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In the coming days, 16 of the best CS:GO esports sides will be butting heads to win the IEM Dallas. The teams will be divided into two groups of eight and face each other in best-of-one ties. Those who enter the knockouts will play best-of-three ties, and the finalists will contest in a best-of-five match.
Teams who win their respective groups will automatically head to the last four, while the rest will have to go through the traditional way. The tournament has a prize pool of $250,000, so there’s a lot on the line.
Many teams have got solid odds of winning the competition, with Heroic leading the pack. The bookmakers have G2 Esports, FaZe Clan, Cloud9, Team Liquid, and ENCE as the other contenders.
Heroic, of course, are the safe pick. They’ve been in excellent form recently, and it’s hard to make an argument against them. G2 Esports and FaZe Clan are always in the mix, but they haven’t been as consistent as Heroic.
With no Team Vitality in the tournament, Heroic are undoubtedly the most in-form team in the tournament. In fact, if it wasn’t for Vitality, Heroic might’ve won more silverware this season. They have no such excuses in this tournament. Heroic have some tough competition in G2 in Group A, but no one in the group seems like a significant threat. Getting to the semifinals seems like a formality at this stage.
They don’t have a win rate below 54% on any map, which shows their flexibility. They haven’t played too many matches on Anubis in the last three months, but this shouldn’t be a major issue.
Stavn has been their star player over the years and has shown no signs of slowing down this year, which is a big plus. He has averaged 0.76 kills per round and 0.64 deaths per round in the last three months, which is up there with anyone in the league. They have a fantastic opportunity to win something big next month. A win could also eliminate the psychological barrier that has prevented them from beating the likes of Vitality in the big matches.
G2 haven’t had the best year by their own high standards. This has also seen them drop to sixth place in the rankings. This tournament has some top sides, but with Vitaly missing, it’s a great opportunity for G2 to climb some places in the rankings and win some silverware.
They can still beat teams on their day, but this is not enough for a team with their potential. They’re expected to win silverware and go on long winning runs, which hasn’t happened this season. They’re also in the same group as Heroic, but their recent form suggests that they shouldn’t look that far ahead and focus on the first couple of games.
Just a month ago, Mirage was the only map where they didn’t have a win rate above 66%. However, things have changed recently, with Inferno being the only map where they’ve got a win rate of over 57%. In fact, they don’t have a win rate over 50% on any map other than Inferno and Vertigo in the last three months.
Niko’s form has been one of the few positives this season. The former world number 2 has averaged 0.72 kills per round, 52.1% headshots, and 0.65 deaths per round. There’s a feeling that he could put up even better numbers if he gets some help from his teammates.
We’d suggest looking beyond G2 this time around. They haven’t played to their reputation this season, and there’s better value elsewhere.
The expectations at FaZe are always sky-high because of the investment they make in their esports teams. FaZe Clan aren’t in the same group as Heroic and G2, which gives them a massive advantage. Their path to finals should be a lot easier than their biggest rivals. They should have little trouble qualifying for the semifinals, and then it’s a case of turning up on the day.
FaZe always have some top players to call upon and they’ve been in good nick this year, which is highlighted in their third-place rank. They’re the most flexible team in the competition, with a win rate of 50% or more on every map.
Ropz, who joined last year, has taken this season by storm. He has averaged 0.76 kills per round, 53.9% headshots, and an incredible 0.60 deaths per round in the last three months. FaZe are excellent value, great on all the maps, in good form, have an easier path to the finals than their rivals, and have a player in excellent form. We think they’re the best pick of the bunch.
It’s hard to look past the three favorites from the earlier sections, but Cloud9 and Team Liquid can throw in a few surprises. Both of them are in Group B, so they have an easier path to the finals.
If they win their first-round matches, they’ll face each other in the upper semi-finals, and the winner will most likely face FaZe Clan in the upper finals. Both sides have valuable odds, but Cloud9 are the better team as things stand. They’re ranked fifth in the world, have an incredible win rate this season – over 57% on all maps, and have won their last five matches in all competitions.
Liquid can’t claim to have any of this on their side, but NAF’s form this season has been a big plus. He has averaged 0.67 kills per round and an incredible 0.59 kills per round. If you want to go a bit risky, we suggest Cloud9. They’ve got momentum on their side.
With an interest in strategy and mathematics, applying that to sports writing was the natural progression. A writer at night and the founder of a gaming company, Nikhil’s previous experience includes working with ESPN for five years. His specialization includes soccer, basketball, tennis, and esports betting. Email: [email protected]More info on Nikhil Kalro
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