Consensus Odds aggregated from 5Dimes, Pinnacle, Bet365, and Bovada.

Opening Lines May 20th 4pm Eastern from 5Dimes.

Lines current as of 6pm Eastern 5/26.

UPDATE: Kill Totals listed. Looked over each matchup and added a paragraph on total positions for each game.

There has been a fair amount of movement and I’d expect more as we inch closer to this tournament. Historically line movement hasn’t always been an accurate indicator in League of Legends but it still creates opportunities.

I’d recommend checking out my Mid-Season Cup: Tier List and Futures Strategy article for a clearer understanding of the big picture angles in this tournament. It will provide more context for many of positions in this post.

We’re in somewhat uncharted territory with this tournament. The closest comparison in format is Rift Rivals, an exhibition tournament held during the break in the middle of the Summer season between rival regions around the world (North America vs Europe, China vs Korea, etc). That tournament series was played in person and had next to nothing but pride on the line. This tournament has a sizeable prize pool and will be played remotely. The reason I mention this is because we have very little to compare the scenario to other than previous international competitions. It’s going to be challenging to determine how the teams respond to it overall.

For best-of-one regions or tournament formats I tend to have about half the exposure that I do on series play due to the volatility associated with single game series. Given that this is the first action in a long layoff I’ll be relatively light on the first day of action to get a feel for what these teams look like, what they’re prioritizing, what the patch and tournament metagame look like, and to do the best I possibly can to see how the two leagues measure up in a small sample size.

I’ll also be adding a “Live Trading Plan” to my selections this season. In it I’ll discuss any angles, markers, or flags I’m looking for in regards to plays in the draft or early game. I did rather poorly in live wagering last season and want to have a more solidified game plan moving forward. This is inspired by day trading plans and I think having guidelines beforehand will lead to more disciplined decisions.

Let’s dive into the games!

 

Disclaimer:  I try to avoid posting stale numbers or bets I placed ahead of time but given that these lines came out a week ago and we weren’t up and running on the site yet there are a few wagers in this article that are “old.” I was also uncertain whether or not we’d have alternative markets and props for these games. I include what I’d do at the current numbers. Moving forward we should be seeing each other almost every day so this shouldn’t be an issue.

 

Day One – Thursday, May 28th

Start Time: 3am Eastern

 

T1 vs FunPlus Phoenix

Opening: -115 / -115

Current Consensus: T1 -151 / FPX +115

Trends:

T1 were 13-4 as favorites in the LCK this season

FunPlus were never an underdog in the LPL this season

Record vs elite teams (top 3):

T1: 6-0 matches (14-4 games)

FPX: 1-2 matches (2-6 games)

UPDATE: Khan is getting the start for FPX over GimGoon.

When I saw the opening split -115’s I was leaning the way of T1 but not enough so to fire. What’s interesting is just how much this line has moved toward T1 since then. What ends up happening a lot of the time, especially for international tournaments, is that people tend to bet recent performance. T1 just swept the LCK finals in dominant fashion, they’re a name brand associated with success and they’re three-time world champions. FunPlus may have just won the world championships last year but didn’t even make the finals this season losing 3-0 to the eventual champions JD Gaming. It’s a classic case of recency bias which is going to be a recurring theme over the course of this tournament. FunPlus are being underrated but the question is how much so and is it actionable.

The top five teams in this tournament are all extremely close in quality. I have T1 a half tier higher than FunPlus going into it  mostly because I saw fewer holes in their game and that they adapt better than almost any team in the world but they’re both excellent teams. Over a longer series or later in the tournament I’d favor T1’s ability to utilize film and adjustments but this scenario is a best-of-one in the very first game of this entire tournament after a long layoff with two excellent teams. It’s effectively a coin flip.

It’s also important to consider that this will be the first international event for rookie top laner Canna and it could take him some time to get more comfortable against international competition for the first time.

At this point the T1 line has moved too far in that direction. Normally I’d expect more money to come in on the popular T1 as the tournament gets closer but given where this line opened and what is has ballooned to I’d expect some buy back from the sharper bettors as FunPlus now represent a small value.

The best odds I found on FunPlus was +120 over at Pinnacle if that’s available to you. I’m happy with anything +115 or better.

FunPlus actually took first tower at at 57+% clip, the second best in the LPL during the regular season and in seven out of ten playoff games. T1 on the other hand surrendered first tower 49% of the time in the regular season but took first brick in five out of seven playoff games. Generally speaking, the film and statistics both support this with how both of these teams tend to prioritize the objectives they favor on the map with FunPlus placing a heavy emphasis on the herald and T1 preferring dragons over herald based on percent control rates over the course of the season.

UPDATE: Kill Totals 

My composite combined kills per game (CKPG) which is 75/25% regular season/playoff weighted has this total at 22.75 kills. Odds weighted CKPG which accounts for the weight of the kills per win and loss averages of the teams involved has this 23.75 and finally in a projected FPX win at 24.27 kills total. I absolutely love the under in this spot. Every metric I have likes the under and that’s not even considering the fact that I tend to shade toward the under in best-of-ones AND in single-day events AND in international competition with a lot on the line. This will be a playoff atmosphere. Even in the bloody LPL playoffs the totals came in under significantly more often.

My Picks:

Moneyline: FunPlus +115 (0.5 units)(5Dimes)

Prop: FPX to take first tower @ -101 (1.01 units)(5Dimes)

Kill Total: UNDER 24.5 kills @ -109 (1.09 units)(5Dimes)

Live Trading Plan:

As with the majority of FunPlus drafts this matchup hinges on whether or not Doinb gets a champion that he can abuse mid lane priority with. If FunPlus get behind in this game I doubt they win it with how clean T1 is. As good as the Kassadin was for Doinb, I don’t think it’s the type of champion you want to play against T1 who will know how to properly punish it. Also be on the look out for poor non-priority mid+priority-focused jungler combinations.

 

DAMWON Gaming vs TOP Esports

Opening: +191 / -256

Current Consensus: +167 / -227

Trends:

TOP were 9-4 as favorites in the LPL this season

DAMWON were 2-7 as underdogs in the LCK this season

Record vs elite teams (top 3):

TOP: 2-1 matches (6-3 games)

DAMWON: 1-6 matches (5-13 games)

 

Another fairly large mover from the opening line. DAMWON are the consensus “worst” team in the tournament and while they probably deserve the title this line was a bit disrespectful. It’s no question to me that none of the teams in this tournament should be favored by -256 against anyone else given the quality represented here, especially in a best-of-one setting.

DAMWON present a unique challenge to TOP in that the strongest aspect of their team, the top+jungle duo of Nuguri and Canyon, are matched up against arguably the weakest link on TOP’s roster, the duo of 369 and Karsa. I don’t think this is a massive mismatch by any means but I would give the edge to DAMWON based on performance in the second half of the season and playoffs.

The challenge for DAMWON comes from the rest of the map. JackeyLove has been an absolute stud since returning to the LPL and there is a reasonable argument that Knight is the best mid laner and potentially the best player in the world right now. Although ShowMaker may be dominating the solo queue ladder right now, he mostly underperformed for the majority of the season and while the new look bottom lane of Ghost and BeryL has shown improvement, they haven’t exactly stood out either.

At the opening number this was worth a shot from a value perspective but it isn’t anymore. This DAMWON team rarely creates victories on their own; they have to be handed to them. I don’t expect that to be happening very often, if at all during this tournament. That said, TOP probably shouldn’t be favored by this much either with that potential top half mismatch on the table and their lack of consistency in properly playing to their win conditions. If the DAMWON number gets back up to around +190 it’ll be worth a shot but for now I’ll pass the side on this game.

However I do like the TOP kill spread quite a bit. TOP had an average margin of victory (AMOD) of 9.43 on the season and 8.8 trending in their past ten wins. DAMWON had an average margin of defeat (AMOD) of 9.56 for the season and 9.7 trending over their past ten wins. They lost by double digits in nine of their final eleven games. TOP would have covered the -5.5 spread in 24 out of 30 victories this season.

I frequently use a spectrum-style alternative kill spread in situations that qualify such as this one. The idea is that by diversifying your exposure over the alternative spread numbers you can capture value in “meaningless” numbers and create a more valuable synthetic line for yourself. If you don’t have access to alternate lines I typically like the implied spread when making these plays. Given that in the vast majority of their wins, TOP cover the highest alternate spreads it qualifies. In this case we’ll be taking the spectrum approach spreading a one unit wager over four markets to create a synthetic line roughly around -109 instead of -154 or -123. If they only cover the -5.5 and -4.5 we still profit.

UPDATE: Kill Totals 

My composite CKPG total for this matchup was 25.225 kills. Odds-weighted CKPG had it at 25.9. In a projected DAMWON win 25.82. Baking in the factors mentioned in the previous game about expecting unders more often for this tournament, I’m staying away from this total since the 25.5 is just about right.

My Picks:

Kill Spread: TOP -4.5 kills @ -154 (0.385 units)

Kill Spread: TOP -5.5 kills @ -123 (0.3075 units)

Kill Spread: TOP -7.5 kills @ +121 (0.15375 units)

Kill Spread: TOP -8.5 kills @ +151 (0.15375 units)

(5Dimes)

Live Trading Plan:

Karsa has historically been excellent on Lee Sin but TOP seem to be obsessed with making it work even in compositions where they have better options. Karsa boasted a 3-2 regular season record with the champion and a 5-3 record both games in the finals against JDG with it. He hasn’t won a game on it against an elite level team and is roughly 50% against above average, non-elite teams where I’d classify DAMWON. I’m fading the pick, I think it’s garbage unless the comp needs it. If TOP play with fire and give Nuguri one of his signature picks (Jayce, Akali) without an excellent answer then I’ll probably hit DAMWON live since that’s typically how they’ve punched up to superior competition.

 

T1 vs DAMWON Gaming

Opening: -278 / +200

Current Consensus: -271 / +198

Trends:

T1 were 13-4 as favorites in the LCK this season

DAMWON were 2-7 as underdogs in the LCK this season

Record vs elite teams (top 3):

T1: 6-0 matches (14-4 games)

DAMWON: 1-6 matches (5-13 games)

(I don’t classify DAMWON as an elite team)

 

DAMWON actually won the most recent battle between these two 2-0 but it was largely on the back of T1 experimenting or limit testing by starting trainee jungler Ellim and leaving the near permanently banned Senna available. At this point, T1 had locked playoffs up with only two match losses over the course of the season and opted to see if they could earn some potential draft equity in the playoffs by showing they could defeat Senna. They couldn’t. The first meeting was a 2-1 T1 victory back in week one of the LCK Spring Split. All three games were 40+ minute slugfests. From that point forward T1 ascended and DAMWON struggled.

What’s interesting about DAMWON is that they’ve shown flashes of development but have largely struggled to adapt to playing 2020-style League of Legends. While I don’t rule out the possibility they’ve been frustratingly stubborn to do so far this year They had a solid performance against KT Rolster in the playoffs but should have been 3-0’d (or 3-1’d) by DragonX if not for a few arrogant drafts instead of closing the door on the series. This inflated their stock a bit.

As mentioned in the last game, DAMWON rarely create opportunities for themselves through drafts or in-game maneuvering and often requires that teams make a mistake for them to get the ball rolling. T1 make very few mistakes. As a matter of fact, that’s kind of their identity. They aren’t the best at forcing mistakes out of their opponents, although they’re no slouches in that department, but they’re a squeaky clean League of Legends team top to bottom. Drafting, preparation, in-game adaptation, in-series adjustments, and overall metagame adaptation all receive top marks and when that isn’t enough their star players can create victories out of thin air.

However these teams are familiar with one another. It’s also been a longer layoff and it’s a best-of-one. Even with arguably the best and worst teams in this tournament involved the number is simply too large to take T1 on the moneyline.

This does qualify for my spectrum kill spread approach. T1 have a season long AMOV of 9.3 and 10.5 trending over their past ten wins. DAMWON had an average margin of defeat (AMOD) of 9.56 for the season and 9.7 trending over their past ten wins. They lost by double digits in nine of their final eleven games. Given that this spreads cover a larger swath of numbers within the range I’m looking at the weight will be distributed more heavily toward the -.6.5 in this instance creating a synthetic line of roughly +109 instead of the +122 or so we’d get from an even distribution.

UPDATE: Kill Totals 

My composite CKPG had this at 21.35 kills. Odds-weighted 20.58. In a projected DAMWON win 22.34. I like the under quite a bit in this position and I’m going to split my exposure between the 23.5 and 22.5.

My Picks:

Kill Spread: T1 -6.5 kills @ -112 (0.56 units)

Kill Spread: T1 -7.5 kills @ +106 (0.24 units)

Kill Spread: T1 -8.5 kills @ +132 (0.1 units)

Kill Spread: T1 -9.5 kills @ +162 (0.1 units)

Kill Total: UNDER 23.5 @ -116 (0.58 units)

Kill Total: UNDER 22.5 @ -105 (0.525 units)

(5Dimes)

Live Trading Plan:

The Nuguri Rule applies here as well. If T1 allow him to get one of his specialty picks without a good answer then it might be an opportunity to hit the live line on DAMWON but Canna has shown the ability to play well against Jayce a couple times.

 

FunPlus Phoenix vs TOP Esports

Opening: +102 / -135

Current Consensus: -107 / -124

Trends:

TOP were 9-4 as favorites in the LPL this season

FunPlus were never an underdog in the LPL this season

TOP won the only regular season meeting between these two in the final week of the season

Record vs elite teams (top 3):

TOP: 2-1 matches (6-3 games)

FPX: 1-2 matches (2-6 games)

 

As mentioned in my tier list piece, I think Funplus are being underrated and are still the second best team in the LP. The unfortunately just ran into a buzz saw in JD Gaming in the semi-finals. Both of these teams are evenly matched but I’d lean slightly toward FunPlus who have both the international experience and a slightly better roster overall in my opinion. This will be TOP’s first international showing as a team.

To me, this is a coin flip. For the sake of transparency you should know that I took some early light action on FunPlus at +102 anticipating that this line would move even further into the plus money but it went the opposite direction. The best moneyline number I found currently was a +100 over at Bet365 but as it currently stands I’ll keep my current half unit wager on the moneyline and add on a kill spread for FPX to capture some value since FPX had just two instances in 33 wins not covering the -1.5 spread.

UPDATE: Kill Totals 

My composite CKPG had this at 26.625 kills. Odds-weighted 26.591. In a projected FPX win 27.75. The LPL playoffs were significantly less bloody but these teams still averaged 24.9 CKPG in the playoffs. TOP managed a 9.0 kill per loss number in the playoffs and were 9 or greater in all but one game. Given that this is a best-of-one tournament I’m not quite as confident in the over as I normally would be here so I’m going to go half weight on it and shift down to the alternate total of 24.5.

My Picks:

Moneyline: FunPlus +102 (0.5 units)(5Dimes, last week)

Kill Spread: FunPlus -1.5 kills @ +121 (0.5 units)(5Dimes)

Kill Total: OVER 24.5 @ -128 (0.64 units)(5Dimes)

Live Trading Plan:

Just like most FunPlus games we’re looking for Doinb to get a matchup where he can abuse priority. I don’t want to see Knight get a Syndra or Leblanc pick. Be on the lookout for Lee Sin selections as well. Even though both of these junglers are exceptional Lee Sin players, they haven’t had a lot of success against elite teams with it this season. Fade the pick.

 

FunPlus Phoenix vs DAMWON Gaming

Opening: -222 / +163

Current Consensus: -198 / +149

Trends:

FunPlus were 14-5 as favorites in the LPL this season

DAMWON were 2-7 as underdogs in the LCK this season

Record vs elite teams (top 3):

FPX: 1-2 matches (2-6 games)

DAMWON: 1-6 matches (5-13 games)

(I don’t classify DAMWON as an elite team)

 

FunPlus seems like an absolutely brutal stylistic matchup for DAMWON but as I stated before, no team should be this heavy a favorite in a best-of-one, after a long layoff, and against a team that was good enough to make it to this tournament. FunPlus probably take this down but I’m not paying the price for it. The best available number I saw was a -188 at Bet365. I’d start considering FunPlus if you could get better than a -160 but this is a pass on the money unless FunPlus look absolutely dominant in their first two games.

I was hoping to get the first tower prop again but it’s out of range in the -160 range.

This does qualify for our kill spread spectrum. DAMWON had an average margin of defeat (AMOD) of 9.56 for the season and 9.7 trending over their past ten wins. They lost by double digits in nine of their final eleven games. FunPlus Phoenix have an average margin of victory (AMOV) of 10.93 for the season and 11.7 trending over their past ten games, seven of which were by double digits. FunPlus have covered the implied -5.5 spread in 30 out of 33 wins and the -4.5 in 31 out of 33 wins.

UPDATE: Kill Totals 

My composite CKPG had this at 24.375 kills. Odds-weighted 24.823. In a projected DAMWON win 25.3.  Again baking in the “tournament factors” discussed previously and tons of juice on the under I’ll be passing this kill total. DAMWON also strike me as a team that might play into the LPL style a bit. They can get carried away, the LCK just doesn’t let them.

My Picks:

Kill Spread: FunPlus -5.5 kills @ -109 (0.545 units)

Kill Spread: FunPlus -6.5 kills @ +101 (0.2275 units)

Kill Spread: FunPlus -7.5 kills @ +124 (0.2275 units)

Live Trading Plan:

Khan likely has some picks that could handle a Jayce but GimGoon will be much more hard-pressed to deal with it if it gets through with his champion pool. If Nuguri gets his Jayce it’s worth considering a live position on DAMWON.

 

T1 vs TOP Esports

Opening:+102 / -135

Current Consensus: -131 / +100

Trends:

TOP were 9-4 as favorites in the LPL this season

T1 were 3-0 as underdogs in the LCK this season

Record vs elite teams (top 3):

TOP: 2-1 matches (6-3 games)

T1: 6-0 matches (14-4 games)

 

For TOP, drafting wasn’t as much the problem as identifying their win conditions and properly putting them into motion. They have a bad habit of needlessly doubling down on certain aspects of their game. For example, opting into a Cull on your mid lane Corki that’s already going to be delaying his Trinity Force spike for a Manamune in a matchup where he’s being shoved in. We saw things like this multiple times in the LPL playoffs even though they get away with it sometimes, it’s not an intelligent risk to take. A team like T1 isn’t going to let you get away with something like that. They’re very quick to identify nuances like this in game and punish them.

This was another match that I jumped on the opening number for last week at T1 +102 for a full unit but would likely play at half weight at this current price. I do think T1 are the better team and had them a half tier higher than TOP for good reason. I’m also rather bullish on TOP relative to my colleagues so take that with a grain of salt.

UPDATE: Kill Totals 

My composite CKPG had this at 23.6 kills. Odds-weighted 23.3675. In a projected TOP win 24.44. I like the under in this spot and I’ll split my position between the 25.5 and 24.4 weighted toward the under 25.5

My Picks:

Moneyline: T1 +102 (1 unit)(5Dimes, last week), you can play T1 at anything better than -130 for a unit but I won’t be adding anything to my intial wager.

Kill Total: UNDER 25.5 @ -118 (0.59 units)

Kill Total: UNDER 24.5 @ +101 (0.41 units)

Live Trading Plan:

Keep an eye out for the dreaded Lee Sin vs elite teams scenario here. Other considerations include unfavorable matchups for Canna in the top lane as a rookie in his first international event. If Faker can get a pick that neutralizes Knight effectively then TOP are going to have a much more difficult time winning this series.

 

 

I’ll be back with Day Two positions tomorrow evening (Wednesday). See you then!

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