LOL Betting Odds Picks: Best Bets for DragonX vs. T1, Team WE vs. eStar Gaming (April 22)

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Apr 21, 2020, 07:46 PM EDT

Wednesday morning is shaping up to be a doozy as we have our first taste of LPL playoff action in China as well as the third round of the LCK’s gauntlet playoff.

LOL Champions Korea (LCK) – Playoff Betting Picks

No. 3 DragonX (+206) vs No. 2 T1 (-278)

  • Kill Spread: T1  -5.5
  • Kill Total: 21.5
  • Time: Wednesday, 4 a.m. ET

Notable Trends:

  • Favorites are 62-30, 34-58 against the map spread in the LCK this season
  • T1 are 11-4, 9-6 ATS as favorites this season
  • T1 are 3-2, 2-3 ATS in their past five appearances as underdogs
  • DragonX are 1-2, 2-1 ATS in their three appearances as underdogs this season
  • T1 won both meetings during the regular season 2-1 and 2-0

The top of the food chain in the LCK has remained the same the entire Spring season with Gen.G, T1 and DragonX outclassing the field by a wide margin.

T1 hold the regular season “series” lead on the top dogs winning all four of their bouts against DragonX and Gen.G. For that reason, and with all three teams neck-and-neck in game differential and win percentage, it’s reasonable to expect T1 to be the favorites especially given the extra time to prepare and film advantage granted by seeing DragonX’s previous series against DAMWON Gaming.

When breaking down a best-of-5 series I like to start first at the ground level. Economy. It’s simple. Teams that can consistently gain economic advantages are in better positions to win. I’m comparing all three of the elite teams against each other even though only two are playing here to illustrate how evenly matched they are.

  • Gold Per Minute: DragonX (1826), Gen.G (1791), T1 (1790)
  • Gold Differential per minute: DragonX (+167), Gen.G (+161), T1 (+131)
  • Gold Differential at 15 minutes: DragonX (+1434), Gen.G (+1203), T1 (+342)
  • CS (creep score or farm) per minute:DragonX (34.2), T1 (34.0), Gen.G (33.1)
  • Gold Percent Rating (GPR): DragonX (+1.08%), Gen.G (+0.93%), T1 (+0.34%)

These teams are all world-class in measurable statistics but DragonX actually stand out in a few categories. In my article on the matchup between DAMWON Gaming and DragonX I drew attention to DragonX’s impressive economy numbers and that’s no different in this position. They lead the pack in virtually economic statistic we have in League of Legends.

  • Wards per minute: T1 (4.0), Gen.G (3.8), DragonX (3.6)
  • Wards cleared per minute: T1, Gen.G, and DragonX all 1.8
  • Percentage of enemy wards cleared: T1, Gen.G, and DragonX all 48.4%

It’s no surprise that the best teams all have an elite vision game as well, but there aren’t any clear advantages here on paper, although I’d give small advantages to T1 and Gen.G based on film study.

  • Team Damage per minute: DragonX (1969), T1 (1739), Gen.G (1726)
  • First Tower %: DragonX (63%), Gen.G (59%), T1 (41%)
  • First Blood %: Gen.G (75%), T1 (48%), DragonX (35%)
  • First Dragon %: DragonX (52%), Gen.G (52%), T1 (48%)

Neutral control rates and event measures as well as raw damage output favors DragonX putting their damage per gold metric far above the competition.

Statistics don’t mean everything, especially in League of Legends which has seemingly infinite variables, but the reason I’m going into so much detail on the statistics in this case is to illustrate one key point; these teams are very evenly matched.

The intangibles may be in favor of T1 in this matchup, after all they do have the greatest player of all-time Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok, as well as a roster of experienced, championship-winning players. With only one rookie, Kim “Canna” Chang-dong, versus the two on the other side, you could argue that the impacts of playoff pressure would affect them less but the DragonX rookies have shown up in clutch moments time and time again this season. Thus, I give no real edge in this area especially given the remote, non-stadium format.

Simply put, this number is just too big. T1 may have won the regular season matchup twice but none of the top three LCK teams should be favored by this much over one another.

Picks: DragonX +1.5 maps (-120); DragonX moneyline (+206)


LOL Pro League (China) Round 1 Betting Picks

No. 8 Team WE (+187) vs No. 5 eStar Gaming (-250)

  • Kill Spread: eStar -6.5
  • Kill Total: 28.5
  • Time: Wednesday, 5 a.m. ET

Notable Trends:

  • Favorites are 85-51, 54-82 against the map spread in the LPL this season
  • eStar are 7-5, 5-7 ATS as favorites this season
  • eStar are 2-3, 2-3 ATS in their past five appearances as favorites
  • Team WE are 5-5, 6-4 ATS as underdogs this season
  • Team WE are 3-2, 4-1 ATS in their past five appearances as underdogs
  • eStar won the regular season meeting 2-0

Team WE managed to overcome the odds of playing an unprecedented four matches in five days, pulling some upsets and needing a few teams to help them out along the way to clinch a playoff spot.

In their season-deciding Game 3 against OMG on Monday, Team WE put up a perfect game, a full shutout. For a team with a style that doesn’t lend itself to that kind of clean victory it was an impressive statement to say the least.

Over the course of the season Team WE have been one of the darling underdog stories of the LPL. Their mid-season shift to specialist Jiang “Teacherma” Chen in the mid lane enhanced their uptempo, neutral objective-focused play-style and helped this team hit their stride when it mattered most.

eStar opened the season blazing hot with a 9-1 record in their opening 10 matches before going on a three-game losing streak to JD Gaming, Vici Gaming and Royal Never Give Up. They did finish the season on a stronger note, defeating Team WE and OMG each 2-0, before losing a more-competitive-than-it-looked series against the new-look TOP eSports.

Teams in League of Legends, for the most part, fall into two main categories; those that are resource-focused and those that are objective-focused. Typically, resource-focused teams rely on the ability of their individual players to accrue advantages and put them to use. In traditional sports this would be similar to a team with superior talent wanting to play man-to-man.

Conversely, objective-focused teams tend to employ strategies that put pressure on the resource-focused to make more decisions under sub-optimal conditions.

Both Team WE and eStar are objective-focused teams. The difference is that eStar have been one of the best at the style in the world and Team WE have not fared well against these types of teams as evidenced by their records against them:

  • Team WE vs resource-focused teams: 2-3 (6-8 in games) (this list includes three playoff teams)
  • Team WE vs objective-focused teams: 3-5 (8-12 in games) (this list includes four playoff teams)
  • Team WE vs teams that fit into neither category and/or “bad” teams: 3-0 (6-1 in games)

Five out of six of Team WE’s against the spread victories this season came against resource-focused teams. Their whole style is about picking apart those types of teams but when they face a team that plays a similar way they no longer have the advantage of their system to hide behind, and it comes back down to individual talent which is not a point of strength for them.

eStar simply do what Team WE does to a much higher degree and Team WE won’t have a stylistic edge like they did in many of their positions as underdogs this season.

I also have a lot of questions about the depth of “Teacherma’s” champion pool. Over the course of the season he’s been very feast-or-famine. His specialty picks such as Nocturne and Pantheon have, for the most part, been dealt with in the draft and he’s been unable to create advantages without them, especially against teams with a similar approach to the game.

Before this season I had eStar dead last in the league. They were +25000 to win the Spring title. I remained bearish on them for awhile citing their lack of strategic diversity, but eventually came around to the idea that their linear approach to the game is tremendously effective in a region that’s slow to adapt on a team-by-team basis.

Since then, they’ve developed a number of different looks and wrinkles to their original appearance. eStar have impressed me more in some of their losses than even their blow-out victories.

It’d be a bit extreme to call Team WE fraudulent but I do think people are falling a bit too in love with the underdogs here. eStar handled them without a problem the first time and with a ton of film from the past week to go over, a similar style that Team WE struggle with, and superior talent, I’d expect eStar to dominate in this series.

I’m also taking the OVER in kill total. These are two of the bloodiest teams on the planet this season and their punch-first mentality will lead to a lot of all-in skirmishes. We saw games of 42 and 26 kills the previous outing, even with playoff nerves kicking in I think we see more than the OVER 28.5 in at least two of these games

Picks: eStar moneyline (-250); eStar -1.5 maps (-118); Over 28.5 kills (-112)

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