Saturday, February 15, 2020

February 16th: LCK, LCS

February 15th Recap:

LCK: 1 - 2 (-2.39 units)
LEC: 1 - 3 (-1.4 units)
LCS: 0 -1 (-1.0 units)

TOTAL: 2 - 6 (-4.79 units)

Rough day at the office for us even though we hit our +1020 underdog in Schalke. Vitality were in position to win that game before a tremendous baron throw where they didn't turn. Sandbox got completely run over by Hanwha. I'm contemplating a full reevaluation of Sandbox but I have a feeling it's just been a rough week for them and I don't want to overreact. Fnatic losing was something I thought was possible but still found value in the number. I should listen to my own advice and stop betting MAD games. I'm clearly mad they're overrated but shouldn't put anything at stake just to prove that, I should just know it's true and abstain.


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

(all lines are from Nitrogen unless stated otherwise)

LCK (Korea)
Week 2 - Day 5

KT Rolster +241 (+1.5 @ -117)
vs
DAMWON -348 (-1.5 @ +113)

DAMWON looked terrible in their series. As good as Gen.G looks I'm having a hard time giving them too much credit in this series because DAMWON, frankly, looked checked out. Not watching the map, not talking, etc. Do I think DAMWON are doomed? Absolutely not. They're in a bit of a slump psychologically. They've been punished pretty hard for their clumsy play this season and then turned in that performance. This is a bit of a gut call but this just feels like a DAMWON get right game. The problem I'm having with it is not only the odds but the fact that I don't think KT is quite as bad as people think they are.

I'm going to take DAMWON to sweep this but only for half a unit. I can't help but think that was a wake up call that you can't sleep through this league and to be embarrassed can be a strong motivator. There's no way their coach didn't lay into them after that performance and they'll be here for this one.

Spread: DAMWON -1.5 @ +113 (0.5 units)


----

Gen.G -178 (-1.5 @ +174)
vs
T1  +129 (+1.5 @ -182)

T1 looked like they woke up after a really weak week one. They actually had a decent looking draft for once! I think this team is better than people are giving credit for. People are holding that loss to Hanwha against them but now that you've seen some more of Hanwha was it really that bad? I know Gen.G look like the best team in the league right now and they've been proactive a bit more than I'm accustomed to seeing from this team but I can't help but think T1 have a shot here.

Spread: T1 +1.5 maps @ -182 (1.82 units)

Moneyline: T1 +129 (0.5 units)

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

LCS (North America)
Week 4 - Day 2

Golden Guardians +160 vs Dignitas -234
Liquid -350 vs CLG +236
FlyQuest +172 vs Team Solo Mid -260
Evil Geniuses -102 vs Immortals -141

I'm going to be on Golden Guardians for a full unit here for a few reasons. First, Dignitas are still being overvalued based on their start and name brand players on their roster. Yes they picked up the win last night but it was with Soraka who now moves to 9-2 in the three major regions that are playing so far this season. It's so so difficult to give a lot of credit to wins with Soraka right now. Second, is that Golden Guardians, while not particularly great, are being undervalued a bit. Third, I have these two teams as roughly equal, maybe a slight edge to Dignitas but not -260. This should be something like a 55-45 split AT MOST meaning we'd get something in the -120 to -130 range. Give me the dog here. I think this matchup is even and severely mispriced.

(I still like the more current numbers of +160 for GGs here but I put this in before I started writing this)

Moneyline: Golden Guardians +172 (1 unit)

I know everyone is in fade Liquid mode right now but give this team some time and they'll be fine. I know they have more problems than jungle but I also think this team is honestly coasting a bit. Do I like it? No but it looks to be the case. They'll be a top two team by seasons end even if the record doesn't show it and CLG is an absolute mess right now. I'm honestly tempted to lay this number. If I can find something closer to -250 I'll probably fire but for now this makes a decent parlay target.

Liquid/CLG: no wager

This play on FlyQuest is almost strictly line value as I have these two graded a lot closer than the books do at roughly 60% (-150) for TSM. FlyQuest are aggressive. I like the way they're playing and drafting right now and they have V1per who can blow any game wide open.

Moneyline: FlyQuest +172 (0.5 units)

Immortals admittedly look pretty good right now but I also think they've faced a bit of an easier schedule than people are giving them credit for. Their win against TSM was in that "we're sick/awful" week one of TSM before they turned it on and Liquid clearly aren't in the form everyone thought they were. Other than that it's been 100 Thieves, Golden Guardians, and CLG. Not exactly a murderers row. Everyone is sleeping on this EG team because of the 2-4 start although I'll admit the loss to CLG feels pretty terrible but yet again I blame Soraka... I'm somewhat surprised this number isn't bigger but I think EG are the right side here. I like Immortals but I do think they're just a tad fraudulent. I don't like pointing to statistics this early in the season with such a small sample size but Immortals gold differentials, team damage per minute and gold per minute rates are not up to par with even the middle of the table. You could argue they're due for some positive regression but I'd think the opposite.

Moneyline: Evil Geniuses +100 (1 unit)(5Dimes)


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

Parlays:

"Three Dogs" Parlay (3): 
FlyQuest ML + Evil Geniuses ML + Golden Guardians ML @ +1251 
Round Robin (every iteration of these three): 0.1 units each
4 parlays, 0.4u to win 2.84 u


Round robinI actually think there is a reasonable chance this happens today and while I don't typically parlay "value" picks, I do when I think there's close to a 50% chance the dogs take each match. Low risk high reward here.

Friday, February 14, 2020

February 15th: LCK, LEC, LCS

February 14th Recap:

LCK: 0 - 2 (-2.4 units)
LEC: 3 - 1 (+3.81 units)

TOTAL: 3 - 3 (+1.41 units)

DAMWON clearly didn't show up to play in this match. Nuguri must not be looking at the map at all, or there is no communication happening, or he's just ignoring it out of arrogance but between that and an Athene's on Orianna when you have an Ivern on your team I was livid. The lack of preparation, both from an execution standpoint, but more importantly a conceptual standpoint is just unacceptable for a playoff team in the LCK. Gen.G looked really clean but DAMWON were honestly a terrible team on the day so I don't want to look too much into this match. Don't immediately go "Oh but Gen.G stomped DAMWON they must be good right?" Gen.G are good but this match isn't why. Don't use this as a data point other than knowing DAMWON are now capable of no-showing like this. Unacceptable.

APK vs Griffin was a weird one. We got to see Ikssu's Illaoi again which was fun but Tarzan looked unbelievable on the Gragas with some of the best cask ultimates I've seen in a row in one game. *golf clap* That said APK managed to get one here. I do think APK are going to be a competitive team as I've stated before so I'm not going to hold this against Griffin too much. It was just a weird series.

In the LEC we should have gone 4-0. Schalke either have players that aren't listening to their coaches or the worst coaching staff in the league, which is also the coaches fault. I play in a recreational league format, league with my team, there are silver and gold level teams in this that would know to turn off of the baron and kill either target in that spot. Even if you spend some time doing it, even if their jungler is dead. Aatrox can do too much in a fight like that if you let him and you absolutely did not have to. I understand maybe thinking "oh their jungler is dead" but as a professional player it's inexcusable to think you're going to get out of that without some casualties. That was the game in that play alone. It's just another in a long line of plays by Western teams that are honestly making me wonder why I shouldn't get back into coaching like I used to. It shows a lack of educating your players, testing them, and preparing them. As professionals that play two games a week there is absolutely zero excuse for not being prepared for fundamentals like this. These are the kinds of things you talk about over dinner, they aren't execution or skill based, they're all conceptual so there is absolutely no excuse for not meeting those expectations. It's embarrassing. 

Anyway... before I get more heated ...

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

(all lines are from Nitrogen unless stated otherwise)

LCK (Korea)
Week 2 - Day 4

DragonX -152 (-1.5 @ +213)
vs
Afreeca Freecs +112 (+1.5 @ -224)

DragonX look really good. They were my #1 before the season but as I've stated a bunch of times already, Korea is full of parity. So the question here is whether or not we think there is value in either of these teams at this number.

We got to see All In's debut on, ironically, the very all-in Pantheon mid against APK. I don't want to completely throw out the data point "because it's APK" but it does earn a little bit less weight than normal. Some of you may be wondering, Why is this even a question when we bet APK? The number was why we bet APK. There were a number of really close team fights in the first game which made it very entertaining but they did earn a win in game two with our favorite underdog game stealer, you guessed it, SORAKA. 7-1... 7-1...

I'm a bit skeptical of taking DragonX here even though I think they'll end up #1 eventually because they have faced a relatively easy schedule but it's just so difficult to not be tremendously impressed with the adaptation against two bizarre Hanwha drafts as well as incredible individual plays by the two rookies Keria and Pyosik to break both of those games wide open. When you looked at this roster before the season started the two biggest question marks were those two rookies and they're the ones that have been impressing the most on a tema with Chovy and Deft... think about that for a second.

I'm going with DragonX but only to win half a unit. It's nothing against Afreeca at all and honestly I wouldn't be surprised at an Afreeca win as they've been playing pretty well also but consider this my flag planted on DragonX as the best team in Korea. I may take a taste of the OVER 2.5 once again in this one but I'm waiting to see if I can get a plus number somewhere.

Moneyline: DragonX -152 (0.76 units)

Likely on the OVER 2.5 maps if I can find a decent + number.


----

Sandbox -239 (-1.5 @ +159)
vs
Hanwha Life +172 (+1.5 @ -166)

As much as I love Hanwha and as much as people want to hate on Sandbox for losing to "a weak Griffin team" and throwing more than Peyton Manning I'm going with the 2-0 here. I respect Hanwha but Sandbox are a significantly better team. We've also seen a number of the various "whacky" strategies that Hanwha have busted out already and I have to think that they're running out of practical ideas. DragonX solved it, albeit with some sick individual plays but I think now with the script out there and some preparation that can be made that Sandbox will be prepared for anything.

The rub here is that if you think Hanwha can jump out to a lead, Sandbox have been downright terrible from behind this season, and somewhat last year. They are an outstanding team with a lead and they'll close in clinical fashion but they tend to struggle from a deficit so if you think Hanwha can get a lead and want to approach this from the angle of the +1.5 I don't hate that. I'm actually going to lay the moneyline here with a smaller fraction on the 2-0 than the normal 2/3-1/3 split I usually do.

Moneyline: Sandbox -239 (2.39 units)

Spread: Sandbox -1.5 maps @ +159 (0.5 units)

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

LEC (Europe)
Week 4 - Day 2

Misfits -325 vs Vitality +250
SK Gaming +197 vs Rogue -287
G2 eSports -1408 vs Schalke +593
Origen -313 vs Excel +222
MAD Lions +160 vs Fnatic -234

I'm going to take a stab at the let down spot for Misfits after that G2 victory yesterday although I wish it was literally any other team besides Vitality.

Moneyline: Vitality +250 (0.25 units)(5Dimes)

I'm actually tempted to lay the big favorite with Rogue but I'll be including it in a parlay instead.

SK/Rogue: No wager but will put Rogue in parlay

G2 vs Schalke just way out of range. You can get Schalke +1020 on 5Dimes. I'll try it for a tenth of a unit on the off chance that G2 screw around for another day in a row but maybe a kill spread is where you want to look if they're available to you.

Moneyline: Schalke +1020 (0.1 units)(5Dimes)

Excel presents the best value on the board today. Origen are most certainly the better team and rarely lose to teams I dub worse than they are but I think Excel are only about a half tier behind them in overall quality so I think this +240 price (5Dimes) is a bit too much to turn down. 240 is 29.4% implied odds, I think this is more like a 60-40 matchup so I'll take the dogs here for a unit especially since I consider them a pretty good team.

Moneyline: Excel +240 (1 unit)(5Dimes)

Fnatic will be the other leg of my parlay here. I'm also going to take the moneyline. It's a lot of exposure on them but I really think this number is actually a value for Fnatic. Everyone is hyping up MAD Lions and while I'm confident they'll continue to grow and be a good team (and one I'll hate betting over the course of the season) I don't think they're remotely close to the caliber of the big boys in the LEC yet. Fnatic are going to little brother the hell out of this team today. Fnatic to win half a unit to go along with our parlay listed below.

Moneyline: Fnatic -234 (1.17 units)

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

LCS (North America)
Week 4 - Day 1

Immortals +236 vs Liquid -350
Team Solo Mid +160 vs Cloud 9 -234
CLG -154 vs Golden Guardians +108
Dignitas -128 vs 100 Thieves -113

It looks like Broxah is going to play for Liquid. I'd imagine there is a jolt of energy and confidence as he's ready to play and his teammates finally get a chance to show whats up. There's a chance they struggle a bit in his first NA stage game. Shernfire hasn't been the reason they're losing so if you want to take the narrative based "rust" or "no chemistry yet" angle I don't hate a small wager on Immortals. I'll be passing this though.

IMT/TL: No wager

Cloud 9 look like the best team in NA right now but I don't think TSM is as far behind them as this line indicates. The entire Gold Card Podcast indicated that we were interested in TSM as dogs at more or less anything in the low 100s, we can get 170 at 5Dimes do I'm going to fire for a unit. These two teams are way closer to even than these odds imply.

Moneyline: TSM +170 (1 unit)(5Dimes)

This CLG/GG line has moved all over the place so I'd encourage you to shop around. As it currently stands I still don't trust CLG but I don't trust GGs either and we're not getting any particularly good value on either side. I'll pass.

CLG/GG: No wager

Similar to CLG/GG, with double - odds (damn esports juice...) I just don't see any value in this spot. I'd lean toward Dignitas but I'd probably take whichever team gets + odds if you can find them anywhere.

Dig/100T: No wager

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

Parlays:

Parlay (2): Rogue ML + Fnatic ML @ -128 (1.28 units)

Thursday, February 13, 2020

February 14th: LCK, LEC

February 12th and 13th Recap:

LCK: 5 - 4 (+4.465 units)

TOTAL: 5 - 4 (+4.465 units)

We had ourselves a pretty great past two days in the LCK! This morning we missed on KT Rolster even though T1 were outdrafted once again in game one but just executed much better, but we did hit on DragonX who quickly adapted to a very weird Tryndamere funnel draft by Hanwha. DragonX weren't fooled and Keria and Pyosik were the stars that broke these games wide open. Our DragonX futures are looking mighty fine right about now with the two biggest question marks we had going into the season playing the way they are. Former LCK and LEC player Wadid has been on the analyst desk for the Korean broadcast and he thinks that Keria "might be the best support in Korea" and that "he doesn't play like a rookie" before going on and gushing about his mature understanding of what needs to happen on both a micro and macro level to solve a puzzle like the Hanwha draft this morning. We also hit on a nice +190 Griffin moneyline against Sandbox but in my opinion we got extremely lucky. Sandbox just keep finding ways to throw games. I even put a poll out on Twitter about it: 


Sandbox look like such a clean team most of the time but they've had so many of these moments this season that they're beginning to remind me a bit of SKT early last season. Hopefully they can clean a few of these things up, I don't see why they couldn't. The one thing I've been doing a good job about this week is reducing to half a unit based on confidence. This morning was a good example. I thought it was totally reasonable for KT, who haven't looked bad, to take a game off of T1 potentially off of a botched draft alone but that isn't enough to warrant a full unit endorsement. I need to remain consistent in this approach.

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

(all lines are from Nitrogen unless stated otherwise)

LCK (Korea)
Week 2 - Day 3

Gen.G -178 (-1.5 @ +183)
vs
 DAMWON +129 (+1.5 @ -191)

This is a strange position for a few reasons. DAMWON have largely underwhelmed thus far but they also look exactly like the team they did last year, they just happened to have been punished for it in their first couple series so the small sample size effect is amplified here. This team should have lost to APK in game one. If they did how would people be looking at this match? DAMWON were a clumsy team all last year, this isn't new. I can't help but think DAMWON are due for some positive regression but the fact that they play like a bull in a china shop leaves them exposed in certain situations.

Gen.G have looked ridiculously clean but their most difficult test was Griffin and they dropped a game to KT Rolster. Gen.G look very good, very clean, and like they have a firm grasp on the metagame right now it's just a matter of seeing more at this point.

I'm going to be on DAMWON here for a few reasons. The first has very little to do with them and mostly to do with line value. This early in the season, unless I see something drastic I tend to still weight my pre-season read on these teams very heavily until we get more film and information. I had these teams both right next to each other toward the top of the table in the crowded and competitive top of the LCK. I'll mention once again that unless there is a severe mismatch strategically or individually that I'd be preferring underdogs in the current state of the game and preferring underdogs in the LCK matchups between the top teams because I feel as if they're all fairly even. This line has also ballooned to over +130 and toward higher numbers at some books compared even earlier this aftrernoon when it was at +120 for DAMWON.

Second, I think DAMWON make an excellent underdog in general. They're extremely confident and their elite individual abilities combined with more than a year of building chemistry create memorable and intimidating spike performances sometimes regardless of the opponent. In so many words DAMWON are capable of beating anybody in the world on any day.

Third, for as much as myself and fellow sharp analysts think that DAMWON have looked shaky I think we'd all agree that this is one of those "turn on" types of teams. We saw T1 do that today after a really rough week one they completely whooped KT Rolster. There's a chance DAMWON had a bit of a wake up call and elevate in this spot. It's like they've had a bad read on the game they just haven't been executing well. Plus, as we mentioned, this teams' spike performances tend to be utter dominations. Would not be surprised at all to see DAMWON 2-0 here not that I think it's the most likely outcome.

I do think this is one of the rare spots where I'll be on the over 2.5 maps. Usually this is a market I avoid because I've found that there isn't a strong correlation between evenly matched teams and three game series. A 2-0 can be a close match even if it doesn't look like is. I expect this to be a slugfest and given the current state of the game I do believe we're going to see a lot of three game series between the good teams unless someone has distinct stylistic advantage. Typically this isn't the case as the numbers tend to be cooked toward the over instead of the under on this market. However we've seen 8 out of 14 series go to three games so far in the LCK and until we see distinct advantages developed by the stronger teams and changes by Riot to the state of the game I think a lot of matches are much closer to 50/50 than normal given the scaling nature of League of Legends and to get +100 right now feels better than it usually does. I also think that while the DAMWON +1.5 covers the other outcome of a DAMWON 2-0, the best price of -191is not one I'm willing to pay up for. I think the likelihood of a 2-1 for either team is higher than normal in for this series and metagame.

Just a brief side note, the reason I haven't been bringing a lot of the statistics based analysis to the table so far this season is simply sample size. The numbers can lie a lot this early in the year where one game makes up a huge percentage of the total so I tend to wait until further into the season to compare.

Moneyline: DAMWON +140 (1 unit)(5Dimes)

Total: OVER 2.5 maps played @ +100 (1.4 units)(5Dimes)

----

Griffin -685 (-1.5 @ -136)
vs
APK Prince +388 (+1.5 @ +130)

APK have been surprisingly impressive for the team myself and most people had slated as the last place team in the LCK this season. I say that and I was actually higher on them than a lot of people saying that we almost definitely wouldn't have another Jin Air level bad team. This team is competitive for the time being at least. They're throwing punches and taking the fight to better teams which is exactly what you want in a big dog. 

Griffin have been slowly piecing things together and managed to get their first match win in their last match against Sandbox with the help of a few tremendous throws by Nolan Ryan... I mean Sandbox. We mentioned it in our Griffin ML selection for that match that this team isn't as bad as their record at all. Again the parity at the top of the table is going to lead to some really valuable underdog lines until the season plays itself out more. You're going to have good teams that look bad in the standings. WATCH THE FILM! 

This feels like a spot to take APK but I'll actually be avoiding this match. Just for comparison, against DAMWON we got an APK +1.5 maps priced at +310 and now it's down to +130? I'm treating the top seven as mostly equal teams so that's losing a ton of value. Do I think there is a 43.5% (the implied probability of +130) for APK to take a game in this series? It's probably about that number. I don't see any value in this spot. I wouldn't hate a small taste of the moneyline if you think APK have a chance to take one game the +388 isn't unreasonable but I think the gap between these two teams is large enough that I'm going to just pass.

No wager

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

LEC (Europe)
Week 4 - Day 1

Origen -193 vs MAD Lions +135
SK Gaming +118 vs Excel eSports -167
Fnatic -1000 vs Vitality +494
Rogue -369 vs Schalke 04 +246
G2 eSports -654 vs Misfits +345

We talked quite a bit on the podcast about how the LEC is shaking out this season, particularly the middle of the table. I'm limited on time so I'll skip diving too hard into any of these for now and just give the quick hits.

If I can get a slightly better number on Origen I want it. MAD Lions have been the bettors nightmare this season as a team that is overrated AND overpriced but also one that I think isn't a bad team. I said last week that I'd be avoiding them but I don't see them continuing to get lucky against a clean, by the book team like Origen so this is one spot I like the favorite. 

Moneyline: Origen -185 (1.85 units)(5Dimes)

I have absolutely no idea why this Excel/SK line is even close. Is it because they're only one win apart? Excel is a full two tiers above SK Gaming to me. This should have been my pick of the week during the podcast.

Moneyline: Excel -160 (3.2 units)(5Dimes)

Pass on Fnatic/Vitality.

I'm going to take a quarter unit shot on Schalke with the news that Innaxe is now playing ADC. I've been a rather staunch defender of Forg1ven but the recent comments and his overall performance this season have been pretty terrible. Maybe this is a change this team needs. I do think Rogue are quite good though. This is more of a narrative long shot hence the limited exposure. This line was +180 before the news and we're getting almost 70 cents value for what should be an upgrade given how poor Forg1ven was through six games. There's also the "fresh start" narrative for a team that was struggling bringing in someone to bring some new energy and mix things up.

Moneyline: Schalke +315 (0.25 units)(5Dimes)

John @TheeSportsPlug has what he's called the G2 troll cycle. G2 are clearly the best team in the league and one of if not the best team in the world and when they lose domestically it's rarely anything to do with the opponent and more to do with them. G2 tend to start seriously, smash people and then try some weird wonky pick to style on people, and then they keep pushing the boundaries until they "go too far" down the rabbit hole, punt a game badly, and it resets. I agree with John that this weekend feels a little bit primed for that to happen especially given the suggestion at some weird funnel compositions by the LCK this week that G2 might try their hand at. This is purely narrative although it's backed by some historical context. I'll be taking a quarter unit on both G2 opponents this weekend for this reason.

Moneyline: Misfits +425 (0.25 units)(5Dimes)

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

February 13th: LCK

Apologies in advance for the short writeup and formatting but this is from my phone. I had a jam packed day that sort of got away from me with some unexpected things popping up. Will add last nights recap to tomorrow's post.

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

T1  -429 (-1.5 @ +101) vs KT Rolster +288 (+1.5 @ -105)

The Telecom War! It's easy to say this match is "always close" because there have been a few memorable matchups that have been but for the most part, over the past few years it hasn't been. To me this handicap is pretty simple. I don't think KT is as bad as people think right now and until T1 show me they can successfully win a draft, which they haven't done yet in their six games, then I'm going to be avoiding T1 to 2-0 anybody. I'll take a taste of KT Rolster +1.5 to win half a unit.

Spread: KT Rolster +1.5 maps @ -105 (0.525 units)(Nitrogen)


Hanwha Life eSports +184 (+1.5 @ -146) vs DragonX -262 (-1.5 @ +140)

I know I've gone on and on and on about the parity in the LCK and how the 8th and 9th ranked teams in my personal power rankings, KT and HLE, aren't as bad as people think, but I actually think there's a bit too much hype on Hanwha in this number. Don't get me wrong I actually like the way Hanwha is playing right now and think they're a good check on the region as a whole but DragonX look pretty sharp and I'm skeptical about the number of tricks Hanwha actually have. It's a lot less surprising when people now know to expect some wild stuff from you. I expect DragonX to adjust well. I like Hanwha but I actually think we're getting a decent value on DragonX because of Hanwha's win against T1. I also think T1 spoon fed them three winning drafts so I'm not exactly sure how much credit to give Hanwha vs credit to take away from T1.

Moneyline: DragonX -225 (2.25 units)(5Dimes)

Spread: DragonX -1.5 maps @ +145 (0.75 units)(5Dimes)

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

February 12th: LCK

February 10th Recap


LCS: 1 - 0 (+1.08 units)
TOTAL NET: 1 - 0 (+1.08 units)

Liquid losing to Golden Guardians is another data point on a narrative I've been constructing but haven't really discussed. Other than representing North America (or Europe) at the Mid-Season Invitational, there is absolutely no reason to win the Spring split anymore in the Western regions due to the elimination of the championship/circuit point system. I don't want to operate under the assumption that teams don't care about winning or anything but Liquid have been playing extremely recklessly, and downright disrespectfully in a lot of their games. I think this game sort of got away from Liquid on a nice baron call by Golden Guardians. To be honest with you this was a bit surprising but didn't particularly move the needle very much for either team. It was a close game until that baron call so it's not like Liquid are mailing it in but they just aren't as sharp as they usually are, possibly because they don't want to emotionally invest too much into this non-Broxah form but who knows. Golden Guardians showed up to play and really took the fight to Liquid but I still think this team ultimately lacks the talent to really compete with the top teams consistently. They'll be another nice fade option as people overreact to an "elite team losing." 

Immortals vs CLG was a really weird game. CLG had a great opening getting first blood, executing a dive and looked well on their way to an easy, clean victory but instead of walking out together after the dive they split up and let Immortals reengage on their retreat when they should have been long gone. From there CLG just got incredibly sloppy over the next 10 minutes. They remained ahead on gold, maintained dragon control, got the first baron, and even got the ocean dragon soul. CLG were once again in full control of the game but got picked off retreating. Sloppy... 40 minutes into the game CLG start the second baron and it looks like a cataclysmic teamfight but Altec had mid priority and Immortals had the wedge between mid lane towards CLG's base and the baron pit. Eika teleported to assist Altec and the remaining three just fought a slow fight to deny recalls and CLG ended up losing the game.

You could look at CLG as "snakebitten" or unlucky or any number of things but I'm going to choose to use a frequently used saying from sports; "They aren't following through." Whether it's swinging a baseball bat, throwing a pitch, serving in tennis, finishing a tackle in football, or any other reference you can come up with, CLG are doing the proper delivery and simply not finishing. It's the League of Legends equivalent to finishing your essay and not proof-reading it only to find a ton of stupid errors once you get it back with a poor score. CLG look checked out. I want to blame the coaching staff for letting it get this way but the truth is this cuts both ways. 


The Gold Card Podcast can be found on iTunesStitcherSpotify, and PodBean!

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

(all lines are from Nitrogen unless noted otherwise)

LCK (Korea)
Week 2 - Day 1

Afreeca Freeca -4000 (-1.5 @ -329)
vs
APK Prince +972 (+1.5 @ +312)

If DAMWON didn't have an absolute miracle hail mary in game one they would have dropped a game to APK. While they don't look particularly sharp, APK are being proactive and aggressive. They've lost a lot of really close fights and in a number of them the game could have turned in their favor. Now maybe that will turn into the story of APK but as I stated, in so many words, in my pre-season tier list article, this team won't be nearly as bad as people think and I think that's mostly been the case despite the zero in the wins column. 

Afreeca dropped a game to Hanwha already this season and the odds on this are just so outrageous that I feel like I have to take a shot with APK here. They certainly have more than a 24.5% chance to win a single game which is what the implied odds suggest. The game is fairly high variance right now and with gamebreaking picks like Soraka, Qiyana, and Aphelios available I'm willing to say pretty much anything can happen plus APK aren't that bad.

Another angle to think about is that Afreeca might take this opportunity to play some substitute players. Afreeca have excellent subs that could hold their own on most teams but it absolutely would not surprise me to see them lose a little bit of their edge, especially if Hoon plays for Kiin. 

All of these factors are enough for me to take a shot on APK. At +308 to take a single game you really can't go wrong and this team legitimately should have just taken one from DAMWON. We're going to take a shot on game one specifically as well because I could see Afreeca playing subs, losing a close game, and then bringing in the big guns in game two. We also literally just saw a game where APK had more kills than DAMWON and they stole the game, something that I think might happen just a tad more frequently with the way most League games are playing out right now.

On sites like Nitrogen betting the map one moneyline isn't really the map one moneyline it's whoever has the most kills but it is written as the map one moneyline. I'll differentiate it here but just know that when looking on the book.

Spread: APK +1.5 maps @ +310 (0.5 units)(5Dimes)

Map 1 Moneyline (most kills): APK +516 (0.25 units)

Moneyline (full match): APK +1350 (0.1 units)(@5Dimes)

----


Sandbox -253 (-1.5 @ +135)
vs
Griffin +178 (+1.5 @ -141)

Sandbox look like they haven't missed a beat even though they lost 1-2 to a great DragonX team. Griffin have been struggling to find an identity. I do want to make one thing clear and that is to not be fooled by the winless record. If we consider Gen.G and Afreeca good teams, and most of us do even with some early season hesitation, then Griffin have simply lost two matches to two great teams.  Both games against Afreeca were competitive endeavours and I'd say Afreeca should have lost game one for sure and pulled a rabbit out of a hat similar to T1 the day before. 

So where does that leave us? I think this number is way too big even for a team with question marks like Griffin. They haven't been that bad this season and this is massively inflated because of their 0-4 start. I mentioned before the season started that I think the top seven LCK teams and even the 8th and 9th are going to be a lot closer to even than the records will end up showing. Legitimately any one of them could win and I wouldn't be surprised. Give me Griffin here this number is way too big.


Spread: Griffin +1.5 maps @ -141 (1.41 units)

Moneyline: Griffin @ +190 (0.5 units)(5Dimes)

Spread: Griffin -1.5 maps @ +432 (0.25 units)

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Parlays:

none for now

Monday, February 10, 2020

February 10th: LCS

February 8th Recap

LCK: 2 - 1 (+0.995 units)
LCS: 3 - 0 (+2.5 units)
Parlays: 1 - 0 (+0.42 units)
NET: 6 - 1 (+3.915 units)

Rough weekend turned around on Sunday to help us end up in the green (+1.475 units).

We'll start in the LCK where we got to see an absolute barnburner between Afreeca and Hanwha Life. These two teams are going to be a hell of a good time to watch this season! They're both so willing to fight at all times they almost look like LPL style squads and they're going to test the normally risk averse LCK in ways that the region could use. This wasn't just a bar room brawl either. There was an incredible amount of coordination, set plays, and even when situations broke down both squads were decisive and confident. I'm not sure I'll be moving Hanwha up too much because I already had them as a 9th place B tier but they're going to present some problems for teams that are too passive. All I know is I'm liking Afreeca more and more as I watch them. 

DragonX and Sandbox played an extremely high level series and while it wasn't the complete bloodbath that HLE/Afreeca was, the pace and individual outplays throughout were mind boggling. If a series could up the stock in both teams this was it. This looked almost like a playoff series, perhaps it's a preview.

In the LCS we hit on our fade of the 100 Thieves overhype against a decent Immortals team, laying big chalk on Cloud 9 who look like the definitive best team right now, and EG finally coming through against FlyQuest as well as our TSM/C9 heavy favorites parlay.


The Gold Card Podcast can be found on iTunesStitcherSpotify, and PodBean!

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

(all lines are from Nitrogen unless noted otherwise)

LCS (North America)
Week 3 - Day 3

Golden Guardians +329 vs Team Liquid -535

Immortals +108 vs CLG -154

If I had access to kill spreads I'd prolly mess with Liquid but as it is I'm just going to pass this game. Golden Guardians aren't the kind of team I like the upset superior teams because I just think they lack anything special. They aren't exceptional at anything and they don't have any exceptional players. They also don't really do anything weird or risky from a strategic point of view.

GG/Liquid: No wager

I'm so conflicted on CLG. They've looked straight up awful and, quite frankly, looked kind of checked out and as if they were playing solo queue with the visible lack of communication on stage. This conflicted with my pre-season projection for this team. Now there is another angle. I'm not buying the win they got against Evil Geniuses at all. I think they were heavily carried by Soraka and EG's lack of a gameplan for it. Soraka is not 6 - 1 in the four major regions and while that number is a tad boosted because she's only picked into favorable matchups, it's a weird enough thing that can be annoying for most compositions to play against that we've seen a number of good teams buckle under her ridiculous goat legs. 

So how do I weigh all of this? On one hand I feel like this team absolutely has to turn it around at some point but I also think they've looked downright terrible and only really got this win because they caught EG with their pants down (and not in the kind of way that they get credit for it, Soraka can just be broken). I also think Immortals are a pretty decent team but maybe getting that first win shakes the proverbial monkey off the back of CLG? 

If you think this is the start of the CLG turnaround then I'd pass this game. Even if you do think it starts here there is no way they should be favored by this much. I'm going to stick with Immortals. They're not only playing well right now but there's no way they're going to let CLG get Soraka AND I'm not entirely buying the "bounce back." We're seeing Soraka bans sprinkled in here and there because I think most teams are tired of losing to inferior teams with it as a crutch. 

Moneyline: Immortals +108 (1 unit)



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

Other Regions:

none for now


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


Parlays:

none for now

Saturday, February 8, 2020

February 9th: LCK, LCS

February 8th Recap

LCK: 1 - 3 (-0.93 units)
LEC: 1 - 2 (-1.46 units)
VCS: 0 - 1 (-0.25 units)
LCS: 1 - 1 (+0.2 units)
Parlays: 0 - 0 (0 units)
NET: 3 - 7 (-2.44 units)

Soraka single handedly took two victories from us. Back to back rough days is never good. I shifted off of underdogs too soon it seems as Liquid fell along with EG to CLG and Rogue to MAD Lions. A few things to take away from today. MAD once again get gifted a win by Rogue's "not expecting the Soraka" after they literally just lost to it the day before and it being a meta pick, along with a level one cheese they fell for and, the cherry on top, the WAY TOO FAR AWAY TELEPORT FLANK... jeez what a punt in so many ways. Infuriating. I'm still not entirely buying all of these middle of the table teams like MAD and Misfits. They're certainly good just not as good as I think public perception. The LCK looked like two absolute blowouts but DAMWON definitely should have lost game one and pulled a really slick all-in backdoor play to steal it. I'll admit Griffin showed some team fighting capability from way down in game two to almost steal a few fights but Gen.G were just too far ahead based on early plays. 

The Gold Card Podcast can be found on iTunesStitcherSpotify, and PodBean!

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

(all lines are from Nitrogen unless noted otherwise)

LCK Spring 2020 - Opening Week
Week 1 - Day 5

DragonX -153 (-1.5 @ +208)
vs
Sandbox +113 (+1.5 @ -218)

We can't really take too much from Sandbox's 52 minute 2-0 over APK. Sandbox look very similar to how they looked last season, rock solid and with a dominant top trio. DragonX are a different animal. With Doran serving a one match suspension, Cassiopeia one-trick Quad came in to play mid lane and Chovy moved to top. DragonX were able to take a 2-1 victory over a respectable KT Rolster team. I do think Sandbox are a step up from KT Rolster in overall quality but I also think it says something that DragonX, through a number of errors, were able to play their way out of a paper bag in a manner of speaking. 

At full strength I'd imagine that this number is roughly correct so I don't think we're really getting any sort of value here. Even though they were facing a bad opponent, Sandbox looked sharp, confident, and knew to push their advantages aggressively. Sandbox split their season series against Griffin in LCK Summer 2019 1-1 in matches and 3-3 in games so they've shown the ability to succeed against cvMax coached teams and the solo lanes of Chovy and Doran. Part of me wants to the dog here but another part of me is tremendously impressed at the ability to come back from down a game with a sub and an offrole against a real team. I like DragonX a lot so maybe this is some bias but I'm going to lay to win half a unit here. This is a bit of a gut call on a readjustment period and on DragonX being one of the better teams in the league. Sandbox just came off of a really easy win, DragonX just battled through adversity. Sandbox might be a bit caught off guard in their first real game. Low risk but taking DragonX.

Moneyline: DragonX -145 (0.725 units)(5Dimes)


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


Hanwha Life eSports +179 (+1.5 @ -155)
vs
Afreeca Freecs -253 (-1.5 @ +149)

Afreeca slugged one out with SS (formerly Ssol) playing ADC against Griffin in a 51 minute game one that they eventually took down before bringing in Mystic in another close game two before a completely savage outplay by Fly and Mystic that eventually turned the game. After seeing Griffin get demolished by Gen.G this morning it'd be easy to say "Oh well Afreeca had trouble against that bad team" but I do think Gen.G are excellent and even good teams might struggle against them so I'm not going to put a lot of weight on that match.

Hanwha surprised a lot of people with their willingness to draft outside the box and catch people off guard. I tend to like teams like this to upset until all their tricks have been figured out. I'm glad they aren't just accepting mediocrity and are taking it to people but I also know that these types of things tend to be fleeting. With that in mind shouldn't we stay out of the way here? 

Hanwha Life benefitted greatly in T1's terrible drafting so far this season. In my opinion, T1 have a poor grasp on what is important in League of Legends currently and even besides having priorities straight, haven't exactly drafted cohesively anyway. A "cheese" team or "like G2" team that Hanwha are trying to be is going to shock stagnant drafts. It's impressive that T1 wasn't able to play out of the match this morning like they did against DAMWON but you saw poor execution (see the dive in game one), drafting that left Roach out to dry (particularly in game one), and just a genuine shock at what they were seeing from Hanwha. When games went "according to plan" Hanwha looked rather toothless. 

I like Hanwha's approach and they're going to be a real sweat to bet against if they're willing to push the envelope but I think Afreeca have a much stronger grasp on the game right now than T1 do. I also think they're a different type of beast to battle. Kiin presents a uniquely challenging matchup that has to be accounted for and his depth and breadth of knowledge his supreme application of it makes him a lot less vulnerable to cheesy counterpicks or strategies than a lot of players. Afreeca should roll this. I think a lot of people are going to be on Hanwha after seeing that first series but I think it will end up like game two more often than not especially if teams are ready for some wild stuff and not completely caught off guard by it.

Moneyline: Afreeca -230 (2.3 units)(5Dimes)


Spread: Afreeca -1.5 @ +149 (0.5 units)


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




LCS (North America)
Week 3 - Day 

100 Thieves -193 vs Immortals +135
Team Solo Mid -422 vs Golden Guardians +271
Cloud 9 -260 vs Dignitas +172
Evil Geniuses +108 vs FlyQuest -154

Immortals interestingly are the only team in the four major regions to defeat Soraka (who moved to 6-1 yesterday) but they did it against a Golden Guardians team that, unfortunately, looks like it could challenge for the worst team in the LCS. Golden Guardians also didn't draft any wave clear so once they got behind it was over. Immortals other win was against a sickened (literally) TSM in week one. Immortals are a tough team to evaluate. I like how proactive they ocassionally do some really weird mistakes. They were in full control against FlyQuest and V1per's Riven before a weird punted fight at the second herald gave FlyQuest enough gold to eventually win off of it. 

Then we have 100 Thieves who had had sloppy wins against two of the worst looking teams so far in CLG and Golden Guardians and decisively lost to both Evil Geniuses and Cloud 9 before pulling an upset against Team Liquid yesterday. 100 Thieves looked great yesterday I'll admit. Ssumday went absolutely ballistic on Aatrox. So do we think this was 100 Thieves turning a corner, Liquid losing more than 100T winning, or a symptome of something else? 

I actually like Immortals in this spot. I have these two teams rated roughly equally so far. This line is heavily biased toward 100 Thieves win yesterday but let's not forget this team has two victories that could have gone the other way against poor Golden Guardians and CLG teams. They also nearly punted a huge lead against Liquid yesterday. People are overrating this team based on yesterday. They aren't that good and shouldn't be favored by this much over anybody. Give me the dogs. 

Moneyline: Immortals +135 (1 unit)

This line is unfortunately out of range. If you can find kill spreads that are -7.5 or better I'd take a shot on that but other than that this is too high a price for me to pay on a best of one.

TSM/GG: No wager

I kind of want to lay the big number with Cloud 9 here. They look like the best team in North America. Other professionals are saying they're one of the best teams they've ever faced already. I'm sort of kicking myself for not believing a change of scenery and upgraded bottom lane wouldn't be a huge difference maker for a well-coached team like Cloud 9 in the futures markets but c'est la vie. I'm actually going to lay this to win half a unit and then include it in a parlay that I'll discuss later so that I don't have too much exposure.

Moneyline: Cloud 9 -250 (1.25 units)(5Dimes)

I like what FlyQuest have been doing this season. They're letting their superstar top laner be a superstar and that surprisingly simple formula is one that sometimes goes ignored by other rosters. That said, I think this is a bit of an overreaction to Evil Geniuses loss to CLG yesterday. EG aren't going to lose to Soraka again. They'll either ban it, pick it themselves, or have a plan for it. This is my opinion, obviously, but I think EG are better than this record and while I've got a lot of respect for what FlyQuest are doing I think these two teams are relatively even. Both are willing to draft outside the box, both have made some game ending errors, but both also have the right idea of how to play the game right now which makes me think they're both a little underrated. 

I'm taking the dog here because I think these two teams are fairly even and because I found a much better number than I expected to on it over at 5Dimes.

Moneyline: Evil Geniuses +130 (0.5 units)(5Dimes)

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

Other Regions:

none for now


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


Parlays:

Parlay (2): TSM ML + Cloud9 ML @ -120 (0.5 units)(5Dimes)

You can get TSM -350 at 5Dimes vs the -422 at Nitrogen but I like a parlay of the two heavy favorites here as a way to get at least some exposure on some value with TSM and additional exposure on C9.