Tuesday, January 19th Recap
EDward Gaming vs LGD Gaming (Net: +2.0 units)
This game one was a very methodical, slow-building snowball with the foundation of a bottom lane 2v2 kill by Viper and Meiko in the early levels. It took quite awhile but EDG had absolutely no reason to rush in this game with superior scaling and a much easier to execute team composition. Viper has been stellar through his first few series and it’s looking like the transition to the LPL hasn’t been an issue at all.
Game two was… let’s just say we got away with one here. LGD jumped out to a 3300 gold lead at 20 minutes and looked well on their way to snowballing the lead to a win… but let’s not forget who we’re dealing with here. The players may have changed but the LGD coaching staff remains! LGD opted into a few fights they had absolutely no reason to opt into and EDG managed to barely edge them out in back-to-back-to-back fights to end up taking this game. Now, like I said, we got lucky here. EDG had no business winning this game whatsoever but the individual prowess and overall teamfighting from the experienced squad ended up paying off for them as they had to win a two (maybe three depending on your interpretation) fights from a massive deficit.
LGD have been better than I thought they’d be I must admit but they look very much like the same team as last season but with significantly worse individual players. Garvey is doing surprisingly well in his transition to ADC although he was the reason they lost game one. He had a decent first series as well but we’ve seen some good performances like this game two as well. My concern for LGD is that once teams get some more tape on them I think they’re going to have a really hard time.
EDG managed to draft themselves into three losing lanes here which is never a good look but they were able to play their way out of it which is worth something. The more I’m watching this patch the more blue side favored it seems to me and that’s without even looking at the win rates. With strong, blind pickable bottom lane champions it allows blue side to command that as a premium, still get a top tier jungler, and force the enemy team to either counter pick with support leaving you to get a counter in a solo lane or to just eat a bad bottom lane matchup like we’re seeing with these Thresh/Aphelios lanes. It’s interesting, something to keep an eye on.
Rogue Warriors vs FunPlus Phoenix (Net: -3.9925 units)
Game one was quite a rough start for FunPlus with a botched level 3 tower dive bottom lane and two more failed attempts to get much done against the new RW bottom lane. They did keep the gold even through winning solo lane matchups but Rogue Warriors were in much better shape than they should have been with this draft. RW had the tempo advantage taking first tower, getting the fast recall, and getting back out onto the map to set up for the dragon but simply botched an attempted pick at dragon and got collapsed on. This gave FPX all the lead they needed from that point forward with superior scaling. FPX didn’t completely handle this game as cleanly as I thought they would even with a massive momentum swing like that but they did eventually win. Rogue Warriors did do a good job punching back in this game keeping their eye on objectives and what gold they could get but this was pretty much over with the FPX comp.
Game two was a great start by Rogue Warriors with smart support roams to help contest and turbo charge the Lillia but FPX turned a 2v2 in the mid lane when Crisp actually walked from base directly to mid with a sick read that Haro and Forge didn’t see coming. It got out of control from here. This game was really bloody. FPX just kinda started styling a little too much for my liking in this one. Rogue Warriors were actually keeping up the best they could in objectives and trading but that early mid play by Crisp turned this entire game. This was loseable for FPX, they clowned around a little too much but still got the win.
It sounds a little weird to say in two sub-26 minute wins but FunPlus are still not looking that sharp to me. Clearly their floor is very high with the quality of players they have on this team but that’s now three series where they’ve had a ton of questionable decision making and rough starts in games. They certainly get credit for finding their windows back into the games but their opponents have spoon fed them a few games. Game two in this series was the first time they had a great proactive play early and even then they nearly threw this away. FPX are going to have to clean a lot of things up if they’ve got championship aspirations but as it stands this team can only be so bad with their individual quality.
Rogue Warriors are really close. They’re doing so many things well and if they keep this up they’re going to win a lot more games than they did last season. They have significantly improved macro than they did last season which completely changes my outlook compared to last season but it’s also a small sample size so I’m going to remain cautious. The early game movement is great they just need to work on transitions.
LPL Net Total: -1.9925 units
Daily Net Total: -1.9925 units
LOL Pro League (China)
Week 3 – Day 3
Invictus Gaming -500 (-1.5 maps @ -119, +1.5 @ -2000)
eStar Pro +339 (+1.5 maps @ -106, -1.5 @ +811)
Total Maps Played: 2.5 (over +133 / under -169)
Kill Total: 26.5 (over -105 / under -123)
Kill Spread: -7.5 @ -123 / +7.5 @ -105
Team Kill Totals: 16.5 / 9.5
Time Total: 31:00 (over -114 / under -114)
IG – TheShy, XUN, Rookie, Wink, Baolan
EST – Zs, H4cker, Irma, Rat, ShiauC
Invictus are running back Wink and Baolan again. While not completely devoid of good performances, there have certainly been more poor showings than good ones this season, especially from Baolan. I’m highlighting this matchup because the only real positive outlook for eStar this season has been ShiauC.
eStar as a whole have looked pretty terrible this season and their match earlier this week against OMG was the single lowest level match of professional LOL we’ve seen so far this season. I’d say something along the lines of “how this team is 2-1 is beyond me” but their two wins were against OMG and a Rogue Warriors team that looked like it decided to go drinking the night before. If ShiauC isn’t making it happen in a positive way, it doesn’t happen for this team and that’s concerning.
I’m having a hard time not backing Invictus here even with the struggles they’ve had so far this season. I like to think that they’ve learned their lesson at this point with Pantheon and Taliyah but that might be optimistic thinking. That, along with the ShiauC vs Baolan matchup are my only two hang ups here.
Taking the map spread with Invictus is always a terrible feeling but I do think it’s the correct play here. eStar are not as good as they look and have faced a significantly softer schedule to boot. ShiauC is a golden god if he can solo carry this series.
I’d lean to the under kill total here considering that I think Invictus handle this series but given Invictus’ volatility (their games are way over or way under most of the time), I’m just going to pass. eStar firsts might be worth a look, especially if you’re more bearish on Invictus than I am but I’m going to keep this simple and stick to the map spread.
Spread: Invictus -1.5 maps @ -119 (2.38 units)
Suning Gaming -208 (-1.5 maps @ +179, +1.5 @ -556)
RareAtom +159 (+1.5 maps @ -238, -1.5 @ +365)
Total Maps Played: 2.5 (over +100 / under -127)
Kill Total: 26.5 (over -110 / under -119)
Kill Spread: -5.5 @ +100 / +5.5 @ -130
Team Kill Totals: 14.5 / 11.5
Time Total: 33:00 (over -106 / under -122)
SN – Bin, SofM, Angel, Huanfeng, ON
RA – Cube, Aix, FoFo, iBoy, Hang
RareAtom had the unfortunate luck to catch TOP Esports coming off of their first back-to-back series losses since April 2020 for their first match. They weren’t even particularly bad in that series, TOP were just in great form on the day which is a tough out for anybody. Suning upset TOP on opening day and then Ringling Brothers came to town. RNG managed to rope-a-dope them around the map and coupled with some premium top lane cheddar by Xiaohu, RNG pulled out an ugly 2-1 win.
Those of you that haven’t caught up with my pre-season writing and analysis should know that I was extremely bullish on RareAtom coming into the season. They were an underrated team in Summer and kept a strong roster intact despite coaching staff changes. Admittedly, we haven’t seen much of this team yet.
Using priors from Summer, which I think is reasonable with the amount of continuity on these two teams and the small sample size thus far, I would have made this line -184 / +142 fair price (with vig added) which shows a little value on the underdogs here.
58.5% of games have gone under the time total in the LPL this season (average time: 32.05 minutes). Suning tend to play some of the longer games in the LPL, frequently through split pushing shenanigans, but they’re more than capable of running teams over. Vici/RareAtom still want to be a tempo team despite the low kill totals all last season. 33:00 is a pretty high total to be posting given the frequency of unders this season. Given that I think this could be a competitive series I might regret this but I’ll just play the numbers on it.
Other props have even more juice than normal on this one so I’ll pass.
Moneyline: RareAtom +159 (1 unit)
Spread: RareAtom -1.5 maps @ +365 (0.5 units)
Time Total: Map 1 UNDER 33:00 @ -122 (1.22 units)
Time Total: Map 2 UNDER 33:00 @ -122 (1.22 units)
Time Total: Map 3 UNDER 33:00 @ -122 (1.22 units)
LOL Champions Korea
Week 2 – Day 1
Liiv Sandbox +101 (+1.5 maps @ -312, -1.5 @ +265)
Afreeca Freeca -120 (-1.5 maps @ +228)
Total Maps Played: 2.5 (over -104 / under -122)
Kill Total: 23.5 (over -119 / under -110)
Kill Spread: +1.5 @ -112 / -1.5 @ -116
Team Kill Totals: 11.5 / 11.5
Time Total: 34:00 (over +113 / under -147)
After an abysmal showing in their debut against DRX, Afreeca righted the ship to take care of business against new comers Fredit Brion.
Sandbox played a close game one against Nongshim and had substantial leads in the second two, unfortunately in the third game they threw their lead. They lost 0-2 to KT Rolster primarily off the back of a few suspect picks in the draft (I really don’t like Malphite… and Doran smoked Summit with the Quinn counter to Renekton). Sandbox are going to be pretty good long term once they clean up a few of these little issues that are making them look worse than I think they actually are.
It’d be easy to be completely shell-shocked about Afreeca’s performance in their first match against DRX and stay away from this but this is an easy Afreeca position to me and I say that as someone that’s optimistic about Sandbox. Afreeca have looked a little sloppy at times but they’re also accruing these fairly large gold leads even when it’s ugly looking and keeping their eye on the prize the whole time. Sandbox are going to be a pretty good team eventually. They’re on the right track. If not for a punted lead they’d have a win by now, but I do think Afreeca made their living stomping in matches like this last season and I don’t see that changing this season. We’re getting them at a discount here because of their week one loss and low price going into the season.
I’ll be taking the time under here. The LCK has gone under the time total in 68% of matches through week one with an average time total of 32.5 minutes.
Moneyline: Afreeca -120 (1.8 units)
Spread: Afreeca -1.5 maps @ +228 (0.5 units)
Time Total: Map 1 UNDER 34:00 @ -147 (1.47 units)
Time Total: Map 2 UNDER 34:00 @ -141 (1.41 units)
Time Total: Map 3 UNDER 34:00 @ -141 (1.41 units)
DRX +127 (+1.5 maps @ -227, -1.5 @ +354)
Nongshim RedForce -154 (-1.5 maps @ +174, +1.5 @ -526)
Total Maps Played: 2.5 (over -118 / under -111)
Kill Total: 23.5 (over -119 / under -110)
Kill Spread: +4.5 @ -119 / -4.5 @ -110
Team Kill Totals: 10.5 / 12.5
Time Total: 33:00 (over +109 / under -143)
Nongshim are coming off of a DAMWON shellacking but before that had a very underwhelming showing against Sandbox in a series that they miraculously found a way to win. Bay was my main concern for this team going into the season and he has really failed to deliver so far this season. Nongshim don’t look bad but I’m starting to regret my somewhat optimistic outlook for them so far. We’ll see if they can change that here.
DRX have been a feisty underdog in their first few matches with an upset win over Afreeca and another near upset over publicly hyped Hanwha Life in their second match. In my recap of the Hanwha match I wrote “DRX have been feisty so far. They’re always bold and always punch back when they get down but the problem is that they seem to always get behind unless a lead is fed to them. They remind me a lot of LNG in the LPL last season, good enough to beat you if you punt a lead to them early but struggling to engineer early advantages. This isn’t a reliable, long term winning strategy but at least they’re good enough to punish you if you screw up.”
This is probably a closer match than I would have told you earlier in the season. Nongshim have only had a single gold lead through the first 20 minutes of a game in their first five games. Let’s throw two of those out because #DAMWONThings but that’s still not a good look. You don’t want teams that have struggled to build their own advantages and that’s the case with both teams in this match.
Nongshim are probably the correct side in this match but I’ve got enough concerns about parts of both of these teams that I’m going to simply pass on sides here. If I absolutely had to pick a side it’d be Nongshim. Bay has been very poor through five games and he’s officially in my “you need to show me something” container at this point or he should probably be replaced with Fiesta from the academy team or a free agent or we’re in for a long season. You can’t have a liability in the mid lane in the LCK.
I’m a little more skeptical about this time under because both of these teams have shown that they struggle to manifest their own leads but I’m going to stick with it until the books correct.
Time Total: Map 1 UNDER 33:00 @ -143 (1.43 units)
Time Total: Map 2 UNDER 33:00 @ -135 (1.35 units)
Time Total: Map 3 UNDER 33:00 @ -135 (1.35 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)