Another year, another CS:GO major, the fourteenth of its kind – the very best of Counter-Strike return to Katowice after a five-year hiatus with an updated tournament format and perhaps one of the strongest fields to date. It’s going to be a cracker for sure – but how can you make money betting on the tournament?
Expect the (un)expected – this is going to be the first major since the introduction of the Swiss group stage format in 2017 that features proper seeding and best-of-three series for both advancement and elimination matches. These changes are very important because they will drastically reduce the chances of the same sort of upsets that dogged the FACEIT London major and many of the previous ones as well that featured a similar format. This means that betting on NRG (currently rated 5th in the world), Fnatic (6th) and Cloud9 (8th) to make it past this stage is a relatively safe investment, though ViCi at +254 (as per Sportsbetting.ag) may be a good punt in their opening match against the Swedes considering their strong performances at the minor, beating out North on two maps on their way to then Katowice major.
The New Challengers Stage is chock full of dark horses, with perennial outsiders Vega Squadron ready to surprise the community again. Don’t be fooled by their low overall ranking, which has a lot more to do with inactivity on the LAN circuit than a lack of playing strength: a unique, in-your-face style and a lack of demos for the opponents to publish have made them strong contenders at this stage of the major, successfully qualifying to the next one three times in a row.
Meanwhile, G2 Esports remain in turmoil, chopping and changing their underperforming French roster on a regular basis. Experienced and with a lot of pedigree to their name, this side was widely expected to do better at London than they eventually did, leading to the removal of two players in the intervening period. The new additions haven’t really had a chance just yet to show themselves, and it’s going to be really interesting to see how they’ll manage on the biggest stage of them all. The meeting of these two sides is sure to be an entertaining encounter, and you can’t help but feel that the +166 (on BetOnline) for Vega’s victory over the Frenchmen is worth consideration in a best-of-one game.
Since the later rounds will be drawn according to the opening results (in accordance to the Swiss system), only the first matches’ odds are available right now. Form is king here – keep that in mind when looking at the upcoming rounds and give more credence to the favorites in the best-of-three matches. Remember, this is only the beginning – once the New Challengers Stage concludes, the event will continue on the 20th with the previous major’s top eight joining the fun. If you can correctly identify which teams will be joining them in the New Legends Stage, you’ll be quite handsomely rewarded for your efforts.
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