The first season of Turner Broadcasting’s ELEAGUE is under way, and whilst the studio and production has been impressive, the level of CounterStrike hasn’t quite lived up to expectation. Thus, we’ve identified a few solid ELEAGUE betting tips as we near the end of the first round of matches.
The format of the group stage of the event is a strange one: a round robin system used for seeding, followed by a knockout bracket between all four teams. The winner of this bracket will advance to the playoffs, and the second place will go into the ELEAGUE last chance qualifier, along with two third placed teams. With $390,000 on offer to the winner of the overall competition, it’s one that the top teams will be taking seriously, and given the exposure on US television, one that American sides will want to impress in to justify their position in their organizations.
Whilst the round-robin had a strange map selection format, the knockout reverts to the standard ban-ban-pick-pick-ban-ban-remain.
Here are our ELEAGUE betting tips for the first round of the knockout matches.
Luminosity (1/9 Ladbrokes) vs Team Liquid (15/2 Pinnacle)
Little case needed to be made for Luminosity coming into this event. With a roster of five world class players, excellent recent form that sees them perceived as the best in the world, and some mediocre opposition in their group, Luminosity have been favourites from the get go. They weren’t completely convincing in the group stage, winning in overtime against Renegades and dropping 14 rounds to Liquid, both on Cobblestone, but their other performances have been a class above.
Liquid came into group as the second most favoured side, but have been diabolical. Despite Adren tweeting that “only today’s matches matter” it’s hard to envisage a scenario where they weren’t trying to avoid inevitable group winners Luminosity in the playoffs that could compensate for their poor performance.
Liquid have been completely lacking any serious firepower, with even their former coach, GBJames, calling out his former roster as they slumped in the group stages. They did manage to defeat CLG in the ECS last night, but weren’t able to win a map in the groups.
The Americans might have a reputation for choking – but in this case they won’t get near choking. Back Luminosity on the handicap on both maps: there’s a chance that both come in, and even in the worst case that Liquid are able to step their game up on their own map, the Brazilians are likely to dominate on their map. The 1/9 with Ladbrokes is likely value, but we’d rather back Luminosity to dominate. The main risk is Liquid picking Nuke and Luminosity not being able to adapt, but it’s worth the risk, as it’s equally as likely that their bans of the map in the groupstage is a bluff as much as it is that they haven’t played it.
Cloud9 (8/13 Ladbrokes) vs Renegades (13/10 Unibet)
A close game is expected between two sides who drew their fixture in the groups – winning one map apiece. Renegades have stepped up their game since showing up at ELEAGUE, with performances above the level shown when losing in the final at the two recent Asian minors they have attended and in the ESL Pro League, where they placed a very average 13-9 record. Renegades have lacked consistency, but have some very talented players.
Cloud9 have also started to rebuild their form, with solid performances at Dreamhack Open Austin and at the ESL Pro League Season 3 finals. This is largely thanks to Jake “Stewie2K” Yip’s entry fragging which has opened up more T-side rounds than they’ve previously been used to. On the other side, in-game leader Alec “Slemmy” White has only racked up a positive score 5 times in the 17 maps since joining the side. Fortunately, he has four talented players around him, but they need to be hitting their shots.
Thus, the map veto will be crucial here and is difficult to predict exactly, but the results should follow a similar pattern. We can expect both sides to win their initial map, though it likely favours Renegades early on, as it is hard to see Cloud9 getting any result on their usual permaban Mirage or on Nuke, and Renegades beat them on Cobblestone yesterday. On the other hand, Cloud9 are likely to pick from Dust2, Cache or Train, likely in that order of preference. Renegades would have a chance of causing a shock there, before being likely to then ban the remaining of those maps.
Cloud9 is then likely to leave Overpass, regardless of what remains, where they are favoured. As we don’t know whose map will be played first, the prudent bet is to back Renegades to win at least one map.
Renegades +1.5 map with Betway at 2/5 (1.40)