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Just watching esports can be a thrilling experience, but nothing ups the stakes like putting something extra on the line. At the same time, figuring out which games to bet on and how much money to risk is no small task. That’s why Upcomer has pulled in the experts to lay out the odds and bring you the League of Legends betting favorites for some of the most important games this weekend.
This week, we’re looking at betting on the latest match ups for summer split playoffs across the League of Legends Championship Series, League of Legends European Championship and League of Legends Champions Korea. Here is what you need to know to cash out throughout the weekend.
T1 vs. DWG KIA
T1 have made it through two playoff rounds to meet DWG KIA in the final, but they may have finally met their match. The market puts them at around 31/69 to stage an upset, but we think their chances are around 36/64. Our model would say this is just shy of enough value to be worth betting, but getting a 2x payout for a reasonably possible upset is tempting. If odds on T1 shift slightly (up to +219 / 3.19), or if you can find an oddsmaker offering such odds, go for it.
DWG KIA won the Spring Split and aren’t likely to give up their crown. They’ve actually guaranteed themselves a spot at Worlds already. They either win and take the first seed or lose and take the second seed with 190 Championship Points, which would push out Gen.G’s 150 for the second qualification spot.
T1, similarly, have also already qualified for Worlds and take the LCK first seed with a win. A loss against DWG KIA puts them under Gen.G’s total, so they’ll go straight to the final round of the Regional Finals to fight for third or fourth seed.
DK are sitting pretty, but what exactly is giving them the upper hand? Individually, their players are incredibly talented, all winning around 68-70% of their pro matches, which certainly outclasses T1’s 59-61% range. However, we’ve talked before about how there’s a bigger difference between average and good players than between good and great, and this is exactly what’s happening here.
This is still a fairly strong spread, though. DK have also found a squad of players that truly click together, with as much as a 6% improvement in some players’ win rates on top of their already sky-high numbers. T1 also have some fairly strong team ties but lag behind a touch. And head to head, these teams actually both do worse against each other.
That may seem contradictory, but imagine this: if two teams are both used to 60%+ win rates but manage to go 50/50 against each other, then both sides would feel like they’re not doing as well as they should. This gets complicated by having multiple players moving in and out of teams over time, but the logic is similar.
T1 have had a noticeably less consistent roster, so expect their gameplay to feel less well-oiled. Plus, watch out for Heo “ShowMaker” Su and Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok fighting over Ryze. That champion pick may end up being a game-decider.
Considering all those factors, we want to bet on the underdog here. It’s exciting and they’re actually quite strong. If the markets were just a bit more favorable, we’d take the bet, as our model doesn’t think DWG KIA will be quite as oppressive in this matchup as the odds suggest.
Rogue vs. Fnatic
In the LEC third place match, we’ve got an almost perfect coinflip. The market puts Rogue and Fnatic at fractions of a percent off of 50/50, so this one could really go either way. Our model tilts just toward Rogue, but not quite enough to make any bets worthwhile. If you can get a fair even money bet (with friends, for example), put it on Rogue.
The loser of this one still takes home third and a Worlds Play-In qualification, but being a coin flip away from an actual main event spot is a scary proposition. Our Magic 8-ball says: both teams have above average players with no obvious advantage here.
Rogue gets a nod from us on team synergy. They’ve found a way to outperform together, while several of Fnatic’s players are basically just at expectation.
Part of this is due to the fact that Rogue have simply had a more consistent roster, so they’ve had more time to really mesh in playstyle. This has also helped them skew slightly positive in their victories over Fnatic’s players, relative to their normal win rate. At the same time, this is dampened by their typically less explosive wins, which allow more opportunities for a comeback from their opponents. If they don’t let Gabriël “Bwipo” Rau grab Trundle, they should still do just fine.
In the end, these two teams are incredibly evenly matched. Across various metrics our model looks at, each team has its own strengths and weaknesses relative to the other. Our model would say that Rogue have slightly more of those strengths, but not enough to find betting value against the market’s 50/50 assessment.
100 Thieves vs. Cloud9
This is our closest agreement with the market this week: 52.5/47.5 vs the market’s 53/47. We’d normally round that to the same summary stat — which should be a fairly obvious indication that there isn’t going to be betting value here. After a painful Round 1 loss to Team Liquid, Cloud9 have shown that while they might be down, they’re not out. They’ve now snagged a guaranteed third place for a Worlds Play-In qualification, though both teams here will want the safety of a main event invite.
Cloud9 have a slightly stronger squad individually, 59-62% win rates compared to 100 Thieves’ 55-57%. This certainly falls into that good vs slightly better than good territory discussed above, but even a slight advantage could make the difference.
100 Thieves actually play a bit better as a team, lending each other around a 3% boost compared to Cloud9’s 2%. Historically, though, 100 Thieves have struggled against Cloud9’s players, as evidenced by their 2-3 record against Cloud9 across the spring and summer seasons. They also have a bit less experience on their team and a bit more tendency to let opponents back into the game, all of which leads to their very slight deviation from an even game.
Still though, a 3% tilt is easy enough to overcome, and well within the range of variance for a team’s day-to-day performance. If 100 Thieves show up to play, they could easily look like the stronger team — especially if they deny Luka “Perkz” Perković his Ryze pick.
But to actually bet, we need to disagree with the market. Otherwise there’s no point. With less than half a percentage point of deviation from our prediction, there’s simply no reason to bet here — at least not if you’re betting for value. This should still be a fantastic match to watch, though, even without any skin in the game.
Vanya is the founder of alacrity.gg, where he leverages seven years of quantitative finance experience to build esports prediction models. He'll happily debate you on anything from math to video games to the impending subjugation of the human race by artificial intelligence.