I like to gamble. I like to analyze data and games to try and get an edge in gambling markets. But more than that, I love LoL. I love the feeling of watching a hyped up match with our niche community and sharing this secret, amazing sport. This LPL finals is going to be one of those moments. These are the best two teams in the world (I see you, Damwon) in my estimation. They both have great players in every single spot. It’s like watching UEFA Champions League where neither team has a weak spot on the field. Enjoy this, it’s rare!
JDG(+145) vs. Top Esports (-190)
- Top- JDG Zoom vs. TES 369 The Edge: JDG
- Jungle- JDG Kanavi vs. TES Karsa The Edge: Even
- Mid- JDG Knight vs. TES Yagao The Edge: TOP
- Bot-JDG Loken and LvMao vs. TES JackeyLove and Yuyanjia The Edge: JDG
I want to be clear about something: I do not know who is going to win this matchup. I could come up with a million win conditions and scenarios for either team. Anyone who has a strong feeling either way is probably biased. That’s what makes this line so puzzling.
This should be close to a coinflip. There’s no problem with Top being favored as they won 2-0 in the regular season and arguably had the more impressive playoff victory, but these teams are a lot closer than -190. Top doesn’t win this anywhere near 66% of the time.
Going lane by lane, JDG has the better of the talent. Zoom is capable of playing every role for his team and seemingly never dies. 369 played out of his mind against Suning, but Bin isn’t Zoom. Zoom almost never loses the game for his team. I can’t say the same for 369.
The jungle matchup is most likely where this game is won or lost. Kanavi and Karsa are the engines of their respective teams. If one of them gets an edge in the champion pool, lane pressure, or gets an early invade, they can easily carry their team to victory with their map control. The problem is: I can see that happening with either team, so that’s not an edge.
In the mid lane, Knight could make the difference for Top like he has done so often this split. He is undeniably the better player in this matchup. However, when these teams played in the spring split Finals, it was Yagao who was better on the day. Yagao looks a bit like a “big game player” to me. Despite never being thought of as the star, he shows up and does his job well in almost every game that matters to JDG. Still, Knight is a supernova. He can outplay situations in ways that break the game. There’s been multiple times this season where I thought TOP were in a losing position and Knight outplayed his opponents so thoroughly that they end up going even or winning. He is the best player in this series. If that’s your measuring stick, you have to like Top.
On the bottom side of the map, Top fans should be a little nervous. When they’ve lost this season, it’s been because JackeyLove and yuyanjia did not play up to snuff. Their opponents, LvMao and Loken, are the best bot lane in the world. LvMao, in particular, has such good pocket picks like Bard, that Top may have to try and ban him out. The bot lane duo has increased in importance slowly over the course of the season to the point where it is often the target of bans and first picks. If Loken gets Caitlyn, without clear counters from TES, I think the game is pretty much over.
The stats are as close as it gets. When you get to this level of play (unless you’re Damwon), the stats are usually too close to mean anything. That’s where you have to just go with the talent. I think JDG has the clearer talent edges in Top and Bot, but TES has the best player in the series in Knight. All of this is a long way of saying, this series is a 50-50, so take the dog JDG.
The Picks: JDG +1.5 Maps (-157) 2u, JDG ML (+145) 1u, JDG 3-1 (+500) 0.5u, JDG 3-0 (+700) 0.5u
Samsung Morning Stars (+406) vs. S04 Evolution (-622)
Samsung Morning Stars’ win against LDLC was not completely flukey. They totally outplayed them in the early game to the point where it was nearly impossible for LDLC to come back. Their closing out of the game left something to be desired, but there’s no way they should be +406 here. We’ve seen lots of teams in EU masters go all in on aggression and upset huge lines like this. Schalke is the kind of team who can be totally run over. They prefer to play standard compositions and a slow, scaling style. K1ck got serious advantages over them at 15 minutes. If Samsung can follow that script, I like a little upset here.
The Pick: SMS ML (+406) 1u
K1ck Esports (+224) vs. LDLC (-336)
This is a rematch of last year’s final which LDLC won 3-0. 3-0s can be misleading sometimes because they can suggest one team is much better than the other team when sometimes they are just better on the day. Does anyone really believe LGD is meaningfully better than IG because they 3-0’d them one day this year? I certainly don’t. LDLC is the deserved favorite here. They have two players, Tynx and Vetheo, who look like they belong in a higher tier of pro play. Their macro game play in the mid to late game looks a cut above. But they are not -336 favorites. K1ck is the best early game/dragon stacking team in the tournament. Their mid/jungle duo also look good enough for another level. This is a matchup of two teams that have serious title aspirations, not the top vs. bottom matchup the line suggests it is.
The Pick: K1ck ML (+224) 1u
We Love Gaming (+287) vs. Vodafone (-403)
I’m gonna be a broken record here: these lines are too favorite heavy. We Love Gaming has beaten the third seed from the Polish Region and then hung in after a very bad start against the top seed French team. So now the second seed from Spain is -403 against them. That’s a lot of respect for the region that also only has two teams in the group stages.
The Pick: We Love Gaming ML (+287) 0.5u