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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 favorites for some of the most important games this weekend.

However, there are many ways to decide on the right bet. There are always numbers to look at and analysis to consider, but sometimes instinct wins out over all else. That’s why we brought in two, different experts to share both sides. Vanya Kirillov is a betting expert and the founder of Alacrity.gg who uses models to reach the right conclusion. Then there’s long-time League of Legends journalist Tyler Erzberger, who has followed the scene for years and peeked into the mind of the game’s greatest talents. They may take different approaches, but each is valid in its own right.

This week, we’re looking at betting on the latest match ups for summer split playoffs across the League of Legends Championship Series and League of Legends European Championship. Here is what you need to know to cash out this weekend.

Team Liquid vs. TSM

Despite a worse regular season record, Team Liquid find themselves as the slight favorite for their series against TSM. | Provided by Colin Young-Wolff / Riot Games via ESPAT
Metric Team SoloMid Team Liquid
Market odds 2.31 (+131) 1.58 (-172)
Implied win probability 43.29% 63.29%
Calculated win probability 48.73% 51.27%
Expected value 0.0101 -0.2689
Bet size 9.59% n/a

After a dominant 3-1 victory over Cloud9, Team Liquid faces off against TSM in Round 2 of the LCS upper bracket. The market seems to very highly value this momentum — they place this matchup at roughly 60/40 in TL’s favor (again, stripping out the vig to get normalized implied odds). This seems particularly interesting when accounting for TSM’s stronger seasonal records (30-15 vs 27-18 overall and 18-9 vs 15-12 in the summer split), as well as the fact that they’re up 5-0 in direct matches against TL over that period. While we do think TSM overall may be a bit overrated, our model still puts this one at pretty close to even — 49/51 (still in TL’s favor). When an even-odds event pays you out more than even money, take the bet.

Both of these teams are strong competitors, especially with Santorin’s return to play. All ten players boast win rates over 55%. TL have a slight edge here, but not enough to swing things too much. Both teams have strong intra-team synergy, playing better as a squad than any of the individual players do. Interestingly enough, both teams perform worse against each other than they typically do. This is largely because two dominant teams, used to winning 60% of their games, suddenly have to get used to only winning half of their hardest matchups. TSM comes out slightly ahead here, due to the aforementioned 5-0 recent streak against TL.

This match could really go either way (we’ve got it pegged at almost 50/50) but the market seems to underestimate TSM, and therefore paying out more than we think is fair. Our disagreement with the market isn’t huge once you take into account the vig, so our model would suggest betting 9.6% of your unit bet size.


Last week, I said to lay off the Cloud9 vs. Team Liquid match because it would take us at least a single best-of-five to see where their proper forms were after similar, turbulent summer splits. TL showed the high-class play that made them favorites at the start of the year when their roster was first announced.. .and now they’re favorites against the No. 1 seed, TSM.

In a world where this was even, or TL were slight underdogs, I would have jumped on them. That’s not the case, though. TSM weren’t the scariest top seed we’ve ever seen in North America, dropping various games to some of the bottom-rung competition throughout the year. However, I still feel like they’re getting a bit disrespected in this game against Liquid.

If you have any confidence in this TSM roster, I would ride them in this match. TL have the glitz of a marquee win to start the playoffs against a team, C9, that has been on a downward trend since the weather picked up the heat in Los Angeles. I think TL is on an upward trajectory, yet I believe they’re getting a little too much love from the oddsmakers.


Team Vitality vs. Fnatic

Fnatic will play Vitality at the LEC Playoffs
Bwipo vs Selfmade is possibly one of the most interesting matchups of the LEC playoffs. | Provided by Riot Games
Metric Fnatic Team Vitality
Market odds 1.34 (-294) 3.14 (+214)
Implied win probability 74.63% 31.85%
Calculated win probability 76.33% 23.67%
Expected value -0.0441 -0.4139
Bet size n/a n/a

My upset bet of the week, I think Vitality are frisky in this best-of-five. Although their wins against Astralis and Schalke 04 aren’t going to turn a lot of heads, they did upend Rogue to go 3-0 in their final three games (albeit with a bit of help from Rogue’s mid-game troubles). In contrast, Fnatic limped to the end of the regular season, going 1-4 in their last five, only beating a Schalke squad that sold its franchise spot in the league.

Gabriël “Bwipo” Rau has had an interesting first season as Fnatic’s starting jungler, and though he’s had his ups in his new role, it’s difficult for me to say they’re comfortable favorites in his first real test at the position. Add on the fact that he’s facing the guy he replaced, Oskar “Selfmade” Boderek, and it makes this arguable grudge match even tastier.

Like TL, I think legacy has a lot to do with why Fnatic are such favorites in this match. I won’t argue with anyone who believes the orange and black will take this series, but at odds implied to be almost 75%? I’m just not seeing it. This is the type of matchup where Vitality could win, and people look back at it a day or two later, wondering why the team with a role-swapped jungler on a late-season skid were such favorites.


Evil Geniuses vs. 100 Thieves

EG's Jiizuke
While technically the underdogs, Evil Geniuses are potentially an underdog worth betting on. | Provided by Colin Young-Wolff / Riot Games via ESPAT
Metric 100 Thieves Evil Geniuses
Market odds 1.66 (-152) 2.16 (+116)
Implied win probability 60.24% 46.30%
Calculated win probability 61.34% 38.66%
Expected value -0.0647 -0.273
Bet size n/a n/a

Another underdog I like on the week. Evil Geniuses received the opposite effect of Team Liquid following their opening round match. Where TL’s dispatching of a championship C9 team gained momentum, EG dropped a game to a Dignitas team whose season ended following a quick exit from the lower bracket thanks to Immortals.

I’m not moving off the EG bandwagon, though, and will ride them to worlds with a win over a tough 100 Thieves squad. Juan “Contractz” Garcia has been a revelation since being reinserted into the starting lineup following an odyssey in the Academy league. I can see where 100T’s bottom lane should punish EG in the lane phase, but I don’t think they can close out games quick enough before it stretches out into areas where the Geniuses can shine.

I also don’t bet against Jung “Impact” Eon-yeong in the playoffs, even with a competitor like Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho staring him down in the top lane. Impact is having one of the best years of his career in a career that is already worthy of a first-ballot into the Hall of Fame (whenever Riot Games creates it), and his presence adds so much value to every team he’s called home.

In the eight years he has played, he’s gone to the world championship six times, only missing twice (2014, 2015). I’m betting on him changing that to lucky number seven by the end of this weekend.