Wednesday, January 20th Recap
Suning vs RareAtom (Net: +3.195 units)
This was a fairly competitive looking series and a few of the fights were almost pulled out of a hat by Suning, but their lack of willingness to be the proactive team on the map is starting to be exposed by stronger teams. One of the Clement made one of the funnier jokes on cast so far this season saying (paraphrasing) “They’re not looking for you. They’re not calling you. They’re not going to kill you. They’re not Liam Neeson.” I couldn’t agree more.
I was beating the Suning drum all Summer long saying that they were underrated which was true, but they are far from a flawless team. They seemingly refuse to play through mid+jungle priority plays. SofM is one of the most efficient junglers on the planet but the combination of he and Angel aren’t one that will transfer their advantages and that manifested itself in the way Suning had to play out a lot of their games last Summer and at Worlds. Of the LPL Summer playoff teams they had the second lowest percentage of their wins grade as “quality” wins. The ability to pull yourself from a deficit and problem solve your way out of situations is definitely a strong skill to have but it can also hint at underlying problems. Suning struggle to get leads sometimes and even when they do, they have a lot of trouble growing those leads. This isn’t a new problem.
RareAtom weren’t perfect in this series but they attacked Suning’s lack of willingness to contest objectives by drafting uptempo comps and playing in much the same way they did all of last year. Part of why I like this team so much is that they consistently jump out to early leads and control the pace of the game. That’s repeatable. Now sure, they had their fair share of thrown games last Summer but that’s an easier thing to fix than the inability to engineer leads to begin with.
Suning are still going to be a good team, make no mistake, but they’ve got to show some more willingness to be proactive. The LPL tends to be slow to adjust but at this point eyes have been on them and everyone knows what to do. They’re going to have to make some adjustments or they’ll be in trouble.
Invictus Gaming vs eStar (Net: +2.0 units)
Quick note not really related to this game: It’s fascinating to me to see the evolution of the meta to start including Xayah in the bottom lane. When the game has become more bottom lane centric with the play making carries I like the adjustment to the very difficult to gank Xayah. I wonder if we start seeing some Ezreal too or if the lack of early game presence is just going to be too detrimental.
Isn’t it the most Invictus thing ever that they’ve only won on a pick that most of the world is struggling to win with? (Gnar)
eStar opened with the Galio+Camille wombo combo, Invictus matched globals with Pantheon and Twisted Fate. This was a game that looked closer than it actually was. eStar won out on a few of the early exchanges with their strong skirmish champions but Invictus were winning on the map and had stronger economy to keep them in the gold lead. Invictus out teamfought this with a Twisted Fate on their team which says about all you really need to know about eStars prospects of winning game one.
Game two had a hard engage compo from eStar with Ornn, Hecarim, Galio and Orianna to support the Kaisa dive. Simple to execute, neat idea. Invictus level one invaded, killed H4cker, and then turned that into a dive bottom to deny a double wave. This game was out of hand already. It was good to see Invictus pick a lane to play around.
ShiauC finally looked mortal in this series making a few plays that looked a little bit tilt-y. Baolan redeemed himself for the rough start he’s had to start the season in this series.
Liiv Sandbox vs Afreeca (Net: -2.77 units)
Slow start to game one with no action really until the 10:40 herald fight where Afreeca picked up the first two kills of the game. The next few fights were extremely messy but very close and this game turned into a full on split map solo queue party with dives on both sides. Shoutout to Summit who outplayed a Camille dive 2v1 as Gnar for the double kill. Sandbox kept this even in gold amidst the chaos but picked up the first four drakes, forced baron with mountain soul and that was that.
Game two was another slow game, besides first blood, that resulted in a huge fight at herald around 9:30…. Can we stop doing this? I don’t know if this is just the impact that DAMWON has had on this region or what but the mindless, coinflippy herald fight every game is getting old. For those that don’t know, for most of 2020 the game was extremely binary in terms of ways to play out a win. You could either be the tempo/early four drake snowball team or you could be the team that “scales” by surrendering the first two or three in exchange for other gold on the map and try to outscale and win the third or fourth drake fight. DAMWON created a third way to play which was basically to accrue a massive gold lead through destroying top lane, leveraging that advantage into the first herald, re-diving top, and then heralding to pick up sometimes two turrets to blow the game wide open. It seems like all of Korea is now insisting on contesting that first herald when I think the better play would be to contest the initial top pressure or break up the momentum with a top or mid gank early to disrupt it. Anyway… I digress.
Sandbox won the herald fight and the fight in prepararation for the third drake and that was a 6000+ gold lead at 21:30. Game over.
I mentioned yesterday that I was optimistic about Sandbox but that they might take a little bit of time. They aren’t completely dominating so far but they do look a little ahead of schedule. The individual talent on this team is tremendous and I could definitely see them ending up as the fourth best team in the LCK.
Afreeca… jeez. They keep getting suckered into these totally chaotic games. For a crew of veterans I’m honestly shocked that they keep doing it. I mentioned after their DRX loss that they’re on my naughty list. They came back with a solid “get right” series against Brion on Sunday, and now back to the bonanza today. They’ve officially lost more games to the non-elite teams than they did all Summer through three series. The trick with Afreeca is going to be not overreacting to this. This team still has a ton of talent and experience but they’re officially in “you’ve got to show me something” mode until further notice.
DRX vs Nongshim (Net: -1.7 units)
This series was a mess. Nongshim have still only had one lead of their own creation this season depsite having three game wins. While DRX are proving to be a better team than I think everyone thought, the fact that you can’t create advantages against a team of this caliber is cause for concern. Bay had yet another poor series, this time against Solca. He’s been losing matchups that he should have the advantage in and that’s becoming a major concern for Nongshim’s top end outlook. They nearly clawed back a win from one of those 99% losing situations in game three but I say again, that’s not a good thing.
It’s critical to not be results oriented both with your wagers and evaluations of these teams. If you just barely missed cashing a Nongshim ticket here, the thought process can’t be “aww man they were so close.” Instead it should be “they had no business even being in that third game.”
DRX continue to surprise I must say but they’ve had a few small errors that have nearly cost them a few late games. Their ability to slow a game down and capitalize on enemy mistakes is going to make them a live dog against sloppy teams but I just don’t see this team doing much against the top of the table. We’ve got an interesting fade opportunity coming up against Sandbox this weekend.
LPL Net Total: +5.195 units
LCK Net Total: -4..47 units
Daily Net Total: +0.725 units
Afreeca have accounted for almost the entirety of my net negative this season across all leagues. Overall I’m a net negative 10.78 units on them through three matches, which includes a win. Admittedly I was very heavy in the first match but they’re on my naughty list for the time being.
LOL Pro League (China)
Week 3 – Day 4
TT Gaming +588 (+1.5 maps @ +184, -1.5 @ +1220)
Team WE -1111 (-1.5 maps @ -238)
Total Maps Played: 2.5 (over +215 / under -286)
Kill Total: 25.5 (over -119 / under -110)
Kill Spread: +8.5 @ -103 / -8.5 @ -127
Team Kill Totals: 7.5 / 16.5
Time Total: 31:00 (over -105 / under -123)
TT – Chelizi, Bless, Twila, SamD, Teeen
WE – Breathe, Beishang, Shanks, Jiumeng, Missing
I’m not sure what the thought process is here for TT. Captain has actually been pretty good for them but maybe he’s frustrated or Twila has something prepared that they think gives them a better shot here. Perhaps Twila can help alleviate some of the mid and late game macro mistakes through stronger in-game leadership. TT have looked very much like Dominus from Summer. I do think this team is significantly more talented individually than that roster but the poor decision making hasn’t changed at all and that’s something that they’re going to have to show me they’re capable of before I back them.
Team WE have been mostly good this season although I expected better to be perfectly honest. They haven’t been the cleanest in their victories with a couple of near punts but ultimately they are getting the job done and it is early in the season. They still have a lot of things to clean up but in their last series against Invictus it was good to see them be a more proactive team and build their own advantages, something they’ve struggle with over the past year.
For as sloppy as Team WE have been at times, they’re one of these teams that just doesn’t lose series like this. They prey on enemies that make stupid mistakes. Their ability to stabilize games is one of the best in the LPL and they can typically “wait out” their opponents in matchups like this even if it’s not as dominant a win as you’d want. The avenue to victory for TT is SamD and Teeen winning the bottom lane hard. Jiumeng hasn’t been his normal self so far this season with a lot of critical mistakes in high leverage situations. Other than that I’m having a hard time finding a TT win.
I’ve talked a lot about unders this season. Team kill totals, game kill totals, time totals, are all over 57% so far this season and the books have only slightly adjusted. TT have yet to eclipse their team total (avg of 9.0 kills). Game kill totals have also hit in all five of their games so far. That said, 7.5 is a very low total so I’m not going to go in that direction. Team WE have eclipsed their totals in three out of five so far but they’ve also faced stiffer, and more notably, bloodier competition.
You could choose to play all the plus money underdog props here but I’m going to opt for the game kill total in this situation. While Team WE have been somewhat sloppy, I expect them to continue to clean things up over the course of the season. These are the types of matches that they take care of business in even if they’ve got to slow things down and wait out the enemy. They could also just completely steamroll this contest. I’m opting for the game total vs the team total given TT’s propensity to lose way too much per fight so far. Perhaps that changes with Twila in the lineup but I’m willing to pay for the opportunity to find out.
Spread: Team WE -1.5 maps @ -238 (2.38 units)
Kill Total: Map 1 UNDER 25.5 @ -110 (1.1 units)
Kill Total: Map 2 UNDER 25.5 @ -108 (1.08 units)
Kill Total: Map 3 UNDER 25.5 @ -110 (1.1 units)
OMG +291 (+1.5 maps @ -125, -1.5 @ +776)
Royal Never Give Up -417 (-1.5 maps @ -102, +1.5 @ -1667)
Total Maps Played: 2.5 (over +128 / under -164)
Kill Total: 25.5 (over -115 / under -114)
Kill Spread: +6.5 @ -108 / -6.5 @ -122
Team Kill Totals: 9.5 / 16.5
Time Total: 32:00 (over -101 / under -128)
OMG – Bright, AKi, Wuming, Eric, Cold
RNG – Xiaohu, Wei, Cryin, GALA, Ming
Bright is getting the start over New for OMG and Xiaohu remains in the top lane. There must be an illness or perhaps OMG are looking at this matchup as a mid vs mid matchup in the top lane because Bright has been an OMG Academy mid laner for the better part of the past few years. Interesting wrinkle, not sure how it’ll work out.
So I mentioned in my previous recap about RNG that, long term, cheesing top lane picks and not actually learning the metagame could be detrimental but that their macro looks so solid that the weaker teams in the league are just going to struggle in that aspect alone. I think that’s the case here. OMG have shown some good signs and the ability to snowball games through AKi and the bottom lane which has performed well overall. The problem is that Wuming hasn’t looked better this season AT ALL and is a liability. There is a strong possibility that we see some counterpick/lane swap shenanigans with the four mid laners playing in this game. I don’t see Wuming or Bright coming out ahead in that kind of situation against two of the stronger mid laners in the league even if one is out of position. Ultimately macro is king.
RNG steamrolled TT and while I think OMG are slightly better than that, there is a similar overall quality gap here. RNG stomp.
This was going to be a slam dunk kill total under and time under but with the quad mid laner situation I think there’s a lot of potential for the circus to come to town in this match. I’ll be sticking to just the map spread.
Map Spread: RNG -1.5 maps @ -102 (2.04 units)
LOL Champions Korea
Week 2 – Day 2
T1 -120 (-1.5 maps @ +217, +1.5 @ -417)
Gen.G -101 (+1.5 maps @ -294, -1.5 @ +296)
Total Maps Played: 2.5 (over -105 / under -122)
Kill Total: 23.5 (over -110 / under -119)
Kill Spread: -0.5 @ -118 / +0.5 @ -111
Team Kill Totals: 11.5 / 11.5
Time Total: 34:00 (over +119 / under -156)
T1 are coming off of a match that they likely should have won against the defending World Champions in DAMWON Kia while Gen.G have been methodically destroying the two significantly easier foes they’ve faced thus far in KT and Brion.
This is the most exciting match of the week to me. Two teams that I expect to be competing for a World Championship later this year and potentially a playoff preview as well.
Just about everything in this match looks like a fair price to me. T1 have looked strong against significantly stronger competition but I can’t really hold it against Gen.G that they’ve only faced easier foes either. I’d give a slight edge to T1 and that’s where the price is.
From a sides standpoint this is just going to be a popcorn game. Enjoy watching two of the best teams in the world duke it out.
63.3% of LCK games have gone under the time total this year (average of 32.66 minutes). The books obviously don’t want to have too much liability on the time total under but that’s the play here. With implied odds of 60.9% you’re still getting a small edge on the under. Typically people like to think elite teams that are evenly matched and play competitive series mean longer game times but the truth is that elite teams know how to close a game out and when you give them an edge it’s typically all they need to close no matter how good you might be as the foe. I’ll be playing the unders here for half stake given the small edge.
Time Total: Map 1 UNDER 34:00 @ -156 (0.78 units)
Time Total: Map 2 UNDER 34:00 @ -149 (0.745 units)
Time Total: Map 3 UNDER 34:00 @ -149 (0.745 units)
DAMWON Kia Gaming -2000 (-1.5 maps @ -455)
Fredit BRION +1028 (+1.5 maps @ +313, -1.5 @ +2000)
Total Maps Played: 2.5 (over +321 / under -455)
Kill Total: 23.5 (over -114 / under -115)
Kill Spread: -10.5 @ -114 / +10.5 @ -115
Team Kill Totals: 16.5 / 6.5
Time Total: 30:00 (over -114 / under -114)
Poor Fredit BRION…. I actually don’t even think this team is that bad despite being the worst team in the league but this is a tough out. There’s really not much to say in terms of a side for this match except that I’d be on the lookout for someone from the DAMWON Challenger team playing here. That’s the only thing keeping me off of laying the -455 for at least a small amount. As it stands I’ll pass on sides here.
So 10.5 is a very large kill spread. If we look back to LCK Summer 2020 there were 6 matches with an instance of a 10.5 or greater kill spread. The favorite covered in 10 out of the 12 games played and went over their team total in 7 out of those 10 with an average team total of 16.7 kills. DAMWON personally covered their team total avg 18.16 kills in 5 out of 6 games and the kill spread in 5 out of 6 games. If you think we see the full DAMWON squad with no substitutions then this is one of the rare situations where I’d ever lay double digits in League of Legends. If you think we see the subs and possibly some shenanigans then I’d go the other way.
Another way to play this is through underdog props but you’re not getting nearly as good a price as you’d think given the moneyline price here so I’m passing there.
Instead of the map spread I’m actually going to lay the kill spread with DAMWON here. I think it’s more likely than previous years that we see some Challenger players because of franchising and teams having affiliate teams in CK as opposed to previous years. This is a way for me to play this for a similar outcome with less risk. I’ll only be playing the first two maps just in case this does go the distance with subs. Keep an eye closer to game time for roster lineups and hedge out if necessary.
Kill Spread: Map 1 DWG -10.5 kills @ -114 (1.14 units)
Kill Spread: Map 2 DWG -10.5 kills @ -114 (1.14 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)