Call of Duty League Playoffs 8/22 betting preview: Picks and plays

Super Bowl Ticket Drop

Welcome to another Call of Duty esports breakdown! This article will be filled with stats, both team based and player based, that give you everything you need to know about the teams to make informed bets on them and their matches. Whether you are a hardcore bettor or an avid fan, getting some action in on the game you are watching always makes things that much more fun, so let’s get things going!

Models and disclaimer

I’ll be using a couple of different methods to break down the teams and matchups involved in these articles, so it’s important that you know what I’m talking about when I reference them. These models can be found here and are based on some of the basic matchmaking algorithms used in the world of competitive gaming.

The main model I’ll be using for betting matchups is called an “ELO” based model, which is a ranking system that considers a team’s wins relative to the skill of their opponents rather than in a vacuum. The ELO system is used in competitive environments around the world and is a much more accurate assessment of skill than traditional rankings based on wins and losses alone. My version of ELO rankings for esports is based on seasonal rankings and gives increased points for wins against quality opponents and bigger losses in ELO points to teams that lose against bottom-tier teams, as well as awarding extra points for sweeps. 

I’ll also be using proprietary projections to give more depth to the players involved and their roles on teams, which can help us better assess what teams bring to the table if a substitution happens or if we are considering prop bets. These projections will typically be used over a 3 months sample and corrected for wins and losses.

Let’s get on with things!

Teams playing

London Royal Ravens

The Royal Ravens were severely outplayed by the Toronto Ultra in their last match, winning just the Search and Destroy map and losing 3-1 overall. Only Zer0 was able to come out of the match with a positive kill-to-death ratio as the rest of the team had uninspiring to bad performances. They continue their weak play against bottom half teams and now have just a 50% win rate in the recent sample and a 51.06% win rate against them over the entire season. They’ll face another team in the bottom half of the official rankings today but there is no confidence in them to pull things together as their slide continues.

Paris Legion

Coming off of a sweep of the Seattle Surge, the Paris Legion continue to show that their official ranking is much lower than their true skill. Their ELO rank in the full season sits at seventh best in the league while their recent form has them sitting fourth thanks to a league best 71.43% win rate against bottom half teams. The 38.89% win rate against top half teams is concerning when they start facing tougher competition, but their matchup today should hardly count in that conversation. Louqa and Denz will have to continue to carry the team through the kill-based game types but there is reason to respect this squad moving forward.

Minnesota ROKKR

Although the ROKKR lost their last match to the Subliners, it wasn’t in as dramatic a fashion as it could have been and it’s worth recognizing that they were close in a spot they should have been easily outmatched. They traded out GodRz for Exceed, who played pretty well and kept them in the match with an exceptional Search and Destroy performance. So there’s a glimmer of hope, but let’s not forget that this was still a loss and drops their win rate against top half teams down to 33.33% on the year and just 25% in the last three weeks. They’ll face a lower tier team today for the first time in over a month so this is their best chance at getting right.

Optic Gaming Los Angeles

Optic Gaming Los Angeles (OGLA) barely took care of business against the worst team in the league in their last match, winning 3-2 and only because of close wins on both Search and Destroy maps. That’s not crazy for them, considering they are one of the weaker teams in terms of kill-based performances, but it’s definitely not what you want to see moving through to the playoffs. They sit at sixth in the league in ELO rank in the recent sample, much stronger than their ninth place in the official rankings, and sit at a 64.71% win rate against bottom half teams. Their matchup today has them in that position but confidence is fleeting after a poor match last time out.

Atlanta Faze

As the best team in the league, the Atlanta Faze have one of the highest upside rosters in the world and are the favorites to win the title. Headed by the combo of Simp, the current best player in the game, and Cellium, Faze has very few weaknesses and better overall macro-play than any team besides maybe the Dallas Empire. They sport a league best 63.77% win rate against top half teams over the full season with a 66.67% win rate against bottom half teams, and although the win rate against top teams drops to 50% in the recent sample it’s simply because of a lack of matches played. They’ll face another consensus top team today and look to start off the playoffs strong.

Chicago Huntsmen

It was a very close match between them and the Subliners in their first appearance, but the Huntsmen pulled out the victory nonetheless with a 3-2 advantage. The Huntsmen are a team that work based on strategy and macro-concepts with less emphasis on pace and kills, so the outcome isn’t entirely surprising, and they went into that match with very even scores in the previous matches which added up to a fun and suspenseful game. They sit at a 57.79% win rate against top half teams and a 69.09% win rate against bottom half teams in the full season with a 60% rate against top teams in the recent sample. That number will be tested today against the best team in the league.

Dallas Empire

We haven’t seen the Empire yet in the playoffs, but if you love strategy based gameplay and lock-tight, by-the-book teamwork, then the Empire are the team for you. There’s nothing flashy about these dudes but their work is surgical and they are exceptional at taking advantage of mistakes. In the overall season, their official rank and ELO rank agree at the second best team in the league, while the recent sample has them as the top dog thanks to a 70.59% win rate against top half teams. It’s worth noting as well that they had the hardest schedule in the league with 80 maps against top half teams and they still held the second place spot with ease.

Toronto Ultra

Long live the Toronto Ultra! Their 3-1 victory against the Florida Mutineers was, honestly, way too close for comfort. Each map was decided within 10% of the possible finish to either side with the Ultra just barely squeaking out the final Hardpoint with a 250-249 win. However, this was a big victory for them over a team ranked third overall in the official rankings and pushed their win rate against top-half teams to 60% in the recent sample and 47.83% in the overall sample. The 30 maps they have played against top-half teams in the last month are the most of any squad in the league by a longshot, and it doesn’t get any easier today as they take on the Dallas Empire.

Matchups

London Royal Ravens vs. Paris Legion

The Royal Ravens look terrible and the Paris Legion look fantastic and that always works out exactly the way we would assume, right? These two teams have faced each other three times this year, with Paris coming out 2-1 with a sweep of London back in week 1 and a 3-2 victory over them in week 12. The key to this one is really what you think of the Royal Ravens: If they are truly a top half team, Paris has struggled with that tier and will have a harder time with them. If you think they are worse than their official ranking then Paris has won 71.43% of their games against similar skill level squads and should be the favorite. The ELO rank for London assumes the latter, and is likely the most logical way to go about this matchup. Paris has been involved in nine sweeps out of 27 matches, which is above average, so less than five maps played seems like the most likely outcome.

Minnesota ROKKR vs. Optic Gaming Los Angeles

Well the ROKKR are pretty awful but it’s fair to say that maybe they have just been facing teams that outmatch them. They haven’t had a match against a team in the bottom half of the rankings in over a month and OGLA is sitting in ninth, so maybe this is their chance to get back on track! Except, these two teams have faced off three times this year with OGLA winning the series 2-1 with two sweeps and the ROKKR only victory was a 3-2 luckbox. Granted, the addition of Exceed over GodRx might be something that helps ROKKR make this more competitive, history doesn’t speak well of this spot. OGLA has a 64.71% win rate against bottom teams in the recent sample and a 59.65% rate against them over the season, both numbers that trump what the ROKKR have accomplished. Optic deserve to be relatively large favorites in this one.

Atlanta Faze vs. Chicago Huntsmen

These teams have faced each other just one time this season back in week 11 when the Huntsmen swept Atlanta, so there’s not a whole lot of historical relevance to work off of here. What we do know is that both these teams are incredible in different ways. Atlanta has a 63.77% win rate against top half teams and have swept 10 matches out of their 33 played, whereas Chicago has a 57.97% rate against top teams and seven sweeps in 31 matches. The Huntsmen are a team that focuses more on objective play and map control rather than pure mechanical skill where Faze is built to slay everything in existence so objectives don’t matter. This should be a close game with a lot of fireworks with a slight edge to Atlanta.

Dallas Empire vs. Toronto Ultra

As much as the Ultra have been a fantastic story and a fun underdog, they are deservedly getting very little confidence from the markets in this spot. True, the series between these teams is split down the middle at 1-1 with Toronto taking the most recent match 3-1 in week 13, but with the Empire fresh off a bye and Toronto playing so many games in the recent sample attrition is likely to play a role. Dallas also has a 69.09% win rate against bottom half teams, and even if you assume that Toronto is a top half team like ELO has them ranked, the Empire have a 70.59% win rate against such teams in the recent sample. Dallas has been involved in 13 sweeps this year out of 35 matches, but Toronto only three out of 26, so this game has a fantastic chance to go at least four maps.

Favorite bets

Paris Legion moneyline (+160, up to -125)

These are two teams going in entirely different directions in their recent form and I think the line on Paris here is pretty insulting of what they have accomplished. Sure, the Royal Ravens are the better team in official rankings, but they have underperformed all season and even worse lately. Paris has a 71.43% win rate against teams in the bottom half of the league and I think that holds up here. Even if you think that Paris doesn’t win, this line is wrong and you should be exploiting it.

Optic Gaming Los Angeles -1.5 maps (+162, up to +115)

As mentioned in the matchup breakdown, OGLA has swept Minnesota twice this year and is in even better form right now while the ROKKR squad are just broken. Optic is running with a 64.71% win rate against bottom-half teams while the ROKKR hasn’t faced any bottom-half teams and have won just 25% of their total matches over the last month. This is history as well as current form telling us the same thing and we should listen to it. Once again, if you aren’t comfortable taking the handicap, the money line for optic gaming of just -139 is more than enough value for the more conservative bettor.

Super Bowl Ticket Drop