Photo: Riot Games

The final week of the regular season is upon us, and things cannot be more exciting. With just 10 more matches left to be played (not counting eventual tie-breakers), things have never been so close.

Last week we had the chance to see just how closely matched teams are, as TSM struggled highly to defeat the sixth placed Team Envy on Sunday night. With teams being somewhat equally skilled, nuances end up being the deciding factor which makes betting somewhat complicated.

Let’s take a closer look at the upcoming week and the matches that await us.

Immortals vs. Team Envy & Echo Fox

For a team so highly lauded as the best in the NA LCS, they’re not playing that well. They barely managed to salvage their train wreck of a series against TL, and have looked lost in the draft against Dignitas – a series they ended up losing. They’re simply not at home with the current meta, and that allows their opponents the upper hand. Luckily for them, they have amazing team cohesion, so teams like Envy and Echo Fox should not present too big of a problem.

Thing is, as a number one team – they want to have control from the very beginning of the game, and that’s not happening at the moment. That said, they’re obviously at the very top and with good reason. Betting on them to win this week is the only logical choice.

vs. Team Envy

Winner: Immortals, 1.50 (odds @ Bet365)

vs. Echo Fox

Winner: Immortals, 1.25 (odds @ Bet365)

Team Dignitas vs. Team Liquid & Counter Logic Gaming

What an unexpected surge from Dignitas over the last couple of weeks. They have absolutely wrecked house, beating out TSM, Immortals and CLG. Their only recent loss came to Cloud9, however it was arguably a series that could have gone either way. They have finally decided on their current roster and it is a fantastic one. Every member is performing at an insanely high level, with Altec being the biggest highlight. He constantly manages to deal fantastic DPS while having the least amounts of deaths. He is Top 3 in every statistic that matters, and it shows in his play.

They have a somewhat easy Week 9, as they’re facing a team that is essentially fighting to avoid relegations, and a struggling CLG that was just beat by the last team in the standings.

While Team Liquid shouldn’t give them much trouble, CLG could. Luckily for Dignitas, they already beat CLG even when they had Dardoch on board who was by all means a more menacing and dangerous player in-game than OmarGod. While it will surely go to three games, expect Dignitas to come out victorious. They’re too good at the moment, they have the best grasp on the meta and individually they’re all performing on the highest possible level. (by current NA standards) They have holes in their game, however teams just aren’t able to exploit them at the moment.

vs. Team Liquid

Winner: Team Dignitas, 1.28 (odds @ Bet365)

vs. Counter Logic Gaming

Winner: Team Dignitas, 2.20 (odds @ Bet365)

TSM vs. Phoenix1 & Counter Logic Gaming

The perennial NA team has really struggled over the last couple of weeks. Their wins against Echo Fox, Team Liquid and Team Envy are nothing to be proud of, as they barely managed to come out victorious, often thanks to their opponents misplaying or throwing their leads on their own. They’re slow to adapt to each new patch and to make things more complicated they are also fairly one-dimensional in the way they draft and play the game at the moment. They pick Syndra for Bjergsen and go for a scaling hypercarry and hope for the best, however they even struggle with their own comfort picks.

CLG looked very scary when they were on their game last week. The constant roams from Huhi, the amazing Camille from Darshan and aphromoo with some vintage highlight plays and saves. They’re still as scary as they ever were, however they’re still plagued by the same problems as before as well. They’re very inconsistent and to top it all off, they currently have a winless record against top teams. That, paired with at times illogical drafts and very questionable early game plays make for a team that is very hard to predict.

After all, it was madness seeing them lose to Phoenix1.

Now obviously TSM have the tendency to come back strong as they put in the time and effort to improve week by week, and this time it should be no exception. They know CLG inside out and shouldn’t have a problem beating them once again, especially now when they have a less experienced starting jungler. That said, expect it to be very close.

Winner: TSM, 1.66 (odds @ Bet365)

As for Phoenix1, they simply don’t have what it takes to take down even a struggling TSM. No matter what MikeYoung and Co. bring out, TSM will adapt and punish their mistakes far greater than CLG did last week.

Winner: TSM, 1.22 (odds @ Bet365)

Cloud9 vs. Echo Fox & Team Envy

The boys in white and blue have the easiest remaining schedule out of all teams competing, and they need it as they surely want to secure the highest possible seeding for playoffs. They ended last week on a high note, beating both Team Liquid and FlyQuest, and while those weren’t top tier teams by any stretch of the imagination, it was still a nice, dominant showing from C9. They were looking like the Cloud9 of old, with Jensen having some mindblowing performances in particular. However their games weren’t that clean, they were still making mistakes which better teams will be able to exploit, and their bottom lane underperformed heavily – Sneaky in particular.

Looking ahead, they’re entering Week 9 with some newfound confidence. They already beat Dignitas two weeks ago in 2-1 fashion, and they have a fairly solid read on the meta.

Echo Fox, while they did show big improvement, even managing to take down Phoenix1 thanks to Brandini in the top lane, don’t have enough tools to defeat Cloud9. That said, they always manage to make it insanely close and unnervingly intense, so expect it to be a 2-1 series going in C9’s favor.

Winner: Cloud9, 1.44 (odds @ Bet365)

As for Team Envy, they are truly an enigma. They locked in their playoffs spot so at least they can breathe a sigh of relief, however they don’t have what it takes to compete at the highest level no matter how well Apollo and Nisqy perform. Cloud9 know how to shut down LirA and after that it should all be smooth sailing. Cloud9 will take this 2-1.

Winner: Cloud9, 1.61 (odds @ Bet365)

FlyQuest vs. Team Liquid & Phoenix1

FlyQuest find themselves in a very tricky situation. They are currently in a three-way tie for last, and have only 4 wins and 12 losses. They are desperately fighting to avoid relegation, and to make matters more interesting they are fighting both of their relegation-bound brethren this week. They didn’t show a lot of good things. Other than a couple of standout Wildturtle + Lemonnation moments, they were outplayed in every stage of the game. Still, you could see that underneath all the chaos and bad macro, they had a good idea in mind, it’s just the execution that lacked.

Looking at their match against Team Liquid, it’s hard giving them any sort of edge. Piglet has been playing out of his mind recently, Matt finally had a couple of good Thresh games and Reignover feels right at home with the current meta. Even in their losses to C9 and IMT last week, you could see that their 2-0 in Week 7 was no fluke. They’re a lot more comfortable on the stage and with each other. Expect Team Liquid to come in strong with a starting roster that has Reignover and Goldenglue at the helm, as this is a must win for them.

Winner: Team Liquid, 2.00 (odds @ Bet365)

As for Phoenix1, they look somewhat good when ahead, however they got demolished every time they didn’t create a big lead in the early game. They were able to beat CLG and that in itself is no small task, however you have to question CLG’s play and take that into account as well. We saw the return of MikeYoung’s now famous Nidalee, and Arrow somehow managed to channel his inner 2017 Spring MVP self and completely stomp CLG on Kalista. If they manage to survive the early onslaught, they have what it takes to take down FlyQuest. They have better laners, and if Ryu comes to play like he did last week there is no doubt that they can win this series.

Winner: Phoenix1, 1.83 (odds @ Bet365)