Tuesday, January 12th Recap

 

Rogue Warriors vs TOP Esports (Net: +2.53 units)

“Toward the end of last year, one of the very few concerns I had with TOP Esports was that they were very predictable in the draft.” They will always pick a solid scaling composition, lane for as long as possible to utilize their individual player advantage to accrue a lead, and then group up and play a “slow and steady wins the race” type of game.”

I said this in my recap of TOP vs Suning. The aspect I didn’t discuss was one that the broadcast actually touched on today and that is coach WarHorse’s tendencies in developing teams he’s been with. His teams tend to stick to one strategy, master it, and move on to the next one. Over the course of the year they develop a toolbox deep enough to get most jobs done. That’s how FunPlus won their World Championship. Sure, they had some weird picks along the way thanks to Doinb but fundamentally most of their team comps were similar, then they’d move on to the next thing, then the next, and by Worlds they were ready to go.

The reason I touch on this is because we’re starting to see a similar pattern in his first few series with TOP Esports. He’s trying to make this team learn basic front to back team fighting compositions, something they’ve been good at but he’s seemingly re-drilling. TOP already had issues being predictable and this might exacerbate things a bit. Now, teams that do this sort of thing are simply going to lose some matches, and some drafts, because they aren’t really preparing for the team they’re against as much as working on themselves.

This is a bigger picture characteristic that the LPL has more than other leagues. These teams are very slow to adapt because they tend to want to master what they’re good at first. It’s not a bad or good thing necessarily but it does create a different dynamic in the league. First, you have teams like Spring 2020 eStar who were running more or less the same set play almost every single game regardless of team composition and it took the league almost eight weeks before we even saw ANYONE try to counterpunch it or do anything creative. Second, once teams do actually start playing against the enemy or when teams are just more focused on that in general, you see some upsets because it frequently catches them off guard. Third, the LPL, in general, isn’t the cleanest macro region. Teams aren’t making “correct” plays as often as they’re just making plays which is in stark juxtaposition to the LCK who focus almost entirely on what is fundamentally “correct.”

I’m not going to turn this into an LCK/LPL debate I’ll simply say that each have their quirks that give each league a different dynamic. You’re just going to see more upsets in the LPL in general than in the LCK and in most seasons of the Western leagues, although they feel different because of the best-of-one format. Big favorites lose way more often in the LPL for a number of reasons and that’s what you need to know.

Anyway, that huge digression aside, I’m not worried about TOP Esports long term but I would like to see them show some flex and not do the same stuff every single game just because it works. Diversify a little. I’ll point out that 369 had a pretty bad series, especially game three where he just refused to buy a Zhonya’s until it was too late. Haro was the standout on Rogue Warriors. Kelin had a few nice plays but also nearly lost his team the game on multiple occasions.

Bet the numbers not the perception.

OMG vs FunPlus Phoenix (Net: -1.8475 units)

FunPlus were pretty clinical in game one once the bottom lane scored an early flash and then a first blood shortly after that lead to FPX just controlling start to finish. OMG were more competitive in the second game but it was still never really that close. I’ll give them props for taking the opportunities that they were afforded to punch back and try to get themselves back into the game. This team had a lot of problems doing that last season and it’s good to see them making that improvement already. OMG were simply outclassed individually here and it showed.

Aki and Eric have, predictably, been the two shining lights for this team so far and I do think they’ll probably be better than the bottom of the table teams last year but might still end up in last place. They’ve got some work to do but at least they have a few promising pieces.

FunPlus didn’t really have to do anything wildly impressive but usually that’s a good thing.  One thing I will point out is that in the first game there was a teleport matching situation where Nuguri wasn’t on the same page, was late to back, and so late to teleport that the fight had already ended so he just used it to go back top. There were a few miscommunications in the second game as well. Against better competition or in different situations these could have been an issue. I’m not that concerned given that this team has been together for such a short period, but it’s worth keeping an eye on in the next few matches. Tian and Crisp were the standouts for FPX in this series for me.

 

Daily Net Total: +0.6825 units

 

Could have had a better day if OMG were able to put up any sort of fight in game one but a rough start for the bottom lane, which they actually did recover from, snowballed all of the early objectives for FPX.

Still in the green. Back to it!

 

——

(I’m going to copy/paste this intro from day one into the first handful of days of matches as a reminder for those just joining us)

“Predicting the metagame”

I’ve done some research into what has been played during the offseason tournaments and on the current patch but while I think it’s important to have a general idea of what’s going on in terms of the champions picked and style of the game in its current state, it can be a futile endeavor to predict every team’s tendencies. Even if you consider your read on the game to be very accurate, it doesn’t mean that all teams, coaches, and players will act rationally and hold the same opinion. For these reasons I try to abstain from making decisive calls based on the metagame in the first few weeks.

That leads me to my next point….

Cognitive Biases and Overall Approach to Opening Weeks

How you decide to attack the first few weeks depends heavily on your risk tolerance but no matter what you choose to do it’s important that you have structure within your process. Over the years I’ve been very aggressive early on in the year because I trust my evaluation of the offseason more than the books and there are frequently very bad lines. There are pros and cons to this approach. While you might be “ahead of the curve” on a team, you could also get yourself in trouble “sticking to your guns” for too long. Last year, for example, I was overconfident that TSM were a good team based on my pre-season evaluation and continued backing them over and over insisting that they’d eventually meet my expectations. Long story, short; they never did.

Another way to play the early season is to be very selective and take more of a “wait and see” approach. This is more what I’ll be doing this season with a few exceptions for what I think are extremely undervalued and overvalued teams.

I’ll be discussing the different cognitive biases over the course of this season, likely in an evergreen style article or podcast but I think the two that come into play this early are overconfidence and confirmation bias if you are “right” about a team in the first few games. It’s a long season folks and the first few weeks mean very little in the grand scheme of things.

In short, I’ll be taking a less aggressive and more of the aforementioned “wait and see” approach to the opening weeks than I have in the past. Staking will be smaller until we get a decent picture of what each of these teams starts to look like and then we’ll ramp up from there along with the models and our eyes collecting more data. Of course, there are going to be a few exceptions to this. There are a handful of teams that I think are not just undervalued, but extremely undervalued and we have some bigger picture trends that I’m going to discuss below that I want to take advantage of early on.

Spring Last Year

We had a bit of a bizarre year last year (obviously…) with the first LPL week being played before the league went on hold over concerns about COVID-19 before picking back up again in the second week of March. In a way we got two different week ones. We had 34 matches over those two separate week ones. Let’s take a look at some of the results:

  • 8 underdog 2-0’s (LGD def TOP, SN def BLG, EDG def eStar, SN def EDG, RNG def TOP, RW def SN, eStar def RW). Admittedly a few of these look a bit silly in hindsight such as eStar who dominated the rest of Spring split and Suning being underdogs to BLG only to eventually end up in World finals.
  • Favorites had a combined 20-14 moneyline record with average odds of -521 over the 34 matches. (underdogs averaged +237 on the moneyline)
  • Favorites went a combined 13-21 against the map spread with average odds just over even at +17.38 (underdogs near even as well at -98.38)

If you would have wagered the same amount on every single underdog map spread through the first two weeks you would have had a +84.35% return on investment. While that seems ridiculous there is a history of this phenomenon across the globe in the major region domestic leagues specifically in the Spring split.

Why is this the case? Some of the good teams had a longer season with a handful of them going to playoffs and the World Championships and the players and coaches don’t get as much preparation time since most take a break while other teams are working (think Super Bowl hangover). Many teams both good and bad are dealing with roster shuffling as players are moved around. The game is also more “chaotic” and “raw” early in the season with the pre-season patch, where most of the major changes to the game for the year take place, only about a month old. It takes awhile to figure the balance out resulting in some over and underpowered champions and higher variance games. There are also coaching and infrastructure changes similar to the players changing teams which can disrupt things.

How the books derive their prices early in the season?

In addition to the points above, books tend to heavily overprice the favorites, especially those that went to the World Championship or finished the Summer season in a high position. They also shade toward popular teams with name brand value that receive a lot of action as favorites. If we look back at Summer 2020 in the LPL anecdotally who would you guess were the most heavily bet and talked about favorites? TOP, Invictus, FunPlus,  JDG, Team WE, and Suning are your top six teams in the futures markets and their prices are reflected accordingly in the opening match lines. The books also favor teams that didn’t change much, especially ones that were favorites, like the top six in our case. While they consider other roster moves there isn’t a lot of faith given to unknown qualities. In a traditional sports context this would be like grading a rookie quarterback as a varying amount below league average for example. Some end up performing at about that level, others exceed it, and other still far exceed that expectation.

Tying it all together

Good teams from the previous season with a lot of continuity seem like an attractive position to take but historically they have not been successful early in the season for a litany of reasons (see above). Bad or mediocre teams with a lot of changes or unknown players, especially rookies, aren’t given a lot of respect early on and most people are afraid to back them so it makes sense for the books to lean toward juicing up the favorites. This results in a double whammy situation. Not all unknown players end up bad or below average and if you can figure out the more promising prospects in good situations there’s even more gold to be mined here early in the season.

In the early weeks I’ll be asking a lot of favorites if I’m going to pay the tax that comes with their price tag. Typically you want to operate in the middle, making the case for both teams and weighing your options but I tend to shade more towards the underdogs in the first couple of weeks in combination with a lighter staking structure.

We’ll be touching on these points and more as we go today but I’d encourage you to check out my LPL Pre-Season Power Rankings post where I break down each team and their expected trajectory in greater detail.

 


 

LOL Champions Korea (LCK)

Week 1 – Day 1 (Opening Day)

 

As I mentioned on LPL Opening day, we had a bit of a weird start to last year with the pandemic throwing a wrench in things. Unlike the LPL, who only got a week in before delays, the LCK managed to play the first half of the season relatively uninterrupted.

Below are the results for favorites and underdogs for the season followed by the first two weeks.

Full LCK Spring 2020 Season (90 best-of-three matches)

Favorites were 61-29 straight up, 34-56 against the map spread.

Underdogs won 2-0 on 14 occasions

First Two Weeks LCK Spring 2020 Season (20 best-of-three matches)

Favorites were 16-4 straight up, 8-12 against the map spread.

Underdogs won 2-0 only once (Hanwha Life over Sandbox)

 

Taking a brief look over the schedule, it wasn’t nearly as top heavy as you’d think. This wasn’t just a bunch of top of the table teams rolling the bottom of the table in the early weeks. The LCK actually started off rather chalky and ended on the other end of the spectrum but I also think the dynamic of the league was much different last year than it is this year.

By the end of Summer it was crystal clear that there were four elite teams ahead of the pack (DWG, Gen.G, DRX, and T1) with Afreeca behind them as the “gatekeepers” losing only a single match to a bottom five team. The LCK was very stratified. Will that be the case again this season? Possibly, but I do think we’ve “lost” one of our elite teams this time around in DRX who had significant losses to the point where they might end up finishing last. Prior to the season starting it doesn’t look as if any team is really qualified to step into that role. While that doesn’t mean it won’t happen eventually, it’s not clear at the moment.

All of this is to say that we’re almost certainly going to have more parity with a bigger pool of teams in the middle of the table this year given. A lot of mid tier teams have bull and bear cases and, to me at least, it’s anybody’s game. I don’t think we’ll see chalk prevail at quite the same rate.

For more details on all of this check out my Team-by-Team Outlook post where I went into more detail on my outlooks for each teams, my tier list,  as well as my futures portfolio positions for the LCK Spring.

I’ll also take this moment to remind people that the LCK does NOT announce starting lineups like the LPL does. Sometimes teams will announce via social media beforehand. Be diligent!

 

 

Gen.G -500 (-1.5 maps @ -125, +1.5 @ -2000)

vs

KT Rolster +338 (+1.5 maps @ -102, -1.5 @ +855)

 

Total Maps Played: 2.5 (over +141 / under -182)

Kill Total: 22.5 (over -135 / under +104)

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

Team Kill Totals: 14.5 / 7.5

Time Total: 32:00 (over -110 / under -119)

Expected Starters:

Gen.G – Rascal, Clid, Bdd, Ruler, Life

KT – Doran, Bonnie, UCal, Hybrid, Zzus

The LCK does NOT announce starting lineups like the LPL does. Sometimes teams will announce via social media beforehand. Be diligent! These are my anticipated starters but do not take this as gospel!

 

Gen.G added depth, and more since I did my Team Outlook for them. Burdol who was in the same T1 Academy class as Canna and Closer and just turned seventeen on Christmas will serve as depth in the top lane. This kid has been a solo queue dynamo for awhile now and I’m sure we’ll get to see at least a little from him. They also added Flawless, formerly of Rogue Warriors, JDG, and the APK/SeolHaeOne organization last season. Karis was promoted from Gen.G Academy in the mid lane. I just wanted to mention a few of these prospects because the Gen.G Academy system has been arguably the next best to Griffin and SKT over the past few years in terms of churning out talented players. The Gen.G and T1 Academy teams are likely going to roll over Challengers Korea.

Gen.G are one of the three elite teams for me heading into the season. They’ve changed very little from what we saw from the World Championship lineup. Back in May they lost long time head coach Edgar and some of his staff down the road further but that didn’t stop Gen.G from running roughshod over all but the elite teams all Summer. I like when a team identifies that they had a good thing going and is willing to run it back. It shows confidence. Gen.G graded as the second best team in the world going into the World Championships last season, they just had a disappointing showing in the actual tournament. Don’t let that result cloud your thinking. Gen.G are an elite team and I’ve got positions on them to win the Spring Split.

I was really hoping we’d get to see some more of Gideon, one of the more electric prospects from Challengers Korea, but for the time being he’s been assigned to KT’s Challenger team. Keep in mind that players from Challengers are like a professional sports team’s minor league affiliate, they can be called up more or less at any time.

Even with that in mind I like a lot of what this KT team has to offer. I think much more highly of all four of these players than my peers do. That’s not to say that there aren’t reasonable cases against them. Hybrid boasted some impressive carry efficiency metrics even on a terrible APK/SeolHaeOne Prince team last season, UCal has been one of the best mids in the league at times in his career, Blank was rock solid in his time with SKT before being picked up by Sengoku Gaming in Japan’s LJL last year, Doran has been to Worlds with Griffin and DRX in his first two seasons, and Bonnie has been right on the cusp waiting for a chance to play in the pros after spending time in Gen.G’s Academy system.

Zzus is the unfamiliar name here for people. He’s been back and forth between the LCK and Challengers Korea as well as trips abroad over the past five years with his most prominent starting role on Young Crew in Turkey’s TCL. He’s played on the LCK stage before although it was way back in 2016. There are two ways to look at this situation. The first is that “there’s a reason he’s been kicking it back and forth in Challenger and hasn’t made it.” The other way to look at it is that this is finally a guy getting his chance after grinding for a long time. Take your pick. I’m right in the middle.

KT Rolster represent a wide range of outcomes. They’ve got some stud prospects in their system, as well as designated as subs on the main roster with Dove, so all of these starters are likely going to be on a short leash. I’m always a fan of competition breeding excellence but your evaluation of this team largely depends on what you feel about the known quantities. If you’ve seen enough of UCal then you’re likely to be much lower on this team. If you’re not confident Doran will translate outside of a cvMax coaching system then you’re likely to be much lower.

This is a trickier handicap than I think it looks. KT Rolster had a completely different lineup in Summer and they weren’t a bad team by any means, they just weren’t close to the top of the table. Gen.G are essentially “running it back.” Experienced veterans with a ton of continuity vs what is essentially a brand new roster that’s probably been trying a ton of different permutations of players.

Gen.G have the advantage at every position, they also have continuity in their favor, but I think there’s a reasonable chance we see some rust from them. The main roster didn’t play in the KeSPA Cup or get any kind of warm up and they likely took extra time off after the World Championships, especially because they’re all veterans. Meanwhile, KT Rolster’s roster has been battling, cutting their teeth to see who makes the roster and earns a starting spot.

This is, admittedly, a bit of a “gut” handicap but I’m going to take a small position on KT Rolster here. My priors from last season said this would have been a Gen.G play but this is a much different KT Rolster team. Even if they aren’t necessarily a worse KT Rolster team, different can sometimes be a good thing until the good teams get some film on you as a full unit. Individually the players aren’t really new but the team and it’s dynamics will be.  I definitely like the underdog kill spread here too.

 

Other Markets:

While we’ve seen unders be king for the first week or so of LPL action, those totals were heavily inflated averaging around 27.9 per game. This match opened very low at 22.5. Obviously the LCK is usually lower scoring but the current state of the game encourages action. I also think we’re going to see some rust from Gen.G’s veteran lineup after a break this offseason.  Even if Gen.G come in looking sharp, they were a team that frequently ran the score up averaging 18.39 kills per win and 24.65 combined kills per game this past Summer and that was in a much more settled metagame. I’ll be attacking lower opening numbers on LCK kill total numbers in the first weeks.

(this kill total market is really weirdly priced FYI)

 

My Picks:

 

Map Spread: KT Rolster +1.5 maps @ -102 (0.51 units)

Moneyline: KT Rolster +338 (0.25 units)

Map Spread: KT Rolster -1.5 maps @ +855 (0.1 units)

Kill Spread: Map 1 KT Rolster +7.5 kills @ -110 (0.275 units)

Kill Spread: Map 2 KT Rolster +7.5 kills @ -112 (0.28 units)

Kill Spread: Map 3 KT Rolster +7.5 kills @ -119 (0.2975 units)

Kill Total: Map 1 OVER 22.5 @ -135 (0.675 units)

Kill Total: Map 2 OVER 22.5 @ -143 (0.715 units)

Kill Total: Map 3 OVER 23.5 @ -116 (0.58 units)

 

————

 

T1 -303 (-1.5 maps @ +114, +1.5 @ -1111)

vs

Hanwha Life Esports +222 (+1.5 maps @ -145, -1.5 @ +597)

 

Total Maps Played: 2.5 (over +117 / under -149)

Kill Total: 25.5 (over +105 / under -137)

Kill Spread:  -6.5 @ -105 / +6.5 @ -123

Team Kill Totals: 14.5 / 9.5

Time Total: 32:00 (over -115 / under -114)

Expected Starters:

T1 – Canna, Ellim, Faker, Teddy, Keria

HLE – Morgan, Arthur, Chovy, Deft, Vsta

The LCK does NOT announce starting lineups like the LPL does. Sometimes teams will announce via social media beforehand. Be diligent! These are my anticipated starters but do not take this as gospel!

 

Hanwha had one of the more action-packed offseasons with the additions of Chovy and Deft from DRX, Morgan from the LPL’s Team WE, and Arthur, formerly Miru of Dire Wolves in the Oceanic Pro League (first to play in Korea!). They retained Dudu who had some flashes in the top and Vsta who will be role swapping from ADC to Support. Yohan will likely see some action here or there in the jungle as well as CaD who played last year but is currently designated to the academy lineup.

I wrote in more detail in my Team Outlook post but generally speaking I think Hanwha might be coming in a tad overrated. The upside for this lineup is there but there’s a lot of questions about seeing Chovy outside of a cvMax coaching system for the first time in his career, Deft coming off the worst season of his career (which was still great mind you), and how Morgan will translate to the LCK. That’s not even mentioning all the non-“star power” players.

T1 look like they could be the best team in the LCK if one or two things go well and at worst they’re going to be one of the top three. Regardless of who gets the start here they’re deserving favorites in this spot. I don’t feel the “rust” argument applies as much here. T1 didn’t make worlds, as a matter of fact, if I know these players and this organization at all, they were probably working their asses off over the break because they weren’t there. With three to four full squads to do in-house scrims with and the best infrastructure as well as the extra time off that most of the veterans aren’t used to, I could see T1 coming out the gates firing unlike Gen.G who might have some rust to shake off with a shortened offseason.

Again, early in the season like this I tend to look at this as more of an art than a science. We have very little data on these overall teams and their dynamics except for the ones with continuity. I think motivational factors are typically way WAY overrated but T1 are a winning organization, they’re going to come into this season pissed off that they weren’t at Worlds. They also added the World Champion head coaches from DAMWON in Daeny and Zefa. If you want even more narratives, this could be Faker’s Last Dance.

Continuity, overall superior player quality, a better number than the previous match, and all the narratives in the universe. Give me the RARE opening day heavy favorite.

 

Other Markets:

I’m going to stick to just the sides on this one. Most of the first props are actually priced fairly and given the higher total in this match, much closer to where I think it should be, I’ll be passing there as well. I could be talked into the time total under but I’ll have enough exposure on this one.

 

My Picks:

 

Moneyline: T1 -303 (3.03 units)

Map Spread: T1 -1.5 maps @ +114 (0.75 units)

 

 


 

LOL Pro League (China)

Week 2 – Day 3

 

Team WE -250 (-1.5 maps @ +140, +1.5 @ -1000)

vs

Victory Five +190 (+1.5 maps @ -189, -1.5 @ +557)

 

Total Maps Played: 2.5 (over +104 / under -133)

Kill Total: 24.5 (over -127 / under -103)

Kill Spread:  -5.5 @ -118 / +5.5 @ -111

Team Kill Totals: 14.5 / 10.5

Time Total: 32:00 (over -114 / under -114)

Starting Lineups:

WE – Breathe (Curse), Beishang, Shanks, Jiumeng, Missing

V5 – Langx, Weiwei, Mole, y4, ppgod

 

Team WE looked essentially like the same team with the same identity in their opening match against Rogue Warriors but they were not nearly as clean as I’d hoped and it took a few unforced errors by their opponents to close it out 2-0. Jiumeng in particular had a really rough series. After a stellar 2020 season that’s main feature was making very VERY few mistakes, Jiumeng had half a dozen critical errors in these two wins alone. Luckily for him the rest of the team was on and Rogue Warriors were more than willing to hand it back to him. It’s not something I’m necessarily worried about, just keeping an eye on.

This will be Victory Five’s first match of 2021 and with a slightly new looking roster. They bring in Langx to replace Biubiu, a move that many people are considering a strong upgrade (I think it’s just a slight upgrade, Langx is quite a bit overrated but still good). y4 is looking like the full time starter after spending most of the season behind SamD who went to TT but they did add LCK journeyman Trigger to the roster. Mole, Weiwei, and ppgod are the three returning starters from last season.

I think comparing these two teams on an individual basis isn’t the best way to compare the two although I think they’re closer together than most. V5 were, and likely still will be, a dedicated uptempo team and they were excellent at it. I mentioned at the top that LPL teams are slow to adapt mostly because they tend to just “do their own thing” and ignore their opponent. These two teams exemplify that concept. Victory Five were very clean in closing, finishing the Summer split with more quality wins than all but three teams in the LPL (TOP, Invictus, and JDG). Quality wins are measured as above the league average IN WINS in gold differential per minute, gold percent rating, and gold differential at 20. It’s an approximation of wire-to-wire wins.

Victory Five didn’t make a lot of them last year except when y4 was in the lineup. This is my main concern with this team. y4 has been a serviceable LPL ADC over the years but his calling card, if you will, is critical mistakes in high leverage moments. Team WE rely heavily on their opponents making mistakes and my main criticism of them that’s keeping them from ascending to the top of the table, is that they sometimes struggle to engineer advantages and force their opponents hand. They let teams hang around.

I have my reservations about y4 but from a stylistic standpoint this is a bad matchup for Team WE. Give me the underdogs in their 2021 debut.

 

Other Markets:

Only 19.5% of V5 games went over the 32 minute mark last season and I don’t see this team changing their identity much. It’s still a great way to play the game and until it’s “patched out” or the meta is no longer good for it, V5 will likely be a pretty solid team albeit a tad worse than last season with the downgrade in the bottom lane.

 

My Picks:

 

Map Spread: V5 +1.5 maps @ -189 (0.945 units)

Moneyline: V5 +190 (0.5 units)

Map Spread: V5 -1.5 maps @ +557 (0.1 units)

Time Total: Map 1 UNDER 32:00 @ -114 (0.57 units)

Time Total: Map 2 UNDER 32:00 @ -114 (0.57 units)

Time Total: Map 3 UNDER 32:00 @ -119 (0.595 units)

 

 

—–

 

LNG Esports +396 (+1.5 maps @ +140, -1.5 @ +919)

vs

Invictus Gaming -625 (-1.5 maps @ -185, +1.5 maps @ -2500)

 

Total Maps Played: 2.5 (over +175 / under -227)

Kill Total: 29.5 (over -119 / under -110)

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

Team Kill Totals: 10.5 / 18.5

Time Total: 32:00 (over +129 / under -169)

Starting Lineups:

LNG – M1kuya, Tarzan, Icon, Light, Iwandy

IG – TheShy, XUN, Rookie, Wink, Baolan

 

IG looked outstanding in their first match against JDG, especially rookie XUN in his debut. This was the exact lineup I wanted to see and it looked pretty solid out the gate. We’ll be seeing the new look LNG for the first time tomorrow. Again, peep that Team Outlook article to get my longer form thoughts.

The short, short version of my LNG writeup is that this team has maybe the widest range of outcomes of any team in the LPL. How will Tarzan transition to the LPL? Can he thrive outside of a system without dominant laners? Can Icon not suck like he did most of last season after an impressive rookie campaign? Can Light and Iwandy continue to deliver solid performances like they did last season? And just who the hell is this M1kuya guy anyway? Just kidding on that last one, but only sort of. M1kuya hasn’t exactly been lighting up the LDL. He was solid but has been grinding for a job on SDX for the better part of the past two years. I usually like guys getting their first chance though so I’ll remain optimistic.

Invictus have notoriously played down to their competition in recent years but that hasn’t been the case really since mid 2020. The “Invictus is high variance, play big dogs against them” angle has been a profitable one over the long term but not as much recently but I digress…

I think LNG are pretty severely outclassed at every position and Invictus could likely 2-0 this series even with some mistakes but I’m not laying this kind of money with Invictus. And I’m absolutely not buying into LNG until I see it. Gun to my head I’d take the IG -1.5 maps but, thankfully, I’m not in that position so I’ll just pass on the side in this match.

 

Other Markets:

I don’t see LNG fundamentally changing as a team with this lineup, if anything they’d play even faster and Invictus have added a more efficient jungler capable of building insurmountable leads more consistently than Ning, who relied too much on ganking, did.

I love this time total under even with the juice. Invictus were the second fastest average game time and had just 34.9% of their games even make it to the 30 minute mark in Summer and the current game is a similar pace. They also happen to look pretty sharp already and that was over a significantly stronger foe in JDG. LNG only eclipsed the 31 minute mark in 30.55% of their games and the 32 minute mark in 27.78%. Combined, both teams only went over 32 minutes in around 26% of their games. Implied odds on this -169 is 62% and change.

Those that read to the bottom of yesterday’s post got a bonus play with the UNDER 30.5 / 29.5 / 29.5 which is now 29 5 / 28.5 / 28.5. I still like it at that number.

 

My Picks:

 

Time Total: Map 1 UNDER 32:00 @ -169 (1.69 units)

Time Total: Map 2 UNDER 32:00 @ -182 (1.82 units)

Time Total: Map 3 UNDER 32:00 @ -164 (1.64 units)

 

(from Monday’s post)

Kill Total: Map 1 UNDER 30.5 @ -120 (1.2 units)

Kill Total: Map 2 UNDER 29.5 @ -114 (1.14 units)

Kill Total: Map 3 UNDER 29.5 @ -118 (1.18 units)

 

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I believe in accountability. For years I’ve tracked all of my picks publically. 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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