LCK Summer Playoffs - Round 1
#5 Afreeca Freecs +197 (+1.5 @ -141)
#4 SK Telecom -263 (-1.5 @ +109)
I said it during the SKT/Sandbox series the other day but I'll reiterate it here. In SKT's last three series of the regular season there were some VERY uncharacteristic mistakes and a couple unlucky turnouts in what otherwise could have been another 6-0 or 6-1 worth of games. To me SKT legitimately outplayed seven out of their last eight games, the execption being game one against Hanwha who absolutely took it to them and handedly outplayed them. The rest were characterized best as super bizarre lapses in judgement that are uncharacteristic of the veterans on SKT. I heavily bet SKT to win these series and lost a bunch of money but the entire time their process was sound and it was a few bizarre situations that kept cropping up. I related it to rolling snake eyes or three six or seven times in a row. Of course mistakes happen, of course flukes happen but not this many and not in a row so I heavily bet SKT to bring that series back against Sandbox the second I saw yet another weird throw in game one after SKT should have closed out an easy win.
SKT are doing everything right except for those weird mistakes. To me, even with their recent struggles, they're the best or second best team in Korea and one of the best teams on the planet. This is no disrespect to Afreeca who I believe might be the best uptempo team in the world right now but SKT just have more ways to win than Afreeca do and unless some uncharacterstic errors crop up again I doubt Afreeca get more than a game. SKT's lanes are just too good to accrue large advantages without really poor drafting from SKT and the SKT bottom lane is much stronger overall regardless of whether it's Mata or Effort. Afreeca win this by doing their thing and forcing errors from SKT early or they don't win at all. Afreeca have had trouble when things are even going into late game and SKT are one of the best teams at getting there as well as staving off early pressure.
Another angle to approach this from would be to side with Afreeca based on value. I can see this. There are a lot of shared champions in this game. Both UCal and Faker are obscenely good Azir players, Dread and Clid are probably the two best Lee Sin's in Korea, and Khan and Kiin share a similar affinity for lane bullies in the top lane. So I could totally see the argument for taking Afreeca on value but I think side selection is crucial in series with a large shared pool of champions. It puts the pressure on the lower seed to have a way to "break serve" which is difficult to do with little prep time.
I'm going with SKT -1.5 here. I could see Afreeca +1.5 or ML but I think SKT 2-0 is the most likely outcome. It's kind of a bummer because I really like this Afreeca team but they're a half tier lower for a reason, they have a liability in the bot lane with Senan and have had trouble in even late games. If Afreeca don't roll you over they're a much different team. That said, just like with all the tier 1.5 teams in the LCK, they're more than capable of exerting their strength and taking a series so we're only going to be on SKT for a moderate amount.
Spread: SK Telecom -1.5 maps @ +109 (3 units)