Wednesday, February 3rd Recap
JD Gaming vs Rogue Warriors (Net: no action)
There were a few hiccups here and there but this was a fairly thorough whooping by JDG.
TT Gaming vs eStar (Net: no action)
What a dumpster fire of a series… I honestly feel bad for ShiauC. The guy is unbelievably good but definitely overplays because he has very little faith in anyone else on this team and you can tell. Eventually that causes mistakes. If you want to watch a support try to 1v9 just tune into eStar matches.
TT came away with their second match win in a row but I’m not really getting my hopes up for this team, eStar threw away an easy game one win and this series could have been a quick 2-0 but hey, they’re better than they were a few weeks ago. Things are looking up but still treating TT as “dumpster fire tier.”
T1 vs Nongshim RedForce (Net: no action)
The debut of Zeus was a fun one and the kid looked very good against a difficult opponent in Rich. I ended up not having any action in this one because of the lineup that was trotted out by T1 for this and I’m glad that I dodged that bullet. We got another example here of why Faker’s presence in game makes such a huge difference.
Nongshim continue to improve and legitimately earned themselves another win in game two here.
Gen.G vs DRX (Net: -2.74 units)
Gen.G started Karis and you knew this one was going to blow up in our faces. Karis has been a successful challenger scene player but he looked visibly nervous in the game. He was hesitant at every turn and quite honestly didn’t do a lot in this series good or bad. Because of that, DRX were able to pull yet another one out of a hat.
I teed off about this in the Discord this morning but DRX continue to pull upsets and continue to defy any and all measure. It’s a difficult situation as a handicapper knowing that you’re dealing with a fraudulent team that continues to win. I mentioned this morning and in my previous post about them that if there was some specific thing that they were doing, some sort of proactive defense or strategy that was causing enemies to fumble against them I’d point it out and give credit to them but other than maybe Pyosik’s weird champion pool tilting people off the face of the earth it’s hard to really see what exactly is causing this to happen. As it stands, I still think this is just plain dumb luck. DRX are obviously better than I thought they were in my pre-season evaluation but this is still a team with below average metrics in just about everything that continues to steal wins.
The question is, at what point do you just throw your hands in the air and say “I don’t know anymore…” The answer is you don’t. You stick to the same process you would for any game and what will be will be. If you flip a coin heads six times in a row you still have a 50% chance of flipping it the next time, it just feels really weird when you’re in the middle of that situation. Statistically speaking, some small amount of the time you’ll have these outlier scenarios where you flip heads something like fifteen times in a row. This DRX run reminds me an awful lot of the Schalke run at the end of Summer. Sometimes these things just happen. You can’t let it affect your handicap.
LPL Net Total: 0
LCK Net Total: -2.74 units
Daily Net Total: -2.74 units
LOL Pro League (China)
Week 5 – Day 4
Invictus Gaming -1111 (-1.5 maps @ -222)
OMG +612 (+1.5 maps @ +171, -1.5 @ +1200)
Total Maps Played: 2.5 (over +210 / under -278)
Kill Total: 27.5 (over -112 / under -116)
Kill Spread: -9.5 @ -125 / +9.5 @ -103
Team Kill Totals: 17.5 / 8.5
Time Total: 31:00 (over +138 / under -182)
(Individual player model positional ranking in paranthesis, “living” number)
IG – TheShy (14), XUN (14), Rookie (4), Wink (4), Lucas (debut for 2021) (AVG Rating: using Baolan +0.1428)
OMG – Alielie (22), AKi (13), Wuming (20), Eric (6), Cold (13)(AVG Rating: -0.3258)
Lucas is getting the start over Baolan here for Invictus. We’ve seen Lucas before during the struggling run Invictus were having early last year. He was fine but the team was not in a good spot at the time. After returning to academy, IG Young proceeded to utterly destroy the competition with a blend of bottom lanes combinations that included, primarily, Lucas. The kid can play and I wouldn’t expect any sort of downgrade here especially because Wink probably played some of the pre-season with him.
Invictus are coming off of a weird series against FunPlus where they simply could not resist the urge to fight into the Olaf team and doled out one of the most ridiculous jungle performances in terms of production that I’ve ever seen. In just his second series, Bo had an insane 26 kill series including a 16-1-5, two quadrakill win on Olaf in just 23 minutes. For most people that narrative was “WHOA LOOK AT THIS STUD PROSPECT!” for others it was “Embarassing for IG to lose to like that” but to me it was “… well that’s what happens when you fight Olaf lazily.” This isn’t a new picture to me. In fact, we got to see the utter steamroller that Goredrinker Olaf can be on full display as he blew up three of our positions this weekend by himself but I digress… Invictus couldn’t say no to a fight and that’s why they lost in the fashion that they did. It was a bad look, but it’s just that, a bad look and isn’t the definition of what this team will be the rest of the season.
OMG have yet to win a match despite taking a game off of EDG on opening day (see why we don’t overreact to that?) and a game off of eStar in one of the lowest overall quality League of Legends series I’ve watched this year in any league. They played RNG close but also got whooped by a Suning team that had been struggling. OMG are sort of all over the place. This has the makings of a bottom of the table team but they’re at least fairly intelligent about how they approach the game, at least most of the time. The issue with OMG is that once the cat was out of the bag in regards to what they want to do (these tempo/global compositions) it became fairly easy to play against and/or ban out and they’ve struggled since. Simply put, OMG just lack the horses to really hang with good teams consistently.
This is well-priced line strictly from a modeling standpoint. There’s actually a small value on Invictus by my measure but this is too rich a price to pay for an Invictus team that likes to clown around a little too much and beat themselves. If you want to bet the narrative you could make the case either for the Invictus bounce-back smash spot or the “Invictus play down to their competition” angle and talk yourself into whichever side you want. I’m staying away from sides in this one.
OMG first herald is worth a shot at the price point. Invictus, weirdly enough, haven’t been a herald team even though it was a major part of their Summer turnaround to actually recognize it as “hey this might be important.” At +140 for the dogs for a tradable objective that IG put a lower priority on (38.5% herald control).
Prop: Map 1 OMG first herald @ +140 (0.25 units)
Prop: Map 2 OMG first herald @ +140 (0.25 units)
Prop: Map 3 OMG first herald @ +140 (0.25 units)
FunPlus Phoenix -385 (-1.5 maps @ -105, +1.5 @ -1667)
LNG Esports +293 (+1.5 maps @ -120, -1.5 @ +784)
Total Maps Played: 2.5 (over +125 / under -161)
Kill Total: 24.5 (over -119 / under -110)
Kill Spread: -7.5 @ -110 / +7.5 @ -119
Team Kill Totals: 15.5 / 9.5
Time Total: 32:00 (over +123 / under -161)
(Individual player model positional ranking in paranthesis, “living” number)
FPX – Nuguri (4), Bo (5), Doinb (10), Lwx (5), Crisp (7) (AVG Rating: +0.336)
LNG – Ale (1, one game), Tarzan (6), Icon (9), Light (13), Iwandy (1) (AVG Rating: +0.655)*
* this counts Ale who played one game that graded out at a ridiculously high number. This is still a +0.358 with M1kuya’s numbers in so take that for what you will.
While it’s not quite as extreme an example, LNG get my DRX award as the most overrated squad (so far) this season in the LPL. By my count, LNG have had half of their game wins (4) spoon fed to them through multiple unforced errors by their opponents. They also had a harder time with TT than anybody else did, besides Victory Five this weekend and I guess eStar this morning. We’ve seen the spectacular fashion that Invictus can lose in (see Olaf this weekend, Tristana vs LNG)[still think Invictus is a good team so some props there]. When LNG had to go up against a disciplined team in WE they struggled to get anything done with their early leads and fizzled out.
So no, they’re not quite as fraudulent as DRX are. LNG have some things to hang their hats on. Their kill-agnostic economy is decent, they have some strong individual players. I’m just skeptical about how they’ve won a lot of their games and it hasn’t exactly been against the strongest competition, at least on the days they played them. LNG remind me of the Chicago Bears in the NFL this year. They get off to a hot start thanks to some terrible performances by their opponents and it all came crashing down. Maybe it won’t quite be that dramatic but they’re certainly primed for it until I see otherwise.
Now LNG are introducing Ale to the equation. Technically this will be his second game this split but for those that don’t know, Ale was formerly known as Natural, and at times was a standout talent on Dominus last year. He’s a talented player but I do think has been a tad overrated, particularly by the broadcast. It’s fairly easy to look much better on a terrible team and I think we might have a case of that going on here. Look at his matches against the good top laners in the league and he couldn’t hold a candle to them individually in most cases. Natural graded out as the 14th rated top laner in my individual player model and more or less defined “league average” along with Biubiu, Curse, and Morgan in my model last season. It’s likely an upgrade over M1kuya but I wouldn’t make a big deal about it until we see reason otherwise. For those curious, M1kuya has essentially been that same “league average” top laner this season but on a “winning” team just for comparison.
FunPlus are just rolling. There’s not much to really say about last series, which felt like a solo queue game with the challenger Olaf jungle smurfing in gold. I want to give Bo credit for going absolutely ballistic but the truth is that Invictus kind of just played directly into it. Still, props for one of the most insane fantasy days I’ve ever seen from a jungler. Nuguri continues to improve and build chemistry with this squad as well. Doinb is back to playing the meta but also mixing in his specialty picks from deep in the tool chest. Even from a statistical standpoint FunPlus are excellent. They’re in the top tier of teams in kill-agnostic gold per minute and differentials, second only to TOP in 10-15 min gold per minute and 15-20 min gold per minute and unlike a lot of the middle of the table teams with good looking economic stats, they’re ALSO severely limiting their opponents income so it’s cutting both ways. What’s scary is that I think this team is only going to get better.
FunPlus are the play here. Not only do we have the soft-ish schedule for LNG, their mediocre performance against WE, even with a lead, but FunPlus are trending upward. Their film also looks a lot better already and still has room to improve. LNG are also bringing in Ale (Natural) for just his second series and he’ll be tested immediately by Nuguri who continues to improve in his new surroundings every match.
The model also happens to agree with me on this one. Even if I remove that last outlier match vs Invictus from the equation entirely, FPX are still showing as a moderate value at this number. I’ll take the favorites even at what looks like a lofty price.
This is a relatively low total for the LPL which stuck out but after looking deeper at it I’m little less confident in an over play than I initially was. FPX have been one extreme or the other a bit too much for me to want to play this. I’d lean toward the over but pass.
Time total is appropriately juiced and doesn’t show much value.
The model flagged under 12.5 towers destroyed but given the volatility of the game script here I’m going to abstain this time around.
Moneyline: FunPlus -385 (3.85 units)
Map Spread: FunPlus -1.5 maps @ -105 (1.05 units)
LOL Champions Korea
Week 4 – Day 2
Afreeca Freecs +238 (+1.5 maps @ -145, -1.5 @ +597)
Hanwha Life Esports -294 (-1.5 maps @ +114, +1.5 @ -1111)
Total Maps Played: 2.5 (over +119 / under -152)
Kill Total: 23.5 (over -109 / under -120)
Kill Spread: -5.5 @ -13 / +5.5 @ -104
Team Kill Totals: 14.5 / 8.5
Time Total: 32:00 (over -135 / under +104)
(Individual player model positional ranking in paranthesis, living number)
AF – Kiin (3), Dread (9), Fly (6), Bang (3), Lehends (3) (AVG Rating: +0.1352)
HLE – Morgan (11), DuDu (6), Arthur (13), Chovy (1), Deft (4), Vsta (7) (AVG Rating: +0.13)
Oh boy this is a mind twister….
So Afreeca came out and showed the upstart rookies of T1 what happens when you aren’t clean in the LCK, you get punched in the mouth. In some respects they’re starting to look like good old Afreeca again. Fundamentally sound, unimpressive, grinding out an honest day’s work like Joey Knish in Rounders but we’re not that far removed from a turbulent start to the season. So is this just the correction to expectation or is the rollercoaster just lifting us up the hill again? I think it’s probably more likely the former than the latter but I’m treading cautiously with the Freecs.
Hanwha Life have become the darlings of the dance through the first few weeks in the LCK. Everyone wanted to see Chovy unlocked and we’re getting that… to some extent. Hanwha have been a very bloody team this season, especially for the LCK. I do think it’s important to be careful to separate teams that are fantasy producers or profit centers from what’s working in the betting space. Bloody does not always mean good League of Legends.
So are Hanwha playing good League of Legends?
I think it’s fair to say yes they are but maybe not to quite the level that it looks like.
My concern with Hanwha is still the other pieces. Arthus has actually been very good in his first few weeks in the LCK and has steadily improved in that time. His metrics look worse than I feel he’s actually played given that he’s been more of a driving force for action than a pure efficiency jungle (think Karsa vs SofM). Nevertheless I’ve been impressed with him. The top lane situation has been lukewarm between DuDu and Morgan. Vsta still leaves a lot to be desired but he’s also playing in a relatively new role so maybe time will help. Deft has been solid as a rock.
So my question is what happens when Chovy isn’t going berserk? I understand that betting against Chovy doing Chovy things hasn’t been a profitable endeavor for those that chose to partake in it but I wonder what Hanwha looks like if other teams stop getting into LPL style bar fights with them. Hanwha are really only forcing the action part of the time. It’s not entirely their own engineering so I wonder what happens when the league as a whole cleans up as the season progresses. Maybe it’ll make Hanwha better? Maybe worse? Who knows…
Afreeca have struggled mightily to “punch up” to the elite teams in the LCK over the past year or so but 1) I’m not putting Hanwha in that tier yet and 2) we’re not entirely sure that will be the case with this Afreeca team again this season or not. To me, Afreeca have slightly better players overall and we saw how they handled a more aggressive approach in their series against T1, they stabilized and won albeit with a little help. Hanwha and the “young guns” iteration of T1 are very VERY similar looking teams to me; very talented but a little wild. In this case I’d argue that T1 are a more talented version outside of Chovy.
I’m backing the dogs here but it’s mostly because of the price. Typically I don’t like Afreeca in spots exactly like this but I’m not entirely buying Hanwha yet and we just saw Afreeca handle a more aggressive, scrappy team (young T1) very well. I also think that Afreeca are strong in the places I have the most questions about Hanwha in the bottom and top lanes.
Afreeca have been perfect against their 8.5 average team total as underdogs this season (vs DWG, NS, and T1) and have covered in 9 out of 13 total games. Given how blood Hanwha games have been that makes a lot of sense as a more conservative way to attack this market. I’m already going to have plenty of exposure to Afreeca but if you choose to go this route it makes a lot of sense given the situation.
Somewhat correlated to that play is the overall kill total over. I’m less optimistic on that one in this case just because of how Afreeca have been winning (low kill, disciplined games).
Map Spread: Afreeca +1.5 maps @ -145 (1.45 units)
Moneyline: Afreeca +238 (0.75 units)
Map Spread: Afreeca -1.5 maps @ +597 (0.25 units)
Fredit BRION +271 (+1.5 maps @ -125, -1.5 @ +680)
KT Rolster -334 (-1.5 maps @ -102, +1.5 @ -1429)
Total Maps Played: 2.5 (over +128 / under -164)
Kill Total: 23.5 (over -108 / under -122)
Kill Spread: +5.5 @ -110 / -5.5 @ -119
Team Kill Totals: 9.5 / 13.5
Time Total: 32:00 (over -123 / under -105)
(Individual player model positional ranking in paranthesis, living number)
BRO – Hoya (8), UmTi (2), Chieftain (1, small sample), Lava (8), Hena (7), Delight (4)
(AVG Rating: +0.477)
KT – Doran (1), Bonnie (12), Blank (11), Ucal (4), Hybrid (9), Zzus (10) (AVG Rating: -0.282)
Unfortunately for us KT laid an egg on Sunday morning against Nongshim. The long and short of it is that they just looked way more out of sorts than they had in matches prior. It happens and while I did think it warranted a slight downgrade, I’m not changing my big picture evaluation of this team by one “off” series. It just sucks that it happened when we backed them big in a great value spot.
Brion have been looking a lot like APK last season; smart and overall capable but lacking talent. Much like Rogue Warriors in the LPL, they had a tremendous upset victory over top dogs DAMWON Kia (RW upset TOP) and haven’t done much since. That said, their last series was probably their best one since that DAMWON series… and they still lost. Sure, Brion probably should have won BOTH of the losses they had to DRX in that match, but they didn’t and perhaps that’s indicative of what we’re working with here.
How far along the “good” spectrum do you have KT and how far along the “bad” spectrum is Brion? That’s the handicap here. I don’t think Brion are quite to the Jin Air or bottom of the LPL level of bad. This is a better team, so far at least, than either of the dumpster fire scenarios from the end of Summer LCK last season with Seol Hae One and Hanwha Life. The problem is that the field is more competitive. On film they’re not a bad team at all. From that perspective, this becomes more about how good or bad you think KT Rolster are.
KT have had some really disappointing losses this season but their kill-agnostic and generalized economy metrics are stronger than a lot of the teams around them in the standings wwhich suggests that they’re doing a lot of the fundamental things well and just need to clean up some things here and there. Doran is also playing out of his damn mind since a rough match one showing and currently grades out as the LCK’s #1 top laner in my individual player model.
KT are the play here despite their recent struggles.
Pass on these. This game script is fairly difficult to pin down as I’m still trying to figure out exactly who Brion are as a team.
Moneyline: KT Rolster -334 (1.67 units)
Map Spread: KT Rolster -1.5 maps @ -102 (0.51 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.
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(all lines from Nitrogen unless noted otherwise)