Sunday, February 21st Recap


Afreeca vs DRX (Net: +4.56 units)

We profited on this one but this was yet another absolutely brutal beat delivered by DRX. At this point I think DRX just have some kind of voodoo doll for each team going into every match. You can literally see it from the expressions on their faces when watching the game that they know they have no business winning so many of these games. Afreeca had a 5-0 Kindred and two drakes in game two before they completely fell apart at the seams as they chain got caught out over and over and over and then, just to put icing on the cake, they coin flipped at elder after DRX racked up the 3rd through 6th drakes. You coin flipped… with a Kindred on your team… *insert Jackie Chan meme*

Game three was a clear tilt fest so I’m not even going to go into it but this is getting ridiculous with DRX. Let’s acknowledge a few things.

1) They play scaling, and a lot of teams are “sinning” against them meaning that they’re going to early game snowballs. Doing this is just going to win you a certain amount of games. It’s also going to make your statistical profile look worse. This has been accounted for in my model and my evaluation.

2) DRX are NOT playing great defense, they’re not even a good scaling team. Good scaling teams play proactive defense. They find ways to prolong the game without relying on their opponents making mistakes. Take a look back to old season 3-6 SK Telecom teams or season 4 Samsung Blue. THOSE are good scaling teams. A lot of one-for-one trades, cross map trading, dancing out objectives to stall the game out while your carries scale up. In modern day LOL it’s a lot different but the “equivalent” these days is stalling out herald fights, trying to delay the first dragon or steal one or two to buy time, and playing strong weak side champions. DRX aren’t even consistently doing these things.

3) Typically good scaling teams minimize early losses and maximize late game gains. DRX have  the 7th rated early game economy in my model which factors in a number of different composite metrics. “So they’ve got to be better late game right?” No. They rank 7th in post-20 minute gold per minute as well. They’re at the bottom of the league in overall dragon control, 7th in herald control, but 3rd in baron control.

4) Inspired by quality starts for baseball pitchers, I’ve developed a metric for quality wins that essentially measures wins against what the average win looks like. If it’s above the 50th percentile in a half dozen metrics it grades as quality. It’s a bit biased toward leading end-to-end but it does average the factors together meaning that teams rounding the corner after an early deficit are still accounted for. DRX have just 5 quality wins this entire season. That’s 33.33% of their games. Let that speak for itself.

I’ve simply never seen anything like this for as long as it’s gone on. Teams just shit the bed against this team and there’s no explanation for it. It’s infuriating.

Liiv Sandbox vs T1 (Net: -5.805 units)

Oner and Prince made their debuts for the season and OnFleek returned for his first match with Sandbox this season. Just to clarify, OnFleek has been available since Sandbox’s third match as his suspension was only for KeSPA Cup and first two matches. Weird to see him now since Croco has been so good this season.

Game one was looking like a clean T1 snowball but they got a little sloppy after the third drake after taking a very early inhibitor. This was a very “T1 Young” brand game. Game should have been a really clean close and they just botched it. Eventually they picked up cloud soul and then elder and it was over.

Game two there was an absolute circus of a fight over the first herald that T1 came out ahead on and Sandbox completely fell apart from there after investing so much into it.

I’m not entirely sure why OnFleek suddenly got the start here. Maybe just an in-game leadership thing. The Udyr was a good pick in game two but I didn’t like it at all in game one against the mixed damage profile on T1’s lineup. This series was just a bit of a draft difference overall. Sandbox remain incapable of settling down in a game though and that’s concerning. You can tell when they’re tilted and if that’s the case I’m positive other teams can do. If you just throw them a curveball or if anything weird just so happens to occur they look completely lost. It’s frustrating because this team is really talented but appear to be very poorly coached.

T1 didn’t really do anything to move the needle for me. Oner looked pretty good in his debut and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him again. Teddy also had a good series. I have some theories about when and why they’re playing him vs Gumayusi but I’m not 100% sure yet.


Dignitas vs TSM (Net: -1.49 units)

Immortals vs FlyQuest (Net: -0.545 units)

100 Thieves vs Golden Guardians (Net: -3.96)

Game went about as haywire as it possibly could. Still a good bet, just caught the short straw on 100T.

Team Liquid vs Cloud 9 (Net: no action)

Evil Geniuses vs CLG (Net: -1.15 units)


LCK Net Total: -1.245 units

LCS Net Total: -7.145 units



Daily Net Total: -8.39 units


Brutal day. Too many of them. Early season volatility is a real bitch.


LPL Spring 2021 Season Trends Through Five Weeks


62 matches, 142 games

Favorites are 44-18 straight up, 33-29 against the map spread



My Power Numbers through five weeks:

LOL Pro League (China)

Week 6 – Day 1


Suning +143 (+1.5 maps @ -238, -1.5 @ +381)


JD Gaming -175 (-1.5 maps @ +180, +1.5 @ -588)


Total Maps Played: 2.5 (over -108 / under -118)

Kill Total: 24.5 (over -115 / under -114)

Kill Spread: +4.5 @ -118 / -4.5 @ -111

Team Kill Totals: 10.5 / 13.5

Time Total: 34:00 (over +151 / under -200)




(Individual player model positional ranking is a “living” number comparing individual performance against other players at their position)


Suggested Model Play: Suning moneyline, -1.5 maps (moderate edge on market)

These two teams have perhaps fallen further from grace than any others in the LPL with the exception of TOP Esports. Both have been very lackluster at times.

Suning are, in many ways, the same team but their weaknesses have been exposed on a number of occasions this split. Their lack of comfort in exercising mid+jungle advantages and leveraging that has been very obvious and teams have been attacking it by just focusing on side lanes knowing that they won’t punish with it. I think this is a problem they’ve had in the past but also one that I think they can make some adjustments for as well. I don’t rule out Suning looking better in the second half although I don’t think I’ll see this team at the top of the table come season’s end.

JDG looked a lot better in the last two matches before the break. Rogue Warriors were just what the doctor ordered and a convincing win against Team WE was exactly the type that could get a team off the schneid. That said, WE had been without Shanks for a few matches and he did look rather rusty in his return. JDG should be a much better team than we’ve seen so far. There has been a lot of speculation that there was a lot of burnout amongst the players and this was discussed ad nauseum this offseason but in watching their play it makes a lot of sense. I’m not sure if that’s entirely what’s going on or if the field is also just better but generally speaking JDG have not looked themselves outside of a series or two. That said, they have been winning series which perhaps bodes well for them if they can get back into form.

This is a tough one. JDG had the break interrupt them when they were getting into a groove and Suning needed it to fix some things. However,  I do think the time off definitely benefits both of these teams who had extended years last year and it perhaps explains their sluggishness to some extent. These teams are both neck and neck in economy metrics and have similar records but they approach the game in different ways.

The model likes Suning here (a lot) and makes the line Suning favored -140, or roughly 55-45 in favor of Suning but I think it’s fair to do a bit of a double swing adjustment here. JDG probably should be improved coming out of the break so we’ll give them a slight bump. Suning we’ll tick down slightly because they’ve had some issues of their own that I think are exploitable, particularly by a team like JDG with a strong mid+jungle duo. If we adjust JDG up 5%, and Suning down 5% to account for this we get ourselves a 50-50 series and based on what we’ve seen from these teams this season. I think that’s a fair price. With that in mind this is still a small play on Suning at this price. If you believe there needs to be larger adjustments than that against Suning or for JDG or both, then bet accordingly but I struggle to make this any more than a coin flip or maybe JDG slightly favored. The “break even” point for this series price is roughly 57.5% per map based on the implied series odds. So if you think JDG are 57.5% to win a given map, this is a perfect line.

Below are some series outcome projections at different price points.

JDG 55% map win rate:

JDG 57.5% map win rate:


JDG 60% map win rate:


At 60% this is only a small edge on the market of about 3.55% which isn’t in bet range for some people. In short, unless you think JDG are greater than 60% per map this is either a pass or a play on Suning and I’ll be on the latter.


Other Markets:


Kill Total Model Projections:

Odds-Weighted: 26.713

Time-Implied: 26.339

Underdog Win: 24.518

“Gelati” Total Projection: 25.709 kills

Combined % of Games OVER Kill Total: 52.24% (JDG 58.33% / SN 46.15%)

Volatility Rating: JDG 0.2634 / SN 0.39371 (League AVG: 0.3111)

Suggested Model Play: none


We saw the LCK significantly bloodier on patch 11.3 coming out of the break and I could see something similar in the LPL but I’m not entirely sure about that for teams that had rough starts. I’m confident they’ll be dialed in. Model doesn’t like any of these, I don’t either. I’ll wait and see.



Time Total Projection:

Combined AVG Game Time: 32.842 minutes

Odds Weighted / Rating Weighted: 33.36 / 32.69

Combined % of Games OVER Time Total: 47.76% (JDG 41.67% / SN 53.85%)

Volatility Rating: JDG 0.18552 / SN 0.19718 (League Avg: 0.18993)

Suggested Model Play: OVER 34:00 @ +151 (moderate edge)


34:00 is really high but obviously we’re getting a price boost to take a shot at it. Suning have been absolutely terrible closing games out over the past 12 months. They’ve also been particularly adept at prolonging games that haven’t gone their way and running teams around the map. I rarely play totals this high but at +151 this is a good enough price to take a stab on. I could see this rivalry turning into a slobberknocker, especially if the teams end up having any rust out of the holiday.

Other Derivatives:

Suggested Model Plays: UNDER 12.5 towers destroyed @ -217 (19% edge on market)

The model absolutely loves a play on the under 12.5 towers at -217 which is a bit weird so I wanted to explore this. These teams have only eclipsed the 12.5 tower mark in 16.67% / 7.7% of games. JDG have only eclipsed 11.5 towers in 25% of games (same 7.7% for Suning). This is a bit wild to me and I’m not entirely sure if it’s just a lot of noise or what but I’ve never seen this big a delta in this specific market which is usually very VERY accurate, maybe the most accurate. They’re only averaging 10.67 and 10.31 total towers destroyed per game. The volatility index isn’t even that far out of whack on this either. Perhaps there’s something to it.

The catch here is that it conflicts with my game time over play. How the hell can these teams be playing such long games and staying under tower totals?  My instinct tells me this is an outlier and not actionable but it’s something I’m going to monitor moving foward.


My Picks:


Map Spread: Suning +1.5 maps @ -238 (2.38 units)

Moneyline: Suning +143 (0.5 units)

Map Spread: Suning -1.5 maps @ +378 (0.25 units)

Time Total: Map 1 OVER 34:00 @ +151 (0.5 units)

Time Total: Map 2 OVER 34:00 @ +151 (0.5 units)

Time Total: Map 3 OVER 34:00 @ +143 (0.5 units)



FunPlus Phoenix -556 (-1.5 maps @ -147, +1.5 @ -2500)


Team WE +415 (+1.5 maps @ +115, -1.5 @ +892)


Total Maps Played: 2.5 maps (over +153 / under -196)

Kill Total: 26.5 (over -119 / under -110)

Kill Spread: -7.5 @ -123 / +7.5 @ -105

Team Kill Totals: 17.5 / 9.5

Time Total: 32:00 (over +157 / under -208)



(Individual player model positional ranking is a “living” number comparing individual performance against other players at their position)

Suggested Model Plays: WE +1.5 maps (strong), WE moneyline and Over 2.5 maps (moderate)

FPX have been arguably the best team in the world through five weeks. Their kill agnostic gold is second to none, they’re completely destroyed the other good teams they’ve faced, and their only game losses came to a formidable EDG team early in the season. Even with a few weird miscommunications with Nuguri this team has been rolling over everyone. And I actually think they can get better. That’s scary…

WE had a rough week or so with Shanks having to take some time off for family matters and returned to a shellacking at the hands of JDG. Until that point in the season they’d been very very good and improving.

I’m having a really really hard time not taking some Team WE here. The model likes them a lot as well. The thing is, I don’t think this performance by FPX is a fluke and I actually think they could continue to improve. Tian is rejoining the lineup, maybe that is an interruption given how well Bo played but I doubt it with all of the games these guys have played together in their careers. Hold your nose and take the underdogs. This could very well be a swift 2-0 by FPX but I think we’re getting a good enough price with a good team to take a shot against them here.


Other Markets:


Kill Total Model Projections:

Odds-Weighted: 27.427

Time-Implied: 28.659

Underdog Win: 27.063

“Gelati” Total Projection: 27.764 kills

Combined % of Games OVER Kill Total: 55.77% (FPX 61.54% / WE 50%)

Volatility Rating: FPX 0.30162 / WE 0.16328 (League Avg: 0.3111)

Suggested Model Play: none


The projections like this over a lot more than the actual outcomes we’ve seen thus far. I do think it’s worth considering that we could see bloodier games coming out of the break like we did in the LCK but I’m going to take a wait and see approach. I’d lean to the overs.


Time Total Projection:

Combined AVG Game Time: 29.942 minutes

Odds Weighted / Rating Weighted: 32.34 / 32.19

Combined % of Games OVER Time Total: 51.92% (FPX 53.85% / WE 50%)

Volatility Rating: FPX 0.17588 / WE 0.10403 (League Avg: 0.18993)

Suggested Model Play: OVER 32:00 @ +157 (double digit edge on market)


I agree with the over here mostly because of the price we’re getting. FPX are clearly the better team but WE are capable of making this a series and I don’t expect them to get completely blown out of the water. That said, FPX have steam rolled better teams already this season so it’s totally possible we see a few quick ones. This price at 32:00 is just too good to pass up though. It doesn’t take much for WE to throw one counterpunch and this game takes a little longer than expected maybe goes to a 5th dragon.  I don’t love it as much as the model but I do think it’s worth a play.


Other Derivatives:

Suggested Model Play:

UNDER 12.5 towers destroyed @ -303 (18.5% edge on market)

Team WE first dragon @ -125 (double digit edge)

FPX first tower @ -208 (small edge on market)

The dragons and towers makes sense given that FPX are a gold snowball team and WE are a dragon stacking team.

Yet again we see the under 12.5 towers. That’s two of the biggest advantages on price in one day. I’m going to have to look into this in more detail. I do like the dragon and tower bets though.



My Picks:


Map Spread: WE +1.5 maps @ +115 (1 unit)

Moneyline: WE +415 (0.5 units)

Map Spread: WE -1.5 maps @ +892 (0.1 units)

Time Total: Map 1 OVER 32:00 @ +157 (0.5 units)

Time Total: Map 2 OVER 32:00 @ +159 (0.5 units)

Time Total: Map 3 OVER 32:00 @ +151 (0.5 units)

Prop: Map 1 WE first dragon @ -125 (0.625 units)

Prop: Map 2 WE first dragon @ +102 (0.5 units)

Prop: Map 3 WE first dragon @ +102 (0.5 units)

Prop: Map 1 FPX first tower @ -208 (1.04 units)

Prop: Map 2 FPX first tower @ -204 (1.02 units)

Prop: Map 3 FPX first tower @ -200 (1 unit)


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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