At first look at the Odds for the Mid-Season Cup, I thought we were in trouble. Here I was, having just started an esports betting blog, a major tournament incoming, and sharp odds with minimal bets I liked. I thought I might be writing an article analyzing 1 or 2 picks. Thankfully, the kill spreads came out, some lines moved, and I think I’ve found some ways to attack these lines. Before we get too deep into that though, let’s go through a few assumptions I’m running with for this tournament.
In International play, there is always going to be some level of guesswork. There are very limited or no samples for the teams as they are currently constructed playing against one another. So, you have to build some educated assumptions about how the games will go. Here are mine:
1. The LPL is a slightly better league top to bottom than the LCK.
Does this mean I think you should take the LPL team straight up against the LCK everytime? Nah. I will definitely be on DragonX in a lot of spots tomorrow. Does it mean if the odds are better than 50-50 for a top LPL team against a top LCK team that I’m taking the LPL team? Almost definitely. A lot of the games in group A are essentially tossups, the odds don’t have them as tossups. If the LPL has a good day tomorrow, we’ll have a good day tomorrow.
2. All the teams will want to win, except for Invictus Gaming
Occasionally in LoL handicapping, you have to ask yourself the question: How hard is the team actually trying to win this game? It’s not really in the culture of either of these leagues to not try to win every game in front of them, outside of IG. IG all bets are off. Honestly wouldn’t be shocked if they locked in Teemo jungle at this point. Outside of them, we’re running with the assumption that the teams’ playoff forms will hold fairly true to this tournament.
3. Teams will play looser than your typical international event.
This contradicts with number 2 a little bit, but not really. I think all the teams are trying to win this thing. However, a lot of group stages at MSI and Worlds can end up slow and cagey, with no team wanting to make the first mistake. Without the pressure of a crowd and the decreased importance, the teams will be a bit looser. This also supports my LPL>LCK stance with LPL being the generally looser league. I expect to see lots of kills early and often in this tournament.
With those out of the way, here’s how I have the teams ranked in A:
1. Top Esports
2b. Fun Plus Phoenix
A giant chasm
4. Damwon Gaming
More on those rankings here. On to the bets:
Twitter POTD: Fun Plus ML vs. T1 (+125) 1u
Fun Plus and T1 are very even teams in statistics, in talent, in history. As previously mentioned, all things being equal I’m going with the LPL. There are a couple of other reasons to lean FPX here too. The stylistic matchup favors FPX, in my opinion. T1 improved their early game in the LCK playoffs, but they were very poor there in the regular season. FPX is a solid, if not great, early game team. If they jump out early on T1, I don’t see them giving it up. The plus money is the value.
Fun Plus +4.5 Kills vs. SKT ( -125) 1.5u
This is a lot of exposure to one game. If you want less risk, go with just this bet. Here’s why: I already made the case for FPX to win. If T1 win, it is very possible that FPX still cover. T1 have the lowest regular season average margin of victory in the tournament outside of IG (and you already know what I think of them). They are a slow-paced, low kill team who kill teams by getting objectives, small advantages in lanes, and win necessary team fights in the mid-late game. T1 could easily win this game in 45 mins, 12-8.
Top Esports -5.5 kills vs. Damwon (-125) 1u
TES since JackeyLove joined has been a very serious, very good team.
That would usually make me want to go bigger here against the worst team in the tournament. BJKL (Before JackeyLove) though, they were known to lose a game or two to inferior teams. I hope that TES have gained the maturity to not overlook this game, but if Damwon’s going to get an upset tomorrow, I think this might be it. There’s not enough value in the +150 to bet Damwon. So, we’re going with the kill line. Top covers -5.5 in almost all of their wins. If they win here, they will cover.
Fun Plus -5.5 Kills vs. Damwon (+100) 2u
Damwon is the kind of team FPX just don’t lose to. FPX lost just 4 total games (LPL plays Best of 3s) to teams in the bottom half of the LPL. Damwon would be a bottom half team in the LPL. They have the better players everywhere, except Top Lane, and should win this game as the -200 favorite. -200 is pretty steep. I have them as better than the implied odds of 67% so betting the ML is reasonable in my opinion. But in a best of 1, crazy shit happens and that kid of juice is tough to justify. So, rather than lay 2 units to win 1, we’re going after the kill line again. FPX have a strong Average Margin of Victory at around +10.7 and Damwon have a poor Average Margin of Defeat at around -9.6. When FPX win this game, they will almost definitely cover.
Top Esports ML vs. T1 (-105) 1u
Top play up and down to their level of competition. They will think highly of the greatest franchise in the history of LoL. I think Knight will relish the opportunity to play against Faker and prove himself as the best player in the world. Using season long stats, would lead you to go heavy on T1, but TES is not the same team anymore. They were incredible through the LPL playoffs against better teams than T1. Getting them at -105 (essentially a tossup) is value.
That’s my card for Group A. I’m going to enjoy this and hope you do too. It’s a few hours we all get to feel normal in this time, let’s cherish it and win some money.