LOL Betting Odds & Picks: Best Bets for LCK Spring Finals, LPL Quarterfinals (April 25)

Credit:

Timo Verdeil/ESPAT Media via Getty Images. Pictured: Crowd of fans witnessing the LCK Spring Finals at LoL Park in 2019.

Apr 25, 2020, 08:01 PM EDT

Saturday morning brings us two competitive playoff matches in the East. The top two seeds will battle it out at South Korea’s LOL Park in Seoul in the first games played in the stadium since March 6.

We’ll also get our second quarterfinal matchup in the LPL featuring 2019 World Champions FunPlus Phoenix.

LOL Champions Korea (LCK) — Grand Finals Betting Picks

No. 2 T1 (-156) vs. No. 1 Gen.G eSports (+122)

  • Kill Spread: T1 -3.5
  • Kill Total: 20.5
  • Time: Saturday, 4 a.m. ET

Notable Trends

  • Favorites are 85-53, 54-74 against the map spread in the LCK this season
  • T1 are 12-4, 10-6 ATS as favorites
  • T1 are 3-2, 3-2 in their past five appearances as favorites (both losses were 0-2 sweeps)
  • Gen.G have not been underdogs at all this season
  • As favorites, Gen.G are 14-4, 9-9 ATS
  • Of their four losses, three were against the other elite teams (DragonX and T1)
  • Gen.G lost their final four matches ATS
  • T1 won both regular season matches 2-1

Gen.G were the pre-season favorites at +160 to win the Spring title. They’ve been betting favorites in every single match they’ve played including both against T1. Their 31-13 (70%) game record earned them the No. 1 seed by two games over T1.

Now they’re underdogs in the grand finals.

To say this is uncharted territory would be inaccurate. Just last season, in the 2019 Summer finals, SK Telecom, entered the finals as the No. 4 seed against top seeded Griffin as -167 favorites. The No. 1 seed has won six of the past 10 season championship matches in the LCK. The No. 2 seed has won twice.

The LCK’s gauntlet playoff format creates a lot of intriguing situations and has made it very interesting to handicap over the years. In theory, the top seeded team has the advantage of preparation time not just because of the time off but because of the edge that can be gained by watching film from the series leading up to finals.

However, there are downsides to the long lay-off. The concept of “entering cold” is just as real an effect in eSports as it is in traditional sports. Do teams that enter the NFL playoffs with a bye always win? No. Sometimes the momentum can be a more powerful advantage than the time off.

We’ve seen a lot of both narratives in the LCK playoffs. Teams like the aforementioned 2019 Summer SK Telecom benefitted greatly from the momentum winning 2-1, 3-0, 3-0, and eventually 3-1 in the finals where Griffin clearly needed about two games to really “warm up” and by then it was too late.

Still, over time, the No. 1 seed’s ability to see the opposing game plan and prepare their own unique strategies and adaptations has proven to be more successful. As a region, Korea has lived and died by its ability to dissect other teams and make adaptations. Aided by their excellent infrastructure,  this ability to game plan their biggest strength by far. Many of the top seeded teams haven’t been the “best” team in the LCK but have won the season anyway because they had a great strategy for the finals that the lower seed simply couldn’t solve quickly enough.

So which is it here?

I have these two teams rated fairly evenly overall which would lead you to believe the value is on Gen.G in this position but you have to take some intangibles into consideration. T1 won both regular matches in three games. Four out of these six games weren’t particularly close even though the box score might suggest so. T1, for the most part, dominated. Also under consideration is the current form of T1 who completely dismantled DragonX in their match on Wednesday morning.

More than the side, I’m favoring alternative and proposition markets for this series.

Gen.G have a 75% first blood rate over the course of the season including first blood in four out of their six games against T1. In his four year career, Kim “Clid” Tae-min has been a master at creating the first action and thusly scoring first blood. T1 give up first blood in 52% of their games.

Similarly, Gen.G have taken first tower in 59% of games this season while T1 have a first tower rate of just over 41%, one of the lowest in the league. Often this is by design as T1 prefer to minimize losses in the games in which they’re playing more defensively. That rate is much improved when they’re taking the more assertive role.

The kill total is an extremely low 20.5 in this match. When playing totals I like to factor in the anticipated game script as well as recent and season-long results. Excluding two obvious outliers, Gen.G have 4.36 kills per loss, T1 have 6.57 for the season. Season-long totals for both teams in kills per win are 14.65 for Gen.G, 14.15 for T1 but their trending numbers tell a much different story at 15.66 for Gen.G and 16.25 for T1 excluding “meaningless” games in the final week and including playoffs.

Considering all but one player in this match has been in a playoff match, and most in a finals match, I think we’ll see a bit more of a comfortable look from both teams and a slightly more fast-paced, competitive, and bloody series than this number indicates. Both of these teams tend to play clean, dominant League of Legends, but I think they’ll be testing each other here so I like the over 20.5.

I’ll also be laying the heavy line to take the over 3.5 maps. Map totals are not always correlated to a closer match. When you have two evenly matched teams it doesn’t always mean that it will be a five game series or even a four game series. You can play three close games all won by the same team. In this case, however, the quality of both teams involved makes it very difficult for me to see either team sweeping the series.

This should be an outstanding final. We’re going to see if T1’s momentum can carry them to a title or if Gen.G can utilize the time off and film study to prepare a strategy to solve the puzzle. Three of the greatest players of all-time will be battling in this series including Gwak “Bdd” Bo-seong, Park “”Ruler” Jae-hyuk, and the Michael Jordan of League of Legends Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok.

PICKS: OVER 3.5 maps @ -410, Gen.G first blood maps 1-3 (-141), Gen.G first tower maps 1-3 (-114), OVER 20.5 kills maps 1-3 (+102)


 LOL Pro League (China) Quarterfinals Betting Picks

FunPlus Phoenix (-455) vs EDward Gaming (+349)

  • Kill Spread: FunPlus -7.5
  • Kill Total: 25.5
  • Time: Saturday, 5 a.m. ET

Notable Trends:

  • Favorites are 86-53, 55-84 against the map spread this season
  • FunPlus are 12-4, 7-9 ATS as favorites
  • FunPlus are 3-2, 1-4 ATS in their past five appearances as favorites
  • EDward Gaming are 3-4, 6-1 ATS as underdogs
  • EDward Gaming are 2-3, 4-1 ATS in their past five appearances as underdogs
  • FunPlus won the regular season meeting 2-1 as -369 favorites
  • Underdogs are 2-1 outright and against the spread in the LPL playoffs so far

This line opened in the -350 range for the 2019 World Champions and money is still pouring in on them. I’ve talked a lot about my rock-paper-scissors approach to handicapping the LPL this season, but it doesn’t apply here as this is a matchup between two similarly balanced and versatile teams capable of playing a number of styles.

EDward Gaming made the surprising decision to start the top/jungle combination of Zhao “Aodi” Ao-Di and Yu “JunJia” Chun-Chia in their last match against Royal Never Give Up despite the return of their anticipated pre-season starters of Lim “Jinoo” Jin-woo and Zhao “Jiejie” Li-Jie after a long layoff. They’ll be starting Aodi and JunJia again here. Both performed excellently in the last series playing a few of the best games I’d seen from the duo in their short tenure together.

There is no doubt that FunPlus are the better team here. They outclass EDward Gaming in just about every category, but given the odds shift and improved numbers for a number of props and spreads in this market that’s how I’ll be attacking this match.

While it only hit in one out of three tries last match, EDward Gaming are one of the top first blood teams in the LPL at 58.5% and FunPlus are in the bottom four. Both junglers for EDward prefer to get the game going in this fashion over leveraging a resource advantage so I like this position even if a substitution is made.

I also like the over quite a bit in this series. While both teams have a season-long combined kills+deaths of 25.2, their trending average is significantly higher at 27.425 albeit against a few bloodier opponents on both sides. Even factoring in the competition and the stakes at hand, given the style these two teams play and anticipated game script I feel this total is short.

FunPlus are deserved favorites but given the inflation of the number helping out the spreads, I like EDward Gaming to take a map at -244 as well as the props discussed above.

Picks: EDward +2.5 maps (-244), EDward first blood maps 1-3 (-120), OVER 25.5 kills maps 1-3 (-119)

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