The final significant event of the year is finally upon us. The ESL ESEA Pro League Season 2 Finals kick off on Thursday, December 11th at the ESL Studios in Burbank, Los Angeles. Yet again we see another $250,000 tournament with a double elimination, best-of-three group stage, best-of-three semis and a best-of-five final. We can’t wait – and to whet our appetite, we’ve identified a couple of betting opportunities in the outright market!
The following teams spent three months trying to qualify online for this event and in the end were successful:
Fnatic – 21/10 – Paddy Power
Team EnVyUs – 3/1 – William Hill, 32Red, Unibet
ex-TSM – 4/1 – bet365, 32Red, Unibet
Natus Vincere – 11/2 – Betway
Luminosity Gaming – 10/1 – William Hill
Team Liquid – 50/1 – bet365
Conquest – 100/1 – bet365
Counter Logic Gaming – 100/1 – bet365, Betway
Let’s attempt to narrow down our selections by looking at recent results.
Dreamhack Cluj winners in impressive fashion. We heavily tipped up the French powerhouse to win the FACEIT League Stage 3 Finals only for them to completely bomb out, losing 16-8 to NiP and then losing a best-of-three to Luminosity, who came into that game off the back of a 16-0 defeat.
EnVyUs looked completely out of sorts. Were they burnt out after so much CS? It seems possible, with Happy stating after the event that they are in a natural slump. Whilst arguably the world’s best player doesn’t appear concerned, that was a $250k event. Everyone expected them to put up a showing worthy of serious contenders as opposed to going out in joint last place. Can they bounce back and win this? Absolutely. Will they? Doubtful.
At 3/1 we don’t fancy backing a team who has shown they can completely bomb out of a tournament of similar stature to the Dreamhack Cluj event they won on their previous showing whilst they admit themselves that they are off-form.
Almost the opposite to EnVyUs. Fnatic did an “EnVyUs” by bombing out of the Dreamhack Cluj event early. Luminosity beat them in the group stages and then EnVyUs gave them a spanking (9-16,16-9, 16-2) to send them packing far too early in the tournament for such a dominant team as Fnatic.
This prompted a roster change with Dennis replacing Pronax. The very next event they attended, FACEIT, they duly breezed through and won. They went into the finals against Luminosity, who’d knocked out EnVyUs earlier in the tournament as well as TSM in their semi-final. They seemed to have the momentum going into the final too, winning the first map against the Swedes. A shock victory was on the card until Fnatic stepped up and took the next two maps with ease. An impressive victory with Dennis having only been in the line-up for a few days.
They then went to the four-team Fragbite Masters in Stockholm and coughed and spluttered their way to another tournament win. It wasn’t pretty, but you’d imagine they didn’t have to get out of first gear to win the event. Their opposition were NiP and SK Gaming, two teams who are not at the very top level, and serial chokers TSM, who bombed out early. Fnatic’s comfortable victory over the former Team SoloMid was the most comforting thing for them to take from the event.
If Fnatic bring their A game, they can win this, and of the top three sides in the market they seem the most likely to do so. 21/10 is a fair price and will have its backers but we feel there is more value elsewhere.
We’re going to keep this short and sweet. Everybody knows it: TSM have massive issues in regards to bottling games. They’ve shown this too many times to mention during the past year. If they were in a good place mentally they could well have won several of these major tournaments, but they just keep messing up.
At 4/1 you’d need your head checking if you back ex-TSM. They have the skill to win tournaments but they are not in a good place at the moment. They recently lost to SK Gaming at the Fragbite Masters, a team that isn’t even in the top tier of CSGO. Karrigan posted this to Twitter after the shock defeat:
That pretty much sums up where TSM are at.
Na’Vi have been very consistent in recent times. They’ve had a break since winning IEM San Jose where they beat the likes of TSM, Luminosity and Virtus Pro, for the most part without breaking a sweat. Prior to this they attended the CEVO Season 8 Finals where they surprisingly lost to Titan. If you wipe that from memory you are reminded of their excellent 2nd place finish at Dreamhack Cluj where they were beaten by EnVyUs in the final.
The last few months has been solid for Na’Vi and when GuardiaN is on point they can beat anyone. The 11/2 available about Na’Vi makes far more appeal than the 3/1 about EnVyUs or the 4/1 about ex-TSM. They are shorter with many CSGO betting sites. We make them one of our selections to win the ESL ESEA Pro League Finals.
What a crazy few months the Brazilians have had. They proved everybody wrong at the FACEIT Finals at Dreamhack Winter by getting to the final and being painfully close to a historic victory. Bear in mind, Luminosity had brought in two new players 48 hours before the event, which makes their achievement even more remarkable.
BO3 victories over EnVyUs, NiP and TSM saw them head into the final against Fnatic (who’d beaten them 16-0 on dust2 in their opening game). They were one map away from winning the entire event but Fnatic recovered to put a stop to that.
We rate Luminosity as another dark horse team and their chances are much better than their odds suggest. They will need to beat either Na’Vi or ex-TSM, as well as either Fnatic or EnVyUs to reach the final. Can they win? Debatable for sure, but with near to home court advantage and three weeks’ to gel further after Dreamhack Winter, we’ll be playing Luminosity at 10/1 to small stakes to land the final significant event of the 2015 CSGO calendar.
Team Liquid, CLG and Conquest
Quite frankly, the only way that any of the native sides are going to win this tournament is if they have managed, over the course of a single day, to work out a new meta abusing the new R8 Revolver.
There is one market involving these teams to steer well clear of though. That is “any Fnatic player to get an ace vs Conquest” which is available at 7/1 with Betway. Fnatic will no doubt win this game, and are likely to do it in two maps, and do so convincingly. However, the chances of an ace are incredibly slim. None of Fnatic’s roster have racked up more than 20 aces in official games over the course of their CS:GO careers. It’s more likely Thorin will wear a non-grey suit jacket to the next CSGO event he attends than it is for a Fnatic player to get an ace in this match. We wouldn’t be interested at 70/1, let alone 7/1.
We’d rather dutch both teams to give us two stabs at the prize. If you back both teams you’ll be getting just over 3/1 on either of them to win. The return from this is still better than backing EnVyUs at 3/1, who we would avoid like the plague. We see Fnatic as the team they all have to beat but the value is with Na’Vi and Luminosity.