eSports Odds: ESL Pro League Finals Preview

SBR Staff

Monday, May 14, 2018 5:19 PM UTC

Monday, May. 14, 2018 5:19 PM UTC

The seventh ESL Pro League season culminates with a six-day tournament beginning Tuesday in Dallas, with 16 teams competing for their share of $750,000. Here is our betting preview and predictions!

Tournament Overview

Eight of the top 10 ranked organizations around the world have qualified, as well as some big up-and-coming rosters. All teams will play a single best-of-one match on Day 1 to place them in either the upper bracket or lower bracket. Teams that lose in the lower bracket are eliminated, while the rest of teams (8) will qualify for the playoffs beginning Friday. After the opening 8 matches the remainder will be a Bo3, except for the Grandfinals which will be a Bo5. A format like this will generally favor the better teams as it is more difficult for lower-quality teams to upset in two maps rather than one.

The four teams I expect to qualify for playoffs from Group A: Mousesports & Natus Vincere (upper bracket), Faze and NRG (lower bracket). The four from Group B: Liquid & Astralis (upper bracket), SK and NiP (lower bracket).

The only team that could be called a "lock" to make it to playoffs is Astralis. Their form through the past two tournaments has been second to none. The fact Faze beat them 3-0 in the finals of the Sydney tournament last week is nothing to be embarrassed about; two maps went to overtime and the third ended 16-14.

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The best players in the world are coming to Dallas!
Are you?#ESLProLeague


— ESL Counter-Strike (@ESLCS) May 11, 2018

Tournament Futures

The three teams that have the most value in my eyes coming into the Dallas LAN are:

Astralis +275 (BetWay)

As mentioned, they are the one team showing the most consistency over the past month (a lifetime in eSports). They have the strongest map pool of any team right now having proven they can win on every single map (since the removal of Cobblestone). There are a couple of maps I might still favor other teams on; mirage, cache, and sometimes inferno. However their strategic playbook is deep enough that they can put up a decent amount of rounds on both ct/t side of every map. In the past they struggled with pistol rounds and would often have to fight from a deficit, but that seems to have changed recently. The one worry for them at the moment seems to be the health of their awper (sniper), "device." He tweeted an explanation for his recent absence and inconsistency in 2018. The only way I see them losing this tournament is if either another team plays out of their minds like Faze did in Sydney last week, or device has a poor performance in the late stages of the tournament.

Mousesports +650 (Pinnacle)

Previously a bridesmaid, but never a bride, Mousesports has lost that moniker, winning three tournaments over the past year and many other playoff appearances. Two things have caused this improvement: a map in Mirage (89% win rate on LAN past 3 months) that is maybe the best in the world this year, and players with the firepower to rival any other roster. Mirage is a map many teams feel comfortable on so it often is not eliminated during the veto stage of map selection. Mouse also has a solid Inferno and Train so if they can scare teams into vetoing Dust2 or Nuke in this tournament then they have a good chance to win the veto stage. Behind Astralis I would say Mousesports have an equal chance to take the tournament as Faze do.

Ninjas in Pyjamas +1400

NiP is a much-improved roster this year, though their results have been nothing to brag about. Recently they have qualified for the playoff stage, marginally losing in the quarterfinals to Fnatic and Liquid in Marseilles and Katowice, respectively. If SK gaming continues its poor form, then I like Nip’s chances to get out of Group B relatively easily. The biggest question mark for this team is the form they show on any given day and on which maps. Opponents most fear their Cache (based on past vetoes) but we don’t know what their Nuke or Dust2 really looks like. Though they’ve been trying to strengthen their Mirage recently, their t-side doesn’t seem up to par. That said, with other top 10 teams somewhat slumping, this is great value on a team we certainly see in the playoffs. And for that reason, I’ll lay a unit on the juicy +1400.

Day 1 Matches

Similar to traditional sports, predicting who will win a match and finding the best (winning) value bet are two separate entities. At the time of writing this article, not all the books have lines available, here are the ones I recommend. It is worth it to shop around on Tuesday when the tournament begins!

  • Faze (-3.5) v Cloud9 @ -125
  • Mousesports (-6.5) v Sharks @ -111
  • MVP PK (+5.5) v Natus Vincere @ -120
  • NRG v Heroic (o26.5) @ -125
  • Liquid (-4.5) v Grayhound @ +100
  • NiP (ML) v SK @ +100
  • Astralis (-4.5) v Optic @ -110
  • Renegades (-2.5) v Space Soldiers @ -111

Tournament Props

Higher Rated Player:

f0rest (ML) v k0nfig @ +100

Team to Play More Maps:

Liquid (ML) v Cloud9 @ -125
-NiP (ML) v Optic @ -135

Highest CT %:

Train @ +250

Highest T %:

Inferno @ +450
Mirage @ +650

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