LOL Betting Odds and Picks: LEC and LCS Playoffs Betting Preview (April 10-11)
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The LEC and LCS playoffs kicked off last weekend, featuring a departure from the established trends in each Western region. Throughout their respective Spring Split regular seasons, these regions showcased surprising parity in terms of the success of favorites; the LEC had a regular season in which betting favorites dominated to the tune of a 67-23 record, while the LCS had a regular season in which betting favorites hardly managed to come out on top in the majority of the matches (51-39 record).
Last week, however, we saw the heavily favored reigning LEC champions G2 Esports fall at the hands of an up-and-coming MAD Lions squad, 3-2, and marginally favored Misfits Gaming fall victim to Rogue 3-1; the lone favorite to come out of the weekend victorious was Fnatic, who bested Origen. 3-1, in their series.
Meanwhile in the LCS, we saw the favorites dominate. Evil Geniuses handily beat FlyQuest 3-1, while Cloud9 brought 100T’s hot streak to a screeching halt as they dominated them with a clean sweep.
This week features some interesting matchups, both on the top side and bottom side of the playoff bracket in each region, with some lines that I believe we can take advantage of.
LOL European Championship (LEC)
Origen (-319) vs. Rogue (+250)
- Kill Spread: Origen -4.5
- Kill Total: 22.5
- Time: Friday, 12 p.m. ET
Key Statistics (regular season rankings out of 10 teams):
- Gold per minute – OG 4th (1,766), RGE 6th (1,729)
- Drake rate – OG 5th (48.1%), RGE 8th (43.9%)
- Baron rate – OG 1st (79.2%), RGE 6th (47.2%)
Origen and Rogue will face off in the loser’s bracket of the LEC playoffs this week in a battle of two teams that play a similar style; the winner will move on to face off with G2 Esports.
Each team prefers to play at a snail’s pace, as evidenced by their incredibly low combined kills-per-minute numbers (OG 0.61, RGE 0.65), opting to scale and acquire their core items prior to winning team fights around key objectives.
They do have a bit of a clash of style with respect to the early game, though, as Rogue prefers to force their opponents’ hand early on hoping to establish a lead. Rogue had the league’s highest first tower rate this split, and also ranked second in first blood rate. On the other hand, Origen is content to win via superior wave management, jungle pathing, and objective prioritization.
After a highly questionable and utterly disappointing close to the regular season, Rogue put on a show last week against Misfits Gaming. They lost the first game convincingly, but bounced back to win the next three outings in dominant fashion. Perhaps most impressive in the series was Rogue’s dominant draft phases; they completely neutralized Misfits’ best player and primary win condition, Febiven, by forcing him off of his comfort assassin and burst mage picks.
Finn also stepped up in a big way in this series, rendering Dan Dan completely ineffective in the second and third games of the series by exerting constant pressure in the laning phase, eventually snowballing the lane and affecting the rest of the map.
Origen started off the Spring Split hot, looking like they were on track to be a real World Championship contender in 2020 as they decimated their opposition both in draft phase and on the rift.
The league seemed to catch up to them a bit as the split went on, though. They showed some fight in their match with Fnatic last week, but were ultimately just outgunned as Fnatic was able to press their advantages across the map en route to a victory.
Origen have a clear identity in that they’re a team whose strength is in late game team-fighting and decision-making, so a matchup with a team that’s more of a loose cannon like Fnatic is problematic for them; they’re the masters of standard League of Legends, so it’ll be tough to beat them playing that game.
Origen seems ripe for a bounce back in this spot against a Rogue team that, frankly, doesn’t seem to have an advantage in any lane here. When these teams faced off in the regular season, OG took care of business in a dominant fashion. They not only got first blood in each match, but also commanded a 100% drake rate and 100% baron rate while taking 21 of a possible 22 towers and surrendering just three; they also dominated in kill score winning the first matchup 13 to 4 and the second 10 to 4.
Look for Origen to do more of the same in this series, beating Rogue handily in a relatively low kill environment.
Picks: Origen -1.5 maps (-129), Kill Total under 22.5 (-114)
Fnatic (-449) vs. MAD Lions (+338)
- Kill Spread: Fnatic -6.5
- Kill Total: 27.5
- Time: Saturday, 11 a.m. ET
Key Statistics (regular season rankings out of 10 teams):
- Gold per minute – FNC 2nd (1,857), MAD 3rd (1,774)
- Drake rate – FNC 1st (73.6%), MAD 3rd (59.8%)
- Baron rate – FNC 2nd (68.6%), MAD 5th (58.8%)
After surprising the entire region and knocking down G2 Esports last week, MAD Lions have advanced to the second round where they’ll take on Fnatic.
Each of these teams has looked incredibly impressive of late, finishing off the regular season a combined 6-2 over the final two weeks including a game against one another.
Fnatic were victorious in that most recent regular season matchup, utilizing superior map control to dominate neutral objectives such as drakes (4-0) and baron (1-0). MAD did show some fight and mechanical prowess, but ultimately were outplayed across the map by the better team.
Each of these teams is confident in their individual mechanical skill, and is willing to take fights as illustrated by their 2nd- (FNC, 0.88) and 4th-ranked (MAD, 0.73) combined kills-per-minute numbers.
The way these teams won games this season, though, was very different. Fnatic preferred to dominate the early game, averaging a gold lead over 1,000 at 15 minutes and ranking first in the league in Early Game Rating, snowballing their leads to exert lane pressure (2nd-highest jungle control in LEC) and dominate neutral objectives.
MAD Lions, on the other hand, typically came out of the early game in a deficit; their gold deficit at 15 minutes and early game rating were 4th-worst in the league, but their late game decision making was always sound (2nd-highest Mid/Late Game Rating in LEC).
MAD Lions’ performance last week was phenomenal. They punished G2 time and again for their mistakes, both in draft and on the rift. Their bottom lane duo of Carzzy and Kaiser were especially impressive in the series, as they routinely exploited G2 Caps in lane. MAD Lions appeared in that series to have taken serious strides in their early game performance, actually averaging a +477 gold differential at 15 minutes in the series against G2, and were also firing on all cylinders in the late game as they matched most of G2’s calls and executed well in team fights.
With that being said, MAD probably should have lost the series; they were the beneficiaries of Caps making a minor mechanical mistake while attacking their Nexus that cost G2 a Game 5 victory.
Fnatic came out last week looking like they hadn’t missed a beat. They surprisingly struggled a bit in the early game, and especially struggled in Game 3, but were dominant in their victories. Their drafts were phenomenal, and they pulled out strategies they hadn’t previously shown with great success. Notably, their bot laner Rekkles played Senna in every game, and OG struggled to deal with the champion despite clearly expecting to be able to.
Rekkles is more known for carry performances on marksman bot laners, but he flashed his versatility in this series as he dominated on a pick that doesn’t fit his typical play style.
Fnatic’s drafts have been some of the best in the league this split, and that’s a huge advantage in the current state of the game. Fnatic’s dominance last week combined with G2’s lackluster outing have them looking like they are bound for a trip to the LEC Finals.
This series should be much more entertaining to watch than the Origen/Rogue matchup. It should be a competitive, back-and-forth series with potential to have high kill games. That’s precisely what we saw during the season when these two teams faced off; MAD won the first game, besting Fnatic 24-8 in kills, while Fnatic took the second contest with a kill score of 20-8.
Fnatic have at least a minor advantage in every lane, but perhaps their biggest edge is in the top lane where Bwipo should be able to leverage his deep champion pool and aggressive play style to pressure Orome into making mistakes.
Ultimately, this is a series that Fnatic should come out on top of; I predict a series score of three games to one. The sportsbooks did a good job of making this series tough to bet on, but based on the aggressiveness of these two teams and their kill totals in their two regular season matches, there is still an edge to be had on the kill total and spreads, because the winner of each game is likely to do so with a big spread in kills.
Picks: FNC -6.5 Kills (-107), Kill Total over 27.5 (-124)
LOL Championship Series (LCS)
Cloud9 (-1077) vs. Evil Geniuses (+702)
- Kill Spread: Cloud9 -8.5
- Kill Total: 24.5
- Time: Saturday, 4 p.m. ET
- Gold per minute – C9 1st (1,900), EG 2nd (1,728)
- Drake rate – C9 1st (81.3%), EG 2nd (61.3%)
- Baron rate – C9 1st (90.2%), EG 2nd (61.8%)
After each of the top two seeds took care of business in their respective matchups, we will see Cloud9 face off with Evil Geniuses this week to determine who will advance to the championship.
These two teams were clearly atop the league this split, taking the top two spots in several key metrics. They’ve each been dominant, but especially Cloud9 who ended the regular season with a historic 17-1 record. There is some bad blood between these teams, as three of the Evil Geniuses starters (Kumo, Svenskeren, and Zeyzal) were acquired from Cloud9 this past offseason.
These two teams were among the bloodiest in the LCS this split, ranking in the top four in combined kills-per-minute and top three in total kills. Although both teams are aggressive, Cloud9 is really in their own echelon statistically. Evil Geniuses is the team that comes closest to them, but will likely be operating from a disadvantage due to their early game struggles and C9’s early game dominance.
C9 leads the league with an average 2,712 gold differential at 15 minutes, while Evil Geniuses ranks 5th averaging a 268 gold deficit at 15 minutes. These teams are both led by strong play in the mid and bottom lanes, but EG relies on dominant performances from their mid laner Jiizuke to be competitive while C9 has carry potential in every single lane.
Cloud9’s series against 100T was a show of dominance. They swept their opponents in convincing fashion, showing no real signs of weakness. Given the form 100T was in coming into the game with, it was a bit of a surprise. Looking at the bigger picture, though, it was just another week for Cloud9.
They’ve dominated all split long. It’s hard to point to a single feature that was most impressive in the series, but what stuck out was Blaber showing the ability to play additional champions in the jungle that he hadn’t previously shown this split.
Throughout the regular season, he showed a fairly limited champion pool as he played just five unique champions, two of which he only played once; in the 100T series, he played a different champion in each match and two of them were champions he had not shown during the regular season. He had an extremely high impact, racking up 11 kills and 24 assists compared to just six deaths. This versatility just adds another wrinkle for teams to be worried about.
Evil Geniuses understandably started out the 2020 Spring Split slowly as their team struggled to mesh together and get on the same page. Things finally started to click for them around the halfway point of the season, and they cruised into the playoffs on a high note as they won six of their final seven matches with their lone loss coming at the hands of Cloud9.
They were dominating in that stretch too, with an average kill margin over 11.5 in their six victories. They controlled neutral objectives extremely well too, amazingly only surrendering nine total drakes (four of which came in the loss) and two barons (both of which came in the loss) during this stint.
They continued the late-season dominance in their first playoff matchup against FlyQuest, as they won each of the first two games convincingly prior to faltering in Game 3 and then closing the series out in Game 4. Per usual, Jiizuke was the catalyst to his team’s success.
His vast champion pool allows him to constantly pick positive matchups, and he actually introduced a new champion to the stage in this series as he played Ezreal in the mid lane (this champion is typically played in the bottom lane). This gives EG an advantage over most teams, as Jiizuke’s flexibility allows them more wiggle room during drafts to get advantageous matchups across the rift.
This is a series that should be entertaining to watch. If any team is going to beat C9 in the LCS Playoffs, EG is the most likely team to do so. They’ve got a built-in win condition in Jiizuke, and should be able to match up decently well in the bottom lane as well. EG is definitely outgunned in the top lane and jungle, but their gameplan will likely be for Jiizuke to get an early lead when C9 Nisqy inevitably leaves lane to roam and utilize that lane to get into a sidelane and apply map pressure.
It’s extremely tough to see Cloud9 losing this series, but Evil Geniuses have exhibited enough of a ceiling to take a game or two off of C9.
Picks: Evil Geniuses +2.5 Maps (-120); C9/EG o3.5 Maps (-105)