Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Betting: July 18th (LCK, LPL)

LOL Champions Korea 7/18 Schedule:

Kingzone DragonX (-164, -1.5 @ +179)
@ Over/Under 35:00, Total Kills 18.5
Gen.G eSports (+127, +1.5 @ -244)

Jin Air GW (-270, -1.5 @ +121)
@ Over/Under 35:00, Total Kills 20.5

BBQ Olivers (+205, +1.5 @ -161)


Moneyline: Kingzone DragonX -164 (6 units)

Handicapped: Kingzone -1.5 maps @ +179 (1 unit)

PROP: Map 1 UNDER 18.5 total kills @ -114 (1 unit)

PROP: Map 2 UNDER 18.5 total kills @ -114 (1 unit)

Lets take a look at Kingzone's two matches since returning from Rift Rivals because it's going to tell us about Jin Air as well which is relevant since they also play tomorrow morning.

  • vs Jin Air (July 14th): Game one was a total clown fiesta initiated mostly by Peanut aggressively diving all the way toward Jin Air's base to chase A KINDRED. In the next few fights he accomplished next to nothing Sejuani ulting one target and not frontlining for his team. To me this game looked like Kingzone completely messing around. There was no communication, no plan, they were just playing League of Legends and unlike in some other regions you can't do that in Korea or you get punished. Game two was similarly sloppy but at least it wasn't downright stupid like a lot of the decisions in game one. This game boiled down to Pray eventually being too strong on Ezreal but this game could have been thrown if Jin Air were a better team and able to punish some poor teamfight positioning. Game three Kingzone selected Zilean Sejuani botlane against Ezreal Morgana... I mean look I'm all for trying some different stuff and I understand the idea of using the Sej ult + Galio ult + Zilean double bomb to counteract the Kindred damage but I think it's too cute. It's the kind of thing that I wouldn't even call genius if it had worked and that's coming from somebody that has played Zilean as a Kindred soft counter in competitive leagues before. Jin Air also showed the Anivia counterpick to Galio putting BDD in a really rough position throughout this game. I think the draft was too cute and Kingzone didn't really have a window to win this game by being behind as much as they were and being outscaled lategame by Ezreal ADC from Teddy. This was a poor draft. So this series was one game of trolling and clowning around, one horribly sloppy but clear win condition type game, and a lost draft. I can't help but think Kingzone would have won this series if they weren't screwing around in game one but lets look at the next series.
  • vs MVP (July 12th): Game one Kingzone had two kills onto Khan very early in the game, proceeded to show up late to a top lane dive, fail to protect and then feed another kill to give MVP at least a fighting chance in the game. Eventually Kingzone were able to close off the back of a triple Infernal. Game two was slower but Kingzone were intelligent about playing to their Zoe + Varus late game setup. It took almost 39 minutes but this game was not remotely close. 
So four incredibly sloppy games in their last five. Perhaps this was disrespecting two of the bottom three teams in the league and essentially "taking the week off" due to the easy schedule and already having a 6-2 record going into them or perhaps there are some serious problems with this Kingzone team. As many of you know I've trumpeted that Kingzone are the best team in the world since before the season started but they certainly haven't been playing like it these past two matches. I'm actually going to attribute some of the sloppiness to just lack of preparation and general cockiness because they weren't exactly hungry to prepare and smash these bottom tier teams while they sit close to the top of the standings at 6-2. However that's not all of it where exactly does this team end up? I still think this is an elite team that was just in a weird spot. You see this happen with a lot of great teams at different points in the season. Usually it's the beginning of Spring split but it's not unheard of for it to happen in Summer. Samsung did it the year they won worlds, SK Telecom did it during one of their worlds runs. It's not unprecidented for top teams to have these lulls. I think Kingzone are still one of the best teams in the world and are worthy of consideration to win the world title still.

I know this is getting long but let's talk about Gen.G too because they're an interesting case which makes this a fascinating matchup. Gen.G were a few boneheaded plays away from 2-0'ing Griffin but made some horrible draft and gameplay decisions in game three to make them truly deserve the loss. They won an absolute slugfest of a series against Hanwha showing excellent control and a clear team identity. Speaking of identity, that's really what Gen.G has going for them. They know who they are and they aren't trying to pretend to be something else like KT, Kingzone, SKT, and a lot of other teams domestically and worldwide. Season 8 has been the season of finding yourself as a team and while the teams that are settled in may not all be doing outstanding they're at least very steady. Gen.G are getting better. I think the Rift Rivals break and the horrible beating Afreeca gave them before it left a sour taste and a lot of motivation to improve. We've seen the pseudo return of Crown and once again, this team isn't pretending to be something they aren't. 

I'm going to go with Kingzone which seems counterintuitive here but hear me out. Kingzone have had some wins with non-ADC compositions but they've been far more inconsistent with them than they have playing with and ADC. Kingzone also play-up to the competition much like KT does. They show up against the big dogs. I think when push comes to shove Kingzone will start leaning on ADC's more whether that's Kindred in the jungle or in the traditional marksman role. It's what they're good at. It's also what Gen.G is good at but Kingzone tend to run over teams with slower early games. Gen.G started the season fast but, like much of the LCK and LPL, have slowed down quite a bit. To me this is where Kingzone plant their flag on who they are and "snap back to reality." There is a lot of bad blood between these teams. Kingzone (then Longzhu) were completely embarassed 3-0 by Gen.G (then Samsung) in quarterfinals. They were then swiftly smashed in the first game of LCK Spring as well. Kingzone returned the favor with a 2-1 win in week 9 of the Spring Split and proceeded to go on to win the LCK Spring Finals 3-1 over Afreeca. Fast forward to week one this season where Gen.G won 2-1 including an obscene 21-2 in 23 minutes game three. Kingzone hate this team. They've gotten the better of them in three of their last four meetings despite Kingzone being the better team each time (I'd include worlds in that argument, it was a complete stunner to see Longzhu go out that early and Samsung didn't even look that great in groups before completely reinventing themselves for the bracket stage and going on to win). This feels like the perfect setup for Kingzone to return the favor and smash and improving, but very linear Gen.G team and reassure everyone, myself included, that they belong at the top of LCK. I also think this will be two very controlled games. These two teams tend to play lower kill games and I think with teams slowly accepting that you CAN slow things down and play ADCs again which I think Kingzone might do, combined with the fact that Gen.G plays that way anyway makes me think these will be low kill games. Of course that could backfire and this could end up being a bloodbath because of the rivalry but I'll take my chances.

Side Note: I actually think Kingzaone will end up in first place by season end and that's a bit of a hot take but I'll likely do a writeup on mid seaon rankings next week.


Handicapped: Jin Air -1.5 maps @ +121 (2 units)

Jin Air 2-0'd BBQ by playing a composition in game two that I thought could not possibly do enough damage to get through their thick (thicc??) beefy lineup. They still won that game. They also smashed BBQ in game one and have definitely looked better. I won't give them too much credit for the Kingzone win because Kingzone more or less spoon fed it to them but they at least were able to punish obvious mistakes and BBQ will most certainly make a lot of them. The counterargument here is that this is "BBQ's Super Bowl" but truthfully I'd wager A LOT more on this game if it weren't two of the bottom three teams in the LCK duking it out. If I had more faith in Jin Air this would likely be a 5-6 unit wager but we're going to keep it to two. I'm tempted to take the OVER on total kills as these tend to be sloppy games but this BBQ team often looks miserable and like they don't even want to be there so it wouldn't surprise me to see a lethargic showing even in their "Super Bowl."


LOL Pro League (China) 7/18 Schedule:

Suning Gaming (-278, -1.5 @ +119)
@ Over/Under 33:00, Total Kills 23.5
OMG (+210, +1.5 @ -156)

Invictus Gaming (-625, -1.5 @ -204)
@ Over/Under ??, Total Kills ??
Team WE (+405, +1.5 @ +136)

Handicapped: Suning -1.5 maps @ +119  (2 units)

Suning have lost four series in a row but they've played against Rogue Warriors, Invictus, JD, and RNG. They've taken a game in three of those series, (vs RW, IG, and JD). Before that they destroyed the struggling BiliBili and LGD but did drop a game in week one to Vici which I'm going to the bizarre introductory metagame this season (for the record they had a commanding lead and just sloppily threw it away). Suning are in that Tier 2 of LPL teams. They're very clearly stronger than the bottom dwelling teams and often smash them but they're not quite good enough to take down the elite 4 or 5 teams in the league like RNG, EDG, IG, and RW.   OMG appear to be the King of the Losers in the LPL showing some improvement from last season. They were able to bring a home victory for the first time this season in a back and forth matchup against Vici... wait a minute read that again. "a back and forth matchup against Vici." Yea that says about all I need to say. OMG's only victories have been against fellow bottomw dwellers TopSports, Vici, and a really weird, flukey win in a bizarre week one against Snake, who look a lot worse this season really up until this past week. OMG are not good and their strong players are at the positions of as well as are outclassed by Suning's best players. 


Handicapped: Invictus -1.5 maps @ -200 (8 units)

Team WE appear to be the worst or second worst team, as if that matters, in the entire LPL. Even with a 50% first blood rate and a 61% first tower rate they have a 1622 gold per minute and simply cannot do anything with leads. It's actually pretty sad. This is a lineup of former world championship contenders and it should be significantly better but it just isn't. You could make the argument that after a game win against a competitive JD team that Team WE could be due for an uptick or that "this team can't possibly be this bad" as I've said about a lot of teams in the past but I'm not going to rely on that and I'm certainly not going to rely on it against the team that, in my opinion, is now going to be the best in the LPL in Invictus. It's actually surprising this isn't another -1250 or more moneyline for Invictus.

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