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And Now We Reach The End: Week 9 NA LCS Coverage And eSports Betting Tips

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It’s finally here, the last week of the 2016 NA Spring Split. It’s been a crazy year so far, with newcomers and established League of Legends teams alike providing plenty of competitive entertainment.

Last week we saw a number of upsets, and we’re here to cover all the action and prepare you for week 9. If you’re looking for week 9 EU coverage and eSports betting picks, just click the link.

Team Liquid takes care of Counter Logic Gaming

Team Liquid needed to win last week, but no one expected them to knock off Counter Logic Gaming. It just shows you how much more competitive the North American scene is this year from top to bottom. CLG went from taking out both Immortals (previously undefeated) and Cloud 9 in week 7, only to lose to 7-7 Team Liquid in week 8.

The best way to summarize Team Liquid’s win is one word: clean. They only died four times collectively as a team in a 37-minute game (combined the two teams only scored 15 kills). Instead, Team Liquid focused on objectives and keeping Darshan down.

Dardoch went off on Lee Sin once again, going 3-0-8 (100 percent kill participation for those who are math impaired). Lourlo was also huge in this game, going 1-1-9 on Nautilus in the top lane.

For CLG, the pick and ban phase was a huge question mark. Darshan went with Yasuo, a champion whose kit is not particularly strong for split pushing. CLG also put Huhi on LeBlanc in the mid lane, another questionable move considering the team’s lack of wave control.

The parts just weren’t there for what CLG is particularly good at – split pushing with Darshan and then winning the four versus four team fights.

What is going on with Team SoloMid?

It’s pretty apparent now that TSM has issues, but last week they reached a new low.

Renegades came into this game with a 2-13 record, guaranteed to be relegated at the end of split. TSM couldn’t possibly play down to the level of their competition again, especially against the likes of 2-13 Renegades? Well, it happened.

For starters, massive props to Seraph. He’s been a bouncing substitute all year, playing for Team Impulse earlier in the split as well as Challenger contender Team Dragon Knights. He was a huge reason why Renegades pulled out their third win of the split, going 3-0-7 on Graves and shutting down arguably TSM’s most consistent player, Hauntzer.

Also not to be discounted, Renegades has played well in the early game for the past 3 weeks. They almost beat Cloud 9 on day one in week 8, but they couldn’t find a way to close out the game (a problem they’ve had for most of the split).

Against TSM, everything seemed to be working for them. They only died three times, ending the game before the 30-minute mark. TSM could not execute a gank or team fight in any sense of a formidable fashion, losing every lane.

Renegades looks like a team on the rebound, and they’ll hit the relegation tournament with a lot of momentum. For TSM, the struggles are real. If they lose both their games this week, they could slip all the way down to sixth place. That’s not a position we’re used to seeing TSM in.

Now to our picks of the week for those of you planning to visit any eSports bookmakers like 10bet or Bet365 eSports this weekend.

NA LCS eSports betting predictions: Week 9 / Day 1

Team Impulse (2.17) vs. Renegades (1.74)

Renegades enters week 9 feeling really good. They may be the last placed team with no shot at the playoffs, but they haven’t played like it over the past two weeks. It’s starting to show in their performance and bookmakers are now noticing, as they’re actually favored against Team Impulse when it comes to eSports betting odds.

Team Impulse isn’t a strong team by any standards. They’re 2-6 over the past four weeks of play and currently sit one game behind Echo Fox for seventh place. They do own a victory against Renegades, but that happened in week 3. Renegades now has Secret Weapon X (Seraph) and a revitalized team with a new goal: getting ready for relegations.

I’m taking Renegades here because I like the way this team has come together with Seraph in the top lane and Ninja replacing Alex Ich in the mid lane. They’ve played better then TIP has since the changes and I anticipate that to continue here.

Don’t expect either team to run away with this game, but I slightly favor Renegades here.

Counter Logic Gaming (1.49) vs. NRG eSports (2.63)

This is my game of the week.

Counter Logic Gaming is currently tied with Cloud 9 for second place. By virtue of tiebreakers, all CLG has to do is win out and they’ll have a bye week in the playoffs. Slip up here, and Cloud 9 has the win condition.

NRG also is looking to improve their playoff seeding. They currently are tied with Team Liquid for fifth place. More importantly, they’re one game behind TSM for the fourth place seed (a more favorable seed heading into the playoffs). A win here and few losses by a struggling TSM team (who they play on day 2 this week) and all of sudden NRG doesn’t have to play Immortals until possibly the finals in the playoffs.

Each team has a bad loss over the past two weeks (NRG lost to Team Impulse and CLG lost to Team Liquid). I feel that CLG’s ceiling is much higher though. I don’t expect any strange picks (like putting Darshan on Yasuo or Vladimir), but rather for CLG to get back to their roots. This is still the same CLG team that beat Immortals just three weeks ago.

Take CLG here, but NRG provides plenty of upset potential.

Immortals (1.21) vs. Team SoloMid (4.52)

Sometimes you just have bad luck. And then sometimes, you have TSM luck.

TSM luck is when you lose to Renegades and then have to play Immortals the next week. For TSM fans, the good news is there’s no better way to bounce back and tell the doubters to shove it then by beating Immortals.

Given TSM’s recent struggles, I give them a low chance of winning here. Immortals is the better squad from top to bottom. WildTurtle also hasn’t forgotten that TSM replaced him with Doublelift. Revenge, take two.

I like Immortals here.

Team Liquid (1.45) vs. Team Dignitas (2.78)

Ok Team Liquid. You just beat CLG. You’re in a prime position to potentially grab the fourth seed in the playoffs, a proposition that seemed absurd just two weeks ago. What you don’t want to do is throw it all away by losing to Team Dignitas, arguably the worst team right now given Renegade’s improvements.

These two played each other in week 4, with Team Liquid thoroughly dominating Dignitas. The game was never in doubt, as Dardoch went legendary on Nidalee (10-0-6) en route to an 18-1 blowout victory. I don’t think it will be as embarrassing of a loss again for Dignitas, but I don’t see them winning here.

Take Team Liquid to win again.

Cloud 9 (1.35) vs. Echo Fox (3.22)

Cloud 9 is looking for a little help from teams playing CLG this week as well as winning out. Meanwhile, Echo Fox can’t make the playoffs, but they can secure the seventh placed spot and avoid the relegations tournament. That’s not too bad considering the roster turmoil they’ve dealt with this split.

Echo Fox has no doubt improved at the end of this split. Froggen is a beast, setting the record for most minions farmed in a competitive game last week on Gangplank (764 CS to be exact).

However, they have one fatal flaw. They can beat the bottom five teams, but haven’t found much success against the top five teams. I expect that trend to continue here.

Take Cloud 9 with a slight upset potential towards Echo Fox.

NA LCS eSports betting predictions: Week 9 / Day 2

Counter Logic Gaming (1.25) vs. Team Dignitas (4.01)

Dignitas either plays extremely well, with KiwiKid making plays all over the map, or Dignitas plays like their records shows, a 4-12 team that is just too inconsistent. They really needed to beat Echo Fox last week, but it just didn’t happen. As such, they’re most likely preparing for the relegation series.

Meanwhile, CLG is looking to win out and claim the second seed here. It’s not a lot of pressure, but pressure nonetheless. They didn’t look good last week, but this is a game they’re expected to win. They’re the better team by far, and I think last week was just a minor hiccup for CLG. Take them here with confidence.

Team SoloMid (1.78) vs. NRG eSports (2.05)

This is going to be a crucial game for both teams in terms of playoff positioning. It also could be a prelude to one of our first round matches in the playoffs. Even more importantly, both teams are looking to build some momentum heading into the playoffs.

The last time these two played each other back in week 3, TSM was utterly embarrassed. They lost 0-19, with Doublelift and Yellowstar combining to go 0-11 in the bottom lane. I don’t expect the same type of beat down, but if TSM continues to struggle they will find themselves on the losing end once again.

It’s not a huge upset pick, but my upset pick of the week is NRG over TSM. I just don’t like the way TSM has played this split. I think their problems continue, especially after playing Immortals on day 1.

Take NRG here.

Immortals (1.09) vs. Team Impulse (7.65)

As you can see by the difference in odds here, Immortals are of course huge favorites.

A loss to Team Impulse is almost unfathomable. They’re just better in every facet of the game. I don’t expect Immortals to win in 18 minutes and 20 seconds and score a perfect game again like the last time these two played, but win they will.

Take Immortals here with supreme confidence.

Echo Fox (1.55) vs. Renegades (2.46)

Now that Renegades has found ways to win, this game becomes quite interesting. It’ll be a benchmark for both teams as well. This game could also decide if Echo Fox has to play in the relegation series or if they’ll automatically qualify for the LCS Summer Split.

Renegades has played well of late, but Echo Fox has found ways to win against the bottom tier teams, a spot Renegades is still in. We’ll see which team has turned the corner in this game.

I like Echo Fox here, I just don’t think that Ninja can keep pace with Froggen in the mid lane. The experience of playing as a team also belongs to Echo Fox.

I’m expecting a close game, with Echo Fox coming out on top.

Cloud 9 (1.45) vs. Team Liquid (2.78)

If the standings stay the same as they are today, these two teams will face off against each other again in round 1 of the playoffs. Of course, there’s still a lot to be decided. For instance, Cloud 9 can still win out and take the second seed if CLG slips up this week. Also, Team Liquid can move up as high as fourth place if both TSM and NRG have rough weeks.

These two just recently played each other during week 5. While it was close through the first 18 minutes of the game, Cloud 9 turned a three for one team fight into two towers. After some back and forth skirmishes, Cloud 9 was able to use those two tower takedowns to put pressure on the map and ultimately secure a Baron kill.

Both of these teams have played really well at the end of this split. I expect a closely contested game, much like their first game against each other. This game will also feature two amazing Lee Sin players in C9’s Rush and Liquid’s Dardoch. It could come down to who (if anyone) gets Lee Sin here, that’s how closely these two teams matchup.

I’m going with Cloud 9 here for two reasons.

For starters, they’ll be playing with more to lose (the second seed and a bye week). Secondly, they do well against mid-tier teams and already showed they can beat Team Liquid just four weeks ago.

For those reasons, I’m picking Cloud 9 in what I anticipate will be a close game. Team Liquid should see plenty of play here as well.

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.

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