After Major Offseason Shifts, NA LCS Week 1 Has Arrived – Here Are Our Esports Betting Predictions

esports betting League of Legends NA LCS
It’s finally here! The start of the 2016 North American LCS Summer Split is a single day away.

We’ve seen quite a few changes during the offseason, with three new teams entering the competition and plenty of roster moves. This split of the North American LCS will be switching to a best of three format (Bo3), with games spread out during a three-day period now.

Below you will find our weekly esports betting predictions, in-depth analysis of each match and a quick rundown of each team.

Week 1 – Day 1 predictions (June 3)

* Games can be watched on the Battle Theater channel (NALCS1).

Team SoloMid vs. Counter Logic Gaming (8 p.m. EST start time)

What a way to kick off the Summer Split. Two North American behemoths square off in the first match of the day. This will also be our series of the week.

TSM are hoping their change at the support position will mean more consistent play from the rest of the team. Meanwhile, Counter Logic Gaming are coming off an impressive runner-up finish at the 2016 Mid-Season Invitational. This will also be a rematch of the thrilling Spring Split Playoff Finals, which CLG narrowly won 3-2.

After TSM dominated the North American LCS since basically its inception, CLG has risen to the top to carry the gauntlet during the past year. CLG’s “no ‘I’ in team” philosophy has proven to be a steadfast strategy in the NA LCS, a style completely different from TSM.

TSM prefer to focus heavily on their two superstar players, Bjergsen and Doublelift. That’s not to say CLG don’t have superstar power — Darshan and Aphromoo are two of the most respected players at their positions. They just don’t rely on their individual skill to carry games.

It’s no longer a secret that CLG has one of the most impressive management/coaching teams available in League of Legends. Their ability to adapt to meta changes, build unique compositions within an ever-evolving scene and then apply the strengths of their team to each game, is the reason they’ve found prolonged success in the NA LCS.

I don’t look for any of those principles to change this split.

For all of the reasons mentioned above, and the fact that TSM will be starting a rookie in the support position, I favor CLG here. CLG went 5-2 against TSM last split, and they’re just a more seasoned team at this point.

They’ll be riding high off their success at MSI and looking to start their journey to Worlds with the first-ever win in a Bo3 format in the NA LCS. CLG are the favorites here, but TSM are not that far behind.

Prediction: CLG 2-1

Team EnVyUs vs NRG eSports (11 p.m. EST projected start time)

This is essentially a matchup of two new rosters. Team EnVyUs have acquired the rights to Renegades’ LCS spot and will be starting their first-ever LCS split.

Meanwhile, NRG will be starting their second split with a completely overhauled roster. Only GBM remains in the mid lane from last split’s team.

Both these teams will have a lot to prove before they can be considered contenders. Neither team has a proven superstar who can carry a game, but rather pieces they hope will fit together.

While NRG did make the playoffs last split with the sixth seed, no one considered them in contention to make a run through the playoffs. (They were swept by Team Liquid in the first round.)

When I look at the rosters of both these teams, NRG seem to have the more LCS-ready team out of the gate. Quas and Santorin have been itching for an opportunity to return to the LCS for more than a year and provide plenty of potential.

Kiwikid is still a respected support player and will have a veteran Korean player in Ohq at ADC. Both teams will take some time to synergize, but I like the veteran leadership that NRG have assembled.

Take NRG here.

Prediction: NRG 2-1

Week 1 – Day 2 predictions (June 4)

* Games will be played concurrently and can be watched on the Battle Arena channel (NALCS1) and the Battle Theater channel (NALCS2).

Echo Fox vs. Phoenix1 (3 p.m. EST start time)

Echo Fox enter this split just hoping to keep their roster intact. When they weren’t dealing with major visa issues last season, the team went a respectable 6-6 during their inaugural split. The team made no roster changes during the offseason and will be looking to continue building toward the playoffs.

For Phoenix1, they barely got a week to prepare for their first matchup since essentially becoming an organization and buying Team Impulse’s LCS spot. Forget about team synergy and chemistry: Can they even get a few days with the coaches to create a roster composition in that time?

They’ll be rolling out three players from TIP’s former roster, which struggled throughout the Spring Split. I expect some of those same difficulties as this organization dives in headfirst with little time to prepare.

I really like Echo Fox here.

Prediction: Echo Fox 2-0

Cloud 9 vs. Immortals (3 p.m. EST start time)

This will be the first time we get to see Cloud 9’s new revamped roster. Unfortunately, Riot hasn’t made that transition easy for them, pitting them against last split’s regular season winners, Immortals.

Welcome back to starting positions in the LCS, Meteos and BunnyFuFuu. Now get your carry pants on.

Individually, this series will provide plenty of intriguing matchups to bet on at real money esports betting sites like Bet365  or Pinnacle or fantasy esports sites like AlphaDraft. Impact’s first game for C9 will come against Huni, widely considered the best top laner in NA now.

Meteos will have to contend against Reignover, an aggressive jungler who won’t make Meteos’ return any easier. In the bottom lane, BunnyFuFuu will have to try and navigate shot calling, as well as playing against Adrian and WildTurtle, the best bottom lane duo statistically from last split.

I like Immortals here for the individual matchups as well as their mentality going into this split. They’re not down after going 17-1 and then losing to TSM in the playoffs.

Rather, the players have stated over the mid-season break that they’re eager to hit the rift again, but this time they want to finish what they started. Immortals is a hungry team going against a C9 squad that will have some early struggles.

I strongly favor Immortals here.

Prediction: Immortals 2-0

Apex Gaming vs. NRG eSports (6 p.m. EST projected start time)

NRG has one of the easier starts to the split in NA, playing against two essentially new teams. Apex Gaming qualified for the LCS by winning the Challenger Series Final, and this will be their first action of the week.

This is a winnable series for both teams. Apex provide plenty of veteran experience and skill, but they’ll have to navigate the trials and tribulations of a grueling LCS schedule, something we’ve seen teams struggle with in their inaugural split. They’ll have the bonus of only playing one series during the first two days of action as well.

Is Apex Gaming ready to push for a playoff spot? These are the types of series they need to win if they want to have a chance.

For NRG, they are essentially in the same boat as Apex. They have a new roster they’re breaking in, but it’s against less than stellar competition. I think NRG, behind Quas and Kiwikid, will figure it out during Week One and come away with a series victory here. It could be really close though.

Hesitantly take NRG here.

Prediction: NRG 2-1

Team EnVyUS vs. Team Liquid (6 p.m. EST projected start time)

We’ll get to see plenty of Team EnVyUs this week, as they play two Bo3 series in the span of two days. They’ll be playing against a Team Liquid outfit that doesn’t quite know who their starting jungler will be.

TL’s jungler and Rookie of the Split, Dardoch, was suspended for two weeks because of insubordination.

While at first the situation seemed dire (the owner publicly stated he would seek a trade for Dardoch if that’s what he wanted), Twitter messages from Dardoch seem to imply the situation was blown out of proportion.

It seems Dardoch’s two-week suspension does not involve LCS competition. If that’s the case, we could see Dardoch playing during Week One.

If Dardoch starts, TL are definitive favorites in this series. He’s one of the top junglers in North America, especially with Rush now moving to the Challenger Series for Cloud 9.

Even if he doesn’t start, Moon is a more than capable backup jungler for TL. Take TL here with confidence; they’re still a far superior team with or without Dardoch.

Prediction: Team Liquid 2-0

Week 1 – Day 3 predictions (June 5)

* Games will be played concurrently and can be watched on the Battle Arena channel (NALCS1) and the Battle Theater channel (NALCS2).

Apex Gaming vs. Counter Logic Gaming (3 p.m. EST start time)

After what will most likely be a grueling series against TSM, CLG get somewhat of a break in their second matchup of the week against Apex. Apex has potential, but they’re not going to be knocking on CLG’s door anytime soon.

This will be a good litmus test for where the team is at currently, though.

CLG will be strong favorites here with the esports betting odds makers and for good reason: They’re the reigning champs playing against what’s essentially a glorified Challenger team at this point.

I strongly take CLG here.

Prediction: CLG 2-0

Team SoloMid vs. Team Liquid (3 p.m. EST start time)

A battle between two contenders. After facing off against CLG in the opening match of the week, it doesn’t get any easier for TSM.

Their one saving grace is the whole Dardoch debacle. If Dardoch doesn’t start, it could spell trouble for TL.

Another key matchup will be the support position here.

Former rookie Matt will get to face off against TSM’s rookie, BioFrost. That could be a key matchup in this series. BioFrost will have to adjust quickly to Doublelift’s demanding playstyle. If he can, TSM has an edge in this matchup.

I hesitantly pick TSM here. It’s going to be a close series regardless.

Prediction: TSM 2-1

Echo Fox vs. Cloud 9 (6 p.m. EST projected start time)

I’m anticipating this to be another great matchup of two teams that, on paper, are about equal in skill. Froggen versus Jensen in the mid lane is always a must-see.

Keith versus Sneaky will also be another premier matchup to watch.

I slightly favor Cloud 9 here because of their matchup advantages in the jungle and top lane. After analyzing plenty of Meteos’ streams during the past year of his “retirement,” it’s safe to say his skill has not degraded.

Hard and kfo, Echo Fox’s jungler and top laner, were statistically middle of the pack players at their positions last split. Despite a “down” split for Impact last season, he still posted the second highest KP for top laners at 78.5 percent.

I like Cloud 9 here for those reasons.

Prediction: Cloud 9 2-1

Immortals vs. Phoenix1 (6 p.m. EST projected start time)

The real question here is, can Immortals break their record for the fastest win in the NA LCS?

As we’ve stated previously, this is a rough way to start a split after just forming your team a week prior. I think the main goal here for Phoenix1 is just to be competitive.

I strongly favor Immortals here.

Prediction: Immortals 2-0

Rachel Perry

About

Rachel is an avid gamer whose insatiable desire for all things gaming related has been augmented by the inconceivable growth of eSports and how competitive gaming is viewed. When she’s not busy writing about her favorite games, Rachel can be found playing League of Legends, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, or watching too much Twitch.tv.