Nothing Is Rotten In Denmark During Group Stage At ESL Pro League

SBR Staff

Monday, December 3, 2018 5:31 PM UTC

Monday, Dec. 3, 2018 5:31 PM UTC

It's on in Odense as the best  Counter-Strike: Global Offensive teams from North America,  Europe, Oceania, Asia and South America will battle for a piece of the  $1 million prize pool.

It has been one month since we saw a quality CS:GO event of this size. Odense, Denmark welcomes the Season 8 finalists of ESL Pro League beginning Wednesday through the weekend.

Sixteen teams will be attending; the top rosters from North America and Europe, plus one representative from Oceania, Asia, and also South America. These final 3 invitees, which began earlier this year during the Season 7 Finals, add an interesting element to the buzz. We will take a look at the format, opening day matches, and provide some wagers I will be on.

Format

Season 8's groups and playoffs are arranged identically to Season 7. The opening round features a best-of-one map, followed by best-of-three series for the remainder of the tournament. A tournament willing to invest in the time needed for this many Bo3's has the community's respect and attention and a team that qualifies for playoffs deserves to be there without question.

The 16 teams have been split into two upper brackets and seeded according to their season position. The teams that win two matches in the upper-bracket qualify for playoffs. The team in each group that wins three matches will proceed directly to the semi-finals. If a team loses in either of the first two rounds they will move to the lower bracket and be one loss away from elimination. Only one team from each group's lower bracket will proceed to the playoffs. Therefore there will be 6 teams in the playoffs; four from the upper-bracket's and two from the lower.

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🇩🇰 The opening matches for the #ESLProLeague Finals in Odense will be 🔥🔥🔥. What are your predictions?

🎟 https://t.co/PzayvXkBf1 pic.twitter.com/gxGa2hd7rK

— ESL Counter-Strike (@ESLCS) November 28, 2018
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Day 1 Matches

There are eight opening best-of-one matches, beginning at 6 a.m. ET. There are more than few interesting match-ups, here's my preiview:

Renegades vs. Hellraisers

Last weekend saw Hellraisers debut their new addition Hobbit on LAN; it was a bit underwhelming. It's safe to say their Dust2 seems to be quite strong, which was the case with Bondik in the roster too, but beyond that no other map stands out. HR's ct side has been decent on Inferno and Mirage, but they need to be good on both sides to consider those good maps. Renegades had a somewhat anti-climactic finish at their last LAN in Bangkok, getting swept by Tyloo relatively easily. I have come to consider that matchup somewhat of a derby, even though the rosters are located quite far apart most of the year. Why I say this is because of the familiarity of years of head to head matches which in 2018 became very back-and-forth. Provided Renegades are not fatigued from travelling from Australia to Denmark, I think they hold an advantage in terms of map pool and team play. The addition of Hobbit certainly adds firepower, but I think they need a bit more time to justify the odds they are getting from the books.

Liquid vs. G2

The newly formed French roster, (notice I dropped the "superteam" moniker) G2, attended Dreamhack Jonkoping this past weekend. They lost in groups to tournament winners, Ence. Meanwhile, Team Liquid won their second title of the year in Malta. I really was not impressed with G2, even this early. I am sure Jonkoping was to be used as a preparation for Odense, but I am more than a bit concerned for them this week. Their one map victory came at the hands of a fortunate t-side comeback on Dust2 against Ence before losing to Bravado on Nuke. If G2 can get every opponent to play D2 then they have a shot here, otherwise I might have to fade them consistently if the price is right.

Ghost vs. Mousesports

America's favorite resurgent underdog team is back for another lan; Ghost Gaming. The Steel-led roster caught the community's attention with their excellent run during the season. This continued with some decent performances at a couple tournaments to justify their attendance. However, none of those tourneys compare to the one in Odense. If Ghost makes noise here it will be safe to say they deserve some respect, which has not been seen for a Steel roster since the ibuypower days. A month ago Styko returned to Mousesports, yet the international roster has done little of the unexpected. That said, they still have far more experience, firepower and teamplay at this level of competition to utilise against the Americans (and Canucks). I think Ghost relies on Wardell far too much so I will stay away from their moneyline for now, but they have what it takes to have a strong half against Mouse.

Bets

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