicap.


RNG -625 (-1.5 maps @ -250, -2.5 @ +159, +1.5 @ -1667, +2.5 @ -5000)


PSG +445 (+1.5 maps @ +188, +2.5 @ -204, -1.5 @ +770, -2.5 @ +1800)


Map Moneyline: RNG -323 / PSG +236

Map Total: 3.5 maps (over -192 / under +147), 4.5 maps (over +260 / under -357)

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

Kill Spread: -7.5 @ -104 / +7.5 @ -123

Team Kill Totals: 16.5 / 9.5

Time Total: 30:00 (over -130 / under +101)

RNG Tale of the Tape PSG
916.4 Gold Diff @ 10 min 573.9
1746.0 Gold Diff @ 15 min 1373.6
1215.6 Gold Diff @ 20 min 1242.8
183.4 GPM first 20 min vs Avg 67.6
277.2 Gold Diff / min first 20 113.8
529.2 Gold Diff / min Rest of Game 284.2
1986.0 Gold /min (GPM) 1866.4
207.9 Gold / min vs Avg 88.3
317.1 Gold Diff / min 143.1
4.3 Gold Percent Rating (GPR) 1.9
1681.3 Kill Agnostic GPM 1612.3
189.8 Kill Agnostic Gold Diff/min 46.1
2050.7 GPM in wins 2037.3
454.5 Gold Diff per min in wins 457.7
1662.0 GPM in losses 1581.6
-370.2 Gold Diff per min in losses -381.2
367.3 Adjusted Gold Diff / min 193.3
92.4 Win-Adjusted GPM 79.0
121.0 Win-Adjusted Gold Dif/min 124.2
55.6 Dragon Control % 56.8
75.0 Herald Control % 62.5
68.4 Baron Control % 64.7


 (Numbers from just this tournament)


Suggested Model Plays (in order of strength of edge):

PSG Talon across the board, strongest edge +2.5 maps


Quantitative Analysis:

Series Outcomes
Wins Losses Probability
  3 0 37.247%
3 1 31.343%
3 2 17.584%
2 3 6.855%
1 3 4.764%
0 3 2.207%
(Series Win): 86.174%

(Above: RNG series outcome projections according to map moneyline implied odds minus vig)

(Below: RNG series outcome projections according to economy/objective model)

Series Outcomes
Wins Losses Probability
3 1 22.130%
3 2 20.118%
2 3 16.765%
3 0 16.229%
1 3 15.367%
0 3 9.391%
(Series Win): 58.477%




 * RNG / PSG Right


  • Gold per minute in wins: 1st / 2nd
  • Gold Differential per minute in wins: 2nd / 1st
  • Gold per minute in losses: 6th / 8th
  • Gold Differential per minute in losses: 6th / 8th
  • Win-adjusted gold per minute: 1st / 2nd
  • Win-adjusted gold differential per minute: 2nd / 1st
  • Kill-agnostic gold per minute: 2nd / 4th
  • Kill-agnostic gold differential per minute: 2nd / 4th
  • Opponent kill-agnostic gold per minute: 1st / 4th
  • Overall Objective Control: 1st / 3rd
  • Overall Team Rating: 1st / 4th
  • Split the Rumble Stage series 1-1



There is obviously a pretty big difference between what the model thinks and what the book price is even beyond the ridiculous vig premium you have to pay for the favorites. Above you can see the series outcome projection tables by percentage for each. The first listing is based on the implied odds (minus vig) of the map moneyline from the books, the second from the economy objective model.

Generally speaking when I looked at this slate before running my numbers my instinct was “dogs or nothing.” It was simply a matter of whether or not I could convince myself to actually back them or if there were small adjustments to be made in either direction. For the sake of clarity and for those too lazy to do the math, this series moneyline infers just short of a 72% map win rate for RNG. If you think RNG are ~72% per game that IS the moneyline and this isn’t a good bet. If you think they’re greater you can scale it up with some pretty basic multiplication if you don’t want to run sheet simulations.

In short, it really is dogs or nothing in this spot to me. The model really REALLY likes Talon quite a bit more than the book number. Even if you meet halfway it’s still a good value on the underdogs.

Conclusion: RNG are unbettable unless you think they’re significantly greater than 72% per map. I’ll take some Talon.


Qualitative Analysis:

There are a few wrinkles to this matchup that are fascinating to me.

First, River has been the best Rumble player in this tournament and it’s not even close. He has actual acumen on the champion. He knows the nuances of the overheating, knows his limits for maximizing damage, and his ultimates have had we more impact than most. Rumble is a pretty broken champion to the point where even someone piloting him at 80% capacity is going to make it look good but he really knows what’s up and I’d expect a lot of draft leverage to come from that. Perhaps even a ban.

Second, PSG Talon have really turned up the tempo. Domestically they were not this type of team. Maybe it’s the inclusion of Doggo I’m not sure but they’re really showing well in the early game and making it a point to open games strong. What’s interesting about that is that RNG have not been a dominant early game team throughout 2021 until this tournament where they’ve just smashed a lot of terrible teams hard early to pump their numbers up. PSG’s early game has been potent this tournament, RNG have a history of rough starts in games before bringing it back. There’s something to be said for being able to play from behind but you never really want to be in that position if you can help it.

Third, can Xiaohu be neutralized and will Maple continue playing out of his mind? Really, Xiaohu hasn’t laned as well as you’d think on a team that won as many games as RNG have BUT he’s been a massive impact in teamfights, mostly on Gnar. Maple has just been a beast across the board, think he might just have the eye of the tiger this tournament.

Fourth, will PSG try to take RNG off of the comfort picks like Kaisa and Gnar? I don’t know what their plan is but that’s exactly what I’d be trying to do, or perhaps abusing Gnar in a niche matchup. RNG can’t keep being allowed to play their two best champions as a team (maybe Lucian included). Make them show you something different. If PSG do this off the bat I’ll like their chances a lot more.

RNG are the better team here I don’t think anyone doubts that but they’re a team you can expose and I think Talon are equipped to do so. This number is right around where I expected the books to open it, very heavy handed on the favorites as usual. This is a dog or nothing situation. I don’t think anybody should bet RNG sides in this matchup. It’s like paying for an Escalade and getting a Civic… well clearly they’re better than a Civic…. maybe it’s more like paying for a McLaren and getting a Porche Boxster… ok I’m getting lost in these analogies but you get my point. Don’t back RNG, they’re live to lose this series and you’re getting ripped off to back them. If you’re hyper bullish to the tune of 80% to win per map then I can see the case but just save your money otherwise.


Conclusion: Talon have very real outs to win this match and they’re playing well right now. Numbers also support it. I like backing the dogs here, particularly the +2.5 maps.


A quick note on my futures positions:

To reach Finals: PSG Talon +2200 (0.5 units)

There’s a case to be made for hedging out of this but at such a small position and with such an expensive price on the favorite I’m just going to let this one ride. The middle just isn’t great with RNG’s price. I could just buy back my original position and stand to win ~8 units on a PSG win but I’ll let the whole thing ride.


Other Markets:


Kill Total Model Projections:

Combined AVG kills per game: 29.384

Odds-Weighted: 28.239

Time-Implied: 28.689

Underdog Win: 30.292

“Gelati” Total Projection: 28.927

Combined % of Games OVER Kill Total: 68.06% (RNG 61.11% / PSG 75%)

Volatility Rating:  RNG 0.2774 / PSG 0.18916 (Tournament Avg: 0.2873)

Suggested Model Plays (in order of strength of edge):

OVER 26.5 @ -116 (VERYstrong)

(alt) OVER 25.5 @ -135 (strong)

(alt) OVER 24.5 @ -161 (strong)


Team Totals:

PSG OVER 9.5 @ -118 (VERY strong)

RNG OVER 16.5 @ -112 (strong)


RNG League Average PSG
Combined Kills / game 29.642 28.27 29.125
Combined Kills / min 1.026 0.94 0.952
Kills per win 19.127 18.27 22.625
Kills per loss 7.667 10.34 8.313
Deaths per win 9.53 8.90 6.70
Deaths per loss 22.67 19.17 18.00
Average Margin of Victory (AMOV) 10.53 9.27 15.30
Average Margin of Defeat (AMOD) 15.00 10.29 10.00


The projections AND frequency model both like overs in this contest but they fail to bake in more preparation time and higher stakes games. Both games between these two went well over the total at 31 and 35 the question becomes do we see the same thing or a completely different game plan from both for this series? Typically I lean toward unders in playoff environments but given the gameplan that I think PSG are going to employ in this series I have a feeling this is going to be a bloody series and I’ve reversed course from my thoughts on the podcast this week. I like the overs here quite a bit. Alternatively you could attack the PSG team total over. RNG have been fairly bloody losers in this tournament and given that I think PSG are live to win some games in this contest I wouldn’t hate taking that either. I’m going to stick to the game total though.


Time Total Projection:

Combined AVG Game Time: 29.02 minutes

Odds Weighted / Rating Weighted: 29.73 / 29.65

Combined % of Games OVER Time Total: 35.42% (RNG 33.33% / PSG 37.5%)

Volatility Rating: RNG 0.18657 / PSG 0.14470 (Tournament Avg: 0.15890)

Suggested Model Plays (in order of strength of edge):

UNDER 30:00 @ +115 (VERY strong)

Average Game Time 27.92 30.12
Avg Game Time (in wins) 27.52 28.88
Avg Game Time (in losses) 29.894 32.194
Combined Avg Game Time 29.020
Book Odds Weighted 29.73
Rating Odds Weighted 29.65

The catch with this one is that both of these teams just steamrolled the bad teams all tournament long. This metagame has been significantly faster than the 11.6 Spring playoff patch but I think you’re seeing a lot of averages brought down by lopsided blowouts of the bad teams in this tournament. That said, PSG have been looking to blow games out early and that comes with risk that they could also be completely ruined by early risks. I’m not betting this under but the price on the over isn’t worth it either here.


Other Derivatives:

Suggested Model Plays (in order of strength of edge):

PSG first tower @ +191 (VERY strong)**

PSG first herald @ +171 (VERY strong) **

RNG first tower @ -270 (strong) **

PSG first blood @ +112 (strong) **

RNG first herald @ -233 (strong) **

UNDER 4.5 dragons @ -128 (strong)

UNDER 12.5 towers @ -250 (light)

** denotes advantage in a category that the opponent is also strong in, must be considered

These two teams bounce off of each other in a lot of the first so it’s tough to really get a gauge there. I do like the PSG first herald price quite a bit but if RNG are just hard playing toward top side I like it less. The neutral unders are intriguing but again since I think these could be competitive games I’m not exactly confident enough there either. Pass all around.


My Picks:


Kill Total: Map 1 OVER 26.5 @ -116 (1.16 units)

Kill Total: Map 2 OVER 26.5 @ -116 (1.16 units)

Kill Total: Map 3 OVER 26.5 @ -116 (1.16 units)

Kill Total: Map 4 OVER 26.5 @ -116 (1.16 units)

Kill Total: Map 5 OVER 26.5 @ -116 (1.16 units)


UPDATE: I’ll be taking these positions on top of my small futures position. They will count on the spreadsheet.

Map Spread: PSG +2.5 maps @ -200 (4 units)

Map Spread: PSG +1.5 maps @ +192 (1 unit)

Moneyline: PSG +457 (0.5 units)

Map Spread: PSG -1.5 maps @ +779 (0.25 units)

Map Spread: PSG -2.5 maps @ +1800 (0.1 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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