Golden Guardians vs Team SoloMid
Friday, March 21 – 14:00 PST
Week 8 League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) will kick-off with a clash between Golden Guardians and Team SoloMid, who previously met during Week 3 of the season. The first clash between these two sides ended with TSM coming out ahead and if there won’t be any surprises, TSM should repeat their success this Friday.
TSM are entering this match in hot form, following a 2-0 week, where they defeated Cloud9 and FlyQuest, which was an impressive feat for this team. Although TSM started the Spring Split slow, I have talked before about how this team will rise up and climb the rankings and they did just that. The squad finally found their rhythm and composed the right team composition to survive the early game and take over in mid-late game, which is something they have struggled with before.
Comparing TSM to Golden Guardians, there is simply nothing that would make us believe Golden Guardians have a legitimate chance of winning here. Although GG can have their moments, especially in the early game, their mid-late game struggles are still here. There are even games where GG look very disorganised as it seems like they have no idea of how to approach their games.
Pinnacle is offering 1.909 on a -6.5 kills handicap bet on TSM, which is way too generous. GG might have their moments of greatness, but overall, they are much weaker team compared to TSM, who will enter this game with all guns blazing in a bid to win and secure an early ticket for the playoffs.
Prediction: Team SoloMid – 6.5 kills – 1.909 at Pinnacle
100 Thieves vs Cloud9
Friday, March 21 – 15:00 PST
In theory, this should be a one-sided bout, however, we have to consider the motivation these two sides will have entering this match. Cloud9 have already secured their spot in the playoffs, so they might lack some motivation to perform to the best of their abilities, meanwhile 100 Thieves, desperately need to win in order to book a spot in the final six.
What’s more, 100 Thieves have vastly improved over the last couple of weeks, which is in most part due to the better performances of their key players, namely jungler William “Meteos” Hartman, who played a pivotal role in 100 Thieves’ 2-0 Week 7, when they defeated Dignitas and Immortals.
Although Cloud9 still field better individual quality, 100 Thieves have the momentum on their side and since Meteos improved upon his disastrous performances at the start of the season, 100T finally look like a decent team.
Backing 100 Thieves to produce an upset might be an appealing bet, given that Pinnacle is offering 4.250 on Meteos and his crew, however, for the sake of this prediction, we like the total kills line better. Pinnacle is offering 1.862 on Over 21.5 kills, which is a very tempting bet to take, as 100 Thieves have shown enough to make us believe they can push C9 to their limits and drag out this match. What’s more, the league transitioned to an online format, which might result in a more scrim-like gameplay, meaning more “flashy plays” and ultimately more kills on the board.
A +8.5 kills handicap on 100 Thieves, priced at 1.819 is also a bet worth taking a look at. Although C9 should, in theory, come out ahead, their recent performances failed to convince us they can close out the series with more than eight kills to spare. Expect a close match with 20+ kills on the board and 100 Thieves proving once more they’re more than capable of going toe-to-toe with the best NA has to offer.
Prediction: Over 21.5 – 1.877 at Pinnacle
Prediction: 100 Thieves +8.5 – 1.869 at Pinnacle
Team Liquid vs Evil Geniuses
Friday, March 21 – 16:00 PST
Why exactly are Team Liquid priced as favourites to defeat Evil Geniuses is anyone’s guess, but it seems like bookmakers still believe TL’s individual quality is enough for them to defeat anyone. That might be true, but based on their overall performances and disastrous form, we would not count on it.
There is no denying Team Liquid field some of the best individuals in the LCS, however, something is holding them back from using their potential and translate it into the Rift. In Week 6, Team Liquid looked strong as they defeated TSM and 100 Thieves, however, they fell flat in Week 7, when they lost to both Immortals and Counter Logic Gaming, who, bear in mind, are not particularly strong teams, or at least not as strong as Evil Genuises. Clearly, inconsistency is the theme of this team and to be fair, I would be shocked if Team Liquid can achieve anything this split.
I might be an unpopular opinion, but Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng’s performance this season is one of the main reasons why Team Liquid are underperforming. In his defence, he is not playing particularly bad, but with his status and his role in his team, Doublelift should be wining his lanes and turning the bottom lane into a win condition for his team. He, however, fails to do so… miserably.
Evil Genuises on the other side have drastically improved since the start of the split. Colin “Kumo” Zhao and Daniele “Jiizuke” di Mauro both found stability in their lanes, while EG’s ADC Bae “Bang” Jun-sik finally found his rhythm and started performing as you would expect from a two-time world champion. All the individual improvements at EG came together and earned the team a tag as one of the hottest teams entering Week 8.
For this bout, Evil Genuises are priced at 2.29 (Pinnacle), which is way too generous. They might still be a bit inconsistent at times, but we will side with occasional inconsistency over poor synergy and low morale any day. Another bet worth taking a look at is Over 20.5 kills, priced at 2.00 at Pinnacle. While EG have a legitimate chance of coming out ahead, Team Liquid desperately need to win if they are serious about making it into the playoffs, which should inspire a bit more aggressive playstyle, effectively making this match predisposed to see more kills on the board and 21 kills seem very achievable.
Prediction: Evil Geniuses to win – 2.29 at Pinnacle
Prediction: Over 20.5 kills – 2.00 at Pinnacle
Counter Logic Gaming vs Dignitas
Friday, March 21 – 17:00 PST
Once upon a time, Dignitas were seen as the alpha dogs of LCS, but they managed to lose that tag by the end of Week 3 when they lost to TSM and Cloud9. Later down the line, Dignitas showed some glimpse of greatness, but overall, Henrik “Froggen” Hansen and co. have found themselves in a downright spiral, which took them from the top of league standings to the ninth spot where they sit with a 5-9 record and a five-game losing streak.
Counter Logic Gaming, however, have been on an upward trajectory since they signed Eugene “Pobelter” Park, who brought with him stability in the mid lane and leadership qualities, which visibly improved CLG’s overall playstyle. Although CLG are far from a team that could make any noise in the playoffs this split, (if they by some miracle make it to the top six), they are still a vastly improved version of themselves from the start of the season.
Despite their poor performances in recent weeks, Dignitas are still entering this match as 1.729 favourites, which we can’t agree with. They might field more experienced individual players, but their performances are far from impressive. Their main source of consistency and stability, Froggen, has been putting up some very iffy displays recently, while Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon continues to prove everyone he was not worth the $2.3 million Dignitas spent on his two-year contract.
At the end of the day, it might be a close match, but CLG tend to have much better macro play compared to Dignitas who have become known for their iffy decision making and questionable engages (Huni). With that in mind, it’s hard to side with Dignitas to win here. CLG are priced at 2.13 to come out ahead, which makes it hard to ignore backing the underdogs.
Prediction: CLG to win – 2.13 at Pinnacle
FlyQuest vs Immortals
Friday, March 21 – 18:00 PST
The last fixture of the day will see Immortals lock horns with FlyQuest. Betting odds suggest FlyQuest are the favourites to claim the spoils, which seems fair. They have looked fairly solid throughout most of the season, yet stumbled in Week 7 when they lost to surging Evil Geniuses and TSM. It’s hard to praise FlyQuest too much for their 0-2 week, however, they are still one of the top-three teams in the LCS due to consistency of their results.
Immortals on the other side still lack that little something to be considered as one of the top five teams. As a whole, their performances are very volatile as they can look very strong one day and fall flat the next. Last week they lost to 100 Thieves and defeated Team liquid, while Week 6 saw Immortals lose to Golden Guardians and win against CLG.
In theory, this game should end in FlyQuest’s favour, however, if Immortals can step up we would not exclude the possibility of an upset win. Adding to the unpredictability of this match is also the online format, which makes predicting an outcome that much more difficult as it should be. It may be an interesting match to watch, but from the betting perspective, we would avoid this fixture.
Best bet: CLG to win – 2.190 at Pinnacle