We have reached the midpoint of the season in the LEC. A couple of things are clear: G2 is the best team in the LEC and Astralis and Vitality are the worst. The middle, however, remains a much murkier picture and 5 of the 10 teams in the league sit between 3-6 and 5-4. That can set up one of two ways for bettors: we can find teams who have underperformed and overperformed their records in stats for future value, or we can lose trust in all of the teams and just throw our hands up when they play each other.
As tempting as the second approach is, let’s dive into one team that should end up with a better record in the second half of the season and one that should fall down the standings.
We will start with our team that I believe should be trending up– Misfits Gaming. If you are a regular reader of this article, you know that I have lost quite a few times with Misfits this year. That’s because they are a perfect team to a sports bettor– the public believes they are bad and the numbers say they are pretty good. In GSPD, they rate as the 4th best team in the LEC.
In the standings, they currently sit eighth. So, why are Misfits not turning large gold leads into wins? It comes down to lategame shot-calling and decision-making. They are the second-worst Mid-to-late rating team in the league. To me, lategame decision-making is one of the easiest things a team can fix and should come somewhat naturally over the course of a season. Early game is where large talent deficits tend to show themselves, and Misfits thrives in the early game. They’re going to be difficult to trust, but Misfits should challenge for a playoff spot as the season goes on.
The team that could plummet out of the playoffs is Excel Esports. They are statistically speaking, the anti-Misfits, a team with a terrible early game who wins by trying to survive the early game and wait for one or two lategame teamfights to eke out wins. It has made them the second-worst GSPD team in the league. It is actually kind of incredible that they have managed to win 5 games while earning so much less gold than their opponents for the majority of their time on the rift. It’s not something I have ever seen before in LoL and that’s why I am expecting it to be an anomaly. If Excel continues to be totally outclassed in early games, it is only a matter of time before more teams convert those leads into easy wins as teams get more comfortable with each other.
The LCS is still in the experimental stage of the season, and it would be dangerous to draw too many conclusions from what we have seen over there. For that league, we are going to continue to rely heavily on what we saw in the lock-in tournament and our preseason ratings of the teams.
LEC & LCS week 4 preview (moneylines and game lines)
- S04 (-180) vs. SK (+130)
- Mad Lions (-170) vs. XL (+125)
- G2 (-850) vs. Astralis (+475)
- Misfits (+255) vs. Rogue (-325)
- Fnatic (-500) vs. Vitality (+320)
- XL (-215) vs. Astralis (+155)
- Misfits (-130) vs. SK (-105)
- Vitality (+315) vs. Rogue (-500)
- Fnatic (-210) vs. Mad Lions (+155)
- G2 (-335) vs. S04 (+230)
- Cloud9 (-700) vs. CLG (+395)
- Dignitas (+110) vs. Flyquest (-150)
- GGS (+475) vs. TL (-850)
- TSM (-115) vs. Evil Geniuses (-115)
- Immortals (+305) vs. 100T (-500)
- C9 (-500) vs. Dignitas (+320)
- CLG (+100) vs. Immortals (-140)
- TSM (+120) vs. 100T (-165)
- TL (-240) vs. EG (+170)
- Flyquest (-205) vs. GGS (+150)
- Dignitas (+160) vs. TSM (-225)
- Immortals (+120) vs. Flyquest (-165)
- 100T (-700) vs. GGS (+395)
G2 (-850) vs. Astralis (+475)
The opening sentence to this article sums this one up pretty nicely– A couple of things are clear: G2 is the best team in the LEC and Astralis and Vitality are the worst. G2 does, however, have a history of taking this kind of game lightly and have lost as -800 favorites in the past. How seriously they approach games week to week is impossible to predict and makes them a very difficult team to bet on or against. The only thing to be sure of with them is when push comes to shove, G2 are the kings of Europe.
Game of the week
TSM (-115) vs. Evil Geniuses (-115)
LCS teams are still figuring out where they belong in the league’s hierarchy and these two, in particular, are trying to decide if they are among the league’s elite. TSM after starting the season 1-2 had everyone in panic mode before going 3-0 this weekend and Evil Geniuses had a weekend that saw them win against 1st place Cloud9 and lose to 8th place Immortals. Needless to say, these teams are inconsistent. This will be a great match for one of them to start building their playoff resume.
Early value plays
Bet: Mad Lions ML (-170) vs. XL
The other team I considered that is due for a second-half rise in the LEC is the Mad Lions. They have not played anywhere near the standard they set for themselves last season and are, theoretically, the third or fourth most talented team in the LEC. That makes this a perfect match for them against Excel, who we have already pegged as overperforming their talent level.
Excel has one truly elite player in ADC, Patrik, and the rest of the team is there to just support him. That style will not work against Mad Lions who have legitimate carry threats in every single role and love to overwhelm teams in the early game. I would expect this one to look a lot like the Fnatic and Excel matchup from last weekend where Fnatic got a few early kills and Excel had no idea how to come back into the game besides hoping Fnatic made a mistake. Mad Lions should roll here.
Bet: Misfits ML (-130) vs. SK Gaming
Misfits are a better team than SK. Virtually every LoL analyst had them ranked higher preseason and would have told you they should be a sizable favorite against SK. However, the season happened, Misfits has underperformed and SK has overperformed including the game against one another, and so we’re getting a better team at near even money to win the game. But if you really examine these rosters, Misfits should still be the heavy favorites. Misfits starts a bot lane with Kobbe and Vander– two players who have been on some of the best teams in Europe. SK starts a bot lane with Jezu and Treatz– two players that have been impressive so far, but are very new to the LEC. Kobbe and Vander should abuse this matchup.
A lot of the focus for this game will go to the jungle matchup with Tynx and Razork being the true carries of their teams so far. They are both great players who should have long careers in the LEC, but I think the stylistic matchup should favor Razork this time around. The first time these teams played, Razork played Lillia against Tynx’s Taliyah and SK were able to steamroll a favorable champion matchup. I would not expect Misfits’ coaching staff to make that same mistake again. There were signs elsewhere on the map, that if Misfits did not underestimate the power of the Taliyah, they would have won the game. Their laners all had meaningful leads in laning stats and appeared to individually outclass. If Misfits plays a little more under control, this time around they should come out on top.
Bet: Team Liquid ML vs. EG parlayed w/ Flyquest ML vs. GGS (+116)
Team Liquid is pretty clearly using their regular season play to try different compositions out and to practice against their opponents’ best stuff. It’s a phenomenon we see in LoL sometimes, where the best team will hide their best strategies until playoffs. The problem for TL this week is that they are 3-3 and need a couple of wins. Last time that they needed to win against EG in the LCS Lock-in tournament, they laid a 3 game smackdown on them in a best of 5 series. These are not comparable teams in my eyes. When Team Liquid wants to be, they are the most complete team in the LCS and do not have a single positional weakness. Evil Geniuses is good, but not that good. I expect TL to be on their best stuff this weekend and to easily win both their matches.
The other half of this parlay is a fade of Golden Guardians, who do not look like a professional team. They have made mistakes so far that mid-level amatuer teams should not make. It will take a long time for this team of rookies to find an identity and even then, they may not have the talent to compete. Flyquest has the talent and identity of a playoff team and need to start stacking wins here.
Prop bet of the week
Fnatic First Drake vs. Mad Lions (-140)
Fnatic has gotten the first drake in an astonishing 89% of their games this season while Mad Lions sits middle of the table in that statistic at 44%. That discrepancy alone probably warrants a bet here, but there are other reasons to believe Fnatic takes the first drake here as well. Carrzy and Kaiser have been on the wrong end of quite a few first bloods this season while going for overagressive plays. If there is anyone in the league who loves a solo kill in the bot lane, it’s Hyllisang. Kills in the bot lane often transition well into first drakes because of the proximity of the lane to the objective. I like Upset and Hyllisang to get ahead and take that straight over to the dragon.