Monday, January 25th Recap
EDward Gaming vs TT Gaming (Net: +0.9 units)
I’m going to talk shortly about a concept I like to call “being the adult in the room” in regards to the next series. EDG have been the adult in the room in the LPL and guess what? THEY’RE WINNING! It turns out good, fundamental League of Legends wins games, especially when everyone else is just running around like it’s solo queue. Good on you EDG, I hope you win this split and not just for my futures portfolio either. They aren’t trying to smash opponents, they aren’t overplaying, they don’t get lured into the unnecessary brawls that seemingly no other LPL team knows how to say no to. They’re being the Patriots, beating you however they need to with no ego of “sticking to our identity” involved at all. I’d be ignorant not to mention the dominant performance that Viper is putting in right now. MVP votes aren’t a particularly good measure but he’s picked up six MVP’s in just twelve games. Jiumeng and Knight picked up eleven each for the entire Summer season.
TT were simply outclassed in this one. They actually had some moments where they looked pretty good. They knew when to force the issue when the game was slipping out of their hands and even managed to win a couple dragon fights with Xiaopeng’s weird full damage Reksai. EDG are just too good from a macro perspective and always kept the big picture in mind, minimizing losses from these fights.
RareAtom vs JD Gaming (Net: -1.435 units)
After watching game one of this series my first thought was “downgrades for both teams.” Embarrassing showing for both teams, who clearly did not give a damn about procedure of any kind. Game two was a JDG lane kingdom and a deserved stomping off of a nice Vayne pick.
Quite frankly this series felt like neither showed up to play today and after punting the first game about ten different ways RareAtom simply checked out while JDG had a bit of a “wake up call.” That was the vibe I got anyway. RareAtom were going to be a bumpy ride but JDG I’m frankly disappointed in more in this spot. This was a team that prided themselves on being the adult in the room in the LPL and they’ve devolved to just joining in the food fight with all the children in the middle of the table in the LPL. This team is better than this but the truth is, right now they aren’t. They don’t look focused at all. All those burnout accusations from the off season documentary are looking to be a bit true. Come on JDG, you’re better than this.
LPL Net Total: -0.535 units
Daily Net Total: -0.535 units
LOL Pro League (China)
Week 4 – Day 2
Royal Never Give Up -182 (-1.5 maps @ +176, +1.5 @ -588)
Victory Five +141 (+1.5 maps @ -233, -1.5 @ +383)
Total Maps Played: 2.5 (over -104 / under -122)
Kill Total: 25.5 (over -123 / under -105)
Kill Spread: -4.5 @ -114 / +4.5 @ -115
Team Kill Totals: 14.5 / 11.5
Time Total: 33:00 (over -108 / under -122)
RNG – Xiaohu, Wei, Cryin, GALA, Ming
V5 – Aodi, Weiwei, Mole, y4, ppgod
There are two glaring issues in this series, one for each team. Xiaohu against an actual good and underrated top laner in Aodi and the mistake prone y4 against a good bottom lane and a team with excellent macro. If you look across the rest of this match it’s actually incredibly close.
I think Victory Five are the better team right now regardless of the lineup they trot out. I figured they’d have some hiccups getting acclimated with the new full time additions but they’ve picked up right where they left off with no issue. The way Victory Five play the game is less dependent on ridiculous individual performances and they do a tremendous job making their opponents strengths matter with their focus on up tempo, fast-paced map play. In my previous season modeling I actually had RNG significantly higher than market at #5 in a competitive top #2-#7 in the LPL with Victory Five slightly ahead of them at #4. With the current prices on this match there would have been a big edge on the number with Victory Five (about a 9% edge). Obviously I think it’s fair to tick Victory Five down, at least slightly from talent loss. It’s also fair to upgrade RNG for talent upgrades for picking up Wei and given Cryin’s performance thus far. The RNG junglers were actually in the top half of the league last season in my individual model but Wei was the overall best player in the league last season so it’s still a dramatic upgrade. For those curious, Xiaohu graded #4 amongst mid laners that played at least 15 games which is part of why, as good as Cryin is, that it might not be as big an upgrade as people thought. I digress…
If you downgrade V5 a bit and upgrade RNG at bit and then consider that these two teams play a VERY similar kind of game, it’s hard for me not to take some of whoever the underdog would have been at this number. If it was RNG at +141 they would have been the side. This is essentially close to a coin flip and I’d actually give a very slight edge to V5 overall if I had to right now. I’m actually hyped for this matchup, two of the best junglers in the business doing battle is always a fun chess match and it’s even better when their teams are very good at supporting them. This should be a slobberknocker!
So I’ve been slamming unders all season and doing well on it, but one of the things I’ve noticed is that when you have two up tempo teams playing against each other there tends to be a lot more clashing and less of that one team runs the other dynamic like you’d think because both teams are thinking the same way. I think that’s the case here so I’ll be staying away from it. Naturally the first instinct after not taking the under at a slightly higher time total would be to take the over 4.5 dragons but with appropriate juice applied I’ll be passing on the derivatives altogether here.
Map Spread: Victory Five +1.5 maps @ -233 (2.33 units)
Moneyline: Victory Five +141 (1 unit)
Map Spread: Victory Five -1.5 maps @ +383 (0.5 units)
LNG Esports -125 (-1.5 maps @ +218, +1.5 @ -417)
BiliBili Gaming -101 (+1.5 maps @ -294, -1.5 @ +293)
Total Maps Played: 2.5 (over -104 / under -122)
Kill Total: 26.5 (over -114 / under -114)
Kill Spread: -2.5 @ -116 / +2.5 @ -112
Team Kill Totals: 13.5 / 12.5
Time Total: 33:00 (over -132 / under +101)
LNG – M1kuya, Tarzan, Icon, Light, Iwandy
BLG – Biubiu, Meteor, Zeka, Aiming, Mark
LNG are coming off of a more decisive loss to Team WE than it might have looked like from the box scores. BLG are coming off of back-to-back competitive matches against RareAtom and Victory Five. LNG added former Dominus standout Ale (previously Natural) a couple weeks back but haven’t utilized him yet. Keep an eye out for a top lane sub situation. Natural was pretty good on a bad Dominus team and I think that tends to inflate his stock just a little bit. I grade him as roughly a league average top laner. It’s still a likely upgraded from the performance we’ve seen from M1kuya so far but he’s also young and LNG might want to see what they’ve got in the kid before moving on. The plan may not be to play Natural, it could easily be just a depth addition or a competition. I wouldn’t assume the “he just needs time to get acclimated” narrative but time will tell.
I’m going to be on BiliBili here for a few reasons, most of which are more art than science. “Gut handicapping” or the eye test if you will.
First, I think this is just a better top-to-bottom roster overall. I like this LNG roster but I like BLG’s a bit more. Second, and perhaps the only scientific angle to this, BLG graded extremely high in my individual player model projections. Obviously that hasn’t quite panned out entirely just yet but it’s early in the season. Third, LNG failed to accrue any sort of meaningful advantages despite picking up early kills and towers in their match against Team WE. They picked up first blood and tower in both games and never had any kind of substantial gold lead at all. That’s concerning and frequently means that they aren’t actually getting advantages despite perception. Obviously Team WE are a very good team.
The argument in favor of LNG is that they’ve faced the tough schedule and have, arguably, the more impressive win over Invictus, a match I’ve talked ad nauseum about. Others might argue stronger overall player quality but you more or less need to be an Icon backer for that to be true. I’m still skeptical and think people want him to be good more than he’s actually shown over the past year. Tarzan has been good but Meteor is one of the stronger junglers in the LPL so I’m not immediately ready to say he’s better or worse yet. The bottom lanes are both solid.
The TL:DR on all of this is that I just think BLG are a better team and LNG are kind of being overhyped for whatever reason because of an outstanding performance against Invictus. If we defined everything on one match and recency bias we’d all be pretty terrible at this.
BLG have been an over team while LNG have been an under team. BLG tend to want to play up tempo but they sometimes struggle to close out games. Both have some of the longest overall average game times in the LPL this season. Still, I’m tempted by the plus money on under 33:00. The league is still well below that, even if you exclude the fastest teams. It’d be one thing if these teams didn’t want to end games early but it’s still what they’re trying to do despite it not quite working out that way just yet. I’ll take the time total under.
Moneyline: BiliBili -101 (1.01 units)
Map Spread: BiliBili -1.5 maps @ +293 (0.5 units)
Time Total: Map 1 UNDER 33:00 @ +101 (0.5 units)
Time Total: Map 2 UNDER 33:00 @ +101 (0.5 units)
Time Total: Map 3 UNDER 33:00 @ +101 (0.5 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)