LOL Betting Odds and Picks: League of Legends LCK, LPL Preview (April 15-16)

Credit:

Ivan Abreu/Getty Images for Hong Kong Tourism Board

The Spring Regular Season winds to a close in the major Eastern Leagues with the final, shortened week of the League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK) and the penultimate week in China’s League of Legends Pro League (LPL).

I want to highlight some of the trends we’ve seen for both leagues now that we have almost a full season of data to work with. After that I’ll break down two matches each for Wednesday and Thursday that I’m taking strong positions on.


LPL Trends:

Season:

  • Favorites are 75-43 straight up, 47-71 against the map spread
  • Underdogs have won, 2-0, in 22 of 118 matches (18.6%)

Trending (since Mar. 30):

  • Favorites are 26-18 straight up, 16-28 against the map spread
  • Underdogs have won, 2-0, in nine of 44 matches (20.4%)

LCK Trends:

Season:

  • Favorites are 57-28 straight up, 33-52 against the map spread
  • Underdogs have won, 2-0, in 13 of 85 matches (15.3%)

Trending (since Apr 1):

  • Favorites are 14-11 straight up, 7-18 against the map spread
  • Underdogs have won, 2-0, in six of 25 matches (24%)

What these numbers tell us is that, over the course of the season things have become stranger and stranger in both the LCK and LPL.

The multi-week breaks due to concerns about the pandemic, as well as the condensed schedule, simply have to be affecting these players and coaches.

When comparing these to the rate at which series went to a third game in Spring of 2019 there has been a drastic difference, particularly in the LCK.

Everything from fatigue, to playing from home and not a facility or stage environment, to the disruption of the schedule, and even the iteration of the game itself are all factors that I believe are contributing far more than just parity or variance.

LOL Pro League (China) Betting Picks

EDward Gaming (-270) vs Oh My God! (OMG) (+203)

  • Kill Spread: EDward Gaming -5.5
  • Kill Total:  24.5
  • Time: Wednesday, 3 a.m. ET

Notable Trends:

  • EDward Gaming are 6-2 as favorites, 3-5 ATS
  • EDward Gaming are 5-0, 2-3 ATS in their past five appearances as favorites
  • OMG are 6-3 as underdogs, 5-4 ATS
  • OMG are 1-4, 2-3 ATS in their past five appearances as underdogs
  • OMG are 0-7 in matches, 2-14 in games against top eight teams

In many ways, OMG are similar to the NFL’s Cleveland Browns, a legendary and previously dominant organization that fell off before settling at the bottom of the standings for many years. Just like the Browns in recent seasons, OMG brought in some young talent and gave fans a lot to be optimistic about going into this season. For the most part they’ve delivered.

It’s been years since the storied Chinese eSports organization OMG has held a playoff position in the LPL, but they are currently in the eighth-and-final playoff spot in China’s top LOL circuit.

Considering the tribulations this EDward Gaming roster has gone through, it’s impressive that they sit at 8-5 and currently hold the sixth playoff seed.

After the six-week hiatus taken due to the pandemic, two members of EDG’s coaching staff as well as both of their rostered junglers were declared out indefinitely due to pandemic quarantine restrictions. This forced the team to find an emergency substitute at the position, the Taiwanese import Yu “JunJia” Chun-Chia. Since teams are only allowed two imported players in their starting lineup, EDG had to bench star top-laner Lim “Jinoo” Jin-woo, who is also an import, in favor of another substitute.

All of this was on short notice so they didn’t have a lot of time to practice with the new lineup before the season restarted.

With “Jinoo” and starting jungler “Zhang “Jiejie” Li-Jie back in the lineup EDG haven’t missed a beat. They put up a dominant 2-0 win against LNG eSports and battled the defending world champion FunPlus Phoenix in a three-game series.

OMG have struggled mightily with good teams this season. They have just two game-wins against playoff teams and an 0-7 match record.

OMG’s lane phase-centric approach to the game is similar to that of Origen in Europe. With such strong individual players, they can often outclass the bottom-half teams just on laning prowess alone, but they struggle against equal or superior individuals that also have stronger team play.

The nature of OMG’s style leads to lower-kill games. They are a “graceful loser” with the lowest kill per loss average in the LPL at 5.88. In simple terms, their entire game is about outclassing you, and if you have superior talent they just slowly surrender everything to you.

EDward Gaming have a below league-average kill per win total at 17.85 as well as trending kill per win of 18.16 in their past six victories. OMG also have the second-lowest kill per win average in the league at 15.94 (16.66 trending).

Picks: EDward Gaming -270; Under 24.5 kills (Maps 1 and 2)


DFS Considerations:

Since this projects to be a low-kill endeavor regardless of the victor, you want to stay away from this matchup in DFS other than the team slot, where I believe EDG is in play due to the possible game-not-played bonus and the amount of objectives OMG surrender when they’re behind.


Royal Never Give Up (-500) vs Dominus eSports (+337)

  • Kill Spread: Royal Never Give Up -7.5
  • Kill Total:  26.5
  • Time: Wednesday, 6 a.m. ET (approx.)

Notable Trends:

  • Royal Never Give Up are 5-4 as favorites, 3-6 ATS
  • Royal Never Give Up are 3-2, 2-3 ATS in their past five appearances as favorites
  • Dominus are 3-9 as underdogs, 5-7 ATS
  • Dominus are 2-3, 3-2 ATS in their past five appearances as underdogs

Since April 1, Dominus have improved significantly on their 2-7 start. They appear to have settled on an iteration of their roster that they like and have been decisive in both wins and losses, a welcome reprieve from their “roll over and die” approach earlier in the year.

The catch is that they still haven’t beaten a quality opponent. Dominus’ five match-wins this season have come against Victory Five (17th out of 17), LNG eSports (16th), Rogue Warriors (10th currently, 14th at the time), LGD Gaming (14th), and Suning Gaming (13th) — their most recent and impressive win. Improvement is great but Dominus are still far behind the top half of the league in overall quality.

Royal Never Give Up (RNG) had a poor run last week, losing three matches to Rogue Warriors, LGD and the current first-place team Invictus Gaming before turning it around with a decisive, 2-0, shellacking of LNG eSports on Monday morning.

Prior to that small losing streak, RNG looked like one of the best teams in the LPL and without question the most disciplined. A win here would likely lock up a playoff position with one more match left in the regular season for RNG.

Other than one win against the extremely bloody (high kill) Invictus Gaming, RNG have gone under 27 kills in their past eight wins. They aren’t the lowest kill-per-win team in the LPL but their 17.95 kills per win is below the league average and their trending number of 17.16 in their past six is even lower.

Overall, Dominus’ 7.42 kills per loss is below the league average, but their trending number is slightly above the median at 8.66. The under looks excellent in this spot.

RNG have an average margin of victory (AMOV) of 10.68 kills over the course of the season, and 11.33 in their past six wins. Dominus have an average margin of defeat (AMOD) of 9.21 for the season with a trending number of 10.83. Take the RNG kill spread.

Pick: RNG -7.5 kills (Maps 1 and 2); Under 26.5 kills (Maps 1 and 2)


DFS Considerations:

Another under game means stay-away most of the time but given that Dominus are above league-average in kills per win, I don’t mind playing some Dominus lineups in larger tournaments/GPPs.


LGD Gaming (+333) vs FunPlus Phoenix (-526)

Kill Spread: FunPlus Phoenix -6.5
Kill Total:  25.5
Time: Thursday, 6 a.m. ET (approx.)

Notable Trends:

  • FunPlus are 10-3 as favorites, 6-7 ATS
  • FunPlus are 4-1, 2-3 ATS in their past five appearances as favorites
  • LGD are 3-8 as underdogs, 8-3 ATS
  • LGD are 3-2, 4-1 ATS in their past five appearances as underdogs

The defending world champions, FunPlus Phoenix, landed the biggest free agent acquisition of the off-season, former SK Telecom and Kingzone top-laner Kim “Khan” Dong-ha. In recent weeks they’ve been playing with him in the starting lineup to mixed success, at least relative to FunPlus’ expected level.

While “Khan” has been an absolute monster and taken over a few games already, the team hasn’t quite built up the chemistry necessary to perform at the highest level as a unit yet. A few game-losses have threatened FunPlus’ top-four playoff position but with eStar and Invictus only a match-win ahead of them in the standings, it’s still possible for them to land a top-two seed and a bye directly to the semifinals. With that in mind, the team started Kim “GimGoon” Han-saem again in their last match.

LGD Gaming have been the ATS darlings of the LPL, along with Rogue Warriors who were 7-3 ATS before Tuesday morning’s loss. These two teams have been some of the biggest contributors to the string of upsets we’ve seen over the past two weeks. Both of them were swept today, Rogue Warriors by the elite JD Gaming and LGD to the middling but improving BiliBili Gaming.

LGD play a very feast-or-famine style the revolves around early game action facilitated by their talented veteran jungler Han “Peanut” Wang-ho. Recently, they’ve been feasting but they’ll have their work cut out for them in this matchup.

While I typically like a punch-up underdog in this spot, the fact that FunPlus have gone back to their World Championship-winning roster makes me think that they aren’t messing around.

After losing today, LGD Gaming were eliminated from playoff contention barring a miracle. They have to be a bit demoralized.

FunPlus have won by double-digit kills in 17 of their 23 game wins this season. I like the map spread as well as any alternate kill spreads that offer plus odds up to -10.5.

Picks:  FunPlus -1.5 maps; FunPlus kill spreads -7.5 to -10.5 (plus-money only)


DFS Considerations:

This matchup has a lot of volatility. FunPlus aren’t an extremely high kill team in wins or losses but LGD can be.

If LGD are of the mindset that their season is finished and they start playing fast-and-loose with nothing to lose, this game could get wild in a hurry. In most scenarios I think FunPlus take care of business in a clean and orderly fashion but the upside makes this one worth some exposure for sure.


LOL Champions Korea (LCK) Betting Picks

APK Prince (+277) vs DragonX (-417)

Kill Spread: DragonX -7.5
Kill Total:  22.5
Time: Thursday, 7 a.m. ET

Notable Trends:

  • DragonX are 12-2 as favorites, 6-8 ATS
  • DragonX are 5-0, 2-3 ATS in their past five appearances as favorites
  • APK Prince are 6-10 as underdogs, 9-7 ATS
  • APK Prince are 4-1, 5-0 ATS in their past five appearances as underdogs

APK were expected to finish last heading into this season and even though they are eliminated from playoff contention, they have a lot to play for in the relegation battle. Even a single game-win in this match would drastically increase their odds of avoiding the relegation playoff to remain in the LPL.

What’s tricky about this spot is that APK will most likely know before going into this match whether they’re safe or not because SANDBOX Gaming and Hanwha Life, who are battling with APK in the relegation race, play before them.

DragonX currently hold a one-game advantage over T1 for the No. 2 seed but trail Gen.G by two games for the No. 1 seed. The LCK uses a gauntlet-style playoff format where the higher seeds get byes into further rounds with No. 1 seed getting a direct bye to the Grand Finals. 

Clinching a high seed can be a huge advantage and that means DragonX will more than likely be preparing to play their best in this match to both retain their position and potentially move up.

On paper this is a severe mismatch in every sense of the word. APK Prince don’t have a single position that’s close to even with their counterpart. Their best player, carry Lee “HyBriD” Woo-jin, has to go up against arguably the greatest player in his position of all-time, Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu and the best rookie player in the world so far this season Ryu “Keria” Min-seok.

APK have pulled a lot of upsets against superior teams by using intelligent drafting and a disciplined approach to team-fighting and objective control, but a lot of their wins could be attributed to their opponents disrespecting them either through experimenting in draft, lack of preparation, or sloppy play in general. After a wake-up call game loss to Afreeca and seeing the recent success of APK, I’d expect DragonX won’t make the same mistake.

DragonX won the first meeting between these two in under an hour of game time (59:12) which is extremely fast. I’d expect a similar dismantling this time around.

Pick: DragonX -1.5 maps


DFS Considerations:

Generally the LCK is lower in kills compared to the LPL, but APK Prince boast one of the larger average margins of defeat (AMOD) in the LCK at 10.08 and DragonX have run the score up on a few occasions this split, including their last match against APK, where they scored a combined 43 kills to just 9 from APK.

While you normally want to avoid the LCK other than the team slot, supports and some top-laners for DFS purposes, this could be a spot to pounce.

DragonX could want to send a message to the rest of the league. APK could also know they’re safe from relegation before going into this match and opt to have fun or goof around with a weird draft for a change.

There is a lot of potential for this to be one of the higher-scoring LCK positions of the season and I’d want to include it in some larger tournament lineups for some exposure to that possibility.

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