2021 LCS Spring Split Preview and Betting Tips

If you’re into esports betting, then the 2021 LCS Spring Split is more than worthy of your undivided attention! A brand new season of competitive League is upon us and, if we were to judge by its outward appearance, we’d have to say it’s looking mighty exciting! Of course, betting on the LCS will still be as tricky as ever. The North American region — much like Europe, in that regard — is pretty volatile, but that’s mostly true for the beginning of each season. We sort of always know how things will end, and which players will get showered in confetti. The ending is pretty much a foregone conclusion. The road towards it, however, is anything but.

Still, we have more than enough information to help you understand what’ll happen, when, and why.

For starters, we’ll go over the most important facts. Then, once that’s done, we’ll go into greater detail and break down everything you need to know if you’re into betting on competitive League and have the 2021 LCS Spring Split in your sights!

So, without any further ado, let’s begin!

  • Competing Teams: 10
  • Dates: February 5th to March 14th
  • Location: All games will be played in an online only setting for the foreseeable future, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The gameplay itself, however, will not suffer as a result!
  • Stream: You can catch all the action on Twitch, YouTube, and even the official LoL Esports website!
  • Most Likely to Win: Cloud9 or Team Liquid
  • Potential Dark Horses: 100 Thieves and Team SoloMid

2021 LCS Spring Split Betting | What’s Different This Time Around?

Riot has made two key changes for 2021 and they pertain to the league’s format and overall branding. We’ll go over the former down below, but the latter is also somewhat important as it’s signaling a change in approach and philosophy from the higher-ups.

The LCS will no longer stand in the shadow of traditional sports (broadcast-wise). Instead, it’ll follow in the footsteps of the LEC, LCK, and LPL — youthful, energized, a hype-inducing. Well, that’s the goal at least. Whether you like this new aesthetic or not will solely depend on personal preference, but it’s undeniably a fresh take, and a highly welcome one at that!

With some of the most revered and respected LCS pros opting to retire mere months ago, Riot is putting an emphasis on the next breed of LCS talent, with players like Victor “FBI” Huang, Edward “Tactical” Ra, and Ibrahim “Fudge” Allami getting ample attention (among others). They’re the ones who’ll grow into the superstars of tomorrow, so it’s easy to understand why they’ve been given a bit of time underneath the spotlight.

In any case, a different kind of LCS is coming into existence in front of our very eyes. Exciting stuff!

2021 LCS Spring Split Betting | What’s the Format?

The 2021 LCS Spring Split is divided into three parts: LCS Lock-In (January 15—30); Spring Split (February 5—March 14); and the Mid-Season Showdown (March 20—April 11). The first-ever LCS Lock-In is a “self-contained” tournament meaning its results won’t affect anyone’s regular season standings. In other words, it doesn’t really matter all that much. Its sole purpose is to allow teams to experiment without any fear, but also to create a bit of hype coming into the regular portion of the split. The Lock-In will last for three weeks and the winner will take home a very respectable sum of money — $150k, with an additional $50k being donated to a charity of their choice.

Friendly Tip:

The COVID-19 pandemic is still around, as you’re probably aware, which means certain teams will most likely face various visa issues going forward. This means that some of them might not perform up to expectations up until the second, third, or even fourth week of the regular season.

After the LCS Lock-In concludes, the Spring Split will commence immediately afterward. It’ll last for six weeks, with five games being played each Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The one big difference that 2021 will bring when it comes to the LCS format, is the fact that Spring Split standings will carry over to Summer, meaning each and every game going forward matters. A single win or loss could end up being the difference between reaching the playoffs and waiting things out on the sidelines.

Lastly, the Mid-Season Showdown is pretty much a fancy title for the Spring Split playoffs! The team that emerges victorious will not only hoist the LCS trophy but also represent North America at the 2021 Mid-Season Invitational.

This is a lot to take in. In fact, these are the biggest and most impactful changes to the LCS format since 2016. Fortunately, Riot has just released a nifty little video that explains everything in great (but not overwhelming) detail!

There are many reasons why these changes have been put into place. The first (and arguably the biggest) one is to give teams a reason to “tryhard” during the first half of the year. Historically speaking, the Spring Split carried very little significance as it didn’t net the winning team anything other than a sack of cash and a banner in the LCS Studio. Now, these things are far from insignificant, but next to playing on the World Championship stage, they do somewhat pale in comparison.

These changes will undoubtedly improve the region as a whole and will make things a lot more entertaining going forward!

Who’s Playing?

All of the ten competing teams can easily be divided into three separate groups. We have the biggest favorites (i.e. the teams with the most firepower and experience), the dark horses (pretty darn good but not great), and the bottom-tier dwellers. If you’re betting on competitive League of Legends, it’s absolutely paramount to understand which team belongs where.

Fortunately, we’re here to help with that.

The Biggest Favorites

    Cloud9 Logo

  • Cloud9 — The way Cloud9 maneuvered through the 2020 LCS off-season was nothing short of awe-inspiring. They already had a spectacular line-up to work with, and all they had to do was make small, nuanced changes. As luck would have it, they were able to snag the best and most revered Western player of all time (Luka “Perkz” Perković, of G2 Esports fame), who also happens to be one of the best mid laners in the history of the game.

    The boys in black blue are entering 2021 with a metric ton of hype, and it’s easy to understand why. They have all the right tools to not only compete at the highest of levels but even hoist the LCS trophy (at least once). How much time they’ll need to synergize and start playing to the best of their ability, however, still remains to be seen. In any case, this incarnation of Cloud9 is packed with talent and is no doubt one of the best North American line-ups in history.

    Success, therefore, is all but guaranteed.

  • Team Liquid Logo

  • Team Liquid — Coming in at second place we have none other than Team Liquid. The former four-time LCS champions have decided to once again double down on their strengths and import/sign some of the best players available, namely Barney “Alphari” Morris (formerly of Origen and Misfits Gaming) and Lucas Tao “Santorin” Kilmer Larsen (former FlyQuest jungler and Team SoloMid alumni). These two changes alone — paired with the rest of their line-up — is more than enough reason for us to believe in their long-term strength and potential. This is a bona fide superteam and there’s no weak link whatsoever.

    If there’s one team that’s bound to give Cloud9 a run for their money and challenge for the LCS throne, it’s Team Liquid.

The Dark Horses

Simply put, these teams make betting on competitive LoL (or the 2021 LCS Spring Split, in this case) a lot more complicated than it might seem at first glance. They’re dangerous in every sense of the word, but how well they’ll synergize is anyone’s guess at this point. There’s ample potential on paper, but that means very little if it isn’t harnessed correctly. We’ve seen many great line-up fumble and fail throughout history, so just because an organization managed to assemble a respectable roster doesn’t mean success is guaranteed.

Far from it, in fact.

Still, these teams could potentially make your betting endeavours pretty darn challenging over the coming weeks. They’re entering the 2021 season with a fair bit of momentum but they know they’re not favored to accomplish much next to the likes of Cloud9 and Team Liquid. Still, they care very little for what the oddsmakers have to say which means they’ll fight for every inch of the Summoner’s Rift, regardless of whom they’re up against.

TSM LogoTeam SoloMid (the defending champions) — No one’s quite sure how high to rank the boys in black and white. The roster TSM will field in 2021 is fairly impressive, but growing pains seem inevitable. In other words, they’ll need a lot of time to synergize and get on the same page now that there’s no Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg in the mid lane to lead the charge. TSM is entering uncharted territory, and it’ll be interesting to see how well they’ll adapt. Either way, they should not be underestimated.


100 Thieves Logo Esports100 Thieves — Arguably the biggest threat to Cloud9 and Team Liquid. They might not be as good as TL or C9 on paper (although that’s also debatable), but what they might lack in starpower they more than make up for in sheer grit and resilience. The one big advantage 100 Thieves will have over the next couple of months is that four of their five players already have pre-existing synergy. And that, at this level of play, is invaluable. Heck, it’s the biggest benefit a team can hope for in the early stages of the season, and 100T will have it in spades. No one should be overly surprised if they start the split off in insanely dominant fashion; if there’s one team that is basically a shoo-in for Top 3, it has to be 100 Thieves.


Evil Geniuses Esports LogoEvil Geniuses — EG’s roster for 2021 is both pretty darn good and somewhat underwhelming. Regardless, with some of the most seasoned veterans aboard (and a former World Champion, to boot), they’ll no doubt be able to trade blows with the best teams the LCS has to offer. They probably won’t win all that often, mind you, but that won’t stop them from trying. In any case, they’re a very solid, well-rounded team with a couple of glaring weaknesses that only the best teams in North America will know how to exploit.


FlyQuest LogoFlyQuest — We need to adjust our expectations for FlyQuest going forward, and that’ll be mighty hard after the seismic success they’ve found throughout 2020. The line-up they’ve assembled is by no means as layered and dangerous as the one that came before it, but it’s still incredibly strong and will no doubt turn heads. With a potent bottom lane duo, a rising OCE jungler who made a name for himself at the 2020 World Championship Play-In stage, and (arguably) the best top laner in North America, FlyQuest will have no issue competing for a spot near the very top of the region. In fact, they might even find surprising amounts of success if things pan out as best they could.

The Bottom-tier Dwellers

Finally, we have a bunch of teams that just aren’t good enough to compete at the highest of levels. How well they’ll perform still remains to be seen, but they lack in sheer talent and potential, especially when compared to their more potent and competent peers. Still, most of them will fight their hearts out, regardless of the odds.

The list of bottom-tier dwellers includes the Golden Guardians, Dignitas, Counter Logic Gaming, and Immortals.

One thing needs to be said:

These teams are not all equally bad. Furthermore, just because they’re occupying such an unflattering category doesn’t mean they’ll go down without a fight.

The reason they’re not ranked any higher is because they won’t accomplish much once all is said and done. There’s just no other way to put it. CLG and Immortals, however, might end up being a bit better than expected. There’s a fair bit of talent present on both line-ups, so who knows — they might exceed our expectations, although no one should be holding their breath for it to happen.

Still, the start of each season is incredibly forgiving as it means all ten teams will face off on a somewhat level playing field. There’s very little synergy to speak of at this point in time, so most of it will boil down to individual talent, preparation, and sheer mechanical prowess. The teams that have such virtues in abundance will fare better early on, but they’ll still struggle with the more nuanced stuff like macro, in-game strats, shotcalling, role assignments, and everything in between. That sort of stuff takes time to develop, which is why the biggest upsets tend to happen at the start of the season, when everyone’s still unsure of what’s the best and most optimal way to play the game.

Finally, the gap between the LCS pantheon and everyone else is now wider than ever before, and that should — eventually — be evident in the standings as well.

A Shift to Online

An important thing to keep in mind is the fact that all ten competing teams will once again clash in an online-only setting. This is incredibly important as it can heavily affect performance. Some players thrive under pressure; others succumb to it. Playing in front of a live audience — no matter how big or small — and playing from a team house is a night and day difference. The amount of pressure varies wildly. Furthermore, some individuals play their best once their backs are against the wall. Others, not so much. Such is the nature of any competition, be it esports or traditional sports.

Only after a week or two of play — once the dust settles down — will we be able to deduce everyone’s true power level.

The start of any season is always chaotic. That’s just the way things are. This means that, at least early on, there are no safe bets whatsoever. Anything can happen (and often does) during the first couple of weeks, including the seemingly impossible. Then again, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can definitely win big if you decide to bet on an underdog or two.

Wrapping Things Up

Betting on the 2021 LCS Spring Split is definitely a good idea because it’s one of the easiest leagues to predict. That said, make sure to watch as many games as you can. This might sound like a no-brainer, frankly, but it’s solid advice nonetheless. Of course, we’ll be covering everything in great detail over the coming weeks so you won’t be left hanging, but watching the action unfold with your own eyes will go a long way towards making correct predictions and, as a result, scoring big payouts. By keeping your ear close to the ground, you’ll be able to understand the nuances of the meta and each of the ten competing teams.

Plus, these things always shift and change over time, so you’d be wise to keep track. It’s what makes competitive esports so darn exciting and, at times, complicated to bet on.

Still, by understanding some of its core concepts, you’ll find it pretty easy to predict who’ll come out with their “hand raised.”

As always, we’ll be back with more coverage over the coming days and weeks, so stay tuned!

Elias Andrews / Author

Elias identifies as more of an esports geek rather than a sports geek. While he enjoys playing tennis and enjoying the outdoors once in a while, he’s most comfortable in the darkness of his self-proclaimed “man cave.” When Elias isn’t partaking in anything himself, he enjoys writing about the nuances of the esports betting world, including covering controversial takes, where esports might be headed, and why bettors should get in on the industry while it’s growing.