2019 LCS Spring Split Finals – Preview, Betting Tips & Odds

April 13th, 2019

Photo: Riot Games

After eleven weeks of top-tier play, we have finally come to the 2019 LCS Spring Split conclusion. The road towards this point was long and filled with top-tier play, but also a fair number of mind-boggling fiestas and throws.

In the end, we’ll witness the absolute best and most hype final match-up possible – Team Solo Mid vs. Team Liquid.

This is a Best of 5 for the ages. It’s hard to really emphasize how incredible this series will be, and it’s not even an optimistic stretch – both these titans have what it takes in order to win and dominate on home soil for years to come. They’re frighteningly capable, mechanically talented, and shockingly experienced. They’ve all played on the biggest of stages and their mental fortitude is second to none.

How could this not be one of the best LCS finals in history?

But before delving deeper into how both teams stack against each other, let’s take a closer look at how they got here.

Team Solo Mid are entering this clash as the favorites – although that might not be evident if you take a look at the betting odds. They’re 2-0 in their head to head record against Liquid, and have shown no signs of stopping (nor any glaring weakness) throughout the last couple of weeks. They’ve been mopping the floor with their opposition, and have looked downright spectacular in the process as well.

They’re exceptional in the early game but also potent and capable once the mid and later stages of the game come around. Perhaps most importantly, they’re fantastic on a multitude of different team comps and strategies. They have three lanes through which they can play and attain success. An exceptional top laner in Broken Blade who can dominate and carry his share of the weight on a wide variety of champions, the greatest mid laner that has ever graced the LCS stage in Bjergsen, and a fantastic bottom lane duo that can go blow-for-blow with anyone in the region.

Perhaps the biggest surprise was just how quickly their jungler Akaadian adapted and made a name for himself. His aggressive playstyle was exactly what Team Solo Mid needed, and he unlocked TSM in more ways than one. They’re a lot faster in all stages of the game, a lot more aggressive, they’re snowballing their leads and are commanding when they impose their own will.

By all means, they are the best and most capable team that North America has to offer, although it’s important to highlight that a good portion of that statement comes due to the sheer amount of their momentum. Regardless of the challenge presented, they have always passed with flying colors. They endured every onslaught and have emerged victoriously time after time. No matter the meta or the opponent, they have what it takes in order to play at the highest possible level, and they legitimately have a chance to make a mark on the international stage in 2019.

And if there’s one thing that their recent Best of 5 semifinal clash against Cloud9 highlighted, it is the fact that they have mental fortitude and resilience in spades. How does one approach the TSM puzzle? If you can’t outclass them early, and you can’t out team fight them in the late game, what’s your avenue towards victory? Even if things go awry and they don’t impose their playstyle from the very get-go, they’re still exceptionally resilient and have a ton of grit. They won’t go down without a fight, and they will only lose once their Nexus explodes three times – not a second earlier.

But praising Team Solo Mid is easy – after all, they deserve it fully. Their opponents, however, are far from meek or negligible. They’re titans in their own right. While their level of play did leave a lot to be desired near the end of the regular portion of the split, they have managed to bounce back in spectacular fashion and completely outclass and decimate FlyQuest in clean 3-0 fashion just a week ago.

They needed just a single game in order to figure their opponents out, and once that happened, they were able to kick things into overdrive and demolish FlyQuest towards a spectacular 3-0 finish.

Team Liquid, however, is somewhat one-dimensional. Think of them as the North American Fnatic. Exceptional in a lot of facets of play, but also incredibly easy to read. Then again, reading them is one thing – countering what they do and how they do it is a completely different matter. A team has to be downright spectacular (not to mention confident and mechanically gifted) in order to take them down, but at this level of play those virtues are not as rare as one might think.

If Liquid imposes their will they’re a frightening team, but they mostly just play through Doublelift. If they’re unable to do so, they don’t have a backup plan. Sure, they have Jensen within their ranks – a legendary mid laner by all metrics – but they haven’t been playing through the mid lane in quite a long while. Why they choose to do so is unknown, especially considering the fact that Jensen’s been dominating ever since he joined Cloud9 a couple of years ago.

Not to mention the fact that Bjergsen has been able to – at the very least – match Jensen’s impact and team fight prowess over the years. He’s a much more impactful mid laner right now and has been playing more champions than his counterpart. Whatever Liquid comes out with, TSM should be able to counter. While they might not exactly outclass their opponents, they should be more than capable at getting three wins in a Best of 5 that’s has so much promise.

This series is so darn exciting because it could, in theory, go either way, and yet Team Solo Mid has more tools to work with. They’re much more flexible and they have a chip on their shoulder after dropping the ball in 2018. They’re entering the finals with a ton of momentum and are more than capable of making their dream a reality. They took out Echo Fox, they came back and reverse swept Cloud9, and have even beaten Liquid both times in the Spring Split.

There’s no real challenge at this point – they only have to come out and play as well as they can, and the LCS trophy will be theirs.

The odds are against Team Solo Mid, and there’s no logical reason for it. They’re a stylistic nightmare for Team Liquid and should be more than capable at taking the reigning champions down. The odds are simply too good not to go all-in with the most decorated and respected organization in North America’s history. While it’s not going to be easy or one-sided, Team Solo Mid should be able to get the job done.

There was just a single question mark coming into the playoffs – will they be able to bounce back from a deficit? Do they have enough mental fortitude and grit to claw their way back towards a victory? Fortunately, their incredible reverse sweep against the favorites Cloud9 proved their worth and stellar mental game. To get back into the series and win the whole thing after being down 0-2 and after getting smacked around is worthy of the highest praise.

Liquid definitely have the tools to make this into a highly competitive Best of 5 clash, but they’re going to face their toughest challenge yet – a game Team Solo Mid. While they could take a game or perhaps even two, they shouldn’t be able to defend their throne.

Winner: Team Solo Mid, 2.75 (odds @ Betway)

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LCS 2019 Spring Split — Semifinals Preview, Betting Tips & Odds

April 6th, 2019

Photo: Riot Games

There are only three Best of 5 left to be played before we see an LCS champion crowned. That’s incredibly exciting, regardless of your allegiance! In the end, we have four exceptional teams looking to make a name for themselves, and they’re all entering the semifinals with different amounts of hype and momentum. Each team carries a different narrative this time around, and who’s going to come out on top is still completely up in the air.

But how so? Shouldn’t anyone be extremely favored? Should Team Liquid be the favorites to win the whole thing? Long story short — no. And that is the main reason why the current Spring Split is so darn exciting and invigorating. We haven’t seen such a ferocious fight at the top of the region for quite a long while. The North American LCS was always a top-heavy region, but the gap between the top teams this year narrowed. Now it’s a somewhat level playing field. Anyone can win, depending on how well they play on the day, and how fast they are when it comes to imposing their own will and playstyle.

We really will witness four exceptional teams duke it out on the Rift, and you do not want to miss either Best of 5. No, really. This is as good as it gets, and we should be in for a couple of insane games. These four teams are deceptively strong and close in regards to overall strength and potential, and each series could potentially go the five-game distance. In that scenario, the viewers win out the most.

All four competitors want to play League of Legends in a slightly different way. Team Liquid are the “by the book” kind of team — they want to win through stellar macro, objective control, and eventually snowball their leads into a commanding late game when they would out-team fight their opponents. That’s a great style overall, but it’s also fairly one-dimensional in a meta that favors a bit of craziness. They can only play a singular style, and when that fails to do the trick, they don’t have anything to fall back on. They haven’t diversified their arsenal over the course of the Spring Split, and in the competitive LCS landscape that’s a problem. They’re the defending champions and they have a target on their back, but they’ve been somewhat complacent, and it’s showing in their play on the Rift as well.

If they get out the gates swinging, they’re often impossible to take down — but they don’t always manage to impose their own will. They’re playing almost exclusively through the bottom lane and that definitely isn’t the best and most optimal way to play the game right now.

Then you have Cloud9 — a team that has lost very little strength even though they no longer have a behemoth in the mid lane. They’re basically just as strong, just as capable and unhinged as they always were. You never know what you’re going to get when Cloud9 come out to play, and that’s a good part of the reason why their games are always a must watch. They can go out, experiment, get outclassed and still come back the next game and dominate. They’re extremely flexible, with some amazing, top-notch players in each and every position. Finally, their team fighting is spectacular, regardless of the way you look at it. They’re playing like they’re ahead even when that’s not the case, and you can be sure they lost only when their Nexus explodes — not a second earlier. They’re a team filled with fortitude and grit, they have multiple veterans, and they fight each and every second of the game. This is exactly what allowed them to dominate on the World’s stage last year and they currently show no signs of stopping or regressing to a prior form.

Then there’s the boys in black and white, the perennial LCS titans — Team Solo Mid. One can argue that they have the biggest chance of winning the whole Split, and even though a good chunk of that aura comes from their recent win streak, they’re actually doing their part of the work and have looked downright spectacular over the last month or so. They have threats in every single lane and each of their players are spectacular in every regard. They’re also deceptively flexible and have been finding success with a wide variety of team comps and strategies throughout the Spring Split. They’re phenomenal and the fact that they’ve been playing for so little and have still attained so much success is worthy of the highest praise. They’re definitely the favorites right now, but they have arguably the toughest test in front of them — Cloud9. But more on that later.

Finally, FlyQuest are perhaps the weakest of the bunch, but they’re far from actually being weak. They’re also somewhat one-dimensional like Team Liquid, but they’re a lot more adept at the current meta than their opponents. They have more threats in every lane, and have looked more aggressive, proactive, and quite frankly dangerous than many give them credit for. They’re not the kind of team that surrenders when behind, and they fight for every nook and cranny on the Summoner’s Rift. They’re a tough nut to crack for any opponent, and are looking to create an upset for the ages come Sunday.

Lastly, all four teams pose different kinds of threats. They want to play League of Legends differently and attain success through different means. Which play style is better remains to be seen, but the odds are stacked in Team Solo Mid and Cloud9’s favor.

With all that said, let’s focus on the two upcoming semifinal matches:

Team Solo Mid vs. Cloud9

What can one say about a TSM vs. C9 clash? We have seen so many over the years and they never fail to deliver. This one, as expected, should be no different. To make matters even more exciting, these two organizations are fielding two rosters that are downright exceptional. They might not be perfect in their play, they might not be on the same page at any given moment, but the sheer amount of mechanical talent and in-depth knowledge of the game is seismic. Both these teams have what it takes to reign over North America as the LCS champions, and yet there can be only one. This time around, it is a clash between the number two and three teams in the region, respectively.

Whenever these two giants clash, fireworks are almost always guaranteed. They can prepare all they want, but once they step foot on the Summoner’s Rift and see each other, it is as if they go completely insane and just skirmish non-stop. That’s great — for the viewers — but when betting on either team, this fact makes things incredibly difficult. What can happen this time around? No one knows for sure, but high octane top-tier play is almost a given. Both teams have incredibly deep champion pools, and they’ve shown fantastic proficiency at a wide variety of team comps and strategies. They have insane early games, they can kick things up a notch and start dominating in the mid game, but they’re also behemoths once the late game comes around. Their team fighting are second to none.

And it isn’t dependent on their leads either. Both teams ignore the gold tally and just fight like they’re winning regardless of the score. This readiness to skirmish when ever and where ever allows them to turn things around even when they’re playing from a deficit. They don’t acknowledge it, and by proxy start making the right moves around the map and eventually even things out.

To make matters even more interesting, both rosters have some of the best players not just in the region but in the world as well. Both teams have exceptional top laners that can shine and hard carry on bruisers and tanks alike, aggressive playmaking junglers that are known for their mechanical prowess and early game impact, highly talented mid laners that can go for assassins and mages much like utility picks like Zilean and Galio, and highly talented bottom lane duos that are among the best in the entire region.

No one really has an edge either way, and even though you can chalk up a point for TSM since Bjergsen is the more seasoned and mechanically dominant player, Nisqy manages to even things out when the mid and late game team fighting comes around. Cloud9 always want to skirmish, whereas Team Solo Mid wants to do the same but on their own accord. When they have a lead, and when they know what they’re up against, that is the moment when they want to strike and deal the coup de grâce.

In many ways, this is an impossible clash to predict. Both these teams had their incredible ups and downs throughout the Spring Split, and they both have pretty different ways of playing the game. Saying that one style is better or more suited to the meta than the other is impossible at this point in time. Cloud9 do, however, have a 2-0 score in their head-to-head tally with Team Solo Mid, but in the grand scheme of things that holds little to no impact right now.

We have to pick a side, and we simply have to go with Team Solo Mid — although this is far, far from a one-sided affair. Both teams have the tools to make this into an insanely close Best of 5, and it’ll be decided by the slimmest of margins. Cloud9 have shown more tenacity and flexibility over the last year and a half, and they made just a single change to their line-up from 2018, so they should be able to whether the storm if things go awry in the beginning. Then again, TSM has shown so much proficiency in the current meta that it’s impossible to bet against them right now. They also played a Best of 5 before this one so they’re more relaxed, and they won’t need as much time in order to acclimate to the LCS stage as their adversaries might.

Cloud9 are definitely the safer choice here, but the boys in black and white definitely have a big chance to upset and reach the 2019 Spring Split finals.

Winner: Team Solo Mid, 1.80 (odds @ Betway)

FlyQuest vs. Team Liquid

After the TSM vs. Cloud9 semifinal match-up, this one doesn’t seem overly engaging — at least not on first glance. But this match-up has just as much potential for back-and-forth action. Unlike the one preceding it, it doesn’t exactly warrant non-stop action — and that isn’t a bad thing per se. Why it is interesting, however, is the fact that FlyQuest actually have a chance. There’s a ton of pressure mounting for Team Liquid, that’s just a fact. They’re not only the defending champions, but they haven’t looked as good near the end of the split as one might expect.

In fact, they looked pretty meek and average. For a team with so much inherent talent, that’s downright unacceptable. Their arsenal is pretty limited, and it shows in their play as well. And even though we haven’t seen them on the Summoner’s Rift in quite some time now, we doubt they diversified their playstyle by a considerable amount. They’ve surely fixed a lot of their early game problems, but whether or not that’ll be enough still remains to be seen.

FlyQuest, on the other hand are entering this semifinal clash after a spectacular five-game series over the Golden Guardians, and are looking to pull off an upset for the ages. They have multiple threats and have been underestimated throughout the entire split. They might not be perfect, but they’re deceptively strong once the mid and later stages of the game come around. Their early game isn’t exactly spectacular, but they mostly lose if they get overwhelmed early on. Seeing how Liquid likes to do things “by the book,” FlyQuest have a solid puncher’s chance.

All that said, we have to side with Team Liquid on this one, but if you’re in the mood for betting on the underdog, now could be a good time to do so. Obviously, the odds are heavily stacked against FlyQuest, but they really do have a chance to upset. It’s important to highlight that a lot has to go in their favor in order for them to win, but at least there’s a chance. Regardless of the final outcome, this Best of 5 will surely be a lot closer than most people expect.

Winner: Team Liquid, 1.07 (odds @ Betway)

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LCS 2019 Spring Split — Quarterfinals Preview, Betting Tips & Odds

March 29th, 2019

Photo: Riot Games

After nine weeks of incredibly competitive top tier play, we have finally reached the 2019 Spring Split LCS playoffs. While the regular portion of the split did have its highs and lows, the playoffs are the moment when we expect consistency, and a certain level of excellence and cohesion from everyone involved.

Teams had more than three months to get on the same page, adapt to the meta, and figure out an identity for themselves. While things were far from set in stone coming into the last couple of weeks, we can fairly say that we’re going to see some of the best LCS teams clash in the upcoming playoffs.

Those who deserved to get in the top six eventually did, and it was one heck of a ride – especially if you’re an Echo Fox fan.

So without any further ado, let’s take a closer look at the two upcoming LCS quarterfinal clashes!

FlyQuest vs. Golden Guardians

While this match-up might not seem that particularly interesting, it should provide a metric ton of entertainment and back-and-forth action regardless. Both teams are close in terms of overall strength, and they’ve been able to maintain a respectable level of play throughout the 2019 LCS Spring Split.

They are, however, somewhat different in their playstyle, and in the way they make mistakes. FlyQuest are a team fighting team, and that’s perhaps their best and maybe only avenue for success. Make no mistake – that’s not a negligible win condition, especially not in the current meta. But it does make them fairly one-dimensional, and rather predictable. They will draft a ton of engage, and a couple of late game insurance picks. Once the game reaches a later stage, they come online, reach their power spikes, and start flexing their team fighting prowess.

They’re not perfect, but they don’t make egregious mistakes either – at least not that often. They’re solid, well-rounded, and they know their way around the Summoner’s Rift.

The Golden Guardians, on the other hand, are a lot worse.

They can play a wider variety of team comps and styles, but one can argue that they’re nowhere near as good at any of them as FlyQuest are at their singular playstyle. The Guardians make a ton mistakes throughout the game, and it’s not really dependent on their opponent. Heck, you can let them play their own game without engaging them and they would still make mistakes – that’s just the way they are.

Thanks to Froggen’s renaissance, they’re deceptively capable and strong, and it really depends on how well they draft and start off. Regardless, we’re going with FlyQuest on this one. They’re simply stronger and more capable. They even took the Guardians down with a substitute in the jungle – it wasn’t a pretty win nor was it one-sided, but they got the job done. They’re just a more well-rounded team right now, and it shows in their play as well. That said, the Guardians definitely have what it takes in order to make this into one heck of scrap. It won’t be easy, and it won’t be a shellacking, but FlyQuest should get the job done regardless.

Winner: FlyQuest, 1.65 (odds @ Betway)

Team Solo Mid vs. Echo Fox

For our second quarterfinal clash, we have a fight between Team Solo Mid and the unlikeliest of challengers – Echo Fox. Regardless of your allegiance, you have to respect and admire Echo Fox’s recent resurgence. They went from a surefire bottom-tier dweller, to a playoff contender.

Not too shabby.

They’re definitely synced up, they have a ton of potential, and they’re finally playing to their strengths. It took them a while as well, but at least they came online in time for the playoffs. Are they strong enough to challenge an aggressive, playmaking Team Solo Mid? By all accounts – no. And it’s not a knack on Echo Fox either, they just had bad luck of the draw.

The boys in black and white are currently playing like the best team in the entire region. They’re the strongest, most flexible, and downright staggering – and they’re the only team that took Team Liquid down twice, and in pretty dominant fashion. They’re not perfect, but they don’t have to be. If they’re playing at this level just a couple of months into the year, one can only imagine their full potential.

They’re the biggest threat to the Team Liquid dynasty and they’re showing no signs of stopping. They won eleven out of their last twelve games, and even that one loss to Cloud9 was a game they could have easily won had they not made a single blunder in the bottom lane while trying to siege.

Watching their games is an absolute must, and Echo Fox is just the first challenger in their path to reclaiming their long-lost LCS trophy. That said, Echo Fox are deceptively strong right now, and they should not be underestimated. While this game could be a 3:0 blowout it could also go all the way if Echo Fox come out the gates swinging – as they’re prone to doing so often.

Winner: Team Solo Mid, 1.12 (odds @ Betway)

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LCS 2019 Spring Split — Week 9 Preview, Betting Tips & Odds

March 23rd, 2019

Photo: Riot Games

This is it — the denouement, the grand finale, the moment where everything resolves. The last week of the LCS Spring Split is just hours away from happening, and there are only two games left to be played. For the teams that are looking to get into the playoffs, there’s no more room for error.

Teams can no longer afford to drop games seeing how attaining a spot as high as possible is of the utmost importance.

There’s a big difference between finishing third and, say, sixth. We’re eight weeks into the split, and things are finally stabilizing standings-wise. There was a ton of turmoil in the beginning, but we finally have four top-tier contenders that have locked in their spots in the playoffs — Team Liquid, Cloud9, Team Solo Mid, and FlyQuest.

There are two spots left and how this week will eventually resolve is completely up in the air. The four teams that are still competing for the playoffs are fighting tooth-and-nail to get in, but they’re incredibly volatile and inconsistent, and predicting how their games will go is downright impossible.

Betting this week is a thankless undertaking, but there’s still more than enough information available to form solid predictions. That said, betting this week will be noticeably more high-risk than before, and there are multiple games that could really go either way. It all depends on how each team prepares and how their week of practice went — something we rarely have in-depth knowledge of.

Without any further ado, let’s take a closer look at the upcoming matches!

DAY ONE

Golden Guardians vs. OpTic Gaming — To start the week off, we have a really solid and engaging clash between two mid-tier teams. These are your gatekeepers, your “middle-of-the-pack” contenders that are trying to make a name for themselves, and one can argue that they’re both relatively solid.

They’re nothing too exceptional, but when they get on the same page, when they manage to draft according to their strengths, they can go blow-for-blow with the very best teams in the region. They might not win the game, but they’ll come close more often than not. These inherent weaknesses, these bone-deep flaws are stopping them from attaining more success in the LCS, and even though being a mid-tier gatekeeper isn’t all that bad, it’s not what any of these players really want.

Both teams are fighting for the playoffs, although it’s important to highlight that the Guardians already have a slightly better win-loss tally, which puts them ahead of OpTic — and any other team for that matter. Having that extra win could become the most important factor this weekend, although it’s still too early to know for sure.

What we do know, however, is the fact that the Guardians also have FlyQuest lined up for Sunday which is a much harder match to win. With that in mind, we can fairly safely assume that they’re going all-in against OpTic Gaming, and winning that single match could propel them into the playoffs regardless of Sunday’s outcome.

OpTic Gaming, on the other hand, have both the Guardians and 100 Thieves. Both games are winnable, although nothing is secure — even against the worst team in the region.

This match is incredibly hard to predict, but we have to side with the Golden Guardians. They simply have more potential, and Froggen has been playing out of his mind over the last eight weeks of competitive play. He’s their biggest catalyst, and if they manage to get him a favorable match-up, and clean up their early game mistakes, they should, by all means, be able to take OpTic Gaming down.

That said, it won’t be easy nor one-sided.

Winner: Golden Guardians, 1.65 (odds @ Betway)

Team Liquid vs. Echo Fox — After a pretty stellar opener, things go downhill fairly quickly. Perhaps that’s a bit too harsh, but this is definitely the least engaging game of the day.

We have Team Liquid, the defending champs that have sole possession of first place, and a team that’s kind of fighting for the playoffs, but has an abysmal chance of going all the way.

Their last week was a pretty stellar one, but their first 2-0 week isn’t exactly indicative of their actual strength. A flash of brilliance is all they had, and they should get any benefit of the doubt against a team of Liquid’s caliber.

Hypothetically, Echo Fox do have a chance to make this somewhat competitive. Fenix has been playing exceptionally well, and the same goes for their legendary jungler Rush. They’re formidable opponents, but then again — Liquid is on a whole ‘nother level. They’ve been playing the best League of Legends in the region by far, and if they’re going to get challenged, it’s surely going to be by the likes of Cloud9 and especially Team Solo Mid.

Echo Fox, while volatile and fairly dangerous, simply don’t have the clean and calculated play that’s necessary in order to take the game. They might surprise Liquid, they might come out of the gates swinging and start off exceptionally well, but when push comes to shove, they should fall pray to the reigning, defending LCS champions.

We’re going with Team Liquid on this one, and even though it doesn’t look like a stellar match-up on paper, it could provide more action that a lot of people anticipate. There’s always a chance for fireworks when Echo Fox comes to play. They might outclass their opponents, or implode while trying. This will almost certainly be the latter, but it should be a fun watch regardless of the outcome.

Winner: Team Liquid, 1.25 (odds @ Betway)

Team Solo Mid vs. Clutch Gaming — This is where things get a lot more interesting. We have a clash between one of the best teams in the region, and a bottom-tier dweller that’s deceptively strong and capable. When Clutch Gaming come out to play, they’re arguably a playoff-worthy team.

They might not look the part, but they definitely have the mechanical prowess and team play that’s necessary in order to tango with the best teams in the region. The problem is, they’re as volatile of a team as they come. Clutch’s games are basically a coin flip. Will Huni tilt? Will Damonte be able to pop off? Will Piglet be playing a traditional AD carry or a bruiser/mage?

There are so many questions up in the air whenever Clutch Gaming steps foot on the LCS stage. More often than not, however, you can deduce their potential and overall strength after the pick and ban phase concludes.

But even with all of their immense potential, they’re up against a team that already reached their — a couple of weeks ago, as well.

Team Solo Mid are currently running rampant in the LCS, and have won eight of their last nine games. They’re the most successful team in the second half of the Spring Split, and are low-key considered the best team in the LCS right now. They’re incredibly versatile, highly capable, and exceptionally strong in every stage of the game. They can play any style, and we’re finally seeing an aggressive, playmaking Team Solo Mid — something that hasn’t existed since 2016.

Watching their games is an absolute must, and this one is no exception. It doesn’t matter who you’re cheering for, because Team Solo Mid have the potential to make the upcoming playoffs incredibly exciting and competitive. In that scenario, the viewers end up winning the most.

The perennial North American titans are looking to make quick work of Clutch Gaming. They already locked in their playoff spot and they cannot overtake Cloud9, nor lose out to FlyQuest. They’re third, and that’s final. That said, they want to create as much momentum as possible. Getting a dominant win over Clutch will definitely create a fair amount of hype before their Sunday clash against Team Liquid.

Winner: Team Solo Mid, 1.25 (odds @ Betway)

Cloud9 vs. FlyQuest — Arguably the most promising clash of the day.

We have a fight between two teams that are currently at the top of their game. They’re still a bit rough around the edges, but their potential is undeniable. How high they will eventually go remains to be seen, but we have to side with Cloud9 from the very get go.

They have more potential, but they’re also a fair bit more volatile. This tendency to go for the unexpected play gives them a higher ceiling, but there’s a bigger chance of failure as well.

FlyQuest, on the other hand, have shown some stellar play last week and are on a four-game winstreak. That’s surprising, seeing how it was a low-key resurgence, but they’ve beaten Clutch Gaming, Echo Fox, 100 Thieves, and finally Team Liquid.

That’s a solid run, and even though three of said four teams are below them in the standings, they’ve won all four games through well-rounded play. They’ve displayed why they’re a playoff-worthy team and have looked rather great in their wins.

In theory, this is a preview of a potential semifinal match-up. If FlyQuest end up fourth, they will be fighting against the Golden Guardians — most likely. Winning that Best of 5 would mean they get to face the second LCS seed — Cloud9.

We’re going with the boys in black and blue on this one, although it’s surely going to be a lot closer than most people expect. Cloud9 are exceptional, there’s no way around it, but they’re also vulnerable and they’re at times too aggressive and chaotic for their own good. FlyQuest can weather the storm — they’ve done it numerous times in the past, and this game should be no exception.

If they draft well, and play to their strengths (mid and late game team fighting), they should more than capable at going blow-for-blow with Cloud9. This is by no means an easy match to predict, and it can really go either way.

Regardless, we’re siding with Cloud9. They deserve the benefit of the doubt, even though their last week’s play doesn’t exactly warrant it.

Winner: Cloud9, 1.45 (odds @ Betway)

Counter Logic Gaming vs. 100 Thieves — To close things out, we have a clash between Counter Logic Gaming, and 100 Thieves — the worst team in the region. Not exactly a stellar clash that’s a must watch, but it has to happen regardless.

There’s not really a whole lot you can say about this one. It’s a must win for CLG if they want to enter the playoffs, although the odds are heavily stacked against them. For 100 Thieves, is match is completely unimportant and meaningless — which is why they’re fielding four of their Academy players along with Bang. They want to experiment and see where it takes them, as they should, seeing how there’s nothing left to fight for. Having four completely new players is a double-edged sword. On one hand, they don’t have the same experience and mental fortitude, but they bring a different kind of energy and potential.

Counter Logic Gaming, for all their volatility and questionable roster choices, are still a solid team. We’ve seen glimpses of their potential, and they can do quite a lot when they’re all on the same page. They should, by all means, have more than enough synergy and strength in order to take down 100 Thieves. It’s not going to be easy, and it surely won’t be dominant and one-sided, but they should get the win regardless.

Whether or not they’ll get in the playoffs is a completely different matter. If they take down both 100 Thieves on Saturday and Echo Fox on Sunday then they’ll be able to lock down the last spot, but seeing how all three teams redefine the word “inconsistency” any time they play, predicting the outcome of this whole conundrum is downright impossible.

Winner: Counter Logic Gaming, 1.65 (odds @ Betway)

DAY TWO

The last day of the regular portion of the split. After almost nine whole weeks of play, we’ve come to the very end. While one can argue that the best is yet to come, we still have five games left before calling it a day.

FlyQuest vs. Golden Guardians — To start the day off, we have an exceptional clash between two playoff teams. Now, even though both of these contenders managed to lock down a playoff spot, their ranking is still up in the air. This will be a clash to determine who finishes fourth, and if the Golden Guardians get the win they will be able to force a tie-breaker with FlyQuest and then lock down the number four spot.

That, however, is still ways off, so let’s focus on the match at hand. The Golden Guardians are entering this clash with a fair bit of momentum after they were able to outclass OpTic Gaming yesterday. Perhaps “outclassing” might even be an understatement. It was an absolute sub-twenty five-minute shellacking, and it was a testament to the Guardians’ potential and innate strength. They’re not perfect — far from it, but they’re trying to improve with each passing week and they’re finally showing their potential off. Perhaps most importantly, Deftly and Olleh demolished Arrow and Big in the bottom lane, and every single lane was winning from the very get-go. The Guardians drafted a very strong team comp and executed it to a tee. It was a commanding showing from a team many deemed a gatekeeper. Exceptional on all fronts.

OpTic couldn’t keep up with the pace and simply rolled over as time went on. It wasn’t an exhilarating game by any means, but it was still a great showing, albeit a passive, slower one. The Guardians needed this win and they closed things out in clean fashion, by the book.

FlyQuest, on the other hand, couldn’t keep up with Cloud9’s pace. They went even throughout the early game but for every small mistake they made, Cloud9 was able to capitalize big time. They got countered in the draft, and once they gave Cloud9 an inch, they basically lost all momentum. They’re exceptional when it comes to mid and late game team fighting, but they couldn’t even reach that point in the game.

This clash, however, is a different matter. The Guardians are no Cloud9. They’re nowhere near as proactive and dangerous, and they’re highly vulnerable and prone to making errors. We have to side with FlyQuest on this one as they’ve done more throughout the split, and they’ve made less mistakes across the board when it mattered the most. That said, this will by no means be a one-sided game. The Guardians have the tools to make this into one heck of a fight, and they will surely try their best to do so.

Winner: FlyQuest, 1.60 (odds @ Betway)

Counter Logic Gaming vs. Echo Fox — Next up, we have yet another intriguing clash and you wouldn’t think so on first glance. This is, without a doubt, the most important match of the day rankings-wise. The winner of this game gets a ticket to the playoffs, and that’s not a negligible thing. Far from it. Months of non-stop practice are on the line, and both teams are looking to make a statement and lock down that elusive spot in the top six.

Echo Fox are, however, entering this match as the obvious favorites. They’re coming off a stellar win against Team Liquid, they already beat Cloud9 last week, and they’re looking like a very synergetic, highly capable, deceptively strong team right now. They’re making it work, and with Rush being back to his dominant self, we’re seeing an Echo Fox that is far stronger than anyone had anticipated was possible.

Counter Logic Gaming, on the other hand, did just enough to beat a weakened 100 Thieves roster. It was a relatively meek performance, all things considered. They were up against Academy players, after all. One would expect a one-sided game, a display of skill and mechanical prowess, but it was nowhere to be found. They were reactive and passive against a team that had no reason to be there. In other words, the discrepancy between these two teams wasn’t that evident, especially not in the early game.

Predicting this match is a very thankless endeavor. Both teams are, realistically speaking, even when it comes to strength and potential. This is League of Legends, and a single decision in-game can make or break the game. Nuances always end up being the determining factor, and when two teams are so close in power it’s hard to predict anything with confidence. Sure, Echo Fox are entering with more hype and momentum, but that’s not enough against a veteran team like CLG. Or at least it shouldn’t be by default.

Regardless, we have to side with Echo Fox on this one. They’ve simply done more over the last couple of weeks and they deserve our benefit of the doubt. That said, this isn’t going to be an easy game.

Winner: Echo Fox, 1.72 (odds @ Betway)

Cloud9 vs. Clutch Gaming — This is where things get a lot less interesting. Cloud9 have already secured their playoff bye, and they’re fielding their complete Academy roster against Clutch Gaming. This is exactly the reason as to why predicting this match instantly became a thousand times harder. We have enough info on both teams, but having that “X factor” with five new players starting could be a big upper hand. Or, conversely, it could fail on all fronts. Then again, it’s not like Clutch are able to play a perfect game from start to finish — there’s reason for doubt on both sides.

Because there are so many uncertainties regarding this match-up, perhaps it would be best to skip betting on it entirely. Anything can happen, and even Clutch decided to start with Piglet in the mid lane yesterday and Cody Sun as their starting AD carry. They held their own against a game Team Solo Mid in the early game, but bad decision making and sloppy team fighting eventually became their downfall once Team Solo Mid upped the tempo.

We’re going to side with Clutch Gaming on this one. They have more veterans in their starting five-man roster tonight and they should, by all means, be able to take down Cloud9. That said, we wouldn’t be surprised if the Cloud9 Academy roster took Clutch down. It sounds ludicrous, but stranger things have happened and even their Academy team has a ton of innate talent within their
line-up.

Winner: Clutch Gaming, 2.70 (odds @ Betway)

Team Solo Mid vs. Team Liquid — This is perhaps the only reason why you should absolutely tune in tonight and watch. A clash of monumental proportions. A fight between the reigning, defending champions Team Liquid, and a team that many deem as stronger — Team Solo Mid. This is potentially a preview of the upcoming LCS Spring Split finals, or at the very least a clash between two of the best teams the region currently has to offer. This is, without a doubt, the match of the day, and after seeing their first clash a couple of weeks ago, this is basically a must-watch.

Team Solo Mid has been playing some exceptional League of Legends over the last couple of weeks, and they’ve won eight out of their last nine games. That’s a seismic achievement by all means. They’ve only lost against Cloud9, but they had a stronghold on the game throughout its entirety until they made an egregious mistake in the late game. They’re the team to beat right now, and they’re entering this clash with a ton of hype and momentum. They have some of the best players in the world, they’re playing like a well-oiled machine, and they’re showing no signs of stopping.

Team Liquid, on the other hand, have looked relatively mediocre in their last couple of showings. It’s a strange sight, but they’re definitely slumping across the board. Their loss to Echo Fox yesterday was perhaps the most shocking, seeing how they were basically outclassed across the board by a team that had no business taking them down. Their jungler Xmithie was, perhaps, the biggest offender. His constant abysmal positioning cost Liquid any semblance of momentum they had in the game, and soon enough, it was far too late for them to do anything. Echo Fox are not a world-class team, but give them a big enough lead, and they’ll do what’s right.

This is such an exciting game because Team Solo Mid originally took Liquid down and gave them their first loss in 2019. Back then, Liquid was at the top of the world, and now, just a couple of weeks afterwards they’re playing even worse. TSM, on the other hand, never looked this good. So we’re siding with the perennial North American titans. There’s no way we’re betting against them this time around, however it won’t be an easy game. Far from it. Liquid is still an exceptional team, and they can go blow-for-blow with anyone on the Rift.

Winner: Team Solo Mid, 2.00 (odds @ Betway)

100 Thieves vs. OpTic Gaming — A pretty underwhelming way to close out the regular portion of the Spring Split. If you close the stream after TSM vs. TL, no one’s going to blame you. This is definitely an uninteresting game, and it’s not just because both teams are mediocre, but because there’s nothing on the line. Both teams are completely out of the playoffs and they have nothing to play for — not even bragging rights.

Regardless, we’re going with OpTic Gaming seeing how 100 Thieves will probably once again field their Academy roster. A team with Meteos, Crown, and Arrow should, by all means, be able to demolish a weakened 100 Thieves line-up. That said, it probably won’t be as one-sided as it should, and as everyone is expecting it to be.

Winner: OpTic Gaming, 1.45 (odds @ Betway)

CONTINUE READING

LCS 2019 Spring Split — Week 8 Preview, Betting Tips & Odds

March 16th, 2019

Photo: Riot Games

The end of the 2019 Spring Split is coming near. It’s been an exciting ride, albeit a pretty confusing one. Eight weeks into the split, and many teams are not only missing a concrete identity, but they’re also not that synergetic. They’re not showing any concrete palpable potential, and even though they’re playing passable League of Legends, it’s not that far from the fiesta realm. There are only three teams out of the ten permanent partners that have shown anything resembling success and that’s the defending champions Team Liquid, Cloud9 and finally Team Solo Mid. That’s three out of ten. While it’s not abysmal per se, it’s still rather underwhelming.

Everyone was patient when the region got franchised — a lot of money got invested into the league and teams needed to adapt and get adjusted to a different kind of rhythm. This time around, however, there are no concrete excuses. They’re just not that good overall, and it’s a shame.

The standings do a fairly good job at showcasing the fact as well. We have three teams at the top, and they’re separated from the middle of the pack by a good margin. They’re good, mechanically sound, they’ve adapted to the meta and have shown great proficiency at a wide range of team comps, strategies and champions. Below them, we have FlyQuest – a solid albeit fairly inconsistent mid-tier contender that’s currently playing the role of a gatekeeper. They’re good, and at times even great. But their short bursts of excellence aren’t consistent (or perhaps even strong enough) to warrant a spot higher up the standings.

They’ll reach the playoffs and put up a solid fight regardless of the opponent, but you’re not really giving them much stock. They don’t deserve any benefit of the doubt right now, but they have ample potential. Perhaps they’ll be able to upset the status quo once the Summer Split comes along, but that’s a long shot as well. A lot can happen over the next couple of months and their hypothetical improvement is a big question mark.

After the top four, things become extremely chaotic. Maybe that’s even an understatement. We have a couple of teams that are, by all accounts, still rough around the edges. They have some potential but they still need time before they can put up a bigger fight against the upper echelon of the LCS. When they’re good, when they’re synergetic they’re good, perhaps even great. But when they’re not, which is far more often, you can just see their glaring weaknesses. Bad macro, sloppy engages, ill-advised decision making, chaotic team fights, and egregious individual mistakes. It’s not all bad, but when it is, things go awry very quickly.

The biggest problem, perhaps, is the fact that they look good when ahead, but when they make just a single mistake (regardless of its size), they don’t have the fortitude and resilience to bounce back. They’re lost and fragile, and against top-tier teams making just a single mistake is more than enough for them to capitalize. Building such fortitude can only be done with time and experience. Unfortunately, they don’t have either seeing how the regular portion of the split is coming to a close. They need to step up in a very short amount of time.

Every single game going forward counts. That’s a cliché phrase if there ever was one, but it’s true. They’ve all been playing and practicing for months on end with the playoffs in mind, and slipping at this point in the split would be catastrophic. Teams that are fighting for a playoff spot can’t afford to drop games over the next two weeks, and they’ll have to fight tooth and nail in order to reach the top six.

If you’re a viewer, however, things cannot get any more exciting. We have a couple of top-tier teams that are developing nicely, and a couple of potential challengers and dark horses for the playoffs as well. Either way, it’s going to be an exciting photo finish.

With that out of the way, let’s take a closer look at this week’s games!

DAY ONE

OpTic Gaming vs. Counter Logic Gaming – To open things up, we have a clash between two mid-tier contenders. Now, after last week’s debacle, it’s hard to consider Counter Logic Gaming as anything but a gatekeeper, but you can never really count them out – for better or worse. They’re fighting for the playoffs and even though the odds are against them, they can be deceptively strong at times and you never really know which kind of CLG will come out and play. They’re always capable of putting up a solid fight, and this time around should be no different.

OpTic Gaming, on the other hand, are predicted to be at least a bit stronger than CLG, even though they’re equally as volatile. When they’re on the same page they can go blow-for-blow with the best in the region. When they’re not, however, they’re a bottom tier team. They have three exceptional carries in Crown, Meteos/Dardoch, and Arrow, and can put up a fight regardless of the opponent.

We’re going with OpTic on this one, although it could be incredibly close. It all depends on who CLG decides to start with. If they start with Stixxay and Wiggily, they might stand a chance. Otherwise, they should get steamrolled by OpTic. Either way, if you’re betting this week perhaps it’s best to skip this match altogether seeing how it can really go either way. When you have to mid-tier teams that are extremely sloppy in their execution, the slimmest of margins become the determining factor.

Winner: OpTic Gaming, 1.55 (odds @ Betway)

Clutch Gaming vs. Team Liquid – This is where things become a bit more interesting, although not by a lot. We have a clash between the number one team, the reigning defending champions, and a mid-tier contender that’s looking to make waves. The thing with Clutch is that they’re deceptively strong and capable, but only when they impose their own highly specific playstyle. When they draft a triple threat team comp, they’re incredibly strong. When, on the other hand, they draft a standard team comp, it seems as though they’re not as good. When Piglet is on bruisers or fighters he’s 3-0. When not, well, they’re 2-9. It’s not as one-dimensional, but they really do play a lot better when every member can carry his fair share of the weight.

This time around though it shouldn’t be enough. After all, they’re up against Liquid. It’s impossible to side against the defending champs, and with good reason.

Winner: Team Liquid, 1.12 (odds @ Betway)

Echo Fox vs. Cloud9 – Yet another fairly confusing clash between a top-tier team and bottom tier dweller. This is, without a doubt, the least exciting clash of the day. While Echo Fox are capable of making things somewhat competitive, they’re currently a complete train wreck and are arguably the worst team in the region.

There’s no fighting against Cloud9, unless you’re a team called Team Liquid. Anyone else will play second-fiddle almost by default, and Echo Fox are definitely nowhere close to challenging the 2018 World Championship semifinalists.

We’re going with Cloud9 on this one and with full confidence.

Winner: Cloud9, 1.18 (odds @ Betway)

Team Solo Mid vs. Golden Guardians – This is where things actually get interesting, and perhaps even competitive. A clash between a vulnerable, relatively top-tier Team Solo Mid, and a fighting up-and-coming Golden Guardians. This clash doesn’t guarantee top-tier League of Legends by default but it’s going to be great regardless. Team Solo Mid want to continue building on their successful LCS run, and they want to further differentiate themselves from the pack by scoring a couple of key wins. Their chances of reaching Top 2 are pretty slim, but scoring a third-place finish is far from shabby seeing how they’re playing with a (nearly) completely revamped roster.

The Golden Guardians, on the other hand, are pretty volatile. “Hot and cold” would perhaps be the better phrase, but they’re deceptively strong when they start off on the right foot. Froggen is hardcarrying like a madman, but even his immense talent and mechanical skill aren’t always enough. They’re fragile at times and their decision making is suspect at best.

Now, sure, they’re developing synergy but the individual mistakes that they make (Olleh and Hauntzer, in particular) are often so huge in size that they become huge detriments to the team. When fighting against a top-tier opponent, these small openings are all they need in order to be on the receiving end of things.

Because of this, we’re siding with the perennial North American titans. They deserve our benefit of the doubt, and even though they haven’t been playing that well last week, they still have what it takes in order to tango with the teams below them. While it might not be as one-sided as most people expect, Team Solo Mid should be able to get the win without much trouble.

Winner: Team Solo Mid, 1.40 (odds @ Betway)

FlyQuest vs. 100 Thieves – To close out the day, we have a relatively interesting clash between fourth-ranked FlyQuest and ninth-ranked 100 Thieves. This isn’t exactly a must-watch clash, but it’s going to be competitive regardless. FlyQuest are the clear favorites and with good reason, but that doesn’t mean that 100 Thieves don’t have what it takes in order to make this rather competitive. They’re solid in the early game, almost unexpectedly well-rounded. It is when the mid and later stages of the game come around that they start to fall apart. Their decision making is almost non-existent, and they’re about as passive and reactive as possible.

We’re going with FlyQuest on this one and with full confidence. While 100 Thieves do have a deceptively potent early game, they start to fall off after the fifteen-minute mark. FlyQuest, on the other hand, have a weak early game but they kick things up at the right moment 100 Thieves fall off. Perhaps most important, they’re exceptionally strong when five-on-five team fights break out, and they’re often on the same page when it matters the most. That should be more than enough to take a wobbly 100 Thieves down.

While it might not be particularly clean or dominant, FlyQuest should get the win.

Winner: FlyQuest, 1.50 (odds @ Betway)

DAY TWO

Golden Guardians vs. Clutch Gaming – To start things off we have a clash between two teams that are pretty even in the standings. The Golden Guardians are predicted as the favorites — and with good reason, but after seeing them outclassed against Team Solo Mid, it’s hard to give them the benefit of the doubt. Individual mistakes, bad team play, and abysmal drafting, the GGS specialty. Clutch Gaming, on the other hand, put up a solid fight against the defending champions, and even though they eventually lost, they shouldn’t be ashamed of their performance.

This is by no means an easy game to predict, but we’re siding with Clutch Gaming on this one. Either way, if you’re betting today, skipping this game altogether would be for the best.

Winner: Golden Guardians, 2.20 (odds @ Betway)

Cloud9 vs. OpTic Gaming – This is where things get incredibly interesting. Now by no means did OpTic Gaming have a close game against Counter Logic Gaming, but we’ve seen their highs and they’ll rebound fairly quickly. Cloud9, on the other hand, just lost to Echo Fox. Let that sink in. Regardless, they’re a top tier team and they’re looking to make a statement after their upset loss. They have to, because their Top 2 spot is in jeopardy seeing how TSM can tie them if they take down CLG later in the day.

We’re going with Cloud9 on this one. A single snafu against Echo Fox shouldn’t hit their stock too much.

Winner: Cloud9, 1.32 (odds @ Betway)

100 Thieves vs. Echo Fox – This is probably where you can close the stream, go for a walk, or make a cup of coffee. The opposite of top tier play, and probably the least interesting game in a while. That said, if you’re a fan of fiestas then you’ll probably want to stick around. We’re going with Echo Fox on this one. Even though it’s a risky bet (when is it not when Echo Fox play), but they deserve the benefit of the doubt after playing so exceptionally well across the board against the second-ranked Cloud9.

Winner: Echo Fox, 2.05 (odds @ Betway)

Team Liquid vs. FlyQuest – This is the most interesting match of the day. While Liquid are favored (when are they not, at this point), FlyQuest definitely pose an interesting threat to the Liquid dynasty. Their team fighting and synergy is deceptively strong, and seeing how they’re also fairly aggressive they could definitely surprise the defending champs. That said, they shouldn’t be able to take them down. They’re simply not that clean in their execution, and Liquid only need a small opening in order to turn things around completely

We’re going with the champions on this one, and with full confidence.

Winner: Team Liquid, 1.25 (odds @ Betway)

Counter Logic Gaming vs. Team Solo Mid – To close out the day, we have a perennial clash between two staple North American organizations. Even though CLG isn’t particularly strong right now, they have this innate ability to go blow-for-blow with both TSM and Cloud9 regardless of their rosters. This game should be no exception. It’ll probably be a barnburner that’ll eventually go in TSM’s favor. We’re going with the boys in black and white on this one. They’re simply playing on a whole ‘nother level right now, and they’re showing no signs of stopping. With eight wins in their last nine matches, TSM is the team to beat right now. That said, CLG do have the tools within their arsenal to make this a closely contested affair. Fireworks are almost guaranteed.

Winner: Team Solo Mid, 1.25 (odds @ Betway)

CONTINUE READING

LCS 2019 Spring Split — Week 7 Preview, Betting Tips & Odds

March 9th, 2019

Photo: Riot Games

The seventh week of competitive LCS play will be an incredibly important one. With just six games left to be played, every single win matters. That’s a cliche statement if there ever was one, but it’s the hard truth. A single win or loss could be the difference between locking down a playoff spot or siding on the outskirts, waiting for the Summer Split.

As for North America, as a region, things are far from locked in. We have Team Liquid at the very top with just a single loss to Team Solo Mid a couple of weeks ago, followed by Cloud9 who have looked downright spectacular overall — and have only lost twice over the last six weeks, and finally, sitting comfortably at third place, we have none other than the perennial North American titans Team Solo Mid.

These three teams are, by all accounts, in a league for themselves when compared to the rest of the opposition. They have the best read on the meta, the best players, the highest amounts of cohesion, they’re the most flexible (both individually but also as five-man units) and potent regardless of the state of the game.

You can’t count them out, and even though they might not always start off on the right foot, they’re dangerous and deceptively capable. All three teams need just a single opening (and it doesn’t even have to be a big one) in order to turn things around, as was demonstrated time and time again over the current Spring Split.

It’s hard saying who’s stronger than whom at this point, primarily because TSM outclassed Liquid, only to get demolished by Cloud9 in spectacular fashion after being in control of the game for so long. Cloud9, on the other hand, simply can’t fight against Team Liquid — it is a matter of styles and match-ups, they’re helpless against Liquid’s slow, subdued, macro-oriented playstyle.

Either way, having all three near the top feels like the correct way for things to pan out, and once the playoffs come around, we’re in for a metric ton of hype and top tier League of Legends. Seeing all three teams at the top of their game is a spectacular sight, and things really cannot get any more exciting.

After the top three, absolute chaos begins. We have a confusing four-way tie between Counter Logic Gaming, FlyQuest, Golden Guardians, and OpTic Gaming. These four teams are basically equal in strength and potential, and they can take a game off of one another — depending on the day. They’re incredibly inconsistent, they make egregious errors more often than not, and their drafting tendencies aren’t anything worth being proud of either.

They’re good, but who’s the best among them is completely up in the air. That is one of the main reasons as to why every upcoming match is so darn exciting — anything can happen, and almost anyone can win. It is a four-way tie, so one of these four teams will have to finish seventh — just outside of the playoffs.

Who that’ll be remains to be seen, but it’s going to be one heck of a fight. For these four teams, they simply cannot afford any additional blunders going forward because losing a game they shouldn’t immediately pushes them down a peg.

At the very bottom of the standings we have Echo Fox, Clutch Gaming, and 100 Thieves. They’re all playing at an abysmal level right now, but they’re still somewhat dangerous — especially true for Clutch Gaming. They’re all one win behind the four-way clump and they could, in theory, aim for a playoff spot, but they simply have to step up immensely and start dominating left and right.

With that out of the way, let’s focus on the upcoming games, and how they’ll mostly likely pan out!

DAY ONE

Golden Guardians vs. Counter Logic Gaming — To start things off, we have an incredibly exciting clash between two teams tied for fourth. Predicting the outcome of this game is downright impossible. Both GGS and CLG have shown moments of brilliance over the last six weeks of play, but they’re nowhere near a consistent level of play.

They both have a ton of potential, but at the same time, you simply can’t predict how well they’ll play once they step foot on the LCS stage. Will they draft well? Will they be on the same page? They’re both mid-tier teams for a reason, and they fail to step up more often than not. You could argue that CLG showed less over the last couple of weeks, but it’s a game of inches regardless.

The Golden Guardians should have the edge overall, and the fact that they went blow-for-blow with Cloud9 last week should give them the confidence going forward. Both teams know that this game is a must win because they not only need every game they can get, but taking their opponent down will propel them upwards while at the same time kick their adversaries down a notch.

We’re going with the Golden Guardians on this one, but it’s not going to be clean or dominant. If they draft well and set Froggen up, they should be more than capable at taking CLG down.

Winner: Golden Guardians, 1.80 (odds @ Betway)

Cloud9 vs. Team Liquid — The game of the day, without a doubt. This is a must watch regardless of your allegiance. Team Liquid has been Cloud9’s kryptonite throughout 2018, and have even managed to outclass them in the opening game of the 2019 Spring Split. Both teams are absolutely immaculate in their play, they’re cohesive, aggressive, and highly capable.

It’s hard to predict the outcome because both of these titans have played out of their minds over the last couple of weeks. They weren’t perfect, but when they decided to step up and close things out, they were absolutely phenomenal.

It’s going to be an absolute barnburner, and if there’s one match that you should watch this week, make sure to tune in for this one. Regardless, we have to make a pick, and we’re going with Team Liquid. Even though Cloud9 have been on fire, they haven’t been able to take Liquid down in recent history. They have the tools within their arsenal to make this into one incredibly close game, but we can’t give them the benefit of the doubt. Not against this incarnation of Team Liquid — the best one in history.

Winner: Team Liquid, 1.50 (odds @ Betway)

Team Solo Mid vs. 100 Thieves — For our third game of the day, we have a pretty one-sided clash between the North American titans Team Solo Mid and 100 Thieves. You’d think that this would be a top-tier clash seeing the amount of talent within the 100 Thieves roster, but it’s basically a fight between a Top 3 team, an aggressive, playmaking contender, and a bottom three team — if not even the worst team in the region.

Now sure, 100 Thieves have the tools in order to make this a highly contested affair, but the odds are stacked against them, and then some. TSM, on the other hand, are looking like their vintage 2016 incarnation. They’re hungry to win, and even though they’ve been playing as a five-man unit for three/four months, they’ve made incredible strides in an incredibly short time span. They’re one of the best teams in the region, and there’s absolutely no chance that 100 Thieves could upset.

We’re going with Team Solo Mid on this one, and with full confidence.

Winner: Team Solo Mid, 1.35 (odds @ Betway)

Clutch Gaming vs. FlyQuest — This is where things get incredibly interesting. Well, at least if you’re invested in the region and the playoff picture. FlyQuest are definitely the favorites here, but after witnessing Clutch’s incredible level of play last week, we’re inclined to believe that this won’t be nearly as one-sided as many think it will.

By all accounts, Clutch should have been tied with FlyQuest right now had they not lost a game they had basically won. They had a five thousand gold lead at the fifteen-minute mark against 100 Thieves, and they basically had the game in the bag. After an incredibly hectic early game tempo, they fell off — hard. They wanted to close things out by the book, and as a result, allowed 100 Thieves to claw back.

It was a crushing defeat, but they were able to bounce back just a day afterwards against Echo Fox, and completely outclass their adversaries in what was almost a perfect game.

FlyQuest, on the other hand, failed to do anything worth mentioning. They’re winless over the last two weeks, and they’re simply too out of sync at this point, which is pretty confusing. They’ve been playing at an incredibly high level over the first few weeks of the split, but have regressed considerably. Whether or not they’ll be able to pick up the pace remains to be seen, but they simply don’t deserve any benefit of the doubt at this point.

Clutch have been looking mighty hungry to make the playoffs, and they want to prove people wrong for doubting them. With Piglet, Damonte, and Huni stepping up, they might as well be able to do so. Either way, prepare for a slugfest that will surely deviate into the fiesta realm fairly quickly.

Winner: Clutch Gaming, 2.05 (odds @ Betway)

Echo Fox vs. OpTic Gaming — To close out the day, we have a relatively underwhelming clash between a mid-tier gatekeeper and a team that is the poster child for mind-boggling inconsistency and volatility. Echo Fox are currently sharing the “honors” of being a bottom two team along with 100 Thieves, and they have shown no signs of improvement recently. In fact, the opposite.

OpTic, on the other hand, are still an unknown quantity. They’ve been stepping up immensely but at the most random of times. They have some incredibly players within their ranks, but their synergy is still suspect. There are moments of incredible brilliance, but also moments of absolute chaos and bad communication.

Regardless, they should have the edge over Echo Fox almost by default. They know that this is an easy win, and they need one seeing how they’re up against Team Solo Mid a day later.

Winner: OpTic Gaming, 1.60 (odds @ Betway)

DAY TWO

Team Liquid vs. Golden Guardians — This is a really interesting match-up, even though it might not look like it at first glance. The last time these two teams fought, things were far closer than anyone had ever anticipated. The Golden Guardians were able to go blow-for-blow with Liquid throughout the game, and even come ahead in the early game. That’s not something anyone would expect from a team that was up against the likes of Doublelift & Co.

While that occurrence does make things somewhat more interesting, it’s downright impossible to side with the Golden Guardians right now. Liquid is simply playing on another level, and their stellar win against Cloud9 yesterday allowed them to not only lock in a playoff spot (with just a single loss on their record), but also differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack. They’re playing some insane League of Legends right now, and they’re only getting better with each passing week.

We’re going with Liquid on this one, and even though they might not exactly outclass the Golden Guardians as many would expect, they should still be more than capable at taking them down.

Winner: Team Liquid, 1.15 (odds @ Betway)

FlyQuest vs. Echo Fox — After the exciting opener, things get downhill for a bit. This isn’t exactly the pinnacle of top tier League of Legends, but for both of these two teams this is an incredibly important match. People are already writing Echo Fox out of the playoff race, and with good reason. They’re simply a bad team right now, and they would have to overcome too big of a hurdle in order to get into playoff contention.

FlyQuest, on the other hand, are a potent, deceptively strong mid tier contender. That said, they’re inconsistent and fairly volatile. Fortunately, they’re focusing on the things that made them strong back when the split began, so they should get back to their winning ways sooner rather than later. Their win against Clutch Gaming yesterday was a necessary step in the right direction.

Taking Echo Fox down should be an easy hurdle to overcome, and that might even be an understatement. While they shouldn’t take anything for granted, this should be an easy, one-sided win.

Winner: FlyQuest, 1.60 (odds @ Betway)

OpTic Gaming vs. Team Solo Mid — This is where things get extremely interesting.  While Team Solo Mid have sole possession of third place, their spot is far from secure. They’re only two wins up over the mid-tier clump, and they could, by all means, lose their spot if things go awry. Their showing yesterday against 100 Thieves was abysmal, in every way, shape, and form. They didn’t look like a top tier team, nor did they play like one. They were reactive, making egregious errors across the board, and nearly lost the game.

Sure, they did bounce back, but the fact that they were put in such a thankless position by one of the worst teams in the entire region is not a good sign. Either way, we can chalk this one up as a “one-off” blunder, and give them the benefit of the doubt.

OpTic Gaming, on the other hand, are quietly rising up the ranks. They have a respectable 6W-7L record, and have looked good every single week. They’re not exactly a world beater just yet, but they have some extremely solid players within their ten-man roster. Meteos has been stepping up immensely, and the same goes for former World Champion Crown and Arrow. They’re deceptively strong and definitely have the tools to make this a highly contested affair.

What’ll happen is completely up in the air. They could, by all accounts, take TSM down. That wouldn’t be such a huge upset seeing how badly TSM played yesterday. We’re siding with TSM on this one, but if you’re betting, perhaps it would be best if you just skipped this match entirely. It really can go either way.

Winner: Team Solo Mid, 1.40 (odds @ Betway)

100 Thieves vs. Cloud9 — For our fourth game of the day, we have a clash between one of the best teams in the region — Cloud9, and one  of the worst — 100 Thieves. It’s easy to say that Cloud9 should, by all means, outclass 100 Thieves, but the former 2018 Spring Split finalists have been picking up steam lately. While they’re not doing it at a fast pace, they are improving.

They shouldn’t be underestimated. After all, they have immense talent within their five-man line-up, and it’s only a matter of time before they consolidate all that talent and start playing as well as they can. Then again, other than Team Liquid, Cloud9 are literally the hardest and most complex team to tackle right now. They’re exceptionally strong and have shown no signs of stopping.

We’re going with Cloud9 on this one, but seeing how both teams love to fight from the very get-go, you can expect a back-and-forth game filled with fireworks. Cloud9 should be able to get the win, regardless of how the game develops.

Winner: Cloud9, 1.22 (odds @ Betway)

Counter Logic Gaming vs. Clutch Gaming — To close out the week, we have a pretty interesting clash between CLG and Clutch Gaming. This is by no means a must watch game, but it should deliver regardless. Both teams love to skirmish throughout the game, and they’re looking to make a statement. They’re still not out of the running for playoffs, but seeing their level of play yesterday doesn’t exactly instill any confidence. Both rosters have some potential, but the odds are stacked against them. They have both had flashes of brilliance, but they were too few and far between in order to warrant a spot higher up the rankings.

If we had to describe both teams in a single phrase, that would be “painful inconsistency”. Regardless, we’re going with Clutch Gaming on this one. CLG have opted to start with two of their Academy players, which seriously hindered their synergy — as was evident from their loss to the Golden Guardians yesterday. While they do have the tools within their arsenal to make this into a highly competitive game, Clutch should be able to step up and dominate.

That said, much like with the TSM vs. OpTic Gaming game, if you’re betting perhaps it would be best to skip this match altogether. It will be a game of inches, and it could go either way.

Winner: Clutch Gaming, 1.90 (odds @ Betway)

CONTINUE READING

LCS 2019 Spring Split — Week 6 Preview, Betting Tips & Odds

March 2nd, 2019

Photo: Riot Games

We are on the brink of the sixth week of competitive LCS play, and things really cannot get any more exciting. Things started off slow when it came to North America — as they often do. It was understandable, after all, seeing how many teams underwent serious change during the off-season. Everyone was trying to lock down an identity for the 2019 season, and some teams did a better job than others.

Five weeks in though, we finally have a good enough of a read on all ten teams that are competing. We have a better understanding on whether or not a team has the potential to reach the top, or if they’ll fight for scraps, watching the playoffs back from home like the rest of us.

Regardless, let’s take a closer look at this week’s games in order to see who’ll come out on top!

DAY ONE

Clutch Gaming vs. 100 Thieves — To start things off, we have a clash between Clutch Gaming and 100 Thieves. To be perfectly blunt, you can skip this game entirely and not miss out on anything. Both teams are tied for ninth place, and with good reason. They’re painfully inconsistent and volatile, and they simply don’t have what it takes to compete at the highest possible level right now. That doesn’t mean that they don’t have the tools within their disposal to fight back and make things somewhat competitive — because they absolutely do. Problem is, you never really know which version of these teams will come out and play. Predicting their games is downright impossible, as both teams are prone to smaller flashes of brilliance. Regardless, 100 Thieves haven’t shown anything on the Rift so far worth mentioning, so we’re going with Clutch Gaming on this one.

While it surely won’t be clean nor dominant, Clutch Gaming should be able to get the win.

Winner: Clutch Gaming, 2.10 (odds @ Betway)

Team Solo Mid vs. Echo Fox — This is where things get a lot more interesting, although this is also far from a must watch either. The people that will tune in, however, just want to see Team Solo Mid continue their dominant win streak, and instill a bit more confidence into their recent resurgence. They had a couple of exceptional games, they looked downright fantastic over the last two weeks, but we still need a bit more before we start to believe in their redemption 2019 storyline.

They’re currently the team to beat, and seeing how Echo Fox won’t be starting with their jungler Rush but instead with a sub, they should be a fair bit weaker. It’s not that Rush played well, but they had developed synergy as a five-man unit, and upsetting that set-up will surely affect their play as well. Either way, this one should be a fairly one-sided shellacking from TSM. They need all the wins they can get, and their road towards the top continues by taking Echo Fox down on Friday.

Winner: Team Solo Mid, 1.35 (odds @ Betway)

Golden Guardians vs. Cloud9 — This is where things get a lot more exciting, and that might even be an understatement. This is a clash between the number two ranked team in Cloud9, and a highly capable, albeit painfully inconsistent, up-and-coming contender in the Golden Guardians. This is a must-watch game, primarily because it promises a ton of fireworks from both sides. Both teams love to skirmish throughout the game and we’re surely in for a ton of action from the very get-go.

That said, even though the Guardians are entering this week on a high, they shouldn’t be able to compete with the likes of Cloud9. The boys in black and blue are far too synergized and flexible in all stages of the game, and should be more than capable at taking the Guardians down in relatively clean fashion.

Winner: Cloud9, 1.28 (odds @ Betway)

Counter Logic Gaming vs. FlyQuest — Much like the game before it, this clash between CLG and FlyQuest is incredibly interesting. FlyQuest are currently in sole possession of fourth place, and are looking like a very solid mid-tier contender. They’re the Splyce of North America — strong enough to outclass teams below them, and yet not capable enough in order to take down the teams above them. Counter Logic Gaming, however, are an unknown quantity even after five weeks of competitive play. We’ve seen enough, and we know that they have some potential, but just how strong they are remains to be seen. This will be a great test for everyone involved. If FlyQuest win, they will further separate themselves from the middle of the standings, whereas if CLG get the win, they’ll make yet another solid step towards reaching the playoffs after a painfully underwhelming 2018 season.

That said, FlyQuest have displayed far better synergy and cohesion across the board in their first ten games, and even though they have just a slightly better overall win-loss record, they have been able to take down far greater opposition in order to get here. While they’re far from world-beater status, they’re still a highly competitive and capable contender in the making. They also don’t have any glaring issues. They do make individual mistakes from time to time (mainly in the bottom lane), and they don’t always have the best early game, but they compensate through their stellar mental fortitude and late game team fighting.

We’re going with FlyQuest on this one, but it could be exceptionally close.

Winner: FlyQuest, 1.55 (odds @ Betway)

OpTic Gaming vs. Team Liquid — To close things out, we have yet another engaging clash between the defending champions Team Liquid, and a team that’s in a four-way tie for fourth place. The reason as to why this match-up is so exciting isn’t what you’d expect. Team Liquid are, by all means, favored and they should be able to win in relatively clean fashion, but OpTic Gaming is downright impossible to read right now. They’re still building synergy as a ten-man roster, and we are still witnessing growing pains. Regardless, they’re deceptively strong and they’re also pretty creative both in the draft phase as well as in-game.

Regardless, Liquid have the edge lane-by-lane and should be able to get the win. That said, it probably won’t be as one-sided and clean as many people expect. Liquid are vulnerable, and OpTic’s creative shot calling and underdog mentality could allow them to go blow-for-blow, at least for a good portion of the game.

Winner: Team Liquid, 1.22 (odds @ Betway)

DAY TWO

Betting on the second day of LCS play should be heavily influenced by how things resolved the day prior. Right now, we’re siding with the following teams based on what we’ve seen throughout the first five weeks of competitive play.

Echo Fox vs. Clutch Gaming — Clutch should have an edge throughout the game, although it’s going to be insanely close. If you’re betting on the LCS this week, then skipping this match would be for the best. It really can go either way.

Winner: Clutch Gaming, 1.95 (odds @ Betway)

100 Thieves vs. Golden Guardians — We’re going with the Golden Guardians on this one. While it should be pretty even overall, the Guardians deserve our benefit of the doubt after bouncing back from an abysmal start to the season. They have simply shown more on the Rift over the last couple of weeks and should be able to take 100 Thieves down, barring any mind-boggling drafting decisions that they’re somewhat known for.

Winner: Golden Guardians, 2.10 (odds @ Betway)

Cloud9 vs. Team Solo Mid — The perennial clash between two LCS champions and rivals. Predicting the outcome of this match is the stuff nightmares are made off, primarily because both teams have been playing so exceptionally well over the last couple of weeks. That said, we have to side with the 2018 World Championship semifinalists — Cloud9. They know how to close things out, they can easily snowball if they get a lead, and they’re also incredibly dangerous even from a deficit. They’re well-rounded and should be able to take TSM down. That said, this should be an insanely close game.

Winner: Cloud9, 1.60 (odds @ Betway)

Team Liquid vs. Counter Logic Gaming — Liquid should have an edge, regardless of how well CLG plays the day before. They have the better players in every single lane and should, by all means, be able to emerge victorious with relative ease.

Winner: Team Liquid, 1.15 (odds @ Betway)

FlyQuest vs. OpTic Gaming — Finally, we have a clash between two mid-tier teams. Both teams are looking to further distance themselves from the middle of the pack, but we simply have to go with FlyQuest. They’ve done and shown more over the last five weeks and should have an edge, even though this is far from a one-sided match seeing how OpTic Gaming stepped up over the last two weeks.

Winner: FlyQuest, 1.60 (odds @ Betway)

CONTINUE READING

LCS 2019 Spring Split — Week 5 Preview, Betting Tips & Odds

February 23rd, 2019

Photo: Riot Games

After five exciting weeks of play, we have finally reached the middle point of the 2019 Spring Split. We’ve had a ton of fantastic, close games, but also a lot of one-sided shellackings and abysmal fiestas. Overall, the LCS is a mystery right now. There are some top tier contenders like Team Liquid, TSM, Cloud9, and perhaps FlyQuest, but a good portion of them are still finding their footing in 2019.

Anyone below them, however, is completely volatile. They’re prone to having exceptional games and flashes of brilliance, but also moments of immense weakness. Predicting how the middle of standings will pan out is an impossible task right now, and it’ll probably remain that way over the next week or two as well.

This week, however, is incredibly important. Teams that are at the top need to maintain their level of play, while those who aren’t as high in the standings need to step up as quickly as possible and get some wins on the board in order to differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack.

So without any further ado, let’s go over this week’s games!

DAY ONE

OpTic Gaming vs. 100 Thieves — This is pretty much an even fight, standings-wise. Both teams displayed a lot of potential throughout the first few weeks of play, but they were also painfully mediocre more often than not. You can argue that 100 Thieves had a small resurgence two weeks ago, only to fall back into the bottom of the standings.

They’re currently tied for seventh with a somewhat acceptable three wins and five losses score. It’s underwhelming regardless of the way you look at things, seeing how they were supposed to come into the 2019 season and start dominating left and right with the sheer amount of talent that’s present within their five-man roster.

OpTic, on the other hand, looked somewhat better last week with their “A team”, but it wasn’t enough to land them a win. They’re on a five-game losing streak, and it doesn’t seem like they’ll be able to pick up the pace going forward. They’re still a strong contender overall, but their strengths aren’t that prevalent.

This is a hard game to predict, basically, mainly because you don’t really know how bad either team will look. It’s more of a matter of “who’ll make less mistakes”, and when a game degrades to that point, it’s completely up in the air.

Regardless, 100 Thieves arguably showed a bit more over the last couple of weeks, so we’re going with them on this one. That said, if you’re betting this week, perhaps it’s best to skip this game altogether seeing how it’s basically a coin toss.

Winner: 100 Thieves, 1.60 (odds @ Betway)

Team Liquid vs. Echo Fox — This is where things pick up the pace considerably. Team Liquid are entering the game with a bit less hype than most were expecting, seeing how they were recently handed their first loss of the 2019 season by Team Solo Mid. What can we say about Liquid right about now? They’re an exceptional team, and they’re arguably the best North America has to offer.

That said, they have an unexpectedly weak early game. You don’t really expect a team to be this weak early on, especially not with this much talent within their ranks. But many teams were able to go blow-for-blow with Liquid throughout the last couple of weeks, with TSM being the only one that managed to break the mold and actually snowball their leads towards a victory.

There’s no messing around with Liquid, and their recent loss will surely make them angry. They’re looking for redemption and they want to have a couple of statement games this week. Fortunately for them, with Echo Fox and 100 Thieves lined up, they should be more than capable enough of taking both down with relative ease.

Echo Fox are currently tied for fourth, and how they’ve achieved such a thing while also being so painfully inconsistent and volatile is beyond any comprehension. They’re good, but their games and strengths are extremely uneven. You never know which Echo Fox will come out and play (perhaps that’s the de facto Echo Fox, their DNA), and that’s a problem at this level of play.

Regardless, they have some potential and they could challenge Liquid early on. Conversely, Liquid has the tools at their disposal to make quick work of Echo Fox through their stellar mid and late game shotcalling and team fighting. If a team wants to take Liquid down, they basically have to play a perfect game — something Echo Fox isn’t capable of doing.

Betting on Liquid is the better and more logical choice.

Winner: Team Liquid, 1.20 (odds @ Betway)

Clutch Gaming vs. Golden Guardians — This is where things get exceptionally interesting, at least from a betting perspective. The Golden Guardians are, for reasons unknown, even odds-wise with the 2W-6L Clutch Gaming. This is your chance to make a big win, and even though betting on a mid-tier team isn’t always that safe, the Guardians are currently a Top 5 team, without a shadow of a doubt.

They’re deceptively strong and capable, and they’re on the upswing. They recently took down Counter Logic Gaming, and even TSM. In what world would they lose out to Clutch Gaming? A team that has failed to register a win over the last three weeks. The only two wins they have on the board are from week one, and they’ve been looking relatively abysmal in their recent outings. They’re just not playing good League of Legends right now, and it’s evident with each of their game on the Rift as well.

They’re not exactly a pushover, to be fair, but if we were to judge based on recent results, they are definitely the worst team in the entire region. There’s some potential, and you can never count their mid laner Damonte out, but as a whole, as a five-man unit, they shouldn’t be able to compete with the likes of Golden Guardians.

Betting on this one should, by all means, pay off big time.

Winner: Golden Guardians, 1.85 (odds @ Betway)

FlyQuest vs. Cloud9 — The hardest game of the day to predict, without a doubt. Both teams are entering the week with a ton of hype and momentum, and even though that was expected from Cloud9, seeing FlyQuest this high up the rankings is still a shocking sight. They’re exceptional, in a strange way, and they’re playing their hearts out each and every time they step foot on the Rift.

They’re all playing on an incredibly high level, but it is their stellar sinergy that is allowing them to compete with the very best teams in the region. Pobelter is at the top of his game, Santorin is playing better than in year’s past, and their bottom lane is deceptively strong and capable, especially when it comes to mid and late game team fighting and skirmishing.

Even their latest addition to the roster, streamer-extraordinaire V1per has been doing a ton of heavy lifting regardless of the champion he gets put on. Overall, they’re extremely capable, even though they might not look the part, and should not be underestimated.

Cloud9, on the other hand, are on a four-game win streak, and they’re as capable as ever. The loss of Jensen didn’t backtrack them too much, and they’re still playing at the highest possible level. There’s really not a lot that you can say about Cloud9 that hasn’t already been said. They’re extremely flexible, highly talented, they can pull off a wide variety of team comps and they can fight and dominate even when they’re at a gold deficit. There’s really no team like Cloud9 in the region, and perhaps in the world as well.

That said, we’ve seen their skill ceiling against Team Liquid, and that limit may or may not be temporary. They’re still meshing with Nisqy, and the fact that they’ve managed to lock down a spot right behind the mammoth Team Liquid even with such a key change in the roster is worthy of the highest praise. They’re poised to make yet another deep run in the season, and they’re looking to have a repeat performance from last year.

We’re going with Cloud9 on this one, although it’ll probably be an unnervingly close game that’ll be decided by the slimmest of margins. We’re giving Cloud9 the benefit of the doubt, and with good reason. They know FlyQuest are breathing on their neck standings-wise, and they know this is a key game to win if they want to keep onto their second spot.

Winner: Cloud9, 1.55 (odds @ Betway)

Team Solo Mid vs. Counter Logic Gaming — To close out the day, we have a perennial match-up, one that’s exciting and close regardless of the meta and season. TSM and CLG always come out to play, and it’s always filled with fireworks. Both teams are currently tied for fourth, but you have to give the edge over to Team Solo Mid for a wide variety of reasons. While both rosters looked volatile over the lat couple of weeks, it was TSM that was able to step up and start playing like an incredibly potent five-man unit.

So much so that they were able to outclass Team Liquid last weekend. It was a picture-perfect game, without any mistakes or blunders, and they were able to execute their game plan to a tee. It was an aggressive, in-your-face kind of TSM that we haven’t seen for year — since 2016, to be more exact. They were proactive, making plays across the map, and when they accrued a big enough lead, they didn’t hesitate when they had to close things out.

CLG, on the other hand, won a game against Clutch Gaming (which was expected), and lost to the Golden Guardians. They’re a solid mid-tier team, but they don’t have what it takes in order to take down a game TSM that’s aggressive and in-sync. We’re going with the boys in black and white for this one.

Winner: Team Solo Mid, 1.50 (odds @ Betway)

DAY TWO

Golden Guardians vs. Echo Fox — We’re going with the Guardians on this one, although it could be a lot more even than people expect it to. Echo Fox are extremely volatile, and you never really know what’ll happen. That said, the Guardians are on an upswing and they’ve looked a lot better with each new outing.

They should be able to take down Echo Fox in relatively clean fashion. They know this is make or break, and that by winning this game they’re getting much closer to the playoffs.

Winner: Golden Guardians, 2.10 (odds @ Betway)

OpTic Gaming vs. Clutch Gaming — A fight between two bottom tier teams — literally. We’re siding with OpTic gaming on this one purely because of the sheer talent and experience that they have on the roster, although it’s important to highlight that it’s pretty much a 50/50 kind of game.

Winner: OpTic Gaming, 1.80 (odds @ Betway)

Cloud9 vs. Counter Logic Gaming — Cloud9 should have the edge on paper, and in reality as well. They’re the more calculated, but also the more aggressive team. They’re more in sync and they have better players in every single lane. That said, Cloud9 and CLG games always end up being insanely close for a wide variety of reasons. These two teams always bring out the best in each other, and this game should be no exception.

Expect a ton of bloodshed and hectic five-on-five team fighting throughout the game — just how we like it.

Winner: Cloud9, 1.40 (odds @ Betway)

FlyQuest vs. Team Solo Mid — Another hard game to call. You should really focus on how well both of these teams play on Saturday, because that’ll heavily impact the outcome of this game as well. Both FlyQuest and TSM are exceptionally strong, but they’re also somewhat volatile. Case in point, TSM recently lost to the Golden Guardians whereas FlyQuest got outclassed by Echo Fox, of all teams.

We’re siding with Team Solo Mid, primarily because their win over Team Liquid should have “unlocked” them and their potential. They’re entering the middle point of the split with a ton of hype and momentum, and they should be able to use it fully. That said, FlyQuest are deceptively capable, and should not be underestimated.

They have the tools at their disposal in order to make this into a highly competitive scrap.

Winner: Team Solo Mid, 1.65 (odds @ Betway)

Team Liquid vs. 100 Thieves — To close out the week, we have a pretty one-sided, rather uneventful conclusion. Even after their awful blunder against TSM, they’re still predicted as the best and most capable team in the region, and with good reason. While they might have lost some stock coming into week five, they’re an LCS behemoth regardless and should, by all means, be more than capable at taking 100 Thieves down in relatively easy and dominant fashion.

Betting on Liquid would be the more logical choice.

Winner: Team Liquid, 1.30 (odds @ Betway)

CONTINUE READING

LCS 2019 Spring Split — Week 4 Day 2 Preview, Betting Tips & Odds

February 17th, 2019

Photo: Riot Games

We have now passed the first third of the 2019 Spring Split, which while might not seem like much, is enough to give us a good read on the meta and on the all ten teams that are competing. While we do have a big enough sample size to judge everyone involved, it’s still to early to tell if it’s just Team Liquid steamrolling through all competition, or if the region itself isn’t particularly strong right now.

Either way, let’s take a closer look at the upcoming ten matches, but also highlight three main ones where betting on the underdog could pan out immensely!

Echo Fox vs. 100 Thieves

If we didn’t have Team Liquid vs. TSM just an hour or so afterwards, this would surely be the game of the day. That said, this one isn’t exactly promising fireworks, but it’s probably going to be an exquisite game regardless. Both teams are highly volatile, and they can either reach immense success or implode in the process. Heck, sometimes they can do both within a single game — they’re that inconsistent.

Both teams are entering today’s match without much hype and momentum. They were on the receiving end of things yesterday as they lost to Cloud9 and FlyQuest respectively. There’s not much to go by, unfortunately, because both of their games were lackluster showings, they were passive, reactive, they couldn’t keep up with their opponents, and in the end they barely did anything worth mentioning.

We’re going with 100 Thieves on this one, and with full confidence. Echo Fox are completely out of sync, and even though they do have flashes of brilliance, they are too few and far between. 100 Thieves, on the other hand, should be able to get the win due to the fact that they’re just a little bit less passive and their team fighting is on a completely different level.

Winner: 100 Thieves, 1.45 (odds @ Betway)

Counter Logic Gaming vs. Golden Guardians

We’re going with the Golden Guardians on this one. They have finally managed to step up and play as a five-man unit, and it’s a fantastic sight. They’re not a Top 3 team by any stretch of the imagination, but they’re playoff contenders for sure. They were able to go blow-for-blow with Team Liquid, and you could even argue that they were unlucky throughout the game. When their Nexus exploded, they had a perfectly acceptable five thousand gold deficit, against the best team in the region.

For a team that’s currently 2-7, that’s something. CLG are no slouches, that’s for sure, but they’re far more inconsistent and their individual play is often sloppy and indecisive. They’re capable of some great League of Legends, but the fact that they’re not able to output it consistently is a big problem, especially at this level of play. They will, however, make things highly competitive, but the Guardians know that this is an easy win, and also a must win if they want to keep their playoff hopes alive. They need to start stringing victories sooner rather than later if they want to reach the Top 6. Fortunately, if they play like they did yesterday, getting a win over Counter Logic Gaming should be within the realm of possibility.

Winner: Golden Guardians, 2.10 (odds @ Betway)

Team Liquid vs. Team Solo Mid

TSM were finally able to get back to their winning ways after a pretty solid showing against OpTic Gaming. It was a back-and-forth game that, in a way, could have went either side, but it was TSM’s stellar team fighting and individual play that allowed them to close things out. Everyone played up to their full potential, with Zven being particularly dominant and impactful on a bottom lane Cassiopeia.

Then again, on the other side, they have Team Liquid. Facing the only lossless team in the LCS is never an easy task. Far from it. Even when they had their backs against the wall, they always find a way to turn things back around. Whether it’s through their stellar macro, individual play, or spectacular team fighting doesn’t matter — they have so many avenues for victory that it’s not even fair towards the rest of the LCS.

How can one bet against Liquid? It’s simple. You don’t. While it probably won’t be easy, they should get the win regardless.

Winner: Team Liquid, 1.28 (odds @ Betway)

FlyQuest vs. Clutch Gaming

While Clutch are a multi-threat, layered opponent that’s capable to turning things around in a split-second, they’re still not that competitive of a team overall. Much like Echo Fox, they can perform unexpectedly well at the most random of times, but when push comes to shove, when they have to step up and consistently play up to a certain level, they’re nowhere to be found.

FlyQuest, on the other hand, even though they’re still a bit rough around the edges, are a worthy contender. They’re currently sitting at four wins and three losses, and are coming off of a clean and dominant showing against 100 Thieves. They were better individually, and they executed their team comp to a tee. While they were relatively passive throughout the early game, they knew they could count on their mid and late game team fighting.

While it probably won’t be particularly one-sided, FlyQuest should be more than capable at taking Clutch Gaming down, thus cementing their spot as a playoff-worthy team in the LCS.

Winner: FlyQuest, 1.75 (odds @ Betway)

OpTic Gaming vs. Cloud9

Finally, we have a clash between OpTic Gaming and the 2018 World Championship semifinalists — Cloud9. OpTic were able to make things very competitive against Team Solo Mid yesterday, and the fact that their “A team” has stepped up so immensely should make them a worthy adversary for anyone in the LCS. That said, they’re still rough around the edges, they’re still making individual mistakes left and right, they’re still relatively passive and reactive when they should instead be dictating the tempo of the game, and so on.

They’re a great team overall, but they’re not exactly displaying a ton of potential for the Spring Split. When Summer comes along they could, by all means, be able to compete for the playoffs, but unless they bring back Dardoch and start playing in a more aggressive manner, they shouldn’t be able to reach a spot in the Top 6. That said, they have multiple veterans within their ranks, so they should be able to make things somewhat competitive.

We’re going with Cloud9 on this one and with full confidence. They’re simply on another level right now, and they want to continue their winning ways and eventually lock down a playoff bye.

Winner: Cloud9, 1.30 (odds @ Betway)

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LCS 2019 Spring Split — Week 3 Day 2 Preview, Betting Tips & Odds

February 10th, 2019

Photo: Riot Games

The second week of the LCS gave us a lot of exciting things to talk about. We had multiple exceptional games, some close affairs, but in the end — not a lot resolved from week one. We did, of course, get a better understanding on all of the ten teams that are competing, whether or not they’re working on their in-game problems and how they’re approaching competitive play in a nutshell, but it’s still far too early to give out any concrete verdict.

Let’s take a closer look at a couple of important week three matches in order to see how each team is doing and what’s most likely to happen going forward.

Clutch Gaming vs. Cloud9

What can one say about Clutch Gaming. They’re still a complete mystery three weeks in. A lot of amazing play all-around, and then some confusing blunders just mere moments later. Incredibly inconsistent and volatile. They’re talented, that’s for sure, but they need more time before becoming an actual contender.

Cloud9, on the other hand, were able to take down TSM after an insanely hectic and close barnburner. They were far from perfect, that’s important to highlight, but their superior late game team fighting allowed them to best their perennial adversaries and make it a statement game. They’re still not ready to compete with the likes of Team Liquid, but they’re definitely a Top 3 team right now that has a ton of potential.

We’re going with the boys in black and blue for this one. That said, Clutch Gaming have the tools that are necessary in order to make this into a highly competitive scrap.

Winner: Cloud9, 1.55 (odds @ Betway)

Golden Guardians vs. Team Solo Mid

The Golden Guardians were finally able to get a win on the board — and that’s great. This time around though, they’re up against a game Team Solo Mid. TSM failed to take down Cloud9, but they looked relatively good in losing regardless. It was a slow game, a game of inches, and Cloud9 simply had the better tools for the late game.

It’s hard siding with the Guardians seeing how they’re still incredibly sloppy, out of sync, and their individual play is filled with errors. They’re just not good as a five-man unit yet, and even though they’re getting there they still need more time.

TSM, even in losing, managed to do things well. They kept things pretty competitive throughout the game, and they’re improving with each new game — regardless if it’s a win or a loss. Losing to Cloud9 is no shame, especially not after they managed to reach such momentous heights at the World Championship last year.

This match, in a nutshell, is fairly one-sided. While the Guardians might be able to make it somewhat competitive, seeing how they have ample talent within their five-man line-up, they shouldn’t be able to go blow-for-blow with Team Solo Mid. Not in the slightest.

In the end, the boys in black and white should emerge victorious. It probably won’t be particularly clean and dominant, seeing how they’re still forming their 2019 identity, but they should be able to get the win regardless.

Winner: Team Solo Mid, 1.32 (odds @ Betway)

100 Thieves vs. Counter Logic Gaming

One of the more exciting matches of the day for sure. Counter Logic Gaming are entering the game on a three-game win streak, whereas 100 Thieves are still fresh from taking Clutch Gaming down. Now, while that might not seem like a great achievement, you have to remember that Clutch were sitting on a very respectable 2-2 record. Now they’re tied with 100 Thieves.

Predicting the outcome of this game is downright impossible. We’ve seen a lot of good, and a lot of bad from both teams. Flashes of brilliance but also shows of despair and non-existing cohesion.

CLG, however, showed a bit more strength and bravado. They’re a veteran roster that’s infused with some young blood thanks to their new jungler, and they’re looking to continue their redemption story after a painfully mediocre 2018 season. They’re still not there yet, but seeing how 100 Thieves displayed far more problems in their first three weeks of competitive play, we have to side with Counter Logic Gaming.

That said, this should be an insanely close game. If you’re looking to bet, perhaps it’s best to skip it altogether. It can really go either way.

Winner: Counter Logic Gaming, 2.30 (odds @ Betway)

FlyQuest vs. Echo Fox

Echo Fox have the tools in order to make this a closely contested affair but the level of play that FlyQuest has displayed over the last couple of weeks is head and shoulders above anything that an out of sync Echo Fox squad can bring.

It might not be particularly one-sided, but after witnessing them go blow-for-blow with the likes of Team Liquid, there’s no reason as to why they shouldn’t be able to take down Echo Fox.

Winner: FlyQuest, 1.60 (odds @ Betway)

Team Liquid vs. OpTic Gaming

Yet another one-sided shellacking just waiting to happen. The situation OpTic find themselves in is a confusing one. So even though their “B team” played far above expectations, even though they managed to compete at the highest level, they were still subbed out (a portion of them, at least) in favor of the original five-man line-up.

But after seeing them play against Golden Guardians yesterday, it’s hard to give them the benefit of the doubt. They didn’t do much, overall. There were some glimpses of brilliance, but they were minute and negligible in the grand scheme of things. They were sloppy, out of sync, and they failed to mount an offensive from the get-go.

To make matters even worse, they’re up against the reigning champions Team Liquid. There’s simply no way around it — this should be a quick game, barring any exceptional mind-blowing gameplay from the OpTic side.

Winner: Team Liquid, 1.22 (odds @ Betway)

 

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