Two weeks into the Summer season (for most leagues, anyway), Karma Clan Esports emerges as our favorite golden goose so far. This middle-of-the-pack team has managed to pull off two pretty major upsets so far, for quite the windfall. We'll definitely be keeping a closer eye on them in the weeks to come!
We hadn't actually posted a power ranking for this league, but if we were to do so (pretending we don't know the outcome of the first two weeks), we would have said:
| team name | wins | losses | win% | |---------------------|-------|--------|--------| | White Dragons | 18.26 | 5.74 | 76.09% | | GTZ Bulls | 13.64 | 10.36 | 56.82% | | For The Win Esports | 13.6 | 10.4 | 56.66% | | Karma Clan Esports | 11.47 | 12.53 | 47.81% | | OFFSET Esports | 10.64 | 13.36 | 44.33% | | EGN Esports | 10.61 | 13.39 | 44.20% | | Boavista FC | 10.05 | 13.95 | 41.88% | | EFIVE Esports | 7.73 | 16.27 | 32.20% |
Karma Clan would have ranked 4th out of 8, which puts it in the top half, but it's much closer in expectation to the next three teams below it than the three teams above it.
Keep in mind that these are our predictions - the odds market tends to have a more favorite-skewed view, though without their odds on every single game for the season there's no easy way to directly compare their predictions to ours. We're only talking about Karma Clan because we thought they would perform better than the market thought, and they did, so it stands to reason that the market's expectation of their performance is lower than ours.
Karma Clan had quite the frontloaded schedule: in its first four games, it played all three of our projected top three teams (and also EFIVE, the bottom team - gotta balance that schedule out somehow).
Well, it managed to beat both White Dragons and For The Win (as well as EFIVE), losing only to GTZ Bulls. How'd our bets do?
| date | opponent | odds | win% | win% implied | bet | profit | |------------|---------------------|-------|--------|--------------|---------|-----------| | 2021-06-07 | EFIVE Esports | 1.89 | 45.77% | 49.47% | - | - | | 2021-06-08 | GTZ Bulls | 3.7 | 35.36% | 25.25% | $ 45.71 | $ -45.71 | | 2021-06-14 | For The Win Esports | 6.55 | 42.51% | 14.27% | $262.52 | $1,456.97 | | 2021-06-15 | White Dragons | 10.61 | 16.98% | 8.85% | $ 28.18 | $ 270.78 |
We didn't bet on the EFIVE game, though at 1.89 odds it would hardly have been a huge difference maker. For all three of their underdog games, we thought they were significantly underrated. Compare our predicted probability against the market's odds-implied (normalized) probability! In fact, their only loss was against GTZ Bulls, which the market actually thought they had the best chance against.
Underdog state of mind
It's worth a quick aside to talk about some aspects of market psychology. We're planning a whole article on how bettors tend to think about things, how the market preys on that, and how to avoid various fallacies, so we won't go into too much detail here.
Mostly, it's just worth mentioning that when you see an oddsmaker say "Karma Clan has a 9% chance to win against White Dragons," most people's immediate instinct is to dismiss that as basically a lock-in. If there's a 9% chance of rain, you don't bother bringing your umbrella. If there's a 9% chance of a team winning, why the hell would we bet on them?
First of all, we disagree with the market - we're actually claiming that Karma Clan's probability is 20%, which is quite a bit better. They're still a heavy underdog, but 1 in 5 isn't bad.
Second, even if it was 9%, that would still happen roughly 1 in 11 times. You've probably watched more than 11 League of Legends matches; in the grand scheme of things that's really not that rare.
It's important to remember that ultimately, what matters most is your expected value - if that one time in 11 that you win pays off more than the 10 times in 11 you'd lose, then it's worth making the bet. On any individual bet this is likely to feel bad, but that's why it's vitally important to place as many bets as you can, to combat variance!
And hey, sometimes you do just get lucky, and turn a $28 bet into $271 of profit!
We're not going to get too nitty-gritty with the details here, to keep this article concise, but the most glaring difference between our model and how we presume (based on these odds) that the markets' models work is how they deal with inexperienced players.
Many of Karma Clan's players have a very short tenure in professional LoL. Markets seem to treat that as an actively bad thing, and assume these players won't perform very well (they're not entirely wrong - a proven track record is very valuable). Our model (and this is a gross oversimplification) tends to treat new players as closer to average. We have factors that account for experience, both on their own and with their specific teammates, but also have ways of extrapolating expected performance in ways that we believe better fit reality. Again, this is an oversimplification, but it stands to reason that PapiTeero should be a player of similar caliber to Renas, who he replaced.
Was Karma Clan destined to provide such profitable bets? Of course not! Even by our own estimates, they were still the underdog, just not as unfavored as the market believed. The only way to consistently take advantage of these disparities is to bet as often as possible, and the earlier the better! You can find all of our bet suggestions here, to make sure you don't miss a beat. Subscribe and follow us on Twitter and Facebook to keep up with all of our developments and predictions and stay ahead of the game!