Only two and a half weeks after the last outing in São Paulo, the BLAST Pro series is back with another action-packed weekend, this time in Miami. The top three of the world make a return, with Na’Vi back in the swing of things after an impressive win in Shanghai. The list of participants is rounded out with underperforming giants MiBR, FaZE Clan alongside the odd one out, Cloud9: no matter the org’s prestige in the wider world of esports, the long-floundering sky-blue side is cast as the whipping boy for this one.
Can anyone stop Astralis? We’ve been asking this question for a long time… For how things are going and the trust sportsbooks seem to give the team, it seems they are once again a solid choice, the question is, are they any potential upsides? That’s where the money is.
What Is In CS:GO The BLAST Pro Series – Miami Version
The BLAST Pro Series is a fairly recent addition to the Counter-Strike scene. Organized by RFRSH – a company representing and running the strategic and commercial operations for Astralis –, it is a six-team invitational with a $250 000 prize pool and a unique format featuring a round-robin group stage with best-of-one games.
BLAST Pro Miami Competition Format
The matches of each round are played simultaneously in a LAN arena, providing spectators with a constant flow of action and a guaranteed chance to watch their favorite sides. The structure also gives a lot of information to potential bettors: you know every matchup (barring the grand final) in advance, down to the maps. This is going to be one of the first top-tier events featuring the new Vertigo, and it’s going to be exciting to see whether any team tries to stake a claim on that particular map going forward.
Once the group stage is over, the top two teams advance to the best-of-three grand finals with the third-placed side choosing one of the remaining participants to challenge for a bonus showmatch known as the BLAST Pro Standoff. This is played on a custom aim map with five 1v1 first-to-seven duels played by the different players, each pair facing off against each other with a different weapon. Which player should participate in the AWP round and who would be better off with the CZ75? Answering this means better chances to the $20 000 prize.
The Stadiums Are Not An Afterthought
While this basically makes it impossible for the viewers from home to watch the entirety of the event due to the simultaneous nature of the games, it makes the BLAST Pro Series one of the few LAN tournaments where the people in the stadium are treated as a priority instead of an afterthought. In any case, the decent prize pool and the prestige of the invited teams makes these worthwhile events to follow on the CS:GO calendar even if you do need to pick and choose which games – or teams – to pay attention to.
An Event Focused Around Game Recognition
That said, this iteration seems to have focused a bit more on name recognition than performance considering the invites to FaZe Clan and MiBR, two teams that grossly underperformed in recent months, alongside a catastrophically weak Cloud9 side that’s clearly present due to the org’s popularity rather than anything else.
It seems like the BLAST Pro machine won’t be stopping anytime soon: the next two events are already confirmed for Madrid and Los Angeles in May and July respectively, which seems to indicate that the organizers are interested in turning this into a regular spectacle around the world.
Match Odds During ESL Pro League Season 9
Best Team To Bet On And Follow During BLAST Pro Miami
Can Anyone Stop Astralis
They dropped one map at the major. Not a series, a map. Who’s going to stand up to these guys? You would assume the best-of-one matches at these BLAST Pro events would make them less likely to dominate due to the extra variance, but that hasn’t been the case at all: the Danes won an eye-popping eighteen out of twenty best-of-one games against top-tier opposition at BLAST so far, and they’ll be gunning for their fourth victory in this particular series. At this point, you could argue that their outright win is actually worth betting on.
Can Cloud9 Rise To The Occasion?
All signs point to “no”. The team is no longer even in the top 100 according to HLTV, though that is at least partly down to inactivity. Still, the lack of any semblance of stability can only make things worse: Cloud9 used twelve different players for their five-man lineups over the course of 2018, and they’ll be once again bringing a stand-in to this tournament. The 7.5 spread against Astralis in their opening game tells you all you need to know about them.
Can Faze Clan And Mibr Arrest Their Respective Slides?
The players on both teams were once atop the CS:GO world but struggled to rediscover their greatness ever since; MiBR’s fall from grace after the Katowice major was especially jarring as they went out in multiple events with a whimper. The same applies to FaZe: it hasn’t been effective to use their star as their in – game leader since kicking karrigan, and it feels extremely unlikely that either side will turn things around without changing the roster.
The odds certainly reflect this: the Brazilians are offered +170 against Na’Vi and FaZe are also treated as underdogs against Liquid with +190 – neither feel good enough to consider. On the other hand, the spreads (3.5 and 4.5 respectively) with the favorites in mind looks a lot more tantalizing (-1256 and -108).
Can Na’vi Kick On From Here?
For way too long, the CIS side felt like a one-man show with the best player of the world regularly making the impossible possible, held back by a less-than-stellar cast of supporting characters. It follows logically that any strong tournament performance by Na’Vi therefore hinges upon whether the other players can also stand up to the plate: they certainly have at StarSeries Season 7 in Shanghai, winning the entire event in impressive fashion.
While they declined to attend the São Paulo iteration of this series, they’ve made it to the finals last December, only to lose to the evergreen Astralis. Can they go a step further this time around? Time to do it!
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