Saturday, February 20th Recap

 

Nongshim RedForce vs Gen.G (Net: +1.75 units)

This was a shellacking. Not really much else to say here.

Hanwha Life Esports vs DAMWON Kia Gaming (Net: -1.39 units)

Vsta kind of took over game one with some slick roams on Nautilus in high leverage spots. His best game of the year by far… at least for the first half of it. HLE were able to turn that into big advantages and eventually the game. DAMWON managed to keep a lot of these fights really close which is impressive given the gold deficit they were playing them at.

Game two was a back-and-forth affair where Hanwha had a small gold lead for a good chunk of the first 24 minutes before DAMWON picked up a huge teamfight win at the baron. Eventually Seraphine effect kicked in and DAMWON basically couldn’t lose a late game fight.

Game three was got to see a fasting Senna supporting a… Heimerdinger. That’s right folks. Heimerdinger. Hanwha jumped out to a huge 3000+ gold lead ten minutes into game again off the back of Vsta landing ridiculous hooks on Nautilus. DWG were able to pull a counterplay when Hanwha hard committed to killing Heimerdinger bottom and flipped that into a second dragon. There were a few situations in this game where the Heimerdinger didn’t look great but big picture was getting a ton of work done. Hanwha tried to attack BeryL over and over and it seemed like everytime they’d kill him they’d end up losing the bigger fight. Kind of a neat solution to the aggressive stylings of Hanwha Life.

DAMWON were down almost the entire game in game three but it never felt like they were in danger of losing with the Senna + actual champion (not a support) scaling. Champs busted what can I say.

This was a good look for Hanwha overall and a bad look for DAMWON relative to my expectations. DAMWON are still not looking like their normal selves but they’re still managing to win games regardless which is kind of terrifying for the rest of the league. If they can get it together they’re gonna be the clear #1.

 

Excel Esports vs Astralis (Net: no action)

Misfits vs SK Gaming (Net: no action)

Team Vitality vs Rogue (Net: +0.5 units)

Fnatic vs MAD Lions (Net: -1.95 units)

Schalke 04 vs G2 Esports (Net: +0.5 units)

Parlays (Net: -0.4 units)

 

Cloud 9 vs Dignitas (Net: no action)

CLG vs Immortals (Net: -1.0 units)

TSM vs 100 Thieves (Net: +1.21 units)

Team Liquid vs Evil Geniuses (Net: no action)

FlyQuest vs Golden Guardians (Net: +1.37 units)

 

LCK Net Total: +0.36 units

LEC Net Total: -1.62 units

LCS Net Total: +3.08 units

 

 

 

Daily Net Total: +1.82 units

 


LOL Champions Korea

Week 5 – Day 5

 

 

Afreeca Freecs +130 (+1.5 maps @ -256, -1.5 @ +365)

vs

DRX -156 (-1.5 maps @ +195, +1.5 @ -556)

 

Total Maps Played: 2.5 (over -112 / under -114)

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

Kill Spread: +3.5 @ -110 / -3.5 @ -118

Team Kill Totals: 10.5 / 12.5

Time Total: 33:00 (over +102 / under -132)

 

 

 

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

 

Suggested Model Play: Afreeca moneyline +130, AF -1.5 maps +365

DRX continue to defy expectations with yet another win, this time against T1 on Friday. In my recap I mentioned that this might have been their best series of the season. I’ve talked a lot about how fraudulent this team is but I’ve also pointed out that there is a possibility that they were BOTH lucky to begin the season and actually improving. Their underlying numbers in the objective/economy model certainly haven’t done much to support that case. They’re still toward the bottom of the league in most measurables ranking below the league average in most except for baron control.

I wanted to take some time here to discuss some adjustments I’ve been making around my numbers. From what I’ve gathered so far, and it makes sense anecdotally, is leads are significantly less stable early in the season when teams aren’t as polished at closing games out. DRX have benefitted massively from this by picking superior scaling compositions in almost every game they play.  In other words, we have to give less weight to gold leads and deficits than we normally do as the year progresses. I’ve done that and DRX STILL rank in the bottom three teams in the league.

At some point a team just has something and it can’t be explained. I do think DRX are very lucky but they did just come off of their best series of the year against T1 and they’re playing a form of the game that, while not good long term, is good at the moment and that’s letting teams beat themselves. This trajectory looks a LOT like APK Prince in Spring 2020. They were essentially doing the same thing. Play slow, play controlled, don’t take risks, let other teams beat themselves. We all saw how that turned out as they ended up finishing. DRX are likely going to be in contention for a playoff spot because of the good start that they’ve had but you have to somewhat ignore the record AND ignore the statistics with this team when evaluating them. This is a team that’s better than their numbers but still not as good as their record which plants them, to me at least, somewhere in that 7th-10th range.

So how about Afreeca? Afreeca have lost their past three series but those were to Gen.G, Hanwha, and a weird one against KT Rolster. On the surface the KT loss looks pretty bad but I think we all get a little biased when it comes to inconsistent teams like Afreeca and KT. It seems like everytime I think Afreeca have turned the corner they crash and burn for a series or two, and when I think they’re done they’re back. Their underlying numbers are roughly league average in a clump of teams with, coincidentally, DRX.

I think you all know where this is going. I made it my pick of the week on The Gold Card Podcast this week. Afreeca moneyline.

These two teams are evenly matched and I’d say Afreeca SHOULD be the better team but even if they’re not I just can’t make DRX a favorite this large no matter how I twist it. Eventually this DRX house of cards is going to come tumbling down. They can’t keep winning doing what they’re doing. It might not be in this match but until I see a reason otherwise I just have to bet based on what I’ve seen.

Other Markets:

 

Kill Total Model Projections:

Odds-Weighted: 25.109

Time-Implied: 25.482

Underdog Win: 26.444

“Gelati” Total Projection: 25.074 kills

Combined % of Games OVER Kill Total: 51.58% (DRX 40% / AF 63.16%)

Volatility Rating: DRX 0.35752 / AF 0.030025 (League AVG: 0.3215)

Suggested Model Play: none

 

These two teams have been fairly low volatility when it comes to their kill totals. When the number is set at such a low total  compared to the projection you do need to keep an eye out for why that might be the case and in this situation it’s a reasonable point being made. If you assume a DRX win based on their kills per win and Afreecas kill per loss we’re looking at roughly a 24.03 kill total. An Afreeca win  and DRX loss would amount to 26.444. Weighting those for odds and rating as I have above gives us 25.12 and 25.31. When you have one team that’s fairly bloody and one that isn’t, particularly in losses, it’s crucial to ask yourself about the outcome of the game. I do think we’re going to see an over here. In fact we’ve seen twice as many overs as unders since returning from the break. Maybe the vacation had something to do with it or this patch but we’re seeing bloodier games on average in the LCK this week. Small sample but I do think it might speak to something going on the scrim culture. I like the over.

 

Time Total Projection:

Combined AVG Game Time: 33.239 minutes

Odds Weighted / Rating Weighted: 33.29  / 33.17

Combined % of Games OVER Time Total: 66.21% (DRX 64% / AF 68.42%)

Volatility Rating: DRX 0.14430 / AF 0.16351 (League AVG: 0.14498)

Suggested Model Play: Time Total OVER 33:00 @ +102 (double digit edge on market)

Both of these teams are not only averaging high game times in wins and losses but about 66% of their games have gone OVER the 33 minute market total here. We’re getting plus money on it as well. Gimme gimme.

Other derivative options that I like here:

Afreeca first blood (large on market price). Afreeca first herald, high single digit edge on market price. Afreeca 73.68% first blood vs DRX’s 48%

All told we’ll have the time total over, kill total over, and Afreeca first blood as well as that side in our portfolio.

 

My Picks:

 

Moneyline: Afreeca +130 (1.5 units)

Map Spread: Afreeca -1.5 maps @ +365 (0.5 units)

Time Total: Map 1 OVER 33:00 @ +102 (1 unit)

Time Total: Map 2 OVER 33:00 @ +102 (1 unit)

Time Total: Map 3 OVER 33:00 @ +102 (1 unit)

Kill Total: Map 1 OVER 23.5 @ +104 (0.5 units)

Kill Total: Map 2 OVER 23.5 @ -103 (0.515 units)

Kill Total: Map 3 OVER 23.5 @ -104 (0.52 units)

Prop: Map 1 Afreeca first blood @ -120 (1.2 units)

Prop: Map 2 Afreeca first blood @ -125 (1.25 units)

Prop: Map 3 Afreeca first blood @ -123 (1.23 units)

 


 

Liiv Sandbox +311 (+1.5 maps @ +104, -1.5 @ +754)

vs

T1 -400 (-1.5 maps @ -135, +1.5 @ -1667)

 

Total Maps Played: 2.5 maps (over +140 / under -179)

Kill Total: 24.5 (over -108 / under -122)

Kill Spread: +6.5 @ -108 / -6.5 @ -122

Team Kill Totals: 8.5 / 14.5

Time Total: 31:00 (over -133 / under +103)

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

Suggested Model Play: Sandbox +1.5 maps and moneyline (huge edge on the +1.5)

Just a reminder to those that don’t already know, Prince will be the starting ADC for Sandbox moving forward (no not that Prince, yes this will be a running joke). They’ve outright released Route and Leo, didn’t even designate them for academy which is a bit of a wild move. Not even going to keep them on retainer as subs. Little wild to me but they are now all-in on Prince. We’ve seen Prince before. He was formerly known as Aries. He’s been in the Korean scene for awhile first with a few developmental teams and then BBQ Olivers in 2018, Spear in 2019 for Challengers Korea, and was picked up by FunPlus Phoenix to sub for Lwx in the LPL but never got a chance to play this season. He’s been a pretty good player in his career which has unfortunately been on mostly bad teams. While Route and Leo were far from very good they were starter caliber players in the LCK. I think Prince will likely step in and be at least that right away. He’s no super prospect or anything but he is a talented player that’s drawn the short straw a number of times throughout his career. I’d expect him to perform well given the opportunity presented to him here and he has no pressure on him with the team struggling as much as it has this season.

Sandbox remain a bit of an enigma. They’re the LCK’s version of Vitality. This team clearly has the chops and players to compete in this league, they’re way WAY better than their record but much like Vitality just continue to shoot themselves in the foot with catastrophic mistakes in the mid and late game. Sometimes with teams like this that never goes away and you end up waiting for a realization of talent that just never comes but it’s early and with the middle of the table muddied in the LCK they’re still not out of a potential playoff spot. In fact I could definitely see this team making a run for the #6 seed, especially if they knock off T1 here who are the current #6 seed. And yes, I know how unlikely that looks but you look at their data and it’s impressive.

T1 had one of their worst series of the year against DRX on Friday and capped it off by handing over Seraphine in game three. Zeus had his first rough series which was bound to happen to the young 17 year old at some point sooner rather than later. The talent is obviously there on this team but the constant roster shuffle combined with a few weird games has made this a rougher start than anybody anticipated for this T1 roster.

In a lot of ways T1 and Sandbox are similar teams. Both are immensely talented and just can’t seem to piece it all together at the same time and have struggled to get any kind of momentum going. That makes handicapping a match like this extremely difficult. If I break this down based on overall performance from this season this is a play on the underdog no question. The model makes this line -186 / +155 (if you add vig). It’s a 63 / 37% matchup. These odds minus the vig (or “true” odds) are 76.7% / 23.3%. That’s a very big difference.

There’s also the angle of which players T1 is starting and how it matches up. Summit has been very VERY good this season and I think either top laner is going to struggle with him. Effort is also familiar with a lot of the T1 players from his time there. If Clozer starts then it introduces even more volatility to this which favors the underdogs.

If you think Prince gives Sandbox any kind of boost in performance, like maybe if he performs at a league-average level, then this line is even more out of whack. Close your nose and take the underdogs here.

I like Sandbox even more with Clozer in but as I’ll mention below make sure you take the over kill total if Clozer plays as well. Look back at my last article that had a T1 match in it for a more detailed breakdown on the Faker/Clozer splits. Below is the model’s series outcome. Even if you downgrade Sandbox and upgrade T1 there’s a pretty sizeable edge on the market.

 

Other Markets:

 

Kill Total Model Projections:

Odds-Weighted: 26.594

Time-Implied: 24.144

Underdog Win: 25.438

“Gelati” Total Projection: 24.87 kills

Combined % of Games OVER Kill Total: 49.4% (T1 41.67% / LSB 57.14%)

Volatility Rating: T1 0.35659 / LSB 0.30276 (League AVG: 0.3215)

Suggested Model Play: none

 

Overs have been crushing it on this patch in general but this is yet another play on the T1 roster. If Clozer plays we take overs, if Faker plays we take unders. It didn’t work out last match but over the course of the season this has been clearly evident.

 

Time Total Projection:

Combined AVG Game Time: 32.842 minutes

Odds Weighted / Rating Weighted: 32.62 / 32.4

Combined % of Games OVER Time Total: 82.14% (T1 83.33% / LSB 80.95%)

Volatility Rating: T1 0.13480 / LSB 0.08219 (League AVG: 0.14498)

Suggested Model Play: OVER 31:00 @ -133 (massive edge)

There is a 25% gap between the market price and the amount of games that have gone under this total with these two teams. Time totals have also gone OVER more often than under since the LCK has returned from the break. This is just a really soft number. I’ll be playing it for 1.5x stakes per map. T1 aren’t even averaging below 31:00 in wins, Sandbox are averaging 34.78 in losses (median also above 33).

I also like the Sandbox team total OVER 10.5 especially if Clozer ends up playing for T1. Sandbox have gone over 10.5 kills in 76.19% of their games, the market implied odds are 54.34%. Sandbox are averaging a league high 9.14 kills per loss for the season (10.2 composite, weighted for most recent 8 games). T1 are allowing very few kills in wins though. I’ll have plenty of exposure to Sandbox already so I’m going to pass but I wanted to mention this market. If Clozer ends up playing I’ll likely play it for 1/3rd stake per map.

Sandbox first herald is a tremendous value play as well. Their 75% first herald rate is one of the best in the world (they also have a 72% overall first herald rate). T1 haven’t really been that interested in herald with just a 45.8% rate (48% overall control rate). We’re getting +123 with a 30 % gap between the two. 1.5x stake.

 

My Picks:

 

Map Spread: Sandbox +1.5 maps @ +104 (1.5 units)

Moneyline: Sandbox +311 (0.75 units)

Map Spread: Sandbox -1.5 maps @ +754 (0.25 units)

Time Total: Map 1 OVER 31:00 @ -133 (1.995 units)

Time Total: Map 2 OVER 31:00 @ -127 (1.905 units)

Time Total: Map 3 OVER 31:00 @ -123 (1.845 units)

Prop: Map 1 Sandbox first herald @ +123 (1.5 units)

Prop: Map 2 Sandbox first herald @ +123 (1.5 units)

Prop: Map 3 Sandbox first herald @ +123 (1.5 units)

 

IF CLOZER PLAYS:

Kill Total (alt): Map 1 OVER 25.5 kills @ +112 (1 unit)

Kill Total (alt): Map 2 OVER 25.5 kills @ -102 (1.02 unit)

Kill Total (alt): Map 3 OVER 25.5 kills @ +105 (1 unit)

 

This is a lot of action on this match. I don’t normally like to have this much exposure to a single match but there were just a ton of soft numbers in this one and they’re mostly not dependent on a single outcome so we’ll trust the data.


 

LOL Championship Series (LCS)

Week 3 – Day 3

 

 

Dignitas +212 vs Team Solo Mid -312

 

Kill Total: 23.5 (over -114 / under -114)

Kill Spread: +7.5 @ -127 / -7.5 @ -103

Team Kill Totals: 7.5 / 14.5

Time Total: 33:00 (over +108 / under -141)

 

I’m still not jumping to conclusions about TSM this early on but I think at this point it’s fair to say this is a completely different team than the one we saw start the season. They’ve now rattled off six wins in a row including wins against 100 Thieves, Team Liquid, and Evil Geniuses. Like most PowerOfEvil led teams they’re playing very disciplined, clean League of Legends and Bjergsen has been putting them in better positions to succeed as he gets more comfortable drafting. They’re keeping things simple and not bothering with difficult to execute compositions which gives them a huge leg up on the field right now who are very frequently beating themselves.

Dignitas got smashed by Cloud 9 yesterday to end their winning streak after beating FlyQuest on Friday.  Blaber and Perkz just took over this game completely. Spica and PowerOfEvil have a very different approach to things than those two. Dignitas have looked like a classic gatekeeper team and while I can’t believe I’m saying that about this squad it’s been the truth so far. They get completely smashed by the good teams and are competitive or winning against everyone else. Their three losses are to C9, 100T, and Liquid.

TSM are the choice here, the problem is this price is a little too rich for my blood especially in a best-of-one. It’s early in the season and I don’t normally like the prop markets nearly as much without more data to support it but we’re going to go with TSM first tower. Based on the trends above the “obvious” play looks like OVER 11.5 towers but these teams have been playing mostly competitive games from these positions. If there is a lopsided contest like I think this one will be then I like that bet significantly less. If you prefer to go that route you can get OVER 11.5 at -149 on Nitrogen.

 

My Picks:

Prop: TSM first tower @ -149 (1.49 units)

 


Immortals +111 vs FlyQuest -141

 

Kill Total: 23.5 (over -114 / under -114)

Kill Spread: +3.5 @ -105 / -3.5 @ -123

Team Kill Totals: 10.5 / 13.5

Time Total: 34:00 (over +195 / under -263)

Immortals are either doing the stomping or getting stomped. Their total averages tell the least accurate story of maybe any team in the LCS. They have the largest dichotemy between performance in wins and losses and have generally not been a part of many competitive games.  Handicapping their games largely depends on if you think they win or not which is always a challenge with the bottom half of the LCS. Immortals have losses to 100T, TSM, Dignitas, C9, and Golden Guardians (ewww). Their wins are against CLG, EG, and Liquid. I think this team is going to be decent they’re just finding their footing and maybe have begun to do that.

FlyQuest fill a similar niche, toothless in losses, and mostly clean in wins with a scattered record. FlyQuest’s wins include week one against TSM, CLG, and Golden Guardians. They’ve lost decisively to everyone else.

This is a coin flip match to me and both of these teams are bad losers meaning they put up awful performances in losses. For that reason I’m going to take a half stake on the dog but a full stake on the under 11.5 towers. The time total is the real play here but at a hyper juiced 34:00 I’m not messing around with it (hate when the books do that…). If you can find a cheap 33:00 (maybe like -160 or better) I’d hit that. Both of these teams and lose quickly.

 

My Picks:

Moneyline: Immortals +111 (0.5 units)

Prop: Total Towers Destroyed UNDER 11.5 @ -110 (1.1 units)

 


100 Thieves -769 vs Golden Guardians +466

 

Kill Total: 22.5 (over -118 / under -111)

Kill Spread: -8.5 @ -116 / +8.5 @ -112

Team Kill Totals: 15.5 / 6.5

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

 

 

Golden Guardians are awful. I’ve said it time and time again already. Until we see this team have a basic system in place they’re a borderline auto-fade. 100 Thieves have also been winning (and losing) games quickly with their committment to uptempo drafts and play. The under is a slam dunk here. IF you prefer a safer route and don’t mind laying bigger juice I don’t hate the 100T first to 10 kills at -400 either.

 

My Picks:

Time Total: UNDER 32:00 @ -143 (2.86 units) (this moved while typing it, still good at this number)

Prop: Total Towers Destroyed UNDER 11.5 @ -110 (1.1 units)

 


Team Liquid +107 vs Cloud 9 -141

 

Kill Total: 24.5 (over -111 / under -118)

Kill Spread: +1.5 @ -105 / -1.5 @ -125

Team Kill Totals: 11.5 / 12.5

Time Total: 34:00 (over +154 / under -204)

 

 

For as up and down as Liquid have looked I still think it’s fair to say these two teams are mostly evenly matched. It’s just a tale of two different constructions. Liquid’s outer laners are significantly stronger while the mid+jungle duo for Cloud 9 is arguably the best tandem in the league at any position right now. I tend to prefer mid-jungle duo’s in these situations but I do think the edge that Liquid have in the outer lanes is substantial and that they aren’t going to let C9 dominate the early game like we’ve seen against inferior squads.

I could see arguments for both sides in this one. Based entirely on performance until now I do think Cloud 9 have been the more consistent team and this could be viewed as a very cheap price but I also think Liquid are better than their performance thus far making this close to a coin flip for me.

The derivative markets for this one depend too much on who you think wins because of how drastically different these teams are. Liquid are an under machine when they’re winning, Cloud 9 overs. Both are fast but you’re paying the price on the time total. Dragons over is interesting but with how decisively these teams win games it’s usually a very clean snowball.

I’m just passing this contest, lean Liquid if I had to take a side.

 

My Picks:

 no wagers

 


Evil Geniuses -278 vs CLG +210

 

Kill Total: 25.5 (over -115 / under -114)

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

Team Kill Totals: 16.5 / 8.5

Time Total: 33:00 (over +102 / under -133)

 

Evil Geniuses are an enigma. They look so good sometimes and absolutely terrible at others. I suppose there was a certain amount of that to be expected as we went into the season and they’ve taken on that high variance “brand” and embraced it. CLG played a competitive match against Cloud 9 on Friday in Broxah’s debut before being completely smashed by Immortals yesterday. They too are inconsistent.

I don’t really know what to expect from either of these teams in a given match but I know for a fact I don’t trust Evil Geniuses as large favorites against anyone except maybe Golden Guardians. This team is simply too volatile. I was hoping we’d get a better number on the underdog kill spread but I still don’t hate that look. I do like the  kill total OVER in this contest even at the premium you’re paying for it.

 

My Picks:

Kill Total: OVER 25.5 @ -115 (1.15 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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