Double down: Upcomer's League of Legends betting picks for Aug. 19-21
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Just watching esports can be a thrilling experience, but nothing ups the stakes like putting something extra on the line. At the same time, figuring out which games to bet on and how much money to risk is no small task. That’s why Upcomer has pulled in the experts to lay out the odds and bring you the League of Legends betting favorites for some of the most important games this weekend.

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

This week, we’re looking at betting on the latest match ups for summer split playoffs across the League of Legends Championship Series and League of Legends European Championship. Here is what you need to know to cash out throughout Aug. 19-21.

LCS: Immortals vs. TSM

LCS League of Legends betting odds - Immortals vs TSM
Upcomer’s League of Legends betting odds: Immortals vs TSM

Immortals vs TSM 2021 Summer match outcome probabilities

Metric Immortals TSM
Market odds 2.57 (+157) 1.48 (-208)
Implied win probability 38.91% 67.57%
Calculated win probability 24.42% 75.58%
Expected value -0.5009 0.0446
Bet Size Bet @ odds > +415 Bet 24.70%

The market’s putting this at something like 64/36 — which, frankly, seems absurd. Our model would say closer to 76/24. This may seem like only a 10% change, which would still be plenty to be worth betting on. But, from IMT’s point of view, going from winning a little over one in three to a little under one in four is actually pretty massive. In short, while there’s always a chance it won’t pay off, we think betting on TSM is a no-brainer. Based on our relative disagreement with the market, as well as the higher likelihood of a payout when you’re betting on the favorite, we’d suggest staking about 25% of your unit bet size.

By the numbers: TSM has stronger individual players; hovering around 55-57% win rates compared to IMT’s 49-52, with the exception of Raes’s 56%. We’ve got a decidedly above average team going against, at best, an average one. This has a tendency to snowball out of control. TSM plays better as a team, all lifting each others’ performance, while IMT is somewhat of a mixed bag here. And, of course, this specific matchup swings sharply in TSM’s favor. They’re 5-0 against IMT in the summer season, plus another 2-0 in the spring season. When TSM wins, they tend to be farther ahead. So, again, not many fluke throws in the long run (obviously, there’s some cognitive bias in that we’re more likely to remember such events than remember times they didn’t happen). They’re also simply more experienced; we’ve found that even with all else equal, having more total professional games played under your belt makes a difference.

Keep an eye out in the drafts for Nocturne and Rakan. These champions should be somewhat hotly contested, as the intersection of both being good this patch and having players on both teams that are particularly good at them (Insanity and Huni for Nocturne, and Destiny and SwordArt for Rakan).

One thing worth noting for these best-of-five matches is that they tend to exaggerate single-game probabilities. For a single game, we’d actually peg Immortals at around a 31.7% win rate. Since you have to win three games, however, that’s a much harder ask. They’d have to win three upsets before caving three times, which pulls their overall win probability down to 24.42%.

So, overall, TSM outclasses Immortals in most metrics, even if not by huge magnitudes. The market agrees directionally, but we still think they’re giving Immortals too much credit, and would bet on TSM. The disagreement with the market, as well as the high likelihood, translates to a roughly 25% stake.

Kirillov

Saying TSM’s entrance into the 2021 summer postseason was disappointing would be an understatement. One second, they were the No. 1 seed and on the verge of going back to the world championship in China, with redemption on the mind following a 0-6 faceplant last year. The next, they’re walloped by Team Liquid, and every small mistake shown in the regular season has been torn open.

On the bright side, though, I have them taking a comfortable win over Immortals in their bounce-back game after the TL debacle. Liquid is peaking at the right time and, though I feel like TSM’s regular season finish might have been fool’s gold, there is enough here for them to dispatch an even shakier Immortals lineup.

If TSM somehow drops this series, I’m never betting on them again. Ever. You can quote me on that.

Erzberger

LCS: 100 Thieves vs. Team Liquid

LCS League of Legends betting odds - 100 Thieves vs Team Liquid
Upcomer’s League of Legends betting odds: 100 Thieves vs Team Liquid

100 Thieves vs Team Liquid 2021 summer playoffs match outcome probabilities

Metric 100 Thieves Team Liquid
Market odds 2.46 (+146) 1.52 (-192)
Implied win probability 40.65% 65.79%
Calculated win probability 54.13% 45.87%
Expected value 0.2085 -0.3787
Bet size Bet 22.71% Bet @ odds > +145

Team Liquid’s been on a hot streak lately, especially with Santorin’s return. But our model would still say that 100 Thieves is the more consistently strong team. At worst, we could maybe compromise and say this one is a coin flip. That is still some ways away from the market’s 62/38 lean towards TL. A coinflip that pays out +146 feels pretty good, so we’d suggest betting ~23% of your unit bet size here.

Every single player in this match is individually a rockstar. Nobody has below a 55% win rate. Team Liquid has a slight edge here, but it’s really all about who shows up to play on game day. Both teams have strong synergy, elevating their teammates above an already high bar. Abbedagge, in particular, has really found his stride with the 100 Thieves roster, and vice versa. Santorin plays a similar role on the TL roster, so those two players would be what to look out for. Head-to-head, 100 has historically beaten out TL — 100 outperforms while TL underperforms when they face each other. Santorin is sort of the holdout here, where he’s almost agnostic to the matchup. So, again, he may be the real difference maker. Alphari’s Camille could also sway things, though Ssumday isn’t too shabby playing her either.

The verdict? Both teams have strong players and trade off on some upsides and some downsides against each other. We think the dust settles with 100 Thieves slightly ahead and, at the very least, almost certainly not as 38% underdogs. Our model would suggest a 23% bet on 100 Thieves.

Kirillov

In our previous edition of this column, I rode the underdog EG in an upset of 100T. And, for a few moments there, right before everything came unraveled in Game 5, I felt like a genius.

Still, even with 100T taking me out last week, I’m going with the heavy favorite TL in this one. 100T shouldn’t be as susceptible in the top lane as TSM, but, right now, I don’t think anyone in North America can touch this Liquid team. From their experience to their lane prowess to their overall raw skill, this could be the best roster ever assembled for an LCS team.

The thing that brings everything together for me with Liquid is Lucas “Santorin” Larsen. On a team with stars at almost every position, he’s the glue that connects them all. Santorin is a player without ego or a need to grab the spotlight. Instead, he enables the players around him to shine even brighter.

When Santorin wasn’t in the lineup, TL was good — sometimes even great — yet they will never reach their optimal form without their workhorse in the jungle. 100T’s Can “Closer” Çelik is brilliant; gifted enough where his winning split MVP wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest. In a best-of-five, though, with how Liquid looked against C9 and TSM, Santorin is the most valuable jungler in the league.

Erzberger

LCK: T1 vs. Liiv SANDBOX

LCK League of Legends betting odds - T1 vs Liiv Sandbox
Upcomer’s League of Legends betting odds: T1 vs Liiv SANDBOX

T1 vs Liiv Sandbox 2021 LCK summer playoffs match outcome probabilities

Metric T1 Liiv SANDBOX
Market odds 1.7 (-143) 2.1 (+110)
Implied win probability 58.82% 47.62%
Calculated win probability 51.66% 48.34%
Expected value -0.2067 -0.0899
Bet size Bet @ odds > +114 Bet @ odds > +131

While the first LCK match was somewhat lopsided, this one looks to be much closer. The market’s pricing in a roughly 55/45 matchup is in T1’s favor. We think it’s even closer to a coinflip than that at 52/48, but with such a similar prediction, the vig just wipes out any value-based reason to bet. If the odds shift, go for it!

T1’s got a stronger roster, with 53-58% win rates to LSB’s 49-55%. Again, we have a case of a fairly strong team going against a fairly average one. Neither team seems to really click together; LSB’s a complete mixed bag of players doing better or worse with their teammates, while T1 mostly plays better together, if not by much. The matchup, however, pretty strongly favors LSB. When facing any of T1’s players, the LSB roster outperforms, and vice versa. Faker stands out as a weak point here. Obviously, he’s still quite good (and the single best player in this match), but he simply doesn’t do as well against LSB as he should. If he gets Nocturne or Twisted Fate, though, that could be lights out. On the flip side, Summit’s Camille and Effort’s Rakan and Thresh also stand out as sizable threats.

There are a number of factors that swing in either team’s advantage, so our model finds this matchup overall to be a wash. The market is slightly more bullish on T1, but the vig erodes any benefit here anyway, so we would hold off on betting.

Kirillov

Sandbox are a good regular season team. I like many pieces on their team, most notably in the jungle with Rookie of the Year, Kim “Croco” Dong-beom. We’ve seen this story before, even with Sandbox: an exciting, young group that shoots over expectations in the regular season and then, once they reach the playoffs, the tricky waters of best-of-fives overtake them.

It’s not out of the question that this T1 squad will implode in the first round. They’re as consistent as a rough road filled with potholes at every turn. It’s Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok, though. The Greatest of All Time. The Unkillable Demon King. The icon of never being complacent and always doing everything in his power to make himself (and his team) better.

T1 could fail to make worlds. T1’s ticking time bomb of stumbling at the worst time might come to bite them sometime in the next week or two, and it wouldn’t surprise me. This match versus Sandbox isn’t where I see it happening and, unless Yoo “FATE” Su-hyeok turns into Zhuo “knight” Ding by game time, I’m confident in T1 winning (or at least surviving) an overreaching Sandbox side still in its building stages.

Erzberger

Other matches

LCS: Cloud9 vs. Evil Geniuses

LCS League of Legends betting odds - Cloud9 vs Evil Geniuses
Upcomer’s League of Legends betting odds: Cloud9 vs Evil Geniuses

Cloud9 vs Evil Geniuses 2021 LCS summer playoffs match outcome probabilities

Metric Cloud9 Evil Geniuses
Market odds 1.58 (-172) 2.31 (+131)
Implied win probability 63.29% 43.29%
Calculated win probability 63.59% 36.41%
Expected value -0.0743 -0.2745
Bet size Bet @ odds > -141 Bet @ odds > +218

LEC: Misfits Gaming vs. Fnatic

LEC League of Legends betting odds - Misfits vs Fnatic
Upcomer’s League of Legends betting odds: Misfits Gaming vs Fnatic

Misfits vs Fnatic 2021 LEC summer playoffs match outcome probabilities

Metric Misfits Gaming Fnatic
Market odds 2.11 (+111) 1.69 (-145)
Implied win probability 47.39% 59.17%
Calculated win probability 49.55% 50.45%
Expected value -0.0599 -0.2319
Bet size Bet @ odds > +124 Bet @ odds > +120

LEC: Rogue vs. MAD Lions

LEC League of Legends betting odds - Rogue vs MAD Lions
Upcomer’s League of Legends betting odds: Rogue vs MAD Lions

Rogue vs Mad Lions 2021 LEC summer playoffs match outcome probabilities

Metric Rogue MAD Lions
Market odds 1.81 (-123) 1.95 (-105)
Implied win probability 55.25% 51.28%
Calculated win probability 53.94% 46.06%
Expected value -0.1141 -0.1994
Bet size Bet @ odds > +104 Bet @ odds > +144

LPL: LNG Esports vs. Royal Never Give Up

LPL League of Legends betting odds - LNG Esports vs RNG
Upcomer’s League of Legends betting odds: LNG Esports vs Royal Never Give Up

LNG vs RNG 2021 LPL summer playoffs match outcome probabilities

Metric LNG Esports Royal Never Give Up
Market odds 2.73 (+173) 1.43 (-233)
Implied win probability 36.63% 69.93%
Calculated win probability 32.00% 68.00%
Expected value -0.2629 -0.0991
Bet size Bet @ odds > +270 Bet @ odds > -169

LPL: Team WE vs. Rare Atom

LPL League of Legends betting odds - Team WE vs Rare Atom

Team WE vs Rare Atom 2021 LPL summer playoffs match outcome probabilities

Metric Team WE Rare Atom
Market odds 1.86 (-116) 1.9 (-111)
Implied win probability 53.76% 52.63%
Calculated win probability 56.04% 43.96%
Expected value -0.0507 -0.2597
Bet size Bet @ odds > -104 Bet @ odds > +157
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