LCS & LEC first-look betting preview 2/23

It is upset season in the LCS. On Sunday, 4 out of 5 underdogs won straight up including a +395 dog in Golden Guardians against 100T. Last week in the LCS if you had placed 100 dollars on every underdog blindly, you would have ended up 585 dollars richer. Underdogs have won 17 of the 45 matches straight up so far in the LCS. It’s the kind of funny trend that those of us who endlessly hunt for mispriced lines and try to carefully pick profitable spots hate. So far, in the LCS, one of the most profitable strategies would be to just pick the underdog.

However, when we reach the mid-season as we have in the LEC and LCS,  teams start to establish their identity and the results start to even out. In the past two weeks, two of the LCS favorites, Team Liquid, and 100 Thieves, have been using their regular-season games to try to expand their range of gameplay, rather than win every game. Team Liquid, in particular, is using the pick and ban stage to experiment with letting their opponents pick their best compositions and try out their own strategies against it to limited success. 100 Thieves has gotten a rap as a one-dimensional team, a bit like a fastbreak basketball team. When they have won games this year, it has mostly been by overwhelming side lanes with their roaming mid-laner Damonte. This week, they tried to have Damonte stay home in the mid lane in traditional control mage matchups and were upset twice. It’s a necessary step for the growth of the team longterm, but made them lose games in the short-term.

I would expect the teams to start to reel it back in this week as we’ve seen in the LEC, and the big favorites should drop fewer games. It never feels good to miss out on a big underdog hitting, but in the long term, those are very hard to predict.

For this article, we are going to keep looking for mispriced lines in between -200 and +200 and find steady winners. On that note, let’s look at the lines.


LEC and LCS week 4 preview (moneylines)  

LEC

  • Mad Lions (-190) vs. SK (+154)
  • Misfits (+112) vs. XL (-136)
  • Vitality (+503) vs. G2 (-715)
  • S04 (+239) vs. Rogue (-304)
  • Fnatic (-410) vs. Astralis (+312)
  • S04 (-155) vs. Misfits (+127)
  • XL (+102) vs. SK (-124)
  • Vitality (+261) vs. Mad Lions (-335)
  • Rogue (-714) vs. Astralis (+487)
  • G2 (-225) vs. Fnatic (+181)

LCS

  • Cloud9 (-680) vs. GGS (+482)
  • TL (-222) vs. TSM (+179)
  • IMT (+105) vs. Dignitas (-127)
  • 100T (-335) vs. CLG (+275)
  • FlyQuest (+193) vs. Evil Geniuses (-241)
  • 100T (-242) vs. Dignitas (+194)
  • Flyquest (+296) vs. TL (-388)
  • CLG (+231) vs. TSM (-292)
  • IMT (-169) vs. GGS (+127)
  • EG (+178) vs. Cloud9 (-220)
  • Immortals (+380) vs. TL  (-602)
  • GGS (+251) vs. Evil Geniuses (-364)
  • TSM (-267) vs. FlyQuest (+192)
  • 100T (+120) vs. C9 (-165)
  • Dignitas (-265) vs. CLG (+185)

Biggest spread

Cloud9 (-680) vs. Golden Guardians (+482)

As previously mentioned, taking any kind of favorite in the LCS is a perilous activity right now and Golden Guardians won outright at a similar number last week, but this number is deserved. Despite winning their game, Golden Guardians did not inspire any confidence by playing out their huge lead in the slowest way possible that almost led to 100 Thieves coming back. Cloud9, for their part, have been the most consistent top team in the LCS with a 7-2 record and only dropping games to other contenders in Evil Geniuses and Team Liquid. The prop bets that are heavily correlated to a Cloud9 win like First Baron, First Inhibitor, etc. are the only way to play this game. 


Game of the week

G2 (-225) vs. Fnatic (+181)

Anytime these two meet it is a guaranteed game of the week, but especially in the circumstances surrounding this one. Fnatic won their first matchup which leaves Rekkles at an 0-1 record against his old teammates. He has, in some ways, been the most effective player in the league with an incredible 14.7 kill to death to assist ratio that is 3 points better than the next player in the league.  But against Fnatic he was largely irrelevant with a 3-2-2 scoreline. Something tells me we see G2 take this one personally and put an old-fashioned beatdown on their little brothers of the LEC.


Early value plays

Bet: SK Gaming ML (-130) vs. Excel Esports

Operation “fade Excel Esports for the rest of the season” was a rousing success last weekend as they lost both games including a loss to last place Astralis. A lot of the numbers have them as the worst team in the league, but that feels a little harsh to me. They are simply a team with a singular, very exploitable playstyle and a record that suggests they are better than they are. When they face teams with aggressive, talented junglers they are at a massive disadvantage in the early game.

Unfortunately for them, SK has an aggressive, talented jungler as the centerpiece of their team. If MVPs were given to players who are actually the most valuable to their team rather than the best player on the best team, my MVP vote in the LEC so far would go to Tynx.

SK would be the worst team in the league without him. With him, they have a positive GSPD, an above .500 record, and an attractive teamfighting style. There are also changes coming to the jungle in this weekend’s patch that should favor Tynx even more. At his best, he is a gank-heavy, control style jungler and that is exactly the way the meta is headed.     


Bet: CLG ML (+185) vs. Team Dignitas

At some point, Dignitas will have to return to Earth. So far, they have greatly overperformed their numbers with a near +0% GSPD despite a 6-3 record including wins over some of the best teams in the league. I give them credit for being able to outplay late-game situations and eke out wins, but like with Excel, I would not expect that to hold.

They are one of the worst Early Game Rating teams in the league and fairly consistently get behind in lanes. CLG’s lone strength this year has been in the early game laning phase. Their laners are reliably getting gold and experience leads at ten minutes. This will also be the second week for CLG with their starting jungler in place and another week of practice under their belts. The history of LoL tells us it usually takes a couple of weeks for teams to put it together with a new player and I would expect CLG to be much improved this week. Couple that with the fact that the implied odds of this bet only needs CLG to win 35% of the time, and I think we have a little value on the worst team in the LCS so far.    


Prop bets of the week

Bet: Rogue First Tower vs. Schalke 04 (-178)

One of the only teams to beat Rogue this season is Schalke 04 in a kind of fluky game that I am sure Rogue wishes they had back. Part of what has made Rogue so unbeatable is their propensity to take the first everything in the early game. They are first or second in the league in First Blood%, First Drake%, and most importantly for this bet, First Tower percentage. They have taken 91% of the first towers in their games so far this season. Schalke has only taken 45%. This is a nice revenge game for the much better team in Rogue, I expect them to roll over Schalke in all stages of the game, but especially the early game with a first tower take. 

Bet: Immortals over 12.5 Kills vs. Golden Guardians (-121)

Immortals should probably be a bigger moneyline favorite than -168 in this game as well, but this bet presents an even more valuable way to bet on an Immortals win. Golden Guardians is averaging 16 deaths per loss while Immortals is averaging 18 kills per win. A simple averaging of those two would put us easily over the 12.5 kills required for Immortals, but there’s also a lot to like matchup-wise for Immortals to get to 13 kills.

Despite being the two lowest combined kills per minute teams ins the league, these two play very long games. Long games open themselves up to a lot of kills. For example, last weekend Golden Guardians played an hour-long slugfest with 100 Thieves that ended 16 to 16 in kills. That makes for a very low combined kill per minute in the game, but a high total kills. These two teams could certainly get into that kind of game here and Immortals could still end up covering in a loss. I would expect them to win rather easily in a couple of lategame teamfights, but the possibility of a backdoor cover makes this my favorite bet of the weekend..