Plug’s Breakdowns: The Quarterfinals

This article has been prepared by John “TheEsportsPlug” George, an esports daily fantasy player, bettor, and former professional poker player.

With the group stages completed, it’s time for us to take a look at the Quarterfinal matchups! It played out in a wild fashion but ended up with the result I had locked in on Pick ‘Ems, and we’ve found ourselves with arguably 7 of the top 8 teams in the tournament all headed to the knockout stage.

There’s no doubt for me that this is the highest quality of competition we’ve ever had at the World Championships, and we will really get to see how the different styles and strategies play out against one another given these quarterfinal draws.

Context and Definitions

Before we go into the matchups, let me do a quick refresher on how the American odds betting system works since I always include my favorite bets along with my analysis of the matchups.

If a bet starts with a + sign, it is telling you how much money you would win if you bet $100 on that result. For instance, +240 means that for every $100 you bet, you would win $240. If you didn’t want to bet that high and only wanted to bet $10, just divide the numbers by 10 to see that you’d win $24 for a $10 bet.

If a bet starts with a – sign, it is telling you that that is how much you’d have to bet to win $100. For example -150 means that if you wanted to win $100 betting on that result, you’d have to risk $150. If you wanted to win $10, you’d have to risk $15, and so on.

Game Spreads: Game spreads are something I haven’t talked about yet on Oracle’s Elixir, but they are used when betting on a series in case you want to bet on certain levels of dominance within a series. A “-1.5 Game bet” means that you are betting that your team will win more games, even with a handicap of -1.5. For instance, if you bet on G2 -1.5 against Damwon and G2 won the series 3-1, you’d take G2’s won game (3) and minus 1.5 from that total when deciding if they won. That would leave G2 with 1.5 games to Damwon’s 1, so you’d win!

If G2 won 3-2 however, your 1.5 would bring you down to 1.5 against Damwon’s 2, so even though G2 won the series in real life, you’d lose you bet. These bets often offer significantly better or worse adds since they are adding or subtracting games. Underdogs will get +1.5 game bets, so you can bet an underdog and have them not even need to win the series, but just win 2 games in order for your bet to win (Damwon +1.5, if they win 2 games would be 3.5 against G2s 3, a win for the Damwon +1.5 bettor!).

With all of that out of the way, let’s get into the matchups.

Quarterfinal #1

G2 Esports 

Odds To Win Match: -140
-1.5 Games Spread: +150
Futures Odds: +900

Damwon Gaming

Odds To Win Match: -110
+1.5 Games Spread: -230
Futures Odds: +1000

Here we have two teams on different trajectories in the minds of the fans, and the oddsmakers have adjusted to fit that theory. G2 actually has better futures odds now than they did before the group stage started, while Damwon has stayed fairly steady.

So why the changes?

G2 seems to have lost its “favorite” status thanks to a couple losses against Griffin at the end of the group stage, but this is a trend we have seen from G2 all year long. They lost value at the end of the Spring Split when they dropped a couple games after locking up playoffs, and they lost value at the end of Summer after losing some games once they were locked for playoffs.

It’s not that G2 “isn’t trying”. I hate when people say stuff like that. They obviously want to win every game when they walk on stage. It has more to do with preparation, drafting strategies, and play style. G2 will often attempt different drafts, focuses, and map movements in games where the result isn’t as meaningful, which often end up being worse than their standard variants.

Damwon has had a good tournament so far, but I think they’ve been given a few gifts. Invictus Gaming’s drafts against them gave them a very obvious game plan and an easy way to outmaneuver the former world champions, and I don’t think they’ll be so lucky in this matchup.

Damwon are currently focusing a huge percentage of their gold and damage share on Nuguri and if they stick with that game plan I don’t like their chances. G2 thrives on the types of skirmishes that occur when a top laner roams or TPs into the other lanes, and though his matchups have been tough,  Nuguri’s lanes haven’t been up to par so far this tournament either.

I like G2 to take this match fairly convincingly. G2’s weakness so far has been in individual player performances moreso than an overall issue with the team, and those aren’t the kind of performances I’ve come to expect from G2. I think they’ll shore those up before the quarterfinals and we’ll see an in-form G2 Esports put their name back in the hat.

My bets for this matchup:

G2 Esports -140
G2 Esports -1.5 +150
Futures: G2 Esports +900

Bet Notes: I really like G2 to win the series, but if I was going to pick only 1 bet on these teams I’d bet the futures. I think it’s likely that whoever comes out of this side of the bracket is going to win the tournament, so getting G2 at essentially +900 to beat Damwon and SKT seems favorable over laying odds on this one match.

Quarterfinal #2

SK Telecom T1

Odds To Win Match: -10000
-1.5 Games Spread:  None Currently Offered
Futures Odds:  -120


Odds To Win Match: +950
+1.5 Games Spread: Not Currently Offered
Futures Odds: +20000

I think for most people this is the letdown match of the quarterfinals. It’s the only one that has a pretty obvious winner, and it would’ve been really exciting if the groups were allowed to be drawn a bit differently and we got to see RNG vs SKT here. But there have been upsets at the World Championships before, haven’t there?

Last year RNG was looking like they might complete the golden road when they were turned back by a Heimerdinger and about 15 control wards sitting on top of every lantern. Could this be the year for another major upset?

Nope, not really. One of the main issues here is that Splyce doesn’t really have a theoretical way to beat SKT. Their top laner doesn’t play the right kind of champions to try and carry through the top lane, their mid-jungle 2v2 is up against possibly the best in the world, and bot lanes aren’t really in a good place to snowball right now when playing traditional ADCs outside of Xayah.

I always try to think up the best possible scenario for a team and for me it’s just Splyce typing “NR25?” in chat (take that reference young ‘uns) and hoping that a late game team fight goes their way. If I’m Splyce, I draft 5v5 comps every game and pray that we make it through the laning phase. Either way I think it’s likely that its SKT 3-0. Unfortunately the odds for this matchup are so bad that it won’t be where we’ll be making our money.

My bets for this matchup:

None. The match odds are too outrageous and SKT’s championship odds are way too low to bother with. Plenty of other teams with a similar chance to win and 10-15x the odds.

Quarterfinal #3:


Odds to Win Match: -165
-1.5 Game Spread:  +125
Futures Odds: +450

Invictus Gaming

Odds To Win Match: +110
+1.5 Game Spread: -190
Futures Odds: +1100

This is probably my favorite matchup of the quarterfinals because we get the most solid rock team of the group stages against the biggest wildcard. Griffin has been consistently good in pretty much every matchup and gone about doing business in a fashion that should make the LCK proud.

Invictus Gaming, on the other hand, have been all over the map. Since Ning came back, the team’s only loss is to Damwon in a game where their composition was purely focused on the early game, including a Syndra in the bot lane. Damwon (and teams like Griffin) are pretty unlikely to lose to compositions like this and I didn’t give Invictus much of a chance even in champion select in that game. That game doesn’t worry me as far as performance goes, but it does worry me as far as preparation and drafting goes.

People seem to forget that this is the same team that absolutely dumpstered SKT at MSI after winning the World Championships. Even more, this is maybe even a better metagame for them than last year and you could make an argument that TheShy and Rookie are two of the top 3-4 performing players at the entire event so far.

Ning and the bot lane will need to step up for this to be competitive, but in my mind we are dealing with a true 50/50 matchup here. I think if IG drafts and gameplans correctly they would be a favorite, but there’s a reasonable chance they don’t, and if I see the same comps I saw against Damwon then I’d give the edge to Griffin.

With that in mind, I’d bet this match based on the assumption that its roughly a 50/50, and take bets that get value from that.

My bets for this match:

Invictus Gaming +110

Futures: Invictus Gaming +1100

Bet Notes: I’d love to bet the “Under 4.5 maps” in this series as well, as I think that whichever team wins they will win the series in a fairly dominant fashion. I think we’ll figure out pretty quickly if IG has the right game plan, and if they don’t they could be out of here in 3 or 4 games. If they do, it’s possible that Griffin fall apart against some of the toughest lanes in the world.

I’m also going to skip on Griffin futures because I think they are possibly the worst priced team in the tournament. Even if they make the Finals I don’t like their chances against G2 or SKT and they aren’t giving out NEARLY the same value as the other top contenders.

Quarterfinal #4

Funplus Phoenix

Odds To Win Match: -170
-1.5 Game Spread: +125
Futures Odds: +800


Odds To Win Match: +115
+1.5 Game Spread: -190
Futures Odds: +1900

This one is right up there with IG vs Griffin as far as my hype meter is concerned. It’s going to be two teams with very wild and malleable gameplans smashing into each other. I do think the oddsmakers are correct that FPX is going to be the favorite in this one. They are likely to make better adjustments throughout the course of the series than Fnatic, in my opinion, and adjustments are going to be the name of the game.

The fear for either of these teams is that the other team has something prepared for them specifically that they weren’t expecting to deal with. In a matchup like IG vs Griffin I think both teams are likely to bring similar strategies to almost every game with only a few champion changes, and its going to come down to “who is better.” But in this series, I think we could see a plethora of different compositions and strategies employed and sometimes a team finds one that the other team just can’t figure out.

This is likely be a longer series with a punch/counterpunch style. Though I’m thinking FPX will have more success, it hasn’t exactly been a good look for them so far and DoinB’s champion pool hasn’t melded well into this World Championship so far.

This is the type of battle where I just wanna sit back with some popcorn and know that I have the winner in my portfolio as I think both teams are being underrated by the fans and the oddsmakers as of right now.

My bets for this match:

Fnatic Futures: +1800
Funplus Phoenix Futures: +800

Bet Notes:

Both of these teams seem underrated in their futures values but in the individual game odds they’ve made FPX just a bit too big of a favorite and FNC not quite enough of an underdog. For me I’ll take futures on both while they are good and add them to futures for G2 and Invictus for a nice little futures portfolio with guaranteed profit of at least 4 units if any of my 4 teams wins and an upside of 14 units. Great spot to be in.

And thats all from me for the quarterfinals! Gonna be an incredible week of games and I can’t wait to see who ends up in our semi-finals next week. I’ll drop back in then to let you know how I feel approaching the final four and where else we might be able to pad our bank accounts along the way. Until then feel free to find me on Twitter at @theesportsplug and lets talk some LEAGUE OF LEGENDS!

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