Friday, January 29th Recap


Nongshim RedForce vs Afreeca  (Net: +4.5 units)

Game one of this series was back-and-forth the entire time with Afreeca getting the fast start but Nongshim holding the superior scaling composition. It looked like Nongshim had finally stabilized in this game picking up a few dragons in a row and threatening to take mountain soul. There was a sell-out team fight by Afreeca to contest soul that resulted in a 4-for-1 in favor of Nongshim. Only Kiin’s Sylas lived but he was able to buy a ton of time 1v2 to delay the dragon take. Eventually Nongshim took it but this allowed Afreeca to rush the baron which forced Nongshim to contest, Afreeca aced them and won the game right there. Wild one that Nongshim are going to want back, especially because this was maybe Bay’s best game of the season.

Dread got off to another good start on Olaf in game two but Nongshim punched back when they found opportunities to. Afreeca stacked the first three dragons but Nongshim were ready at the fourth, took a fight, and won it cleanly to take gold lead by a few thousand gold. Nongshim took the baron and ballooned their gold lead to over 5000, and picked up their second drake (5th in the game). At about the 30 minute mark, Nongshim were preparing for baron in about a minute and warding but Kellin got caught warding and instead of letting him die, Nongshim decided to pile into the fight which they lost 4-for-1. Deokdam was able to pick one off as Afreeca went over to the baron which would prevent them from picking it up. Afreeca reset and then got to the ocean soul dragon first to have better position, Afreeca won the fight  5-for-2 including a quadra kill for Dread’s Olaf. Afreeca won the next fight, took the baron, and eventually won the game.

I don’t know if these two teams have just been watching the LPL or what but this was like watching Sean Landeta and Pat McAfee punting back and forth to each other. We got our Afreeca win here but we absolutely got lucky. Nongshim probably should have won both of these games but continue to show problems in the mid and late game.

DAMWON vs Hanwha Life (Net: +1.565 units)

Game one of this series was a clinic in winning the map. I mentioned in my writeup yesterday that DAMWON are still exceptional in kill-agnostic economy and it showed in this one as they constantly ran Hanwha around the map and won the game 8 kills to Hanwha’s 12. Hanwha picked up first herald, first blood, first tower, first dragon and never lead by more than 1300 gold. *chef’s kiss*

Game two as an utter shellacking with DAMWON jumping out to one of their patented 3000+ gold leads at 20 minutes on the back of a ridiculous 11/0/11 Zoe game by ShowMaker.

Hanwha tried to battle in this one and it looked like they had the momentum but even after an 0/6/0 start for Khan’s Quinn it never really felt like DAMWON were in danger of losing this weirdly enough.

Team is good…. don’t know what else to say.

Team WE vs RNG (Net: no action)

This was a series where one team played up and the other had an off day which made it look pretty lopsided. RNG were on fire today, Wei in particular and to no one’s surprise. Everything seemed to be working for them. Team WE had a few really questionable decisions in game one and were just out skirmished in a few high leverage situations in game two.

Both of these teams are excellent and I’m not changing my evaluation on either of them too much on this series it’s just a bummer that we didn’t get a more competitive one here considering the level these two teams have been playing at.

eStar vs LNG (Net: -1.08 units)

Methodical wins by LNG. Not much else to say. Light and Iwandy are really good.


Excel vs MAD (Net: -0.5 units)

Schalke 04 vs SK Gaming (Net: +1.0 units)

G2 Esports vs Astralis (Net: no action)

Rogue vs Misfits (Net: +0.5 units)

Fnatic vs Vitality (Net: -0.5 units)

Cloud 9 vs 100 Thieves (Net: 0)

Covered 100T futures exposure with C9 hedge. Bummer on the reverse sweep but 100T screwed themselves not winning game three when C9 gifted that draft to them.


LPL Net Total: -1.08 units

LCK Net Total: +6.065 units

LEC Net Total: +0.5 units

LCS Lock-In Net Total: (pending)


Daily Net Total: (pending)


LOL Pro League (China)

Week 4 – Day 6


Factoid of the Day: The Time Total has gone UNDER in 16 of the last 18 games.


TT Gaming +437 (+1.5 maps @ +126, -1.5 @ +1115)


Victory Five -714 (-1.5 maps @ -161, +1.5 @ -5000)


Total Maps Played: 2.5 (over +168 / under -217)

Kill Total: 25.5 (over -105 / under -123)

Kill Spread: +7.5 @ -101 / -7.5 @ -128

Team Kill Totals: 8.5 / 15.5

Time Total: 31:00 (over +107 / under -139)

Starting Lineups:

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

TT – Chelizi (14), Xiaopeng (19), Twila (19), SamD (10), Teeen (7)

V5 – Invincible (debut), Weiwei (8), Mole (7), y4 (15), ppgod (15)

Victory Five are starting Invincible from their academy roster. I haven’t had the time to really watch any LDL yet this season but as the year goes on and I get some time during the offseason I tend to look into at least the top teams or star players. From the few bits I managed to dig up he looks pretty good and statistically (with a VERY rudimentary model) he’s the #2 top lane in the LDL despite his team only winning about half their games so far. Interesting prospect for sure and Chelizi isn’t exactly the most threatening person to debut against.

I’ll keep this one simple. TT’s players have shown flashes here and there but TT as a team seem to have absolutely no idea what to do in the mid game with or without a lead, and they haven’t had many of those. Victory Five are one of the best early game teams in the world. I have a hard time not seeing V5 completely run this series over even with a new player in the lineup. I typically stay away in spots like this but even the model is seeing some value on Victory Five even at this number. We’ll take a shot on the spread.

Other Markets:



Under time totals have been absolutely crushing in the LPL and we’ve got V5 here. 31 is a low number and it’s juiced but I’ll be playing it regardless for a half stake. I’ll take the under in kills as well.


My Picks:


Map Spread: Victory Five -1.5 maps @ -161 (1.61 units)

Time Total: Map 1 UNDER 31:00 @ -139 (0.695 units)

Time Total: Map2  UNDER 31:00 @ -139 (0.695 units)

Time Total: Map 3 UNDER 31:00 @ -139 (0.695 units)

Kill Total: Map 1 UNDER 25.5 @ -123 (0.615 units)

Kill Total: Map 2 UNDER 25.5 @ -123 (0.615 units)

Kill Total: Map 3 UNDER 25.5 @ -123 (0.615 units)


Invictus Gaming +125 (+1.5 maps @ -278, -1.5 @ +399)


FunPlus Phoenix -156 (-1.5 maps @ +209, +1.5 @ -625)


Total Maps Played: 2.5 (over -122 / under -105)

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

Kill Spread: +3.5 @ -118 / -3.5 @ -111

Team Kill Totals: 12.5 / 14.5

Time Total: 33:00 (over +141 / under -185)

Starting Lineups:

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

IG – TheShy (8), XUN (15), Rookie (3), Wink (4), Baolan (8)

FPX – Nuguri (3), Bo (3), Doinb (8), Lwx (5), Crisp (6)

Model showing a slight value on FPX here but I’m just going to pass on a side in this series. I think this is a fair number. Invictus have a tendency to play up to their competition so they get a slight bump but FunPlus have also looked exceedingly clean other than a few weird teleport calls. They’re only going to get better the more comfortable Nuguri gets in his new setting.

This should be a VERY entertaining series to watch. Nuguri and TheShy finally get to face off! Another Rookie vs Doinb duel… two rookie junglers on teams with a bunch of successful veterans… this should be awesome!

If you have a strong feel one way or the other in this series consider the 2-0’s and alternate kill spread wagers for that team. I’ll just be passing.

Other Markets:




27.5 is a fairly high total especially after the downward adjustments we’ve seen. This is a bit inflated based on a few outlier games by each team, particularly in their most recent series’. The under is definitely the play here but I could just as easily see this turning into an absolute slobberknocker particularly if these solo laners just have at it. It’s too soft a number to pass on even though I could see this turning into an absolute bonanza rather easily so let’s take half a stake on the under.


My Picks:


Kill Total: Map 1 UNDER 27.5 @ -111 (0.555 units)

Kill Total: Map 2 UNDER 27.5 @ -111 (0.555 units)

Kill Total: Map 3 UNDER 27.5 @ -111 (0.555 units)



LOL Champions Korea

Week 3 – Day 4


Fredit BRION +290 (+1.5 maps @ -118, -1.5 @ +767)


DRX -370 (-1.5 maps @ -109, +1.5 @ -1667)


Total Maps Played: 2.5 (over +128 / under -164)

Kill Total: 22.5 (over -110 / under -119)

Kill Spread: +6.5 @ -110 / -6.5 @ -119

Team Kill Totals: 7.5 / 13.5

Time Total: 32:00 (over -118 / under -111)

Team Rosters (LCK doesn’t announce starting lineups):

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

BRO – Hoya (7), UmTi (2), Lava (9), Hena (7), Delight (6)

DRX – Kingen (9), Pyosik (5), SOLKA (3), BAO (12), Becca (10)

We talked a lot about DRX on The Gold Card Podcast this week and this was an almost unanimous decision for Pick of the Week. This DRX team is fraudulent. They aren’t bad but they’ve only earned a single “quality” win this season and almost all of them have been from deficits where the other team botches their lead. I do like what the DRX coaching staff is doing by keeping things easy to execute and drafting very well for this team but this is an obscene price for two teams that could very easily be 9th and 10th by season’s end.

Brion had their Cinderella moment against DAMWON and have mostly been uninspiring in their other series. This is more a bet against the price on DRX than a particular endorsement of Brion.

Other Markets:


A few series in and I’m still trying to figure out exactly what Brion want to be doing most of the time. DRX I know want to play things slow and steady which tends towards unders but Brion have been feisty in some games and not in others. It’s difficult to project game script in this one so I’m just going to pass on derivatives and just stick to a side.


My Picks:


Map Spread: Brion +1.5 maps @ -118 (2.36 units)

Moneyline: Brion +290 (1 unit)

Map Spread: Brion -1.5 maps @ +767 (0.5 units)



Liiv Sandbox +518 (+1.5 maps @ +155, -1.5 @ +1300)


Gen.G -769 (-1.5 maps @ -200)


Total Maps Played: 2.5 maps (over +195 / under -256)

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

Kill Spread: +7.5 @ +100 / -7.5 @ -130

Team Kill Totals: 7.5 / 15.5

Time Total: 31:00 (over -132 / under +101)

Team Rosters (LCK doesn’t announce starting lineups):

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

LSB – Summit (4), Croco (3), FATE (6), Route (11), Leo (10), Effort (4)

GEG – Rascal (6), Flawless (13), Clid (6), Bdd (10), Ruler (2), Life (3)

The past two series have been absolute heartbreakers for Sandbox. Summit has been an absolute maniac, particularly on Gnar and has been dominating all-around this season regardless of the game state. I’m impressed that he managed to keep his cool after the tilter of a game three loss against DRX. Then they nearly brought it back in both games of their T1 series on Wednesday only to just miss out on taking a win there.

This team is close… Sandbox’s underlying metrics absolutely suggest a better record than what they have so far and while you could argue that you do need to win the games at some point, they’re doing a lot of the right things and have a lot of incredibly talented players to work with. Stats and metrics aren’t everything but it’s hard to ignore a team that’s roughly #5 in the league that has a worse record than three teams they’re better than by those measures. Just something to keep an eye on.

Gen.G tried out Flawless for the first time this season against DAMWON and while he had a few moments that stuck out, he was mostly a solid performer. Remember who he was playing against…

It’s hard not to take Gen.G here especially because Bdd has looked much better after an uncharacteristically rough start and with the Ruler gap that might present itself in this series (seriously how good is he…). The thing is, with the level that Summit is playing at I’m wary of laying a big number like this. This guy is straight up 1v9ing right now and just hasn’t been able to drag his team to the finish line. It might be a tall ask for him to do it against a team as good as Gen.G though especially because Rascal has been great this season as well.

My gut is telling me Sandbox get a game here and their metrics suggest that they’re a significantly better team than their record. I think they’re worth a small position at these obscene numbers.

Other Markets:




This is a low team total for Sandbox who are doing well against their team totals in the betting markets (average of 10 as underdogs) and they’ve been good against the spread as well. Either is a fine choice. I show a slightly higher edge on the team kill total so that’s where I’ll be.


My Picks:


Map Spread: Sandbox +1.5 maps @ +155 (1 unit)

Moneyline: Sandbox +518 (0.25 units)

Map Spread: Sandbox -1.5 maps @ +1300 (0.1 units)

Kill Total (team): Map 1 Sandbox OVER 7.5 kills @ -119 (0.595 units)

Kill Total (team): Map 2 Sandbox OVER 7.5 kills @ -119 (0.595 units)

Kill Total (team): Map 3 Sandbox OVER 7.5 kills @ -119 (0.595 units)


League of Legends European Championship

Week 2 – Day 2


I’ll still be keeping the LEC mostly light until I get a better feel for who most of these middle of the table teams are and how they want to play. There’s not a lot you can defnitively take from the first two weeks of play.


Excel -175 vs Astralis +137


Kill Total: 22.5 (over -118 / under -110)

Kill Spread: -4.5 @ -115 / +4.5 @ -114

Team Kill Totals: 13.5 / 9.5

Time Total: 33:00 (over -116 / under -112)

After coming out with a weird look in week one, Excel got down early in their first week two game to MAD Lions and never really recovered despite picking up a few power picks in Gragas, Alistar, and Kaisa. Astralis had to face G2 and managed to keep it close for about 10 minutes before this one went off the rails on them.

In many ways this is a tail of two struggling teams but one had significantly higher expectations going into the season (Excel). A lot of people would have taken Excel in this position having seen no games from these teams.

My individual player model grades these two teams as essentially even but I do think it’s fair to look at their opening schedules. Excel have faced MAD, G2, Rogue, and Schalke. G2 and Rogue look like the class of the LEC, MAD looks solid, and Schalke are at least pretty good. Astralis have faced G2, MAD Lions for their common opponents and also Vitality and SK Gaming. People are down on Vitality right now, I am as well, but it’s fair to say Excel have faced at least a slightly more difficult schedule.

This number looks like a good price to me and given that it’s tough to see exactly who these teams are in terms of identity I’m going to stay away from the other markets as well. I’m going to pass this game.

My Picks:

No wagers

Misfits -222 vs SK Gaming +177


Kill Total: 22.5 (over -119 / under -110)

Kill Spread: -5.5 @ -139 / +5.5 @ +106

Team Kill Totals: 13.5 / 9.5

Time Total: 32:00 (over -135 under +104)

Misfits have looked explosive in their wins against MAD Lions and Fnatic but much less so in their losses to Vitality and Rogue. SK Gaming handled Astralis, played a competitive match against G2, lost rather decisively to Rogue, and kept it close against Schalke yesterday before falling apart in the mid to late game.

These two teams have been wildly inconsistent in terms of the overall quality of their play but at least with Misfits we know that aggression appears to be the modus operandi. Misfits have had significantly stronger kill-agnostic economy metrics as a team and appear to be the side here but -222 is simply too expensive a price to pay for me this early in the season.

I like the kill total over here. SK haven’t exactly been bloody winners or losers but Misfits have been extremely high kill when they do win and given that I do think they’re the side here their team kill total over is worth a position.

My Picks:

Kill Total (team): Misfits OVER 13.5 kills @ -108 (1.08 units)


Team Vitality +279 vs Rogue -385


Kill Total: 21.5 (over -120 / under -109)

Kill Spread: +7.5 @ -119 / -7.5 @ -110

Team Kill Totals: 13.5 / 7.5

Time Total: 31:00 (over -145 under +111)

Rogue look like the class of the LEC at the moment while Vitality have struggled to put everything together but haven’t necessarily looked bad.

Interestingly, these teams are both in my top three overall rated teams in the individual player model just based on this season which suggests that Vitality are probably better than their current position in the standings. My team economy/objective model has Rogue rated as the best team in the league through just a small four game sample but still suggests a small position on Vitality here, specifically the kill spread. Rogue have been clinically choking out teams. They have no ego whatsoever. This team is absolutely dangerous but given the way that they play there’s a good chance Vitality at least cover the spread here. Don’t overreact to the Fnatic blowout yesterday.

My Picks:

Kill Spread: Vitality +7.5 kills @ -119 (1.19 units)

Moneyline: Vitality +279 (0.25 units)


FC Schalke 04 +350 vs G2 Esports -526


Kill Total: 27.5 (over -119 / under -110)

Kill Spread: +8.5 @ -103 / -8.5 @ -127

Team Kill Totals: 8.5 / 17.5

Time Total: 31:00 (over -143 under +110)

Schalke look very similar to the team we saw last year. In some games they look tremendous, in others not so much. G2 have mostly dominated with a splash of clowning around, something we’ve come to expect from them. For as fun as G2 have been as a fantasy option, I think Rogue have played significantly better overall League of Legends through our small four game sample. Still, G2 are one of the elite teams in the league.

I’m going to be on Schalke here. Like Invictus in the LPL, G2 beat themselves more often than you’d think and that combined with Schalke’s ceiling performances make it worth taking a shot on the underdogs here given the price.

My Picks:

Kill Spread: Schalke +8.5 kills @ -103 (1.03 units)

Moneyline: Schalke +350 (0.5 units)


Fnatic -185 vs MAD Lions +148


Kill Total: 27.5 (over -123 / under -105)

Kill Spread: -4.5 @ -119 / +4.5 @ -110

Team Kill Totals: 15.5 / 11.5

Time Total: 33:00 (over +120 / under -156)

What a tale of two teams for Fnatic so far this season. After a start where they legitimately looked very bad for their first two games they’ve had back-to-back wins where they completely dominated start to finish. MAD Lions have been solid outside of an opening day loss to G2 and a match against Misfits that seemingly just got away from them after a great start.

MAD are the side here to me. Fnatic looked like hot garbage just two games ago and while I had them pegged as the #2 in the LEC I’m not convinced that Fnatic are completely past their historically rough starts just because they’ve pieced together two solid wins. Fnatic should be favored just not by this much. Small value on the underdogs here.

My Picks:

Moneyline: MAD Lions +148 (0.5 units)


LCS Lock-In Tournament

Semifinals – Day 2


Evil Geniuses +206 (+1.5 maps @ -109, +2.5 @ -435, -1.5 @ +372, -2.5 @ +983)


Team Liquid -256 (-1.5 maps @ -119, -2.5 @ +305, +1.5 @ -556, +2.5 @ -3333)


Total Maps Played: 3.5 (over -278 / under +209), 4.5 (over +191 / under -250)

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

Kill Spread: +5.5 @ -119 / -5.5 @ -110

Team Kill Totals: 9.5 / 14.5

Time Total: 33:00 (over +123 / under -161)


Evil Geniuses have looked great so far in this tournament especially Impact who has been the MVP of the event in my opinion but this is still a high variance roster. They’re more than capable of winning this series on a good day it’s just a matter of how likely you think it is that they have a good day. With a week to prepare I’ll take Liquid, their staff, and their individual players every time. Their fundamentals set the bar so high for what you need to win in a game and asking teams to do that three times is a tough ask unless Liquid completely fall apart. We have seen a down game from Liquid in this tournament (vs 100 Thieves) so they’re not immaculate but taking down one game is much different than taking down three.

Just using a value evaluation here, the Liquid map price is currently at -172 or 63.235% implied chance of success. Pricing that out over a series gives us the following results:


IF you believe that map price is accurate, the +EV positions based on the map price here include the following:

  • Liquid Series Moneyline: 73.681% vs implied 71.9% (1.781% edge)
  • Evil Geniuses Series Moneyline: 46.1% vs implied 32.7% (13.4% edge)
  • Evil Geniuses +1.5 maps: 65.564% vs implied 52.2% (13.364% edge)
  • Evil Geniuses +2.5 maps: 85.873% vs implied 81.3% (4.573% edge)
  • Evil Geniuses -1.5 maps: 28.194% vs implied 21.2% (6.994% edge)
  • Evil Geniuses -2.5 maps: 11.0% vs implied 9.2% (1.8% edge)

If you’re going to take Liquid stick to just the series moneyline. If you’re going to take EG there is value across the board but the best options are the series moneyline and +1.5 maps with -1.5 and +2.5 maps great as well. Again this all depends on if you think that individual map implied price is accurate. In this case I think it is.

If you think EG are much more likely than 36.765% to win per map then it’s a very clear and obvious play on Evil Geniuses as it would amplify each of their already valuable positions. Folks this is a great example of the “tax” you pay to back favorites.

With a gun to my head forcing me to pick a side in this series it’d be Liquid moneyline but the thrift shopping version where I love cheap prices in the market loves Evil Geniuses here. Base your individual handicap on the assumptions above and adjust based on that.  I’ll have no positions in this series other than my hedge. Oh, and don’t play the map totals in this scenario.


Update on Futures:

After our C9 hedge covered our 100T futures exposure we’re left with just Liquid +220 for 6 units to win 19.2 units. Factoring in all of my futures positions a Liquid outright win in this tournament would net me +5.45 units. That’s my remaining leverage for this spot. I have a few options:

  • Cover my Liquid exposure with a 1.97 unit wager on Evil Geniuses. If Evil Geniuses win I go into the finals roughly net zero on futures positions and a clean slate.
  • Cover my Liquid exposure with a 1.97 unit wager on Evil Geniuses. If Liquid win I go into finals with 3.48 units of remaining Liquid leverage.
  • Let it ride. If Evil Geniuses win I end up net -6 units on futures.
  • Let it ride. If Liquid win I go into finals with 5.45 units of Liquid remaining Liquid leverage.
  • Riskier play on alternative markets like Evil Geniuses or Liquid map spreads.

Covering makes a lot more sense to do in this position especially given the odds on Evil Geniuses that we’re getting. So we’ll be going with that. If Liquid win we enter finals with 3.48 units to play with.


My Picks:


HEDGE: Evil Geniuses moneyline @ +206 (1.97 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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