We need to talk about “jungler difference”. It is a long-running inside joke in the LoL community that if your team is losing you can just blame the jungler and if your team is winning then you can take all the credit. The joke worked for most of the first decade of the game because it was the junglers role to act as a second support on the map to set up and gank the lanes. In 2021, the joke doesn’t work anymore. The game is now centered around the lanes supporting what the jungler does because the value of the jungle minions and objectives has become immense. Gone are the days of a tanky jungler you can call to rescue you in the bot lane any time you get behind, now it’s the bot lane’s job to get ahead on their own and free up a player to accompany the jungler in invading the opponent’s side of the map.
It’s a jungler’s game now, we’re just playing in it.
This was on full display last weekend in the LEC and LCS where most games went according to plan, save for a few upsets because of “jungle diff”. Whether it was 100 Thieves winning the first two games against Cloud9, SK pulling one over on Misfits, or the +375 dog, Schalke 04, upsetting G2, they all had one thing in common: they had the better jungler on the day. It’s a lesson for bettors going forward: if you’re asking yourself if a team could pull off the upset in LoL, could you see the jungler outperforming their opponent? It’s not everything, but it should at least be a feasible part of the reason we’re calling the upset.
Here are a few teams in the LEC and LCS that will be underdogs in a lot of games this year who have a jungler who could be the best player on the day: SK Gaming, Schalke 04, Misfits, Flyquest, Dignitas, and Immortals. Anytime you see these teams with a big, positive number next to their names in a best of 1, it’s worth consideration for a small bet. On that note, let’s look at this week’s games.
LEC and LCS Week 2 preview (moneylines and game lines)
- S04 (+170) vs. Rogue (-240)
- Misfits (-125) vs. XL (-110)
- Team Vitality (+360) vs. G2 (-600)
- Mad Lions (-230) vs. SK Gaming (+165)
- Fnatic (-450) vs. Astralis (+290)
- XL (-190) vs. SK (+140)
- S04 (-140) vs. Misfits (+100)
- Team Vitality (+145) vs. Mad Lions (-200)
- Rogue (-850) vs. Astralis (+475)
- G2 (-235) vs. Fnatic (+170)
- TSM vs. Flyquest
- TL vs. Immortals
- Evil Geniuses vs. 100 Thieves
- Golden Guardians vs. Cloud9
- CLG vs. Dignitas
- Flyquest vs. Evil Geniuses
- Dignitas vs. TL
- 100T vs. CLG
- Cloud9 vs. TSM
- Immortals vs. Golden Guardians
- Flyquest vs. TL
- Evil Geniuses vs. Golden Guardians
- Cloud9 vs. Immortals
- CLG vs. TSM
- 100T vs. Dignitas
Astralis (+475) vs. Rogue (-850)
Astralis again achieves our “biggest spread of the week” status. There are a few teams in the LEC whose record whether due to variance or scheduling is underselling how good they are, Astralis’s 1-4 record is overselling how good they are. They are an absolute mess and there is very little to get excited about with this team. I would not be surprised to see them do a midseason reboot and bring in multiple substitutions. Rogue is the picture of stability right now. They have laners who win their lanes more often than not and importantly one of the best junglers in the league. Rogue should be 7-0 by the end of this week.
Game of the week
Fnatic (+170) vs. G2 (-235)
This is the best rivalry in esports right now. Not only are these easily the best franchises in European LoL who always play each other tight, but they threw a little gas on the fire in the offseason with Rekkles switching sides. Since then, the old core of Fnatic has not missed a chance to fire shots at Rekkles in post-game interviews, talking about the improved direction and atmosphere of the team. It’s clear the breakup wasn’t totally amicable. Couple that with the fact that these should be Top 3 teams in Europe by the end of the split and we’re in for a banger here.
It should be an interesting match on the rift as well. Although G2 has the better players throughout the map, it is close. The aforementioned jungle difference could easily be on Fnatic’s side. Selfmade was incredible last split and is definitely more suited to this meta than Jankos. With a good gameplan or the right champion for Selfmade, Fnatic represent good value at +170.
Early value plays
Bet: Misfits ML (-125) vs. Excel Esports
We are going back to the Misfits again this week, despite the pain they caused last week. Their loss against SK really came down to one thing: they let the opposing jungler play Taliyah. This champion has made it through the bans 4 times so far in the LEC and was first pick in each of those games. She has also won every game she was picked in. It’s just way too powerful right now and is a massive advantage to any team that gets it. I expect Misfits to either ban it or pick it in this game rather than give it away and accentuate the reason for this bet: Razork is a significantly better jungler than Dan.
So far this season, Dan is bottom of the league in the key stats of kill participation, gold per minute, and KDA. Part of this is because Excel has been losing, part of this is because Dan has not been very good. Razork can feast on inferior junglers. In Misfits two wins, he has been the engine, posting kill-death-assist scores of 8-4-9 and 12-2-8. There are also underlying team metrics that favor Misfits pretty heavily here. Misfits still maintain a +3.1% GSPD despite being 2-3, while Excel has a -9.9% GSPD with the same record. Misfits underperformed last week and should see some positive regression here.
Flyquest ML (+150 or better) vs. TSM
Flyquest after looking completely lost in week 1 of the LCS Lock-in tournament with a substitute jungler, looked like a whole new team when Josedeodo arrived. He is the kind of player who is perfectly suited to this meta. He loves playing farming, carry-style junglers and is fourth in the league in experience differential at ten minutes among junglers. TSM’s jungler, Spica, is also perfectly capable of playing this style, but to take them as this kind of favorite, one would like him to separate himself a little bit more.
The biggest talent discrepancy in this matchup arguably favors Flyquest in the top lane. Licorice has owned Huni since joining the league and will be looking to get him into a bad matchup again here. Huni is a boom or bust player who often determines his team’s results. When he’s on, they win, when he’s off, they lose. He has rarely ever been on against Licorice, who just seems to be the better player at this point in their careers. With two conceivable roles where Flyquest could get the edge, this plus money is too good to pass.
Bet: 100 Thieves ML (-130 or better) vs. Evil Geniuses
The 100 Thieves are about to start this season on a tear. They really should have beat C9 in their semi-final in the lock-in tournament and just have a certain swagger about them. It is clear the team has an established identity and enjoy playing with each other. On top of the intangibles, they have one of the best rosters in the league. In every position, but mid, 100T has a top 3 player and the team has a +4.7% GSPD from the lock-in tournament.
In this particular matchup, 100 Thieves will count on superstar jungler, Closer, to give them their lead. He should be able to get the best of Svenskeren who has looked rejuvenated so far this season, but last year looked like his best days were behind him. Closer’s focus should center around the bottom side of the map where FBI and Huhi have an argument to be the best bot lane in the league. Their opponents, Deftly and Ignar, have potential, but are still building their chemistry. If FBI gets an early lead on them, I expect 100 Thieves to run away with this one.
Prop bet of the week
Mad Lions over 13.5 Kills vs. SK Gaming (-105)
One of the best ways to bet on a favorite in LoL if you’re not comfortable laying -200 or more is to look for props that are likely in a win. Here’s one of those spots. Mad lions should take care of SK Gaming and when Mad lions win, they get lots of kills. In three wins so far they are averaging a league-high 19.3 kills. They are at their best when they are forcing skirmishes and teamfights their opponents are not ready to take. SK, in three losses on the season, is averaging 14 deaths which is right around league average. Mad Lions in a win should reach 14 kills and we’re even getting a little discount on the juice here.