Saturday, February 29, 2020

March 1st: LCK, LCS

February 29th Recap:

LCK: 3 - 1 (+2.74 units)
LEC: 2 - 0 (+2.2 units)
LCS: 2 - 2 (+1.56 units)

TOTAL: 7 - 3 (+6.5 units)

In case you miss Tusin, the support for KT Rolster, 1v2'ing the solo lanes of Hanwha Life to remind you how utterly broken "no farm" or "fasting" Senna is...

Yes that's both of Hanwha's solo laners...

This strategy is far more flexible than Tahm Kench which is the most common variant we've seen so far. You can basically play any "support carry", particularly melees. In this case the Volibear support is already an exceptional counterpick to Yuumi and even better with Yuumi+immobile marksmen but to supercharge it with gold is absurd.  This is a Pandora's box. Yasuo, Olaf, Vladimir, Soraka, etc... there are so many options and they're all ridiculously powerful. Currently the "counters" to this strategy are things like Blitzcrank and Ziggs, people that can reliably burst or disrupt Senna's predictable harass patterns and slow auto attack animation but even those haven't been enough in some cases. This is going to be here for awhile or at least banned.

Origen look like they're trying to push the tempo and develop that part of their game. While I think this is good for them long term it's going to be make betting them a bit of a sweat for a little while. They weren't textbook on some of the dives in this game but I did love seeing that they had the right idea and are pushing the pace. It's a different and refreshing look for them. 

Excel played an excellent Karthus jungle game, managing to play keep away from the Olaf on the side of MAD. An excellent draft gave Excel counters in both solo lanes. I love the Tristana pick against Zoe and it serves double duty as a good ADC vs Kalista later in the game. Well played by Excel.

I don't post it but I put a buck on the Saturday exacta parlay every Saturday. I hit 10 out of 11 legs and had only Evil Geniuses to cash a ~+21,000 parlay... not gonna go too nuts over it but losing on the last leg is a pretty savage beat. The point is this team has been getting way too much benefit of the doubt for having good players. There's simply too much philosophical dissonance to rely on EG as favorites. The players all want different things. I feel terrible for recommending them continuously in a metagame where individual player ability matters much less than overall approach. Until they prove otherwise we won't be taking them as favorites. Maybe as long dogs they'll be able to steal some games but they're just not reliable enough to bet on as a favorite. 

Cloud 9 played arguably their worst game of the split against FlyQuest today. I actually think FlyQuest are actually good, at least for this current iteration of the game. In so many words they "get it." FlyQuest might be even better than I think they are. 

My read on the TSM/Liquid game was spot on in that Liquid should be able to snowball what TSM give them but weirdly TSM decided to prioritize dragon in this game which is something they haven't done all season. Weirdly I think if they were themselves it might have worked out better although I'm not sure. Tactical also looked quite good!



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(all lines are from Nitrogen unless stated otherwise)

LCK (Korea)
Week 4 - Day 5

APK Prince +692 (+1.5 @ +197)
Gen.G -1961 (-1.5 @ -287)


APK Prince have a single win, a 2-0 vs KT, and have been underdogs in every game
APK have been over +388 (4.88 for your decimal fans) or higher underdogs except against KT where they were +144 (2.44)

Gen.G are 6-1 this season with their lone loss coming to T1 and have been favorites in every game
Gen.G have been favorites of -178 (1.56) or greater against everyone except DragonX

Tale of the Tape:
APK Prince: 
1.08 damage per gold, 50% first blood, 63% first tower
45.3% of wards cleared, 4.2 wards per min
Differentials - Gold @ 15: -1541, CS @ 15: -27.6

0.906 damage per gold, 89% first blood, 67% first tower
48.7% of wards cleared 3.8 wards per min
Differentials - Gold @ 15 +1904, CS @ 15 +11.2

APK actually lead the LCK in wards per minute which is kind of wild and their 1.08 damage per gold is rather impressive but when you consider that there are four Illaoi games for Ikssu and that APK's economy stats have been terrible it's pretty easy for that to be a deceiving number. APK are a bit funny. I don't think this team is as bad as a team like Jin Air from last split but with so much parity in the LCK they're going to have a difficult time measuring up. 

There isn't a lot to break down with this game. If you think APK can take a game off of Gen.G it would have to be off of an early snowball and Gen.G have actually been quite good early in the game. Other options would include Gen.G overconfidently leaving up Illaoi for Ikssu or the no farm Senna option and after yesterday I'm not sure any good team wants to mess with doing that. 

I'm passing this but possibly including the Gen.G -1.5 in parlays.

No wager


Griffin +236 (+1.5 @ -141) 
DragonX -350 (-1.5 @ -102)

Griffin are 1-5 as underdogs wth their lone win coming against Sandbox
Griffin are 3-3 as underdogs against the spread (+1.5 maps)
Griffin are 2-5 (6-12) on the year with their two wins against APK and Sandbox
Griffin have gone to a third game in 4 out of 7 series

DragonX are 5-1 as favorites with their only loss coming against T1
The underdog spread (+1.5) has cashed in 4 out of 6 series where DRX were favorites
DragonX have gone to a third game in in 5 out of 7 series

Tale of the Tape:
0.915 damage per gold, 50% first blood, 33% first tower
45.1% of wards cleared 4.0 wards per min
Differentials - Gold @ 15: -662, CS @ 15: -15.3

1.04 damage per gold, 21% first blood, 63% first tower
45.1% of wards cleared, 3.7 wards per min
Differentials - Gold @ 15 +1306, CS @ 15  +39.4

If you were to have bet DragonX in the four spots where they were -262 (1.38) favorites or smaller you'd have a ~+17% ROI and that includes the loss to T1. Their economy statistics are just shy of Gen.G who have one more win and two fewer losses. They have the highest team damage per minute in the league.

I've said time and time again that when you are high on a team, like I was about this squad, and then their two biggest question marks end up blowing expectations out of the water then you've caught lightning in a bottle and have to attack. Keria and Pyosik have been absolute studs to the point where I think they've been the most impressive players on DragonX. Think about that. On a roster with Deft, Chovy, and Doran, the two new people have been the most impressive. You could critique that they lost a game each to KT and Sandbox in week one or that they "haven't beaten a good team" after going 1-2 against both Gen.G and T1 within the same three days but you'd be nitpicking. This team is a contender and they're only going to improve.

Griffin, on the other hand, have struggled mightily even though they have a very talented roster. Coaching concerns have come up time and time again and my skepticism about former Jin Air coach H Dragon has somewhat come to fruition. That said, I don't think this team is quite as bad as public perception. This league is very competitive this season and the current metagame can make a team look very bad for even one or two bad decisions in a game. It's not very forgiving. Griffin aren't a bad team, they're too talented for that, but I do think they're struggling to find an identity right now like a lot of teams are.

The trends would tell you to take the over 2.5 maps in this spot with a lot of confidence with both teams going to three games a combined 9 out of 14 instances but I think DragonX are going to roll here. Based on their last few drafts I think DragonX understand the power picks in this current metagame and have developed ways to work around the ones that get through while correctly identifying the most crucial ones to eliminate. You could argue that the familiarity of some of the players and coach might make this a bit of a closer match but to me this coaching mismatch is the most severe in the league and that matters a lot in the current iteration of the game. DragonX roll.

Spread: DragonX -1.5 maps @ -102 (1.02 units)


LCS (North America)

Week 5 - Day 2

Team Liquid -260 vs 100 Thieves +172
FlyQuest -142 vs Dignitas -102
TSM -654 vs CLG +345
Evil Geniuses -193 vs Golden Guardians +135

Liquid didn't miss a beat against TSM in what I thought would be a great stylistic matchup. Liquid have shown the ability to close with precision this season even amongst all the other issues they've been having. Now that it appears that they have a good grasp on what to ban and pick I'm going to trust them a lot more, even with Doublelift sidelined. His performance will only get better than it was, which was underhwelming so far this season but let's assume we're seeing Tactical again. He was pretty good in his debut but the game had very little to do with him. Broxah was getting a lot done and it's good to see him finally settling in. I know 100 Thieves kind of blew up my spot yesterday but it was more a function of... well, EG's dysfunction. I was able to find a good number and Liquid are one of the only teams I'll lay this kind of money as favorites in a best of one along with Origen, G2, and Fnatic ... maybe Cloud 9 if we ever see anything remotely close to this.

Moneyline: Liquid -215 (2.15 units)(5Dimes)

FlyQuest pushed Cloud 9 to their closest game this season and as I discussed in the recap, I think they might actually be good and not just a hot starter. They've been the only team that's been remotely competitive with Cloud 9 and that might mean something. Regardless I think they roll over Dignitas here. I'm not entirely sure why this number is so close. I expected it to be more in the -170 range. Small value on FlyQuest but still a best of one so lighter to just win a unit.

Moneyline: FlyQuest -142 (1.42 units)

I'm thinking about a lottery ticket on CLG here but for the time being I'm just going to pass on this one.

No wager: CLG/TSM

This number was just too good to pass up. Evil Geniuses are a team I've been wrong about. This might look like an overreaction to yesterday but again we have two teams trending opposite directions. With the hole that EG have dug themselves there's a reasonable chance that we see some psychological frustration setting in. There's already a lot of tension with the philosophical dissonance on this team with everyone wanting to do different things, as the losses pile up and playoff hopes look bleaker that could reach a new level. They're not out yet but this team looks like a mess and Golden Guardians have been looking very good. Closer looks like the best jungler in the league right now.

Moneyline: Golden Guardians +150 (1 unit)(5Dimes)



Round Robin:
DragonX ML
FlyQuest ML
Team Liquid ML

4 parlays (each combination of these three), 1 unit each, to win ~5.1 units

Friday, February 28, 2020

February 29th: LCK, LEC, LCS

February 28th Recap:

LCK: 1 - 0 (+1.0 units)
LEC: 0 - 2 (-1.5 units)
Parlays: 1 - 0 (+1.0 units)

TOTAL: 2 - 2 (+0.5 units)

This was the chalkiest LCK day I've seen in awhile. We saw Soraka lose multiple games, Ornn lose, and the heavy heavy favorites dominate as expected. This metagame is way too good for T1's style of playing. I know it's boring but this style of minimizing losses and mistakes is just perfect for that team and how they like to play. It's the most boring kind of scary.

Europe continues to be a favorite driven league with all five winning today. While that may not be a big surprise it does somewhat encapsulate this season with favorites now moving to a whopping 40-15 through 5.5 weeks.

For those wondering about the LPL scrims league: Nitrogen is offering odds on it but I'm not messing with any of this. Subs, people not caring, too much yolo. If you're going to play it I wouldn't autoamtically play dogs which is another reason to just avoid it altogether and just watch. 

PCS, the new combined LMS/SEA league starts tonight with a full slate of 5 games. I haven't done any real research into this league outside of a brief look over the rosters. JTeam, AHQ, and Talon stick out to me as the best "looking" rosters and the books seem to agree with that based on these initial offerings. I will say though, with a best of one format and the propensity of the non-LMS teams to more or less play professional solo queue style games with over a kill per minute, that a lot of random losses are just going to happen from snowballing if everyone gets sucked into this style. It's going to be interesting to see how this develops but I don't hate some small stakes shots at the underdogs here simply because of the unknowns and the stylistic preferences of the non-LMS teams. 



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


(all lines are from Nitrogen unless stated otherwise)

LCK (Korea)
Week 4 - Day 4

Hanwha Life -181 (-1.5 @ +160)
KT Rolster +123 (+1.5 @ -234)


Hanwha Life are 1-0 as favorites with their win coming 2-1 vs Griffin
Hanwha Life are 2-2 in their last four.
KT are 2-4 as underdogs with 2-1 wins against Sandbox and Afreeca
KT have won their last two after starting off 0-5

Tale of the Tape:
0.98 damage per gold, 44% first blood, 50% first tower
41.6% of wards cleared 3.9 wards per min
Differentials - Gold @ 15 -1108, CS @ 15 -22.3

KT Rolster: 
0.89 damage per gold, 50% first blood, 50% first tower
47.7% of wards cleared, 3.9 wards per min
Differentials - Gold @ 15 -320, CS @ 15 -15.8

Trying out a new format, we'll see how many hours in the day I have to keep this one up heh

This line went absolutely ballistic since we recorded the podcast on Wednesday night where it was KT +200 over at Bet365 where I take the lines for the podcast from. I actually still think there's some value at +123. This should be an even money series. This corrected but Hanwha are being slightly overrated because of their win against first place T1 in week one. Of late I actually think KT have looked like the better team. They've developed an identity as the tempo team the past few weeks showing a willingness to go all-in on early and mid game spikes. While it might not be the optimal way to play the game right now, it has proven effective against the middle and bottom of the table teams that have shown a lack of discipline in abstaining when they have superior scaling. 

Look, it's linear and predictable but I actually think what KT is doing is going to work out well against the bottom half teams and it makes sense that they've gone on a bit of a run. KT have the better players in this series, have looked better of late, and I think both these teams have shown some questionable decision making. This should be an even money series. I'll be on KT and the KT -1.5. Hanwha haven't proven that they should be favored by this much over anybody besides maybe APK and even then I'm not sure. It's not the value we had on Wednesday but serves me right for now striking then.

Moneyline: KT Rolster +135 (1 unit)(5Dimes)

Spread: KT -1.5 maps @ +355 (0.25 units)(5Dimes)


Afreeca Freecs -181 (-1.5 @ +160)
DAMWON +123 (+1.5 @ -234)

Afreeca are 4-1 as favorites straight up with their only loss coming 1-2 to KT Rolster
Afreeca are 1-3 in their last four
Afreeca have played all three games in 6 out of 7 series this split

DWG are 0-2 as underdogs straight up with losses to GenG and T1
DWG are 3-1 in their last four

Tale of the Tape:
1.09 damage per gold, 70% first blood, 50% first tower
49.7% of wards cleared 4.1 wards per min
Differentials - Gold @ 15 -113, CS @ 15 -5.3

1.001 damage per gold, 47% first blood, 41% first tower
47.9% of wards cleared, 3.7 wards per min
Differentials - Gold @ 15 +98, CS @ 15  +15.9

You know for two teams that have been "massive disappointments" so far, DAMWON inparticular, these teams are both 4-3 and would currently be in playoffs. If you look at the numbers Afreeca look like a better team. Their vision control has been outstanding and that's with a some player swaps happening which is even more impressive. 

I'm taking a film based approach to this handicap and there is a bit of a narrative involved to bear with me here. DAMWON aren't built for the kind of League of Legends that patch 10.3, and likely 10.4 too, demands. They're just too sloppy and arrogant. They believe they can outplay every situation but both the champions that are in meta right now and the impact of any mistakes don't encourage that type of game play. DAMWON easily could have lost game three against Hanwha. If that had happened where would this line be? 

I also think that this is a poor player by player matchup for DAMWON. Kiin is a better all-around player than Nuguri, he's more disciplined, more versatile, and in the current state of League of Legends his surgical precision and calculated style is perfect while Nuguri's more risk-oriented approach is easily punished, as we've seen by many teams that are worse than Afreeca. ShowMaker has struggled a lot this season which is a bummer based on what we saw from him last year. Really all of DAMWON besides Nuguri in his pop-off games have been struggling while Afreeca have been thriving with or without Kiin. Kiin is already a tough matchup for DAMWON's best player but if he's put into a neutralizing role he'll embrace that. 

It's really bizarre to me that this line is so heavy handed toward Afreeca. Based on records these teams are very similar, based on recent results DWG look better, but the film says otherwise to me. I think a lot of people are going to look at that and say "This is DAMWON easy right?" I actually think this line is accurate. This metagame has been a welcome home for underdogs but DAMWON's approach to the game is so sub-optimal that it requires hero performances by it's individuals or poor performances by their opponents for them to get wins. I don't think we'll see either here. DAMWON haven't beaten a a "good" (top half) team this season. They took a game off of T1 in week one but against Gen.G they were completely obliterated scoring only 5 kills in two games. I don't think Afreeca are quite on that level but they're the next best thing in the LCK right now. Afreeca roll.

Moneyline: Afreeca -150 (1.5 units)(5Dimes)

Spread: Afreeca -1.5 maps @ +175 (0.5 units)(5Dimes)


LEC (Europe)

Week 6 - Day 2

Excel +147 vs MAD -207
Origen -234 vs Rogue +160
Vitality +444 vs G2 eSports -885
SK Gaming +246 vs Misfits -369
Schalke +329 vs Fnatic -535

I wanted to touch on a concept about perception and how it pertains to the current metagame while I was discussing that on the podcast this weekend but it slipped my mind at the time. The premise here is that, more or less, it's really REALLY easy to look bad in this current metagame. When you have games where there are fewer impactful events happening, every one of those events becomes that much more important. As a result, errors are magnified and our minds tend to overreact. We've seen great teams lose games off of one dumb mistake in this meta very frequently so I'd caution against overreacting to a bad looking loss because, as I said, it's quite easy to "look awful" in this meta.

This of course is in reference to Excel's "embarrassing" loss yesterday. Do I think this was a case of looking worse than it actually was? A little. Excel made some really poor decisions but I do think claims of "they're trash" are being way overexaggerated. Look, the game got away from them. They made some mistakes. I'm not passing final judgement on one bad looking single game. My idea was to fire on Excel against evenly matched teams in back to back days and that hasn't changed. My evaluation of this team hasn't drastically changed based on one game and yours shouldn't either.

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

Origen definitely got away with one on multiple fronts yesterday against Schalke but I also think some credit should be given to the fact that, in my opinion which is why I presume you're here, they were severely outdrafted and managed to problem solve on the fly. That's not a very Origen thing. When playing sterilized League of Legends, Origen are excellent, maybe even the best team in Europe. It was kind of cool seeing them figure it out on the fly like this. It's a different look for them. Now it was against Schalke and while I don't think they're a bottom dweller like Vitality or SK anymore, I do think we could maybe question that they got outdrafted and outplayed by Schalke for the most part. 

We got to see Rogue beat Excel but as I mentioned above it's very easy to get blown out or have a poor looking final score. It was a poor performance but not nearly as drastic as everyone is saying and for Rogue it wasn't quite as dominant as people are going to say either. That said, Rogue did look good. My gut tells me Origen "get right" here. Historically they haven't been a team that loses to even slightly weaker teams. There's been some overreaction to this depending on the book you look at. We're going to lay to win half a unit on Origen even after a shakey performance yesterday by them and a "great" performance by Rogue. Think about what these odds would have been before  yesterday's games. Give me Origen.

Moneyline: Origen -175 (0.875 units)(5Dimes)

I'm not messing with teams against G2 just like I discussed yesterday. The G2 Troll Cycle of Life hasn't reached that point yet.

No wager: G2/VIT

SK look like the worst team in the league to me even though Vitality have a worse record. Vitality are at least attacking, SK have been sort of just rolling over. I just don't see a lot of redeeming characteristics to this team. That said I also think Misfits, while admittedly better than I thought this season, are still overrated so I won't be laying the -369, especially in a meta with so many ridiculously powerful champion picks to manage.

No wager: MSF/SK

Schalke looked pretty good against Origen yesterday and that they're slowly figuring themselves out as a team. They aren't going to be a free win the rest of the way but I also think Fnatic are enough better that I'm just going to pass on this game.

No wager: FNC/S04


LCS (North America)

Week 6 - Day 1

Cloud 9 -478 vs FlyQuest +296
TSM -102 vs Liquid -141
Immortals -154 vs Golden Guardians +108
Evil Geniuses -154 vs 100 Thieves +108

I want to take a shot on FlyQuest here but Cloud 9 have been so so dominant that I can't really justify more than a quarter or half unit just on the value. At some point even this FU mode Cloud 9 is going to experiment with some things and go too far. They've already done some of this and just played their way out of it. I'll take a big dog that's competent.

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

There is a pretty big difference on this TL/TSM game depending on where you look. Some places have Liquid favored by as much as -130. It makes sense. There are conflicting opinions on Liquid. Some people, like Crumbz think that Liquid might not ever get it together and you should be fading them. I look at the games where they get leads and see that they know how to close and think that this team can only be so bad. Broxah is going to catch up, they'll learn from drafts, and Liquid tend to elevate in spots where they need to. If they're going to turn on and make a run at playoffs at this point it starts here.

TSM have had some suspect decision making and have been a bit lucky in a few of their wins. They're certainly a good team but their willingness to surrender drakes every game could become a problem against better teams.

I'm going with Liquid here. Another week with Broxah, a new patch, and a team that is excellent from ahead vs a team that appear statistically better in the early game than they've actually been. For what it's worth I actually do think Liquid will get it together. The intangible "they always clutch it out" is typically an overrated factor but one that's being forgotten about here. Liquid are about to enter a streak of borderline must win games and that's a motivator.

Doublelift won't be playing this match due to illness but that doesn't change my thoughts on this match very much. He hasn't been particularly good this split relative to his normal performance level. This has more to do with TSM's tendencies in how they play vs what Liquid are good at than the individual players. 

Moneyline: Liquid -102 (1.53 units)

We talked a lot about this match on the podcast this week but we were unanimously on Golden Guardians primarily because we think this is a classic case of teams trending in opposite directions. Immortals have impressed but I think most people understand that this team isn't as good as their record. Golden Guardians don't possess this tremendous upside but they've been trending in the right direction.

Moneyline: Golden Guardians +108 (1 unit)

It feels weird laying money on an EG team with so much philosophical dissonance but I just think the quality of the players on their side is much higher overall. I also think that, barring and Ssumday pop-off game here and there, that 100 Thieves are probably the worst team in the league and had a decent start so they're being overrated even still. Evil Geniuses should be able to figure at least some things out. This is more of a gut call than anything based on evidence. Just feels like an EG stomp.

Moneyline: Evil Geniuses -154 (0.77 units)



Thursday, February 27, 2020

February 28th: LCK, LEC

February 27th Recap:

LCK: 2 - 1 (+1.25 units)

TOTAL: 2 - 1 (+1.25 units)

Nothing too far out of expectation here. Thought Afreeca maybe had a shot. Was looking like Hanwha were going to take game three as well (see my "speaking too soon" tweet). 



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


(all lines are from Nitrogen unless stated otherwise)

LCK (Korea)
Week 4 - Day 3

DragonX -1408 (-1.5 @ -260)
APK Prince +593 (+1.5 @ +172)

DragonX have gone to three games in all but one series this season but they have also faced Gen.G, T1, and Afreeca in three of those and faced KT and Sandbox in their first week. Their only sweep was against Hanwha against the surprise Tryndamere funnel strategy. In that game Keria fed first blood and then proceeded to hard carry the game from the support position. Pyosik and Keria disrupted Hanwha and adjusted like veterans that have been doing this for years. DragonX have faced a pretty tough schedule and, in combination with the parity present in Korea as a region, that has lead to a lot of three game sets. 

APK have taken four games this split through six series which is more than a lot of people thought they'd have at this point in the season. This team isn't going to roll over and die to people like a 10th place team they're going to battle. They have some really weird pocket picks like Ikssu's Illaoi that have been giving teams some trouble. The thing with teams like this is that often they just run out of gas at some point in the middle of the season. I think we're getting to that point. Typically as the season progresses the "bad" teams start to get outclassed as they have to adapt week to week while early in the season they can prepare a set handful of strategies that will last them a few weeks into the season. APK have only really faced one of the elite teams so far this season and it was T1 who handedly beat them without Faker even scoring a kill in the series. Everyone else includes a 2-0 over KT Rolster, 1-2 losses to both Griffin and Afreeca, and 0-2 losses to DAMWON and Sandbox. While I think calling those teams weak isn't totally reasonable but a lot of those squads haven't exactly been sharp this season and APK was still only able to take games off Griffin and Afreeca outside of that KT series.

I know I've been preaching about how much of a coin toss the game can be in this metagame and justifying underdogs in that way but I'm just not seeing it in this spot. The combination of the season developing and DragonX looking outstanding has me thinking this should just be a clean 2-0. That said, because of the likely Illaoi bans APK have been able to get really snowbally champions like Ornn, Soraka, Olaf and Qiyana with more frequency than a lot of other teams. Champions that are as powerful as those can give enough of an edge even to an inferior team to win which is another reason we've been seeing upsets a lot this season. 

I'm staying away from this game. You could make a case for taking APK but I do think they are outclassed enough and we saw exactly what a good team does to handle them when T1 did it in their last match. DragonX should be able to execute cleanly enough and have individual advantages in every single position. I was able to shop around and found a -245 at 5Dimes but I'm not going to lay that kind of juice with potential substitutions involved or on the off chance that DragonX tempt fate and let Illaoi or one of the meta power picks steamroll a game.

No wager


Sandbox +236 (+1.5 @ -141)
T1 -350 (-1.5 @ -102)

Sandbox have looked pretty poor relative to expectations this season but I don't think they're a bad team. They struggle from behind in games but they're as clinical as anybody while ahead which is why we've seen so many three game series from them. Sandbox still have elite players. Summit inparticular. T1 have looked outstanding since making adjustments after their first handful of matches where they were having drafting issues. Faker is playing like the best player of all time again and Teddy currently has an 11.1 cs/min FOR THE SEASON. There's just no great way to attack this team because apparently Cuzz's Reksai is so terrifying that it's earned a ban in 89% of T1's games and most of those have been in the first rotation allowing T1 to have multiple power picks every game. They're so intelligent and disciplined and possess good enough players to play their way out of deficits so leads aren't even that safe against them unless you're also an elite team.

The top lane matchup is concerning to me. Whether T1 decided to play Roach or not is another issue. He hasn't been bad but Canna has outperformed him for sure this season and has earned the majority of the playing time. Either is going to struggle against Summit. That said, I think there is an edge at every other position on the map for T1 and a huge strategic advantage.

Unlike the last series, I actually think there is still some value at -102 for the T1 spread. We're going against the trend of underdog spreads in this spot. Sandbox went to three games in week one against DragonX. Week one tends to have more dropped games than most weeks so I tend to put a little less weight on game losses or even match losses in the first week of the season. I don't think anybody would argue Hanwha is better than T1 because they beat them week one. Outside of taking single games DragonX week one and a roster swapping Afreeca, Sandbox haven't played any currently good teams. 2-0 of DAMWON is looking a lot less impressive with how they've been performing and a loss to a competitive but not great KT Rolster team in their last two has left a lot to be desired.

I have T1 2-0'ing this about 60% of the time, 2-1'ing this about 35%, and 5% other outcomes. I typically don't mess with gigantic moneylines but I do feel strongly about the T1 2-0. They've shown the ability to beat the "broken" champions and seem to have fixed a lot of their drafting issues. While I won't mess with this moneyline we are going to take the value on the spread winner with T1.

Spread: T1 -1.5 maps @ -102 (1.02 units)


LEC (Europe)

Week 6 - Day 1

Origen -422 vs Schalke +271
Excel +147 vs Rogue -207
Misfits +197 vs Fnatic -287
MAD Lions -369 vs Vitality +246
SK Gaming +444 vs G2 eSports -885

 Favorites are 35-15 this season. If you shrink that to favorites that are -300 shorter (between -300 and -100) that record becomes 19-11. Of those 11 underdogs, 3 were Misfits, 2 were MAD Lions, 2 were Excel, and 1 each for Vitality, Rogue, SK, and Origen (vs FNC). Big dogs of +200 or greater have four wins, three of which were against G2 and the other is Misfits against Origen.

Europe is actually pretty boring this week with a very lopsided slate but there are a few dogs I like.

No wager on Origen vs Schalke, the line is just too large for me and we're not getting enough value on Schalke even with improved recent performance. Origen are also not a team that typically loses to inferior teams due to the way they play. They'll lose to equally or more talented teams that are creative like Fnatic or G2 but they almost always smash everyone else because they make very few mistakes.

No wager: Origen/Schalke

Excel are only 2-4 as underdogs this season, one win against MAD and the other week one against Schalke (yikes...). Rogue are 5-1 as favorites with their only loss coming to MAD Lions. We talked a lot about this matchup and about Excel in general on the podcast this week but generally I think Rogue, Excel, and MAD Lions are all in a similar spot in the mid tier of Europe and they haven't really done much to differentiate from each other. Rogue and MAD possess higher upsides in my opinion but that doesn't mean we should rate them higher than Excel who have a coaching advantage over both. I also think Misfits will eventually fall into this group. To me there is absolutely no reason why any of these teams should be favored over one another by this much so we're taking underdogs when these teams play each other. I'm always a fan of competent teams as underdogs against non-elite teams unless there is a drastic stylistic mismatch against them. I also think Rogue have been just a little off recently. Something doesn't seem right and I can't pinpoint what it is but they just look like they're in a funk. Mickey could single handedly lose this game for Excel as he's been terrible but again, I don't think any of these middle teams should be laying this much. I also found a +175 at 5Dimes.

Moneyline: Excel +175 (1 unit)(5Dimes)

Misfits are 5-2 as underdogs this season which makes sense as they've been generally overachieving most expectations. The last time these two teams faced off in week one Fnatic demolished Misfits in 20 minutes but that was the top lane Nocturne "free win" so how much stock you want to put into that win is up to you (maybe there's a revenge angle...). Fnatic are 7-2 as favorites this season with their only losses coming to MAD Lions and Origen. The last time Fnatic were -422 favorites in this spot. While Misfits have impressed me and I willingly admit I was wrong about them, I believe that's reflected somewhat in this line move to -287. That said I do think Fnatic should be favored in this spot. Misfits are good but they're being overrated because of the run they've been on. Fnatic and G2 are still the class of Europe and I think Origen are in that group as well especially in the current state of the game. Everyone else is a tier lower. Typically I like taking big underdogs that are good teams but I'm just going to stay away from this one. This feels like Fnatic pound town.

No wager: Misfits/Fnatic

MAD Lions are 3-2 as favorites with losses to Misfits and Excel. Vitality are understandably 1-8 as underdogs with their lone win coming last week against fellow bottom dweller SK. The first time these two teams faced in week one, MAD were -234 favorites. Keep in mind that most books were actually very high on this team in the futures markets as often having them 4th in the rankings due to Splyce's previous success so that line factored in both that and Vitality's weak 2019. MAD have impressed and will likely improve as a team but that was a Vitality that hadn't played a lot with their sub mid laner and that have since undergone some other roster changes. I'm not saying Vitality are a good team but they've upgraded and have seemingly pulled themselves off the mat and are willing to compete again after a losing streak that would demoralize anybody. Vitality are going to be feisty the rest of the split. MAD are good but they're being way overrated here. I know I keep saying I'm going to stop messing with betting MAD games but the value here is just too good for me to pass up. I'll take a small taste of Vitality as big dogs.

Moneyline: Vitality +270 (0.5 units)(5Dimes)

I'm not touching SK. People might be overreacting a bit too much to the G2 losses this season and want to take them here but I'll just pass.

No wager: G2/SK



"Big Chalk" Parlay (4): T1 ML + DragonX ML + G2 ML + Origen ML @ +100 (1 unit)

I typically don't like these bigger parlays but I was mulling over the likelihood that this misses and I just don't see it happening. The weakest leg of this is probably T1 and I was considering a moneyline wager in that spot. This is way to get exposure to a handful heavy favorites that are just outside of my moneyline range without risking as much.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

February 27th: LCK

February 26th Recap:

LCK: 1 - 3 (-1.05 units)

TOTAL:  1 - 3 (-1.05 units)

KT with the outright victory kind of squashed what I thought would be a nice day after they took that game two but I still think our approach of favorites 2-1'ing is going to be profitable as long as the game remains in it's current state. We'll try to pick our spots on actual upsets but that moves underdog spreads in Korea to 21 - 11 on the season. We're going to keep attacking this.

Griffin had some nice moments against T1 but were more or less outclassed as a team and couldn't poke a hole in T1's armor even with individual leads.

We also got our first look at the LPL Open Scrims this morning. Talk about a different viewing experience... The LPL is an absolute bloodbath. I don't know if it's just the scrim culture there or what but over a kill per minute is absolutely a way to lose games right now. It's fun as hell to watch but it's definitely not a good model for consistency. With all of this extra offseason time due to the coronavirus I'm thinking a lot of the underdogs will be a nice play if and when the LPL starts up. It's going to be like a new Spring season at this point. Hopefully we get to see it.

Speaking of the coronavirus, Riot officially pushed back the Mid-Season Invitational (source). Bummer but I think we all saw this coming. Stay safe everyone!


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(all lines are from Nitrogen unless stated otherwise)

LCK (Korea)
Week 4 - Day 2

Afreeca +197 (+1.5 @ -167)

Gen.G -287 (-1.5 @ +118)

Afreeca were a part of our catastrophic Sunday. Not only did they not sweep KT Rolster but they lost outright 2-1 but as we're seeing with KT from this morning's results, they may not be entirely the dumpster fire I was starting to look at them as. Let's rewind to pre-season. When I was making my pre-season tier list for Korea I mentioned that I thought there was a clear top seven teams, then KT and Hanwha, then APK. I specifically said that KT and Hanwha had great rosters but likely wouldn't be able to hang over the course of the season but that they were good, competitve rosters. After their first few series that wasn't appearing to be the case. This team just wasn't on the same page but as we get deeper into the season they're really starting to build chemistry again and, perhaps more importantly than anything else, have an identity. KT are going to try to run you over. Do I think it's the best way to play right now? Not at all but if some teams are able to get good at it they're going to have a huge edge on everyone (see Cloud 9). 

Gen.G, along with T1 and DragonX, look like they're separating themselves from the field in the LCK and they look like a different team than previous iterations of Gen.G. One of my biggest concerns for this team coming into the season was whether the Gen.G coaching staff would "ruin" this collection of talent like they've been notorious for doing over the past few years. That doesn't appear to be the case so far. Gen.G have shown a variety of strategies and styles and their individual players are deliviering on expectations. Their only loss was a 2-1 to T1 and all of this has been with some swapping at the support position between Life and Kellin. 

I'm taking the underdog Afreeca Freecs in this spot. I love teams coming off of an embarassing performance. It tends to light a fire under the players and they often show up more well-prepared for their next match. You could maybe even call that a look-a-head spot, looking past KT Rolster. As abysmal and rage-inducing as Afreeca's last series was, and make no mistake, they made a ton of fundamental errors, this is still a tremendously talented team that I fully expect to learn from their mistakes. I've also said it a million times by now but we've all seen how coin-flippy this metagame is in League of Legends. It's significantly harder for superior teams to differentiate themselves when everyone is playing scaling and when going underneath that scaling is often risky. I think the talent on both of these teams is similar. Gen.G have obviously looked better but not by this much. Give me the dogs!

Spread: Afreeca +1.5 maps @ -145 (1.45 units)(5Dimes)

Moneyline: Afreeca +230 (0.75 units)(5Dimes)


DAMWON -154 (-1.5 @ +197)
Hanwha Life +108 (+1.5 @ -287)

It's weird that this line feels like it should be the other way around based on what we've seen so far. DAMWON are just not suited for this kind of League of Legends. They're much more like an LPL team. They want to constantly scrap and exercise that they're better than you. The thing with DAMWON is that they haven't changed from last year but the game has. League of Legends right now is about making the fewest mistakes. DAMWON are a team that makes a ton of mistakes and plays their way out of it. You don't want to be involved with teams that play that way right now because they're just going to auto-lose on a single play in a lot more games than they did last year. 

Then there's Hanwha who have impressed a lot of people but are basically meeting my expectations so far. It hasn't been in the way that I thought they'd be but they're more or less a competitive team that I don't see making the playoffs and I still think that. Lehends is playing ridiculously well on everything he touches, that hasn't changed. He's an incredibly smart player and has, in my opinion, been hard carrying this team in a lot of games.

DAMWON aren't like the Afreeca situation from the last game. They aren't going to learn from their mistakes. This team is playing exactly the same way they did last year but as I mentioned the game has changed. That doesn't change overnight. Are DAMWON talented enough to just stomp this 2-0 in 50 minutes? Absolutely. As a matter of fact that wouldn't even surprise me. I think the temptation here is to take Hanwha primarily because DAMWON have been constantly punished for their sloppy play but I'm going to just stick to the over 2.5 maps. -287 is too much to pay on the Hanwha spread but I could honestly see either team winning this series in their current forms. 18 out of 32 series have gone to 3 games this season so far. 

Total (maps): OVER 2.5 maps @ +100 (1 unit)(5Dimes)