Last Sunday was one of those days you have as a high volume bettor that makes you question everything that you do. I’m always trying to work on my process and make winning picks, but nothing’s ever guaranteed even if you work hard. There’s a couple of things I wish I could have back, particularly in the Mad Lions series, but the rest I think I would bet them again at the same numbers this week. Anyway, lots of season left so let’s make some money this weekend!
Damwon Gaming (-360) Vs. DRX (+250)
Damwon Gaming is in the middle of the greatest statistical split in LoL history. There have been teams with better records in their regions and more hype surrounding them, but no team has done what DWG has done in the stats department this split. Their Gold Spent Differential of nearly 15% completely stands alone in recent memory, even amongst undefeated teams. It points to the nature of Damwon’s wins which are absolutely dominant. They don’t just beat teams, they stomp them into the ground. This has long been a statistical indicator of great teams in traditional sports, and I’ve found that to hold true in LoL too.
You can probably see where I’m leaning here, but Damwon does have a worthy opponent in DRX. In the crucial mid lane position, we are getting a real treat in this matchup. DRX’s Chovy and DWG’s Showmaker are arguably the two best players in the world. Chovy was able to consistently get the better of BDD (another highly regarded player) in the later stages of their semi-final series with Gen.G. However, in the head-to-head matchups of these two teams it has been Showmaker who has consistently lived up to his name. I don’t expect either player to get serious individual advantages this time around, so it will come down to who plays better in teamfights. In that department, I give ShowMaker a tiny edge.
The position that spells trouble for DRX is top lane. In nearly every game the teams have played, including two Damwon losses, Nuguri has gotten the better of Doran. The meta game of LoL has shifted back to allowing some carry tops to shine on champions like Camille, Lucian, and Jayce. This is Nuguri’s bread and butter. As good as Showmaker has been, Nuguri is almost equally key to DWG’s success. Doran is an above-average LCK top laner, but he does not have the talent or champion pool to seriously compete with Nuguri.
Finally, I’m not sure DRX belongs in this series. Their series with Gen. G was seemingly headed towards a Gen.G 3-1 win when a pause caused by an in-game bug completely swung the momentum. The pause resulted in a mid-game shift to a new patch of the game that completely changed the teams’ preparation for the playoffs. Following the pause, DRX clearly had the edge in the new circumstances of the patch. This time, both teams will be going into their series knowing they will be playing on the new patch and have time to adapt. Damwon know they are
on the precipice of history here, I like them to cement their place in a dominant win.
When teams beat DRX, they almost always cover the spread of -6.5 kills. In 12 of their 15 map losses this split they have lost by 7 or more kills. It fits with the eye test for this team too. They are willing to go down swinging with a lot of deaths over just slowly conceding the game. -6.5 kills is a little small for a kill spread in my book.
The picks: DWG -1.5 Maps (-150) 1u, DWG -6.5 Kills on Maps 1,2, and 3 (-105) 1u each
G2 (-375) vs. Rogue (+255)
If you were completely new to the LEC or LoL in general, you would think there is tremendous value on Rogue. They have the better record, the better season-long stats, and both teams ended up in the loser’s bracket by losing to Fnatic. You might ask “How does G2 end up this kind of favorite? Rogue hammer time!”
You may be right in that analysis, save for one issue: the history of G2 Esports.If Rogue were to win here, they would be doing something that no other team in the LEC has done: beat G2 in a semi-final. It has never mattered before what kind of form G2 comes into the playoffs in, when they get there they turn it on. They’re doing it again in these playoffs.
Their first round playoff series against MAD Lions looked a lot like this one on paper. MAD had the better record, stats, and form coming in, but G2 dispatched them with relative ease showing new strategies they had not played all season long. The reason they are able to flip the switch is because of sheer talent. They have a legitimate argument for the best player in the league at 5 out of 5 positions. They are a bit like the Lebron Cavaliers. You can’t trust anything you’re seeing until Lebron decides to turn it on. Their version of Lebron is jungler, Jankos.When he’s on, the only LEC team that has a chance is Fnatic.
Both of these teams have had clashes with Fnatic in these playoffs. Rogue never looked competitive in a quick 3-0 against Fnatic. G2 had an epic, blow-for-blow slugfest in a 3-2 loss to Fnatic that they easily could have won. That’s a bit concerning for Rogue because G2 and Fnatic can play similar styles. Both teams are very flexible in who carries, what champions they play, and what lanes those champions go in. Rogue struggled with that massively against Fnatic as they are a relatively linear team who is very good at one style of team composition. If G2 is going to form their strategy around beating that composition like Fnatic did, I think Rogue is in big trouble.
Rogue plays a weak-side top laner in every game because their top laner, Finn, is not to the standard of the rest of the team. He is a comfortable tank and team fighter, but has been known to get killed in lane. Wunder can fit every role for his team including carry. I expect G2 to try to win through him to great success a couple of times in this series.
The lines for this series though are a little out of wack in G2’s favor though so I’ll be staying away from a side here. The kill total is set at 28.5 for these games, however. Only 5 of Rogue’s last 15 games have reached 29 kills and they are a fairly low kill total team. G2 is a high kill total team in losses, but actually have not been covering this number in a lot of their wins in recent games. I’ll be going under the total on the first 3 maps here.
The Picks: Under 28.5 Kills on Maps 1,2 and 3 (-115) 1u each
Team Liquid (-165) vs. TSM (+125)
Team Liquid is still the best team in North America in my book. In their series against Flyquest last week, they tried out a few new team compositions for the first time all season. Despite clear discomfort, they still almost won the series off the strength of their talent alone. In fairness to Flyquest, they did beat them in a game 5 that I thought both teams were trying to use their best stuff, but Liquid was also able to win two games without their signature style. I was, in short, left encouraged about Team Liquid in a loss.
TSM, for their part, played admirably against Cloud 9. They were clearly the better prepared team on the day. They came out with a specific gameplan around Cloud9’s weaknesses and executed it. It turned out that Cloud9, not the other teams in North America, was the one-dimensional team who were figured out. There’s not such an obvious weakness to attack when it comes to TL or at least not a weakness I think TSM is capable of exploiting.
At their core, these are two very similar teams. They play slow, measured, mid-focused LoL. When two teams of this style match up in LoL, I am of the opinion that the variance is reduced– put simply– more often in 5 game series between standard teams, the better team wins. Team Liquid is the better team. They have consistently better players in the top lane, jungle, and bot lane. Their results against teams from every tier of the league are easily better. They deserve their favorite status here and should get the job done. Rather than lay a lot of juice with the money line, I will be playing the -1.5 maps for Team Liquid. It is significantly more common in LoL for teams to win 3-1 or 3-0 than 3-2, even against similar quality competition.
The other value in this series is in the kill total number of 24.5. This is way too heavily tilted towards the recent results in my opinion. In their series with Flyquest, Team Liquid’s games went over this number, but throughout the season both of these teams averaged significantly lower kill totals than this. Throughout the season, it was much more common to see these teams’ total numbers set at 20.5 or 21.5. This is a big overreaction to me. I will be going under in every game available.
The Picks: Team Liquid -1.5 Maps (+130) 1u, Under 24.5 Kills (-115) every map available 1u Each
* I will also be adding a 2u bet on the TSM ML to hedge my 2u bet on TL to make finals at +500 from here.