LOL Betting Picks and LPL Spring Finals Roundtable Preview: Top eSports vs. JD Gaming (May 2)
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China’s LOL Pro League will be crowning a new champion on Saturday. TOP eSports and JD Gaming each eliminated the previous two world champions, Invictus (2018) and FunPlus Phoenix (2019), respectively and in dominant fashion over the weekend to bring each organization to their first LPL finals appearances.
LOL Pro League (China): 2020 Spring Finals Odds and Picks
TOP eSports (+124) vs JD Gaming (-149)
- Kill Spread: JD Gaming -4.5
- Kill Total: 26.5
- Time: Saturday, 5 a.m. ET
- Favorites are 88-54 overall and 57-85 against the map spread in the LPL this season (includes playoffs)
- Favorites 3-3 overall and 3-3 ATS in the playoffs (includes third-place match)
- JD Gaming (JDG) are 10-3 overall and 8-5 ATS as favorites
- JDG are 5-0 overall and 4-1 ATS in their past five appearances as underdogs
- JDG are a perfect 15-0 in games since Zhang “Zoom” Xing-Ran returned to the lineup on April 5
- TOP eSports are 4-1 overall and 4-1 ATS as underdogs
- TOP have won, 2-0, in three of their past four appearances as underdogs
Top eSports vs. JD Gaming: Projected Starting Lineups:
- TOP eSports: 369, Karsa, Knight, JackeyLove, QiuQiu
- JD Gaming: Zoom, Kanavi, Yagao, Loken, LvMao
TOP eSports won the first meeting between these teams back on March 25 but the texture of the league and both of these teams was much different.
After struggling coming out of the multi-week pandemic hiatus, TOP eSports managed to notch five match victories in a row which including the win against JD Gaming. At the time, Ying “Photic” Qi-Shen was starting to hit his stride after a lukewarm start to the year as the team’s new starting AD carry and seemed to have settled into a good rhythm with his lane partner Zhang “QiuQiu” Ming in the support position.
Conversely, JD Gaming were in the midst of a three-game losing streak after a blazing hot start, winning five of their first six matches with the only loss coming to the defending world champions FunPlus Phoenix.
He “705” Yu-Long was helped quiet criticism of the coaching staff as the 17-year-old rookie replacement of long-time starter Zhang “Zoom” Xing-Ran was playing well in the early going.
Since then a lot has changed. TOP eSports acquired super star AD carry free agent Yu “JackeyLove” Wen-Bo after a tumultuous series of contract issues plagued his off-season. In that time they’ve won 10 out of 12 games and all five series including two playoff victories against Team WE and Invictus Gaming. JD Gaming also shifted back to “Zoom” in the top lane and have since gone undefeated, a perfect 15-0 in games with him in the lineup.
These are the two hottest teams in the LPL, going a combined 25-2 in games since moving to these iterations of their starting lineups. Their playoff gold differentials per minute are an absurd 252 (JDG) and 220 (TOP) and are double their nearest rivals, and they’re even more extreme if you include the end of the regular season.
Both of these teams deserve to be here. Not only do we get to see the two best teams in the LPL but there’s also the potential revenge storyline for JD Gaming’s AD carry Lee “Loken” Dong-wook as he faces off against his former team and his eventual replacement and former rival “JackeyLove.”
It’s shaping up to be a real slobberknocker!
Seeing as this is the final League of Legends match in the four major regions until mid-May I’ve invited fellow LOL contributors at The Action Network John George and Josh Roberts for a roundtable discussion on the finals in what many consider the world’s best league.
Is this the finals you expected at the beginning of the playoffs? The season? Where did you have these teams ranked going into the season?
John: While this isn’t the exact finals I expected, I did have these two teams ranked second and third going into the regular season and that was before TOP eSports picked up “JackeyLove” so I feel pretty good about that call.
I assumed Invictus would fall off pretty hard, which was only somewhat true, but I did have FunPlus above both of these squads in my power rankings.
Joshua: Not at all. I expected FunPlus and Invictus to be in the finals since FunPlus were the defending world champions and seemingly only upgraded their roster while Invictus has the most dominant solo laners and had acquired a more stable and consistent bottom lane in the off-season.
I had TOP eSports in the top three due to the addition of Karsa, who has arguably been a disappointment, and I had JD Gaming fifth behind Royal Never Give Up.
Vince: I’m a bit surprised FunPlus isn’t here but not shocked to see these two. I had TOP at four in my “S” tier and JD Gaming at two in my “S+” tier with FunPlus at one. The addition of “Loken” was such a massive upgrade over Gu “Imp” Seung-bin who was a huge liability last year despite his borderline hall of fame career achievements.
I looked at this as a -10 to +10 kind of upgrade and the other four players on JD Gaming were absolute studs that had a lot of experience together. They fixed their only problem and made, in my opinion the single best off-season pick-up out of any team worldwide.
JD Gaming were probably my favorite futures position going into the season at +1500 to win the Spring title.
What was your initial impression of the lines and markets for this matchup?
John: It screamed out for a JD Gaming bet to me. While I’ve been all-in on the TOP eSports hype train since they replaced “Photic,” JD Gaming is 15-0 since “Zoom” returned to the lineup and there are some very tough matchups in there. TOP has looked good, but as only a slight favorite I’m slamming JD Gaming against anybody in the world right now!
Joshua: This line seemed fair to me. I didn’t think there was much of an edge given the typical juice on LOL lines.
Vince: I’m not quite as bullish as you John and am closer to Josh’s thoughts here. JD Gaming deserve to be the favorites here and I think this line is about right. Nothing really jumped off the board at me in any of the other markets at first glance either.
Now that we’ve got a decent sample size with these iterations of the rosters and have seen both teams play against some good competition, do you think either team has a distinct edge to be gained in the draft or through specific champion pools?
John: Obviously the draft is always relevant. It might not be popular because he has honestly looked like the best player in the world in his last few matchups, but JD Gaming could take Zhuo “Knight” Ding off of Syndra and Corki if they wanted.
He played those two champions in all but one game of their past two series, and the game he didn’t play them TOP eSports lost. JD Gaming needs to stay away from Lee Sin but have seemed pretty versatile to me other than that.
Joshua: I think JD Gaming has a massive edge in the champion pool of the junglers. Hung “Karsa” Hao-Hsuan has stuck primarily to “carry” junglers like Lee Sin and Rek’sai which are simply not good in the current metagame whereas Seo “Kanavi” Jin-hyeok has played a variety of champions and has been particularly dominant on his specialty Kindred.
Vince: I completely agree on the mismatch with “Kanavi” vs “Karsa” but I wouldn’t rule out seeing something new like Graves, who is extremely powerful on this patch, from him either. I just don’t want to see him on Lee Sin or Rek’sai. He’s been great on them over his career but they haven’t looked sharp recently and I don’t think they should attack this matchup in that way.
We’ve only seen “Zoom” on five champions total this split but his ability to play exceptionally as a weak-side top laner since his return is really going to make things difficult for TOP eSports.
Bai “369” Jia-Hao is a great and versatile player but “Zoom” is going to be able to neutralize all but the most elite players. His champion pool could potentially give “369” a lot of trouble.
If you had to pick one matchup that will define this series which is it and why?
John: “Kanavi” vs “Karsa” feels like the defining matchup of the series. The mid lane is a couple of absolute studs, both bottom lanes have played very well. We expect “Zoom” to win in the top lane but “369” is a capable weak side top laner if he has to be anyway so that’s not super relevant.
The one place wehre it feels like there is a huge advantage for either team is that jungle matchup. “Karsa” was the best jungler in the world for a lot of last year but this hasn’t been a good metagame for him and I’d expect him to get circles run around him by “Kanavi.”
Joshua: I’d say the matchup in the jungle is the defining one as these are two of the best junglers in the world but given “Karsa’s” form this split I’d expect “Kanavi” to outplay him.
The matchup I’m most intrigued by is the mid lane. “Knight” looks like he may be the best player in the world at the moment and Zeng “Yagao” Qi is arguably the weakest link on JD Gaming which isn’t a slight against him since this team is just extremely talented.
Vince: I think the jungle matchup is the obvious one that comes to mind but my take on it is a bit different. I think you need to look at the top-half of the map in duo’s and trio’s.
TOP are going to have a really difficult time playing around getting an advantage on the top-half of the map which could force them into a more predictable play patterns and strategies.
I actually give a slight edge to JD Gaming’s bottom lane since Zuo “LvMao” Ming-Hao has been one of the best supports on the planet this season and he’s up against a rookie in Liang “Yuyanjia” Jia-Yuan or the good, but not great, Zhang “QiuQiu” Ming . It’s really going to put TOP under a lot of pressure overall.
Who’s winning and what’s the final score?
John: I’m going to say JD Gaming’s undefeated streak gets broken but they still take the series down, 3-1, with at least a couple of the wins being fairly one-sided.
Joshua: I expect JDG 3-1.
Vince: I think it’s going to be a close, hard-fought series as long as TOP don’t try to force the issue early in games and just plays to scale. If they don’t lose drafts badly I could see a close 3-1 or even a 3-2 but I do think JDG take this down in some way shape or form.
I’ll say 3-1 as well but with three or more close games.
If that’s the case then let’s all make the argument for TOP. What do they need to do to win this series?
John: It’s honestly hard to say because we don’t have a blueprint for beating this version of JD Gaming. My guess would be it’d take an exceptional performance from “Knight” and perhaps some out-of-the-box compositions.
Joshua: It’s got to be through mid lane. If “Karsa” camps the mid lane and gets “Knight” a lead I can see it. Mid lane priority remains king in the current metagame where objectives, specifically drakes, are particularly important to winning games.
Vince: I’m on the opposite side of this. I think TOP need to attempt to play to outscale. They have the players to hang with JD Gaming pound-for-pound but where I could see them getting in trouble is trying to engineer an early lead and botching the execution like we’ve seen multiple times from them even in their wins.
They need to keep cool, calm, and collected and not force things since it plays right into JD Gaming’s biggest edge which is the jungle matchup. Make this a coin-flip. Pick scaling and slow the game down. Doing this would help keep “Karsa” off of Lee Sin and Rek’sai also which is an added benefit.
Are there any other markets you’re interested in for this series? First blood, first tower, any totals, etc.?
John: I’m so happy with the moneyline that I’m not investing too heavily anywhere else. If you can find a good number on the first blood for JD Gaming I might be interested in that given that I think the biggest edges are in the jungle and that position is so relevant to first blood.
Other than that I’m in on the money line and -1.5 maps spread for JD Gaming.
Joshua: I think the kill spread is too close and would take JD Gaming at -4.5 there.
Vince: I’m with you on the first blood John. JDG had a top-three first blood rate near 60% which exceeds the implied odds we’re getting here. I’m not loading up on it but I like it to hit two out of the first three maps.
My only concern would be that TOP feel overly urgent and pick the Rek’sai or Lee Sin we talked about and force the action early. I actually like the under quite a bit in this spot. If you look at the combined kills+deaths per game for both of these teams since moving to these lineups you get 29.86 for TOP and 26.0 for JDG but they’ve faced some particularly bloody opponents and that includes the final week when both had already locked up playoffs.
I expect this to be a slightly more close to the vest affair especially if TOP opt against trying to force the action early. With a lot of scaling I’d expect a lower scoring affair.
Vince Collotti’s Picks for JD Gaming vs. Top eSports:
- JD Gaming moneyline (-149)
- JD Gaming -1.5 maps (+141)
- JD Gaming -4.5 kills (-102)
- JD Gaming first blood (-130)
- Under 26.5 total kills (-114)