The NA LCS Gauntlet 2018 ends on September 16! We’re in for a massive clash between Cloud 9 and TSM to decide who’s going to claim the last remaining Worlds seed. Tensions are high as both teams want to protect their record of attending every single World Championship. Who’s going to succeed? And how can you make money on the outcome? Find the answer in our in-depth NA LCS Gauntlet betting tips!
Cloud9 vs TSM
Cloud9 are on a downswing. Their 3-0 loss to Team Liquid in the finals was a huge wake-up call to C9 fans, and it’s clear that this team is not as solid as we thought it was. For one, Goldenglue and Blaber didn’t handle the pressure of Bo5 series well, which simultaneously weakens both iterations of their mid/jungle duo. But Cloud9 have also gotten so carried away with draft experiments that they might not be able to play standard anymore.
The biggest problems lie in the side lane. Sneaky’s champion pool has been all over the place this season as picks like Quinn and Twitch simply can’t stand up to the likes of Varus and Kai’sa. In a similar fashion, Licorice spends too much time on tank duty, which doesn’t mesh with his carry-oriented skill set.
As for TSM, they’re looking stronger than ever. The holes in their early game are finally gone and everyone seems to be on the same page in teamfights and skirmishes. And unlike Cloud9, they don’t overthink things in drafts, so they tend to run very straightforward and easy-to-execute team comps.
Finally, TSM have better players. In the past, you could single out the bot lane of Zven and Mithy as the weakest point of this lineup, but the European duo has been playing out of its mind lately. Combine that with massive improvements from Grig and the long-standing dominance of TSM’s solo laners, and this team looks set to punch its Worlds ticket.
BETTING ADVICE: You can bet on TSM winning this NA LCS Gauntlet 2018 series for odds of 2.05 at Betway. If you want to up the ante, consider placing a wager on TSM scoring a 3-1 victory for odds of 4.50.
Round 2 Prediction: TSM vs Echo Fox
Echo Fox are the definition of a wildcard. They can look like one of the best teams in the league when they’re obliterating weaker lineups in the laning phase. But if the game goes past the 20-minute mark, Echo Fox collapse under the weight of shaky macro and haphazard shot calling.
Still, they have a ton of firepower on their roster. The top laner—Huni—has proven himself as one of the most dominant carries in the region, and while he did have a momentary slump towards the end of the split, he seems to have gotten over it in the NA LCS Gauntlet 2018. His strengths are reinforced by the relentless aggression from Dardoch. Combine that with solid laners in other positions, and it’s not exactly surprising how Echo Fox managed to take over so many early games.
That being said, this approach isn’t going to take them far against TSM. Not only did the North American powerhouse shore up the holes in its bot lane, but it also ramped up the aggression in the solo lanes. On top of that, TSM are a massive threat in teamfights to the point where even the likes of Echo Fox might struggle to match them.
Then, there’s the fact that TSM’s roster is stacked with talent. Bjergsen has always been a force to be reckoned with in North America, but it’s really the consistent carrying from Zven and the massive improvements from Hauntzer that push TSM to the next level. With that, TSM have the resilience to hold off Echo Fox’s onslaught and outmaneuver them in the late game.
BETTING ADVICE: You can bet on TSM winning this NA LCS Gauntlet 2018 series with a 3-1 score for odds of 3.95 at EsportsBetting. Alternatively, you can place a match winner wager on TSM for odds of 1.60 if you want a safer betting option.
Round 1 Prediction: Echo Fox vs Clutch
At one point, Echo Fox looked like a North American powerhouse. Their early game was explosive and they knew full well how to turn even the slightest leads into confident victories. But there’s a reason why they’re in the NA LCS Gauntlet 2018. The truth is Echo Fox never learned to manage their aggression, which led to very shaky teamfights and Baron setups.
Also, there’s the Huni question. The top laner started the Summer Split with a string of MVP-level performances but he fell into a massive slump towards the second half of the regular season. Damonte isn’t exactly setting the world ablaze either. Granted, they still have a decent bot lane in Lost and Smoothie as well as the force of nature that is Dardoch, but that doesn’t change the fact that Echo Fox have to play every game with unreliable solo laners
Luckily for them, their first opponents are even worse. Clutch Gaming are a very slow-moving and conventional lineup. Most of their game plans revolve around scaling and teamfighting, and they rarely—if ever—employ any creative tactics. Of course, this playstyle did bring them to a fourth-place finish in spring. However, their Summer Split was so rough that Clutch barely managed to qualify for the NA LCS Gauntlet 2018.
Another thing to note is individual performance. In the past, Clutch always had players that could go toe-to-toe with the best North American pros. Nowadays, Apollo and Hakuho are looking shakier than ever in the bot lane, and Febiven and LirA are struggling to make their presence known in the mid/jungle positions. And that’s a very bad look for someone coming into the NA LCS Gauntlet 2018.
BETTING ADVICE: It’s clear Echo Fox are overwhelming favorites in this matchup, so the question becomes how can you make money off it? The conventional match-winner bet carries little to no value. That said, you could definitely bet on Echo Fox winning the series 3-0 for odds of 2.07 at ArcaneBet. Granted, the odds aren’t much for a correct score wager, but considering Clutch Gaming only have 1 win over Echo Fox over the entirety of 2018, it’s a reasonable bet to explore.