Here we are, at it again, the second week of the NA LCS is upon us! Below we have a look at the pick of the games for the upcoming week and give you an idea of who we fancy to take victories this week.
Saturday January 23rd
TSM (11/10 William Hill) vs Immortals (8/11 Coral) – 1:00 PM
TSM had a monumentally disappointing week 1, and up until the dying moments of the Team Liquid game looked like going 0–2. Miraculous comeback aside, TSM did not have the week 1 they would have been looking for and the players in interviews have been citing struggles learning to play together with limited practice time prior to week one. Immortals on the other hand looked fairly imperious, with Wildturtle’s Lucian play versus Cloud 9 a particular highlight; the NA stalwart looked back to his aggressive best, more like the player who turned heads at the Season 3 World Championships and less like the dead weight he was toward the end of his TSM days.
Immortals seem to have developed a good degree of synergy instantaneously, and their individual playstyles mesh well into a cohesive team identity, with top and bot focused as the carry oriented lanes while Pobelter goes steady in mid lane. TSM are still finding their feet, and we expect them to continue to struggle in week 2. Immortals look good value for the win here, and with TSM not being counted out by the bookies this could be a chance to get week 2 off to a good start.
Immortals to win with Coral at 8/11 (1.73)
Liquid (13/8 Coral) vs Counter Logic Gaming (40/85 Betfair) – 2:00 PM
CLG looked exactly as expected in week 1, a settled roster with a clear identity that had little trouble taking down a talented but listless TSM, but suffered from their low skill ceiling in a loss to Team Dignitas. Team Liquid on the other hand will not be satisfied with the 0–2 week they suffered, looking lost against Renegades and suffering a painful comeback loss against TSM. Whilst the substitutions made between the Renegades and TSM games definitely had a positive impact on their performance, particularly the impressive play of Dardoch in the jungle, the chopping and changing will not help settling a roster in for a long regular season, and too many more changes could see them slip away from the playoff race.
If the Liquid roster that played TSM starts this game, then we will likely see a close affair. With how difficult it is to measure Liquid’s potential, and CLG not looking to be an elite team this season, you could bet on either team this game and be justified. We expect it to be close, and with the slightly longer odds on Liquid we are going to favour a bet on them this game. It is better value than a bet on CLG who are by no means guaranteed to win and Liquid will likely field the much improved roster that faced TSM.
Liquid to win at 13/8 with Coral at 13/8 (2.62)
Sunday January 24th
NRG (5/4 bet365) vs Immortals (8/13 William Hill) – 1:00 PM
Two of the best performing teams from week 1 clash on day 2 of this week, and we expect this to be one of the highlights of the early season in NA. Both teams seem to have hit the ground running, with GBM putting in an MVP performance on his debut for NRG, and Immortals putting in overall impressive team performances showing impressive synergy.
We think this match could come down to Pobelter nullifying GBM in the mid lane. If Pobelter can sit solo and keep GBM in check, Huni and Wildturtle can get the jungle attention they need to take advantages in the side lanes. Reignover should be able to best Moon in the jungle matchup and so Immortals are the team to go for in this matchup.
Immortals to win at 8/13 with William Hill (1.61)
Counter Logic Gaming (8/13 bet365) vs. Cloud9 (5/4 Coral) – 2:00 PM
Cloud 9 come into week 2 1–1, basically doing what was expected of them and losing to a strong Immortals roster whilst beating the unimpressive Echo Fox. This week will be a more realistic litmus test for them, as they come up against CLG on day 2, a team they will likely be battling with for a top 4 spot in the regular season.
CLG are a team that rely on strong team play and rotation based map movements, something that C9 have historically been the best in NA at. Assuming Hai starts this game, we expect C9 to be able to match the rotational prowess of CLG, whilst out skilling them particularly in the mid jungle matchup. For CLG, they must look to the top lane for success, as Balls is the glaring weak point on C9. If Xmithie can avoid Rush like the plague (in terms of the individual jungle matchup, there is no question Rush would crush Xmithie) and get Darshan rolling in top, CLG have a good chance to win this game. If not, we expect Huni and Xmithie to get rolled over by Jensen and Rush respectively and for C9 to take a comfortable win. On balance, particularly with CLG being favoured by the bookies, C9 is going to be our recommended bet here.
Cloud 9 to win at 5/4 with Coral (2.25)