Sunday, May 24, 2020

The Next Step

Back on Tuesday January 16th, 2018 I released my first betting related post. It was a pre-season power rankings list for the LEC (at the time EU LCS). I had already dabbled a little here and there and played a fair amount of DFS at that point but that was the starting point for what would eventually become a public journal of my foray into handicapping. It started as a way to hold myself accountable similar to what I was doing with this blog beforehand with my advanced solo queue statistics and professional scene predictions posts (some of those old posts are a hoot, feel free to check them out).

In many ways that hasn't changed. As strange as it sounds, there was a certain therapeutic aspect of having the routine of the grind on an almost daily basis and this was my public outlet for that. It's why I never "sold" the blog or anything like that.  I never intended to build a following or get famous, I was just a guy trying to log his journey to getting better at something. Never in a million years did I think I'd ever be writing for websites or other publications. It was just a place for me to put my thoughts so I wouldn't have to type them out a million times when people asked me for opinions as well as a way to track my own progress. 

Eventually, as all obsessive or manic-minded people will understand, it turned into a bonafied project absorbing many more hours of my life than I'd ever intended it to but it was a true labor of love. I absolutely love this game and handicapping it and that hasn't changed. Over 400 blog posts I steadily honed my craft and started picking up a lot of like-minded readers, followers on social media, and most importantly friends that eventually led to a handful of outside writing opportunities at places (thanks to The Action Network, Safestbettingsites.com, Sports Gambling Podcast Network, and more). When the esports boom hit a few months ago I had the honor of joining a few podcast to spread the gospel of League of Legends to the masses. Things got big very fast as dozens turned to hundreds turned to thousands of readers.

At the end of the day, "The Blog" was still my thing. It was more for myself than my readers which is why it's always been free and open to the public. It's truly humbling when people respect your opinion as much as many of you have and for that I thank you all. Even the debates when we disagree have been tremendously fun and engaging! 

In case it wasn't obvious, I'll be moving to a new location for a new adventure, the next step in this journey if you will. It won't be free. I did not take this decision lightly. I have stood firmly against paid picks or touting services for a number of years in favor or full transparancy with the belief that for someone like me, being genuine and having my own voice as I learn this craft earns more respect than dollar signs and that has largely been true in my time doing this. For years and years I've released free (or close to it) content and I'd do it again in a second but I want to talk a bit about what's next and why I'm extremely excited to be a part of something at its foundation: The Esports Department.

A few of my closest colleagues in the space and I wanted to build something on our own instead of trying to convince others to dive in and commit to esports. We've been here, doing this for years and we're damn good at it! It's an opportunity to be a part of a business of our own creation and bring a product that we feel will be better than anything else you can get in this space. Unfortunately that comes at a cost. In order to bring that great product it requires a sacrifice of our resources and most importantly our time.

I'll be pouring all of my energy into this project to make it the best it possibly can be and to do that means I have to drop a lot of my other projects including a number of them that are paid. With the ability to focus more time on my craft along with significantly improved data and resources we've developed, I'm confident I'll be bringing you a product that will be worth every single penny. If I did not think that was the case I absolutely would not be making this transition. 

Don't worry, I'm not going to become some stuffy, professional writer type.  Having my own voice is what got me here and it's still very important to me. You'll still be getting that along with a similar format but I'll be able to do a significantly better job for all of my readers than I am currently able to do. 

I really didn't want this to sound like a goodbye post because I think it's just the beginning of something great but this blog has, strangely enough, turned into a really important part of my life over the past few years and it's been an absolute joy and honor to share in that journey and meet so many of you along the way. That said, it's time to take this to the next level. I hope you'll join me as we climb that next mountain together. 

Starting this coming week with the Mid Season Cup between the LPL and LCK you'll be able to get a taste of what we can deliver to you over at The Esports Department FREE of charge so you can see for yourself. We're also providing top notch CounterStrike: Global Offensive analysis with some of the most accurate projections out there!. I hope to see you all there!

-Vince

---------------------------

A few other things just because I know people will ask. 

I'll still be posting here from time to time, patch musings, random thoughts, observations, etc. 

I'll still be as active as ever on Twitter and Twitch so don't hesitate to hit my up there!

I'll still be posting my selections to the spreadsheet but it will be after the games take place for record keeping.

The Gold Card Podcast, it will still remain free of charge and available on all platforms every week. We will continue being as goofy and nerdy as we want over there and hope you'll continue to join us! With some backing we'll likely be upping our game in terms of quality (recording equipment, editing, etc), hosting events and contests, and doing prizes/giveaways. Another reason to join us over at The Esports Department! 






Friday, May 1, 2020

May 2nd: LPL Finals




April 26th Recap:


LPL: 6 - 4 (-5.8775 units)

Live: 1 - 0 (+5.55 units)



Total: -0.3275 units



It's been a quiet week since there haven't been any games in the four major regions to write about. It's been a much needed break for me after the insane six week stretch we just went through with the condensed schedule, writing for multiple sites, and still working my full-time gig. What you can expect moving forward in the next couple of weeks:

1) Summer Futures positions 
2) Summer Tier lists for each region
3) Recap of my Spring split in more detail
4) More streaming opportunities for me over at www.twitch.tv/GelatiLOL
5) The Gold Card Podcast every week still!
6) Some big things prepared for next season that I'm really excited for

You probably won't hear too much from me other than that in the coming weeks as this is the only real downtime I'll get to unwind until November with the Summer season and then worlds shortly after that. I'll still be active on Twitter in this time with any questions though!

Let's recap the other semi-final from earlier this week.


FPX / JDG

That's two playoff series where I've been absolutely gutted by laying heavy juice on map totals like an absolute moron. It's why I tend to avoid that bet. It's not indicative of a lot of except in situations where you have a team that you think is superior but very inconsistent and even then you want good odds on it. I laid -400 and an idiotic 8 units with the idea in my head of taking the W there for 2 and getting a 3-1 on either side for a quarter and the rest covering for itself but in reality just looking at my staking for this series there's just all sorts of logical problems. (shoutout to @JP_IronWolf for calling my out on this)


On bets of 3.4u or higher this season I went 2-7. Three of those were -400 plays on the OVER 3.5 maps in the past week that went 1-2 for a net of -11u. Unacceptable not because of the side or idea being unjustified but because of staking.

Just don't do it... it's not that complicated. I constantly preach that the map total is one of the most deceptive bets in the LOL market and then I do this? Play it small in the spots where it actually makes some sense or don't play it at all.



Staking problems/inconsistency is not an unfamiliar thing for me. I used to be absolutely unintelligable (just read some of my posts from past years). I've improved my staking plan overall significantly this season but I've still had a few lapses in judgement. It still needs improvement and it's been the biggest reason why I'm going to finish the spring slightly in the red on straight wagers. This is something I'll be planning to re-evaluate heading into summer. 

I'll be doing my normal mid-season evaluation post sometime this week or next week but this was not a great spring for me and it's normally when I do quite well. Considering that my overall read on the eastern leagues was much more accurate than last year and I just blew it away on stupid shit is a bit frustrating but hey, you live, you learn. I'm just a guy that's trying to get better at this and there's still clearly a lot of work to be done.



Moving on to the actual series... 


It was significantly closer than the 3-0 final result indicates. These were close, high level games from both sides. I thought FPX did a lot of things well but JDG seemed to come out on top in almost every situation similar to how FPX beat EDG. Yagao picking Leblanc INTO Doinb's Ryze in game three was just the biggest display of confidence I've seen in awhile. That took balls and you know what? He made it work even though it wasn't looking good for awhile. 


By no means was this perfect from either side but it sure as hell was a fun series to watch. We even got to see an LCK impression in the first game. To me, this was the real final. I had these two teams #1 and #2 before the season started but with how good TOP have looked who knows, perhaps we have a barn burner on our hands.  




--------------------------

The content I provide here is always and will always be free but if you ever want to chip in and buy me a beer or pitch in to keep the lights on for the podcast there's a donation tab up top or you can DM me on Twitter if you prefer crypto or other means.

--------------------------

CHECK OUT THE GOLD CARD PODCAST!

Available on Spotify, iTunes, Podbean, Stitcher, and wherever you get your podcast fix!

-------------------------

(all lines are from Nitrogen unless stated otherwise)



------------------------



LPL (China)


Futures Positions (post in link and on sidebar):


JDG to win Spring: 1.375 units to win 20.875 units

FunPlus to win Spring: 2.125 units to win 5.3125 units
eStar to win Spring: 0.1 units to win 25.0 units




Playoffs - Finals

TOP eSports +113 (+1.5 @ +1.5 @ -222, +2.5 @ -588)
vs
JD Gaming -150 (-1.5 @ +144, -2.5 @ +307)


Lineups:

TOP: 369, Karsa, Knight, JackeyLove, QiuQiu
JDG: Zoom, Kanavi, Yagao, Loken, LvMao


Trends:
JDG are 10-3 as favorites, 8-5 ATS
JDG are 5-0, 4-1 ATS in their past five appearances as underdogs (including playoffs)
Zoom has not lost a game since returning. JDG are a perfect 15-0 in games with him in the lineup.

TOP are 4-1 as underdogs, 4-1 ATS
TOP have won 2-0 in three of their past four appearances as underdogs 
(vs FPX, eStar, JDG)

TOP won the first meeting between these teams back on March 25th 2-0.


I did a roundtable discussion style post on this final with Josh Roberts and John George over at The Action Network that I'd encourage you to check out.

It's really strange to me that QiuQiu is getting the start. He's been a better player than Yuyanjia overall but to potentially disrupt the chemistry that JackeyLove has built with him during this streak is risky. I don't necessarily think this is automatically a bad thing it's just odd. My guess is that it has something to do with champion pool going up against Loken/LvMao.

So obviously I have futures on JDG for this matchup. I stand to make a whopping 20.875 units on a JDG victory in this spot. I hedge my T1 positions last week and punted it all away on props for the series. I do think that was a bit unlucky but I'll be staying away from the sides in this match but what I'm going to do is take the under kill totals in the first three maps because I think regardless of the winner that we'll get under 26.5. The numbers project this total higher than that (27-28 range) but it's pretty skewed by recent series, particularly the final few weeks of the regular season. I'm also going to be on the JDG first blood props because they've been one of the better first blood squads in the league and we're getting an advantagous number relative to the implied odds+low correlation.

I'm doing a partial hedge that leans heavily toward JDG basically to cover my prop wagers + 1.375 unit futures investment. 

Hedge vs JDG futures + props for this match

MONEYLINE HEDGE: TOP +133 (5.4 units)

Since I feel rather strongly that JDG win this I'm doing a partial hedge that leans heavily toward JDG basically to cover my prop wagers + 1.375 unit futures investment. It's a better alternative to a complete blowout. While it's possible we hit these unders and JDG first blood even in a TOP win, the likelihood is that if TOP win this series these probably wont. With this position we'll end up with the following:
Worst Case scenario: IF TOP win and we miss every single wager we NET: 0
Medium Worst Case scenario: IF TOP win and we hit some of these wagers NET: whatever we win on wagers
Medium Case Scenario: IF JDG win and we miss all of these wagers NET: +15.09 units
Best Case Scenario: If JDG win and we hit all of these wagers NET: +19.975 units


Map 1:
Prop: JDG first blood @ -127 (0.635  units)
Kill Total: UNDER 26.5 @ -130 (1.3 units)

Map 2:
Prop: JDG first blood @ -127 (0.635  units)
Kill Total: UNDER 26.5 @ -130 (1.3 units)

Map 3:
Prop: JDG first blood @ -127 (0.635 units)
Kill Total: UNDER 26.5 @ -128 (1.28 units)

------------------------



Other Leagues

I have some Isurus +200 to win the LLA this season that I'm going to just let ride for this series since they managed to 3-1 decisively even after punting a lead in game one in their last match. They're running hot and they should be the best team in LLA even if their regular season record didn't show it.


--------------------


Parlays:

Sunday, April 26, 2020

April 27th: LPL Semifinals



April 26th Recap:


LPL: 2 - 4 (-1.61 units)


Total: -1.61 units


TOP / Invictus (Net: -1.61)

I talked about it a little bit on Twitter while watching the VODs since I was unfortunately unable to watch this one live. I have absolutely no clue with Invictus was thinking with these drafts. I don't usually hate forcing the weakest player off their comfort picks as a strategy but this weird fascination with the hook supports (Thresh, Nautilus, Blitzcrank) in this series was a little baffling to me. They're all exceptional against Aphelios but there were multiple times where IG would hint that they maybe wanted Aphelios or MF and then just kept banning out more counters anyway. Also banning out Thresh and then banning out the counters was just bizarre. I thought not putting a higher priority on eliminating Syndra was a mistake for IG as well.

In terms of actual play TOP was just better. 369 had an outstanding showing  which was one of the thing TOP was going to need to get out of this one alive. 

There's not really a lot else to say. Invictus didn't really hard lose these drafts they were just really weird and I thought the overall plan lacked clarity, at least to me. The better team won today. Props to you TOP.

Clapping Leonardo Dicaprio GIF - Clapping LeonardoDicaprio ...


--------------------------

The content I provide here is always and will always be free but if you ever want to chip in and buy me a beer or pitch in to keep the lights on for the podcast there's a donation tab up top or you can DM me on Twitter if you prefer crypto or other means.

--------------------------

CHECK OUT THE GOLD CARD PODCAST!

Available on Spotify, iTunes, Podbean, Stitcher, and wherever you get your podcast fix!

-------------------------

(all lines are from Nitrogen unless stated otherwise)


------------------------



LPL (China)


Futures Positions (post in link and on sidebar):


JDG to win Spring: 1.375 units to win 20.875 units

FunPlus to win Spring: 2.125 units to win 5.3125 units
eStar to win Spring: 0.1 units to win 25.0 units




Playoffs - Semifinals

FunPlus Phoenix -144 (-1.5 @ +160, -2.5 @ +395)
vs
JD Gaming -101 (+1.5 @ -233, +2.5 @ -806)


Lineups:

JDG: Zoom, Kanavi, Yagao, Loken, LvMao
FPX: Gimgoon, Tian, Doinb, Lwx, Crisp

Trends:
FPX are 13-4, 8-9 ATS as favorites
FPX are 4-1, 2-3 ATS in their past five appearances as favorites
(vs EDG, TOP, RW, LGD, EDG)

JDG are 2-1, 3-0 ATS as underdogs

FPX won the first meeting 2-1 in JDG's first match back from the hiatus March 9th

 This should be an awesome series. FPX won the first meeting but it was so long ago and with different lineups that it's tough to really take too much from it. FPX are coming off of an impressive showing against EDG where both teams played well but the defending world champs were just a little better. JDG get to enter this series "cold" just like Invictus did this morning but unlike IG, JDG are a team that I actually trust to formulate a good, sensible game plan. Doing that against FPX is challenging but you can expect JDG to be more prepared.

These two teams are remarkably similar in pretty much everything we have a measure for over the course of the season but JDG have had the edge big a bit more substantial a number in trending since Zoom has returned to the lineup. FPX also lost some matches in this time which contributes to this as well. All told, this is an even matchup from a metrics standpoint.

JDG will have side selection on maps 1, 3, and 5 with their higher seeding. They've also had the ability to watch film on FPX. Even if you don't put a lot of weight on those factors, this should be an even money series. FPX are getting the benefit of the doubt because they're coming off of a good performance and have the name brand value that JDG do not. In my opinion, JDG should be small favorites here. They've been the better team over the past few weeks. For this reason we'll be dropping an underdog special in semifinals.

With that in mind, I do have futures on both of these teams. I stand to benefit a lot more if JDG win but I do think either of these teams will probably be near even money against TOP in the finals which will set up for some nice hedge opportunities. If I wanted to think long term I'd just back FunPlus here since I stand to benefit much more if JDG end up winning this and moving onto finals where I can then hedge yet again but I think the value we're getting on JDG is simply too good to pass up for at least something.

Notes on kill total:

FPX season long C+K: 25.9
FPX trending: 24.88
FPX trending KPW: 18.625
FPX trending KPL: 8.125 (17, 23 as outliers)


JDG season long C+K: 24.0
JDG trending 26.66
JDG Trending KPW: 18.75
JDG trending KPL: 6.75

Last meeting C+K: 26.0 (two games under 25)

This number spot on at a juiced 25.5 so no play on the total here. Typically I'd lean over with these two teams and their willingness to skirmish and take isolated 2v2's and 3v3's as a hallmark of their style but I don't think there's any real edge on this number with the juice involved.

JDG have one of the higher first blood rates in the league while FPX are in the bottom half. Again this isn't necessarily a strong correlation but the value is better than the implied percentage so we'll be playing JDG first bloods.

Map Total: OVER 3.5 maps @ -400 (8 units)
Spread: JDG +1.5 maps @ -213 (2.13 units)
Moneyline: JDG +116 (0.5 units)
Spread: JDG -1.5 maps @ +241 (0.25 units)
Prop: Exact FPX 3-1 @ +322 (0.25 units)
Prop: Exact JDG 3-1 @ +395 (0.25 units)

Map 1:
Prop: JDG first blood @ -112 (0.56 units)

Map 2:
Prop: JDG first blood @ -112 (0.56 units)

Map 3:
Prop: JDG first blood @ -112 (0.56 units)

(all at 5Dimes)
------------------------



Other Leagues



I had some pre-season futures on Isurus Gaming @ +200 to win the league. Game is currently happening as I write this. Will include update in tomorrow's post.



--------------------


Parlays:

Saturday, April 25, 2020

April 26th: LPL Playoffs



April 25th Recap:


LCK Finals: 2 - 9 (-7.88 units)

LPL: 4 - 8 (-1.291 units)

Live: 1 - 3 (+1.5 units)

Parlays: 0 - 1 (-1.31 units)

Futures: +7.67 units



Total: -1.301 units


T1 vs Gen.G (Net: +1.79)
Somehow managed to have such a poor finals showing that we ended up barely positive even considering out +7.67 unit futures hedge lock. Gen.G sort of just rolled over and died in this series. A few really uncharacteristic mechanical misplays in the first two games disrupted any sort of momentum Gen.G would have had. 

I gotta give credit to T1. They just show up when it matters time and time again with every single iteration of this roster over the years. Canna is a rookie and made a couple huge plays killing Bdd on the back of fights that looked to be going Gen.G's way. That kind of thing happened multiple times this series. Anytime something looked to be going Gen.G's way somebody on T1 just stepped up and outplayed a situation to completely shut it down.

It's a damn shame we're not going to get an MSI this year so we're going to have to wait until worlds to see T1 against international competition.

That's a wrap for the LCK season. I was more or less spot on about the top three teams. Afreeca crashed and burned, KT Rolster showed some veteran savvy to massively overperform, and DAMWON didn't fix any of their problems or they probably could have been a contender (I know they got 4th, they weren't good this season...). 

The biggest takeaway I have for Korea this split is that drafts were king. It's why APK with their lackluster roster was able to do fine and why the bottom teams remained bad. Any time the good teams lost it was an awful draft. IT was a very binary region much like North America. I'm not comparing the two in skill level just that they have that in common. It's going to be interesting to see the direction the bottom half teams decide to take for the summer. I'll have power rankings out in a few weeks.

EDG / FPX (Net: -1.791)

This was a bizarre series. EDG had a commanding lead in game two that they completely punted away at two separate fights one near dragon pit, the other a blind approach on baron. The baron play was just a bit unlucky, it appeared to me that they thought they were catching FPX mid recall and hoping somebody was already backed so they'd have a numbers advantage. It's a very headsy play and I liked it but FPX hadn't finished and was able to turn the fight. The dragon fight (Doinb Penta) was more jus approaching into Varus being extremely difficult. Honestly that champion somewhat defined both series this morning. Lethality Varus has this bad reputation for falling off but in this new dragon soul world I'm somewhat surprised more poke comps haven't been established world wide. 

EDG played mostly well in this series but FPX are just really damn good. This easily could have gone the distance or even turned into an upset. Aodi was outstanding and probably just earned himself a starting position here or on another team this year or next year.

FunPlus had a few things I'd like to see them clean up but I don't know what else to say, this team is good. They can pull a rabbit out of a hat in so many situations. They're great in set plays, great at trading resources, and great improvisors as well. News flash: FPX is good.


--------------------------

The content I provide here is always and will always be free but if you ever want to chip in and buy me a beer or pitch in to keep the lights on for the podcast there's a donation tab up top or you can DM me on Twitter if you prefer crypto or other means.

--------------------------

CHECK OUT THE GOLD CARD PODCAST!

Available on Spotify, iTunes, Podbean, Stitcher, and wherever you get your podcast fix!

-------------------------

(all lines are from Nitrogen unless stated otherwise)


------------------------


LPL (China)


Futures Positions (post in link and on sidebar):


JDG to win Spring: 1.375 units to win 20.875 units

FunPlus to win Spring: 2.125 units to win 5.3125 units
eStar to win Spring: 0.1 units to win 25.0 units




Playoffs - Semifinals

TOP eSports +147 (+1.5 @ -163, +2.5 @ -535)
vs
Invictus Gaming -208 (-1.5 @ +110, -2.5 @ +297)


Lineups:

TOP: 369, Karsa, Knight, JackeyLove, Yuyanjia
IG: TheShy, Leyan, Rookie, Puff, Southwind

Trends:
Invictus are 13-2, 8-7 ATS
Invictus are 4-1, 1-4 ATS in their past five appearances as favorites

TOP are 3-1, 3-1 ATS as underdogs
All three TOP underdog wins were 2-0
(vs FPX, eStar in week 7, JDG week 4, their loss was to IG)

Everyone is sipping the JackeyLove Kool-Aid. EVERYONE. This is going to be an unpopular opinion but so much of TOP's success the past couple of weeks has so little to do with JackeyLove since he joined. Am I saying he's performing badly? Absolutely not, the dude's has like 800 DPM since re-joining the league. That's never a bad thing. He's a beast, one of the best ADC's in the league.... but he's not the  sole reason TOP are winning like it appears everyone seems to believe.. Normally I'd get all old man "get off my lawn" about the shrine level worship he's getting right now but when someone gets people this excited you're not going to change their minds. Power to you if you love him, that's all fine and good if it gets your jollies off, I just don't get it this ridciulous level of hype.

Clint Eastwood Kids GIF

That said, TOP have looked really good for the most part with him in the lineup. Sometimes a change like this just gives a team a certain confidence level or changes something from a chemistry standpoint that just "clicks."  It's tough to argue with that. Their ability to just outplay you individually at any given time is very potent in a league that doesn't know a fight it won't take. It's what made Invictus so good for so many years... wait, I know that team... we'll get to them in a second.

I thought the last series was the worst TOP have looked since JKL joined the lineup. Was it bad? No. It just wasn't as dominant as the box score or highlight reel would show you. That's something a lot of people don't seem to understand. A lot of times, a highlight outplay is something that either had to happen because you screwed something up or shouldn't have had to happen because you shoulnd't be there in the first place. Frankly, the fewer highlights, the better even if it's less exciting to watch, at least in most cases. 

TOP had great drafts and basic game plans in their Team WE series. Shut the mid-lane down. Easier said than done but on paper it's a pretty easy plan to execute. It helps that WE handed over Syndra twice, a champion that Teacherma's pool simply cannot deal with and effectively pinned him down in two of the four games. I'd argue this lost them both of those games. I can't really hold that against TOP but just keep in mind that it was a pretty "free" win and then WE not adapting after the first loss and running it back was questionable, at least in my opinion but I digress.

What concerned me was TOP's implimentation of their game plan. For example, in game four WE had a very cooldown centric, early-mid spike team composition focused around the Camille ult+Galio ult combination with Aphelios and Camille split push as backup win conditions. TOP opted to go with strong outer lanes, the safe Corki scaling option in the mid lane, and a Lee Sin to help out their side lanes early. It's a bit counterintuitive but having strong outer lanes is going to make it challenging for Teacherma's Galio to find many options for plays which should dampen the effect that the "free" lane he gets to shove Corki in might have. This is all fine and good from a big picture standpoint but TOP has no way to reliably get onto the backline so they were going to have to get ahead early in this game or risk being outmaneuvered early AND outscaled late. So that's the thought process you have to go through when heading into this game. I'd want to get bottom lane or top lane ahead prior to Galio getting six and beat WE to objectives to be able to utilize your poke. 

TOP opted to go for double cull... You could argue that this accelerates them to their mid-game spike but it also completely neuters you in early fights and skirmishes as well as in lane for a lane dominant champion like Renekton. Also makes things extremely difficult for your Lee Sin who is looking to help bridge you to mid with effective early play. Why pick Lee when you're not going to use it early... It was just so weird. You pick to do one thing and then surrender that things... it's just odd. 

Below is the draft.



I also thought that outside of game two where TOP just looked crisp as ever, that they relied a lot more on Team WE's mistakes than they did plays of their own engineering. In other words, Team WE made a lot of unforced errors that TOP took advantage of. Perhaps this was part of their game plan and you can't ever really fault a team for this but you can question whether or not those situations would even present themselves against stronger comeptition. 

A few additional notes: Other than the Lee Sin I thought TOP had good game plans in this series but to me the fact that they relied on having to outplay a lot of situations is more of a yellow than a green light if you follow me. 369 didnt exactly have a great showing against Morgan (of all people) either. 

Invictus... man this team. So IG have actually been more consistent LOOKING than they've actually been consistent this season which is really confusing. Their record is not indicative of how they've played. IG won a lot of games they should have lost this season is the short way of putting it. The thing is, they do this all the time and just rolled high this season. This team makes so many stupid mistakes so often that it's infuriating given how immensely talented they are.... but they make it work. This team honestly looked like they were trolling at a lot of points this season. Almost like G2. They make you want to hate them and fade them as a bettor but they ALWAYS ELEVATE. IG have been much more "The Rookie Show" this season than in the past which is somewhat cathartic for me as I've been pounding the drum for him for years. Anyway...

The first time these teams faced off it was back in late March and it was still the Photic/Qiuqiu iteration of TOP. Game one was a fairly close endeavour with TOP utilizing the broken Senna+Tank bottom lane combination alongside Knight's Leblanc before evneutally losing to Ning's Zac and a Puff pop off game on Aphelios. Game two was a complete dismantling of TOP at the hands of IG. Obviously the situation is different now with TOP looking much better but I think people seem to forget that TOP actually looked pretty damn good after that winning five series in a row and 8 of their next 10. 

I think you can probably tell already just based on my tone and the things I'm pointing out but I'm going to be on Invictus here for a few reasons.

First, generally I need a really good reason not to take a good closing line. I'm not opposed to betting into lost value if I feel strongly on a position but I need a good reason to. Obviously the lines in LOL aren't as sharp as say the NFL but generally when you get more than 60 points of value on either side it's a good thing. This line opened -260 earlier in the week and has been bet down/adjusted down and all over the place. Shop around for a good spot.

Second, TOP are very good but also overrated right now. I sincerely question whether or not people would be as hype on this team if they didn't 2-0 FPX. Game one of that series could have gone either way, if FPX won and they 2-0'd or 2-1'd I feel like they wouldn't be riding this hype train nearly as hard as they are. Other than that, 2-0'd eStar (somewhat impressive), and then 2-0 vs Victory Five (meaningless). People are reacting to the "turnaround." When you combine going from a loss streak-->swapping in a super star--> going on a win streak including a win against FPX-->playoff win people get really amped up. I'm saying cool the jets.

Third, Invictus have the players to actually win individually against TOP. You could say that FPX do as well but I think IG have even stronger individual players. This will be a step up in competition individually as well as in overall pace of the game.

Fourth, Invictus have gotten to sit quietly and observe everything around them for a week now. We saw in the LCK this morning that that can be a detriment if you've got rust to shake off or aren't riding the momentum but it can also mean that you can formulate good game plans like FPX did this morning with the Twisted Fate.

Breaking Bad He Cant Keep Getting Away With This GIF - Find ...

Fifth, my gut. I know it's taboo to say gut in handicapping but I don't ignore it. Invictus are a frustrating team because honestly, they get away with murder and people think they're gods because of it... but so have TOP recently. I hate them both. There's also the angle that Invictus seem to always elevate to their competition. Something just tells me that Invictus show up here and remind everyone why they were first place even with all their issues this season. Guys, TheShy has more or less been feeding the entire season and this team still went 15-2 and 28-11 in games... that's ridiculous! 369 is also just coming off of a rough performance against Morgan and the jump from Teacherma to Rookie is a pretty drastic one. 

Overall this is mostly an overrated/underrated play combined with Invictus actually having a ton of upside that we haven't seen this season. TOP are everyone's hot new side piece. Invictus are one you keep going back to (although they've got their drama and side pieces too)... ok that analogy got weird. The point is, Invictus have been relatively poor compared to what we'd expect from them and still dominated the LPL and I think people just seem to have forgotten that amidst the distraction of TOP's hot new run and the reintroduction of JKL. 

My position on this match isn't going to be large but I'm going against the numbers and going with Invictus. For a team that's as reliant on outplaying individual lanes as TOP have been, Invictus are exactly the type of team you don't want to see on the other side. They aren't going to be able to rely on acruing advantages that way like they have in most of their wins recently.

Moneyline: Invictus -185 (1.85 units)
Spread: Invictus -1.5 maps @ +118 (0.5 units)
Prop: Exact Invictus 3-1 @ +300 (0.25 units)

Map 1:
Kill Total: UNDER 30.5 @ -105 (1.05 units)

Map 2:
Kill Total: UNDER 30.5 @ +100 (1 units)

Map 3:
Kill Total: UNDER 30.5 @ -101 (1.01 units)
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