After an eventful opening period and a short break, the Katowice CS:GO major is set to continue with the New Legends Stage and the long-awaited arrival of the top teams like Astralis, Team Liquid, FaZe Clan and MiBR. We’ve already lost one of the most decorated orgs in the form of Fnatic: figuring out whether similar upsets will occur in the second round is the first step towards betting success here.
Changing patterns equal new betting opportunities
Will the Legends struggle as usual? Don’t laugh, this is a genuine question: ever since the CS:GO major format was expanded to 24 teams, the teams that joined the circus in the second round often struggled to get up to speed against their battle-hardened opponents from the opening stage, regularly losing out in the best-of-one games to start things out. We’ve even seen examples of this in the New Challengers Stage where a team from the minor (ViCi Gaming) would take out their sluggish but more prestigious opponent (Fnatic) early on – a game we’ve specifically pointed out in our preview.
Similarly, the few Legend-versus-Challenger matchups in the opening rounds offer tantalizing upset opportunities to consider betting on, especially considering the turmoil some of the teams from the previous major’s top eight are. BIG lost out on smooya as their prolific AWPer benched himself shortly before the event, having to scramble to replace him with a benched player only recently coming back from surgery – so while Vitality have not really faced a strong side in the New Challengers Stage, there’s a good reason why the odds are almost even for this matchup, and the Frenchmen are still a good punt at +101.
Even the mighty Na’Vi are supposedly struggling with morale and didn’t really set the world alight at the small LAN they’ve attended shortly before the major – while it would be brave to bet against their eventual qualification, they could very well slip up in their opening game against G2, even if shox and co. failed to impress so far in Katowice, therefore odds of +137 are nothing to sneeze at.
The riskiest bet out of the three is definitely the Cloud9 versus MiBR game, though once again there are reasons to go for the upset potential: C9 have steadily grown into the contest as the rounds went on and, more importantly, the Brazilians have not actually played a competitive match since re-forming their old roster and ripping up their coaching regimen. Make no mistake, they’re still the favorites for this game but the chances for a one-map surprise are too good to not at least consider the mouth-watering +201 return on offer.
Despite all this talk about upsets, the first stage of the major has clearly shown that the new format has done a good job in weeding out undeserving candidates. Having to win at least one best-of-three games makes it impossible to go through on a complete fluke and the bo3 elimination matches also gave a good chance to the more prestigious sides to fight back. Not only that, but the introduction of seeding also helps avoid the car crashes like the FaZe-vs-mouz 0-2 tussle in London – all these changes favor the teams with the deeper map pools and facilitate worthy comebacks.
What to keep an eye out for
That being said, all but one of the teams that won their first two matches made it through the New Challengers Stage, meaning those one-map wins are still a decent predictor of future success, especially with the seeded pairings. Similarly, none of the teams managed to come back from an 0-2 scoreline. Details like this are important to keep an eye out on considering we’ve got quite a few teams entering the competition that arguably don’t deserve to be here, making it to the top eight at the last major off the back of a few best-of-one wins and a favorable set of opposition.
Apart from the previously mentioned BIG, both compLexity Gaming and HellRaisers are shaky propositions, failing to follow up their good performances at the London major elsewhere in the circuit. Seeing how the American team is playing with a stand-in and HR only made top eight thanks to dodging every top ten team in the world at the time along the way, both are quite likely to collapse in the best-of-three matches. Realistically speaking, at least three of the top eight slots are there for the taking for the teams that made it through the New Challengers Stage.
A word about Astralis: while the Danes remain the undisputed best in the world, the recent announcement of the death of dupreeh’s father could have an unpredictable effect on their performances. (Tidbits like these, however unfortunate, are why it’s worth scouring Reddit during the lead-up to these events! Sometimes the players’ social media interactions are extreme enough to be catalogued on r/globaloffensive alongside other interesting statistics, making it a potentially useful resource from a betting perspective). We can’t yet tell whether their runner-up finish at iBUYPOWER Masters earlier in 2019 was the first sign of a power shift or just an anomaly – keep an eye out for their performances in the best-of-three matches as a predictor of their future capabilities.
Individual Performance Matters In The Team’s success
Some of the teams in this event live and die based on the performances of some of their individual players and keeping an eye out on their ratings in the first few games could give you a good idea whether to bet against them later on. One of the main reasons behind NiP’s successful qualification was f0rest rolling back the years, and it’s impossible to imagine Na’Vi making a deep run without s1mple and electronic – the latter of which has not been at his best as of late – firing on all cylinders. FaZe Clan also has no chance if Niko isn’t on top of his game individually, and G2 will need kennyS to return to his old form as well if they want to upset the odds in the New Legends Stage.
Out of the remaining matches of the first round, betting on Astralis beating compLexity (-1250) and Team Liquid taking down AVANGAR (-370) look like safe enough propositions to pad your accumulator with – and if you’re feeling frisky, the rematch between ENCE and Renegades may very well favor the Aussies who have impressed most of the commentariat so far, with some of them even predicting them to make it to the top eight for the first time in their history. Even so, FaZe versus HellRaisers feels like way too volatile a matchup to bet on.
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