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LOL Betting Odds and Picks: League of Legends LEC, LCS Playoffs Preview (April 18)

LOL Betting Odds and Picks: League of Legends LEC, LCS Playoffs Preview (April 18) article feature image

Lars Baron/Riot Games Inc. via Getty Images

We’re through two weeks of playoffs now in both the LEC and LCS playoffs, with three teams remaining in each region. This weekend, we are treated to a double dose of playoff rematches between teams battling for a berth in the championship.

Last week, we saw these regions go fairly chalky as the favorite won four of the five series; the lone exception was in the LCS where FlyQuest upset TSM in a back-and-forth five-game matchup.

Given that this weekend’s slate consists of two matchups that occurred already in the playoffs, there is going to be a little bit extra on the line as the two teams who lost in the first go-around (G2 Esports and FlyQuest) look to avenge their performances.

LOL European Championship (LEC) Betting Picks

G2 Esports (-624) vs. MAD Lions (+448)

  • Kill Spread: G2 Esports -6.5
  • Kill Total: 32.5
  • Time: Saturday, 11 a.m. ET

Key Statistics (regular season rankings out of 10 teams):

  • Gold per minute – G2 1st (1,868), MAD 3rd (1,774)
  • Drake rate – G2 2nd (69.8%), MAD 3rd (59.8%)
  • Baron rate – G2 3rd (63.5%), MAD 5th (58.8%)

The first rematch we’ll see this weekend is in the LEC, where G2 Esports will take on MAD Lions looking to exact revenge for an upset in their first playoff matchup.

G2 came into the postseason as the No. 1 seed and was expected to dominate the playoffs, but was caught off guard by MAD Lions in their first matchup and lost in a five-game series; MAD seemingly made G2 regret their decision to choose them as their first round opponent.

G2 bounced back after the Round 1 loss to beat Origen in a four-game series last weekend, but still showed some signs of weakness as the win was not as convincing as many anticipated.

MAD Lions shocked fans and analysts alike in their first round upset, looking like a well-polished team that consistently punished G2’s mistakes and did enough to neutralize the talent gap between the two teams. Lightning didn’t strike twice, though, as MAD Lions struggled to do the same in their matchup with Fnatic last week, as they got swept 3-0.

They really struggled to get anything going in that series, as Fnatic just suffocated them. They did continue to show their mechanical prowess, but ultimately couldn’t hang with Fnatic on the day.

MAD and G2 are both teams with a play-style that is characterized by solid mid-to-late game decision making, but G2 was a substantially better team in the early game during the regular season.

MAD Lions were a team that vastly overperformed their preseason expectations this split, consistently improving week over week and grading out statistically as a top-three team by the end of the split. They won their “Super Bowl” in the first round of the playoffs when they upset G2, in a series that was highlighted by strong play from their bot-lane duo and impressive jungling from Shad0w.

Unfortunately, that performance was not replicated last week against Fnatic. Specifically, their early game performance was much worse than it was when they faced off with G2, as they consistently came into the mid-game at a deficit much like they did during the regular season; they actually did draw first blood in two of the three matches, but still averaged a -924 gold deficit at 15 minutes.

Although they were able to navigate through those situations oftentimes throughout the split, they struggled to do so last weekend; it’s not surprising that the team that appears to be the best in the region right now was able to take advantage of this weakness.

G2 Esports did what many expected last weekend, bouncing back against Origen with a 3-1 series victory. They looked dominant in their first matchup, but then were a bit questionable after that. In Game 2, Origen outplayed G2 but ended up throwing the game and gave G2 the win.

G2 then dropped Game 3 before winning a competitive Game 4 to take the series. G2 forced Origen to play their game, but Origen surprisingly answered the call for the most part as they did not back down from the constant skirmishing.

Speaking more generally, G2 just simply haven’t looked as dominant in these playoffs as expected. The biggest positive of last week’s series with OG was Caps’ performance in the bot-lane. Many were rightfully critical of his performance in the first series against MAD Lions, but he bounced back in a big way in the OG series accumulating 32 kills and 30 assists while only dying 16 times. It seemed that G2 went out of their way to let him carry, even at one point allowing him to get a pentakill, in order to restore his reputation a bit.

These two teams’ first playoff series really seems like an outlier performance. MAD Lions are a good team, but G2 is honestly just on a whole different level than them. After getting more tape from the FNC-MAD series last week, in addition to the film from their first series, G2 should be much better prepared for this matchup and should control the series.

The sportsbooks didn’t overreact as much as I’d have liked for us to get a good number on G2, but the series spread numbers are still providing value in my opinion. The kill total here is also incredibly high, but I think the over is still in play for a couple of reasons.

For one, the swap to online playing (instead of on stage, in person) has seemingly allowed the European players to play more loosely; Fnatic’s jungler Selfmade has even said multiple times that the games feel more like a scrimmage. Additionally, only one of these two teams’ games in their first matchup went over this kill total number. In total, G2 is averaging a combined 37.9 K+D in the playoffs while MAD is averaging a combined 37.0 K+D in the playoffs.

Given that these numbers aren’t a crazy departure from the regular season pace of these teams, at least in terms of combined kills per minute, I think this trend should continue in this series.

Picks: G2 Esports -1.5 maps (-227); G2 Esports -2.5 maps (+155); Kill Total over 32.5 (-121)

LOL Championship Series (LCS) Betting Picks

Evil Geniuses (-250) vs. FlyQuest (+200)

  • Kill Spread: Evil Geniuses -4.5
  • Kill Total: 23.5
  • Time: Saturday, 4 p.m. ET

Key Statistics:

  • Gold per minute – EG 2nd (1,728), FQ 8th (1,666)
  • Drake rate – EG 2nd (61.3%), FQ 7th (44.4%)
  • Baron rate – EG 2nd (61.8%), FQ 8th (38.9%)

In the weekend’s second rematch, we will see Evil Geniuses go to battle with FlyQuest over in the LCS. These two teams’ first encounter in the playoffs was fairly one sided as Evil Geniuses beat FlyQuest by score of 3-1, although FlyQuest did seem to adapt in the third and fourth games of the series to make it more competitive.

These two teams were fairly opposite in terms of their season-long performance; EG started out the split slowly prior to finishing extremely strong while FlyQuest started out hot and faltered a bit down the stretch. Evil Geniuses fell victim to Cloud9 last week, but it’s tough to take much away from that as Cloud9 has dominated every opponent they’ve faced this split.

FlyQuest came through in an entertaining five-game series with TSM in which they upset the storied franchise and guaranteed a top-3 finish.

These two teams play similarly in that they want to enable their star mid-laner (for Evil Geniuses, Jiizuke and for FlyQuest, PowerOfEvil) while generally leaving their top-laner to fend for himself on the weak side of the map. The biggest talent differential in this matchup, though, is in the bottom lane where EG’s ADC Bang has a substantial advantage over FQ’s ADC WildTurtle.

The biggest strategic difference between these two teams is their focus on the early game. EG typically performs much better in the early game, as they had the fifth-best gold differential at 15 minutes in the regular season compared to FlyQuest ranking ninth in the same metric. Evil Geniuses will certainly look to utilize this advantage to attempt to build and early lead and snowball the games.

Evil Geniuses understandably wilted in their matchup with Cloud9 last week, as every team that’s faced them this entire season has. They were, however, able to take a game off of the dominant frontrunners. Evil Geniuses really seemed to struggle to get Svenskeren going in the first two games of the series, as he was getting outplayed by Blaber significantly, but the biggest issue was that their star mid-laner Jiizuke was just off his game.

Svenskeren and Jiizuke will need to be back on form in this series, as they are the two main catalysts for this team’s success and the mid-jungle synergy will be key to their success over FlyQuest.

The EG bottom-lane duo of Zeyzal and Bang got an unfortunate draw in the C9 series, as they were honestly playing quite well but just didn’t stand a chance since the top side of the map was getting severely outplayed. Although FlyQuest’s support IgNar poses a unique problem in the bottom lane for most teams, that shouldn’t be the case for EG’s bot-lane duo who held their own against the best all split long.

The biggest advantage for this duo is their ability to draw target bans, as Bang is renowned for his ability to pilot the champion Senna, and Zeyzal for his ability to pair a multitude of champions with the support/carry hybrid. This frees up Jiizuke to make sure he gets a comfort pick, which typically gives him the agency to affect the game in many ways.

FlyQuest had an up-and-down series against TSM, but ultimately came out on top and looked like the better team on the day. They arguably should have won the first game, but ended up losing as TSM’s star mid-laner Bjergsen put his carry pants on. In Game 2, they ran back the exact same team compositions and righted the ship as they beat TSM in dominant fashion despite ceding an early lead; this was an especially impressive victory as they exhibited trust in their draft and executed on what they believed was a truly superior team composition.

They followed up with an even more dominant showing in Game 3, before falling in Game 4 to a TSM snowball. They showcased a new ability in Game 5 of the series, jumping out to a massive gold lead in the early game and never looking back. This was a key development and is definitely worth noting, especially considering that TSM was widely seen as the league’s best or second-best early game team.

FlyQuest has some tough matchups this week, but should be confident heading into the weekend after their top laner Solo outplayed BrokenBlade in the TSM series; top lane is certainly EG’s biggest weakness, so enabling Solo to snowball his lane could be a win condition for FlyQuest in this series.

The true stars of the TSM series, though, were unsurprisingly the duo of IgNar and PowerOfEvil. IgNar was the key to FlyQuest’s team fighting dominance on the day as he found elite engages time and again. PowerOfEvil was able to neutralize Bjergsen for the most part, and had a substantial impact per usual in fights as he laid down massive amounts of damage (630 DPM, 1st among all players in Round 2).

It will be interesting to see how these two teams match up on their second go around. FlyQuest is coming into the series looking like they’re trending upwards, but ultimately EG’s ability to control neutral objectives and jump out to early leads should allow them to control this series much like they did the first time.

We can reasonably expect Jiizuke to bounce back from his poor performance in last week’s series in this spot, which should allow EG to play more comfortably and utilize their advantages on the bottom half of the map effectively. EG has now beaten FlyQuest in five of their six matchups this split, and we expect that trend to continue on Saturday.

Along with anticipating an EG series victory, they should also be able to cover their kill spreads in this matchup. In their five victories over FlyQuest this season, they’ve won the kill score by 10, 15, 6, 5, and 3 for an average margin of victory (AMOV) of 7.8 which is well above the line of -4.5; they were out killed by 11 in their lone loss.

The most recent series being closer in kills is a likely contributor to this fairly low spread, but I mentioned last week that EG had an AMOV in excess of 11.5 in their final six regular season victories, so I’m expecting a bit of regression towards that form in their wins against FlyQuest.

Picks: Evil Geniuses ML (-250); Evil Geniuses -1.5 Maps (-107); EG -4.5 Kills (-115)

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