It’s time for the second CS:GO Major of the year, and this time around it will be hosted by PGL in Kraków, Poland. Astralis will be looking to regain their crown which they earned at ELEAGUE back in January, and with it take another $500,000 first prize back to Denmark. The somewhat random nature of the Swiss system makes it nigh on impossible to forecast which teams will face each other in the knockout stage so there are no serious betting opportunities in the PGL Major winner betting. As you would expect, Astralis, SK Gaming and FaZe head the market. They are followed by G2, Natus Vincere and North. Thus, our PGL Major Krakow 2017 betting preview starts with our analysts examining the first day’s matches.
The most important thing to note is the new veto phase rules which will be used. The higher seeded team will ban two maps, then the lower seeded team will ban three, before the higher seeded team bans the final map and the other is played.
Gambit (13/10, 2.30 Marathonbet) vs Mousesports (13/20, 1.65 Betway Esports)
Gambit go up against Mousesports to open up the Major and this is one of the more interesting ties. Whilst Mousesports are very inconsistent on Mirage and have performed badly on Cache, despite it being one of their more favoured maps, Gambit rarely plays either so Mousesports’ willingness to play the pair should see Gambit open up the veto process by removing both. Mousesports have been banning Overpass at every opportunity in recent times, so that will follow. At DreamHack, they were willing to play Train, which used to be their perma ban, but they should remove that too. It is Gambit’s favourite map and Gambit would beat them on Train. Even though on paper Mousesports’ results on Train are good, these are mostly online where simply, they got lucky. That leaves Cobble, Inferno and Nuke. They like Nuke, have rarely played Inferno but have shown promise on it when they have, and have been hit and miss on Cobble. On the other side, Gambit are reasonable on Nuke, are good on Inferno and used to be one of the world’s best teams on Cobble, though have been weaker on it recently. It can’t be said for certain which map will be played, but it feels like Mousesports will ban Inferno, Gambit will ban Nuke, so as not to give away CT, and Cobble will be played.
The bookies make Mousesports’ favourites here and in our view that is false. Whilst they have a higher skill ceiling, Gambit are better as a unit, and the veto is slightly in Gambit’s favour, given that it is most likely Cobble or Inferno that will be played. It is a game that could go either way but we make Gambit slight favourites and they are the bet to kick off day one.
Fnatic (37/100, 1.37 Unikrn) vs Flipsid3 (11/5, 3.20 Marathonbet)
This is a hard game to forecast the ban phase for and could be a case of “veto chicken”. Fnatic will ban first and they will not remove either Mirage or Inferno, which are their two best maps. Fnatic will ban Nuke – their worst map, and Flipsid3’s best – and then it is a choice between Train, Cache and Cobble, which neither team really likes. Whoever is more confident and willing to play Cobble and/or Cache will have an edge in the process. Regardless, Fnatic’s firepower will see them brush Flipsid3 by the wayside. At the prices, there’s no bet and it will be more interesting to evaluate each team’s relative performance and bans prior to round two.
Virtus Pro (1/2, 1.50 Unikrn) vs Vega Squadron (7/4, 2.75 Betway Esports)
This veto phase is straightforward: VP will remove Cache and Overpass, two maps they do not really play, despite Vega also hating Overpass. Vega will ban Cobble, Mirage and Nuke. VP will ban Inferno, and this will leave Train, a map both teams are happy playing. It is fortuitous for Virtus Pro that they are facing such a weak team in round one as their class should see them through. Their recent, admittedly awful, form has been overstated by the bookies and the handicap of -3.5 rounds should be met with relative ease.
SK Gaming (11/50, 1.22 Betway Esports) vs PENTA (73/20, 4.65 Marathonbet)
The veto here is very unpredictable and irrelevant: SK will steamroll Penta. If anything, the -5.5 line looks generous. They are probably the world’s best team, playing a tier two side who cannot spring any veto surprises and do not have the individual skill to win a loose styled match on Cache, for example.
FaZe Clan (7/20, 1.35 Betway Esports) vs BIG (71/25, 3.84 Marathonbet)
It’s difficult to decipher FaZe’s map preferences, given that they are so strong across the entire pool. BIG perma ban Nuke, so FaZe will remove their perma ban, Cobble, and Cache. They’ll later remove Overpass, which is probably BIG’s best map. The Germans will remove Mirage, essentially giving them the choice between Inferno and Train. They have had mixed success on both maps but won’t have a chance here. FaZe are better than BIG in every department and will be fine with either map. Fatih “gob b” Dayik will need to outwit Finn “karrigan” Andersen and there are few leaders that are able to do so. This is a game best watched.
North (5/6, 1.83 Mr Green) vs Cloud9 (11/10, 2.10 Marathonbet)
After a few one sided games early on, another intriguing match is in store. Cloud9 come into this event off the back of an ESL One Cologne final appearance, whilst North have been slumping. Things are looking up for the Danes as their two main bans, Train and Cache, are good Cloud9 maps. The Americans will retaliate by removing Nuke and Overpass, two of North’s best. Their third ban will not be Mirage, their favourite map, and it should be removed by North. Essentially, Cloud9 has the choice between Cobblestone or Inferno, where both teams are inconsistent. That makes this a tough game to call but based on recent form, at the prices it should pay to side with Cloud9, whose weaker players in recent times, Mike “shroud” Grzesiek and Tyler “Skadoodle” Latham were back on form in Cologne.
Natus Vincere (77/50, 2.34 Marathonbet) vs G2 Esports (4/6, 1.66 GG Bet)
G2’s bans are obvious: Mirage, Train and Overpass. Na’Vi do not play Cache so their choice is between Inferno, Nuke and Cobble. They indicated at ESL One that they would rather play Cobble than Inferno, and that is unlikely to have changed. There, they beat G2 on Nuke so they may rather plump for that. Regardless, this seems like a mistake. Na’Vi would be far better suited to Inferno and as such, there is no bet given the map is not yet known. Siding with Na’Vi if it ends up on Inferno would be the bet but likely this will be a game to leave.
Astralis (37/100, 1.37 Marathonbet) vs Immortals (109/50, 3.18 GG Bet)
Astralis will ban Cobble & Cache, which happen to be two maps Immortals’ favour. This will set the tone for this match. Immortals will ban Nuke and should also get rid of Overpass and Train. This will leave Astralis free to pick Mirage where Immortals’ double AWP will be less effective than Inferno. Astralis should be a shorter price than they are and should round off day one with a win.
PGL Major Krakow 2017 Betting Tips:
Gambit to beat Mousesports with Marathonbet at 13/10 (2.30)
VP -3.5 rounds vs Vega Squadron with Betway Esports at 17/20 (1.85)
Cloud9 to beat North with Marathonbet at 11/10 (2.10)
Astralis to beat Immortals with Marathonbet at 37/100 (1.37)