LCK Summer 2019 - Grand Finals
SK Telecom -167 (-1.5 @ +116, -2.5 @ +311)
Griffin +130 (+1.5 @ -152, +2.5 @ -455)
We spent a lot of time talking about this one on the podcast Wednesday night. This is going to be a great series between two of the top teams in the world. I think this is pretty close to 50/50 which might come as a surprise to some people given SKT's dominant performances recently. Griffin were absolutely embarassed by SK Telecom in Spring Finals. Combine that image and SKT's current form and people are understandably leaning toward SKT here. I'm going against the grain for a number of reasons.
Firstly, Griffin are going to have side selection as well as the advantage of watching three series from SK Telecom on this patch against good teams. It's worth noting that historically the team running the gauntlet with momentum has won a fair amount in Korea compared to other regions but it hasn't always been the case especially in recent years. You could choose to look at this as a disadvantage for Griffin but I'm still viewing it as an edge. Preparation time has proven to be extremely valuable to the top LCK teams.
Secondly, we're getting a lot of line value here based on how I handicap these teams. For all intents and purposes I rate Griffin and SKT as equals so this should be a 50/50. Side advantage usually accounts for some amount of points especially in best of fives, as does preparation time. If you consider those as small edges for Griffin, say 10 points each, then this line should probably be more like -120 for Griffin. Also worth considering is that the head to head match score during Summer was 1-1 with Griffin holding a 3-2 game score lead. If you look over the course of the year Griffin have won three out of four regular season series and lost the Spring Finals. All told Griffin hold a 3-2 series lead with a 7-6 game score if you include the Spring Finals. Both teams also looked similarly excellent to end the season, in fact I'd argue Griffin looked slightly better in the last three matches given SKT's density of uncharacteristic errors.
Thirdly, and this point holds a bit less weight given SKT's early Summer struggles, but Griffin hold a metrics edge in more or less everything besides literal wards placed per minute (but they hold a near 5% edge in % of enemy wards cleared), and damage per gold per minute. Griffin hold commanding leads in gold per minute, gold differentials at 10 and 15 minutes, gold differential per minute, experience differential, a 71% first tower vs SKT's 40%, a 60% first blood vs SKT's 47%.. Once again some of these are skewed in Griffin's favor due to SKT's struggles early in the season but it's worth mentioning that the rate statistics are fairly indicative of good play.
There's also the eye test and strategic elements to this. For as good as SKT have looked they haven't been perfect. They've had a bit of a swagger which is fun to watch but also can cause critical errors especially against an extremely disciplined team like Griffin. Griffin haven't had to show anything. I know this point tends to get overstated because they could simply have the wrong read and get blown out but Griffin have similar champion pools. Perhaps the most different is Clid vs Viper as they both have a handful of unique selections and their main pools don't overlap quite as much as some other junglers. Picks such as Lee Sin or Khazix could end up being a catalysts for good or bad.
Experience is clearly on the side of SK Telecom with four Hall of Famer's on their side while Griffin are likely marching out Doran into his first playoff series ever. Nerves could certainly play a role in this so SKT get the edge here.
Narrative is on the side of Griffin wanting revenge and to get the proverbial monkey off their back after the embarassing loss to SKT in Spring Finals. However you could also argue that "they don't care about this" because they've clinched Worlds already. I think that second arguement couldn't be further from the truth. This team wants revenge and is tired of being the bridesmaid but never the bride.
All in all I think if you weigh these factors you could tell yourself a story for either side based on what measures you put more weight on. I'm going to be siding with Griffin here. Something about this feels kind of like KT Rolster last year. A long history of disappointments and shortcomings and "somehows" finally put to rest. Griffin are one of the best teams in the world. So are SK Telecom. To me there isn't any reason one should be this heavy of a favorite over the other. I like Griffin to win this series in what will likely be an absolute slobberknocker. LCK Summer Finals seemingly ALWAYS deliver on drama and ridiculously high level gameplay and I expect nothing less from these two juggernauts.
(NOTE: I'm putting a little extra on this mostly to plant my flag but you should be able to determine your risk tolerance/preference and wager accordingly for this one. I think the Griffin +1.5 is the smart play here but I'm rolling with the moneyline and no +1.5 instead of the +1.5 or BOTH. Just the ML for me.)
Moneyline: Griffin +135 (4.5 units)
Moneyline: Griffin +160 (1 unit)(add on at 5d)
Spread: Griffin -2.5 maps @ +575 (0.25 units)
LPL Summer 2019 - Semifinals
FunPlus Phoenix -625 (-1.5 @ -256, -2.5 @ +143)
BiliBili Gaming +397 (+1.5 @ +190, +2.5 @ -189)
This line has moved up from -500. This is more or less too rich to bet by any angle other than extreme spreads of kill totals. I have been locked out of the books that offer totals bets but I absolutely LOVE the OVER 26.5 kills here so take that if you have it offered. I originally liked BiliBili here mostly citing line value and FunPlus' "choke artist" history as my reasoning but the more I've thought about BiliBili's struggles against the elite teams the more I think FunPlus probably just run this one over 3-0 or 3-1. The problem is that the lines are too far out of my range given the likelihood of that outcome. If you can get BiliBili closer to +500 maybe you take a shot or the +1.5 or something but I'm just going to pass this. This is one of those cases where I think the value shouldn't supercede the "do you actually think they'll win?" factor. I'm passing this one.
No wager (take the over 26.5 kills if it's offered)
Royal Never Give Up -125 (-1.5 @ +155, -2.5 @ +395)
TOP eSports +105 (+1.5 @ -185, +2.5 @ -545)
I'm not sure if it's name brand value or what but at no point this season have I thought RNG were better than TOP. John felt the same way on the podcast. The only way you can logically see this line is either overreaction to the LNG win, and really how much credit do we want to give RNG there, or the angle that RNG "always step it up in playoffs." I've been absolutely burned by a few teams this season operating under that "they always step up" logic but RNG are seemingly uncanny at it.
I actually like TOP here. I think they're a legitimately better team and one of the few teams that could beat RNG at their own game if they choose to handshake. Loken has been a better player than Uzi this year. Put them even if you wish but I think Loken is arguably the best ADC in the world right now. Knight has been one of the best mid laners on the planet as well. Xiaohu is a great player but he's not on the level Knight has been at over the past two calendar years. Top lane I'd probably lean toward Langx but 369 reminds me a lot of Impact, incredible as a neutralizer but still able to put in carry performances. The biggest edge for RNG comes in the jungle with Karsa who is one of the best at his position in the world, maybe the best. Both teams play a somewhat similar style with TOP being a tad more disciplined while RNG are a tad more wild, or loose.
To me this series comes down to Knight vs Karsa. There is a ton of weight is on Karsa's shoulders. It's going to be on him to neutralize the carries for TOP or I don't think I like RNG's chances. That said, in these kinds of situations I want the jungler to be the tiebreaker. I want a world class jungler to bail my team out so that's a good thing for RNG. I'm siding with TOP here. Not only do I think they're the better overall team but they also get side selection and got to see a series from RNG. A win for TOP here could also propel them to the World Championships on circuit points if FunPlus Phoenix end up winning the Summer split but I doubt they're thinking anything less than winning the split themselves.
TOP are a damn good team and I think a lot of people who don't watch the LPL don't realize that. Sometimes they aren't exciting but they're excellent. If you believe in the "RNG always clutch it out" narrative then feel free to go the other way but I think TOP are inaccurately rated as underdogs here when they shouldn't be. Unless you want to hold their lack of playoff experience against them compared to RNG (who doesn't RNG have an experience edge on?) then you should be on TOP.
Moneyline: TOP eSports +105 (4 units)
LEC Summer 2019 - "Juggernaut" Match
G2 eSports -400 (-1.5 @ -182, -2.5 @ +167)
Fnatic +286 (+1.5 @ +139, +2.5 @ -222)
This new format is actually interesting because it makes me think these two teams will come into this series a lot looser than they normally would. Typically, even with great teams, the first game or two of a high pressure best of five tend to be a bit more reserved. Nobody wants to make the first mistake and there's an element of feeling each other out. I think this series goes one of a few ways. Both teams treat this very blandly. Both of these squads are so much better than Schalke that I don't think they're necessarily must takes this match that seriously. Reasonable chance that both squads will treat this blandly, not wanting to show anything. Conversely this could also be open air to experiment and try to gain some draft equity by showing something wild to try to earn bans in finals, assuming they see each other. It's really tough to tell.
For these reasons I actually think the play is OVER 3.5 maps @ -182. Sure there is a chance either team 3-0's if one team shows up not wanting to show anything but I tend to think it's more likely that we either get a few total clown fiestas or a few rather bland games. I initially liked the over 29.5 kills (which is obscenely high by the way) but I'm not a bit afraid of the possibility of both teams not wanting to show anything. I'd still bet it but for half the amount. European teams tend to be very brazen so I expect these two to be a little loose and have fun testing each other in this one. If you're feeling really froggy and want to jump then take a show on the Fnatic moneyline although that time may have passed with this line moving down to +286 from as high as +350.
Prop: OVER 3.5 maps played @ -165 (4 units)
Moneyline: Fnatic +350 (0.5 units)(got this at 5D)
Spread: Fnatic +1.5 @ +160 (0.5 units)(also 5d)
Parlay (2): Griffin ML + TOP ML @ +280 (1 unit)
Parlay (2): G2/FNC OVER 3.5 maps + TOP ML @ +120 (1 unit)
Parlay (2): G2/FNC OVER 3.5 maps + Griffin ML @ +218 (1 unit)
Parlay (3): Griffin ML + TOP ML + Fnatic ML @ +1940 (0.5 units)
Parlay (3): G2/FNC OVER 3.5 maps + Griffin ML + TOP ML @ +635 (0.5 units)
Parlay (4): Schalke -1.5 (won) + G2/FNC OVER 3.5 + Griffin ML + TOP ML @ +1485 (0.5 units)