We're kicking off a new week with a big evening of Esports action as our resident Esports guru Michael Lee has delivered his best bets from around the world. Tonight's action comes to us from League of Legends Pro League and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive ESL Pro League Season 13.
LoL Pro League
Invictus Gaming need to win this game if they wish to end the season inside the top-10, whereas ThunderTalk Gaming need to win just to keep their boat afloat and not end their playoffs dreams today. The stakes are high, so we can expect both teams to step it up a notch and show what they're capable of.
If we assume both teams will play to the best of their ability, you have to favour Invictus Gaming to walk away with a clean sweep, but I don't like betting on this team because they're extremely unpredictable and volatile.
IG have the talent to defeat any team in the world on their best day, but they can also lose any match at any given moment if they just "don't feel like it". Last time out, IG lost to RareAtom (0-2) which is not a good result, but they've also played a close 1-2 series against Top Esports a week prior and demolished EDward Gaming 2-0 a week before that.
Those numbers only further confirm how hit-or-miss IG can be, so it might not be too stupid to side with ThunderTalk Gaming here. While ThunderTalk Gaming are by no means one of the top teams in the league, they've done well on Wednesday, when they forced FunPlus Phoenix to three maps (1-2) and have even stole one game off JD Gaming (1-2) last month.
I don't believe ThunderTalk Gaming are better than Invictus Gaming, but I do believe IG can lose against ThunderTalk Gaming.
ESL Pro League Season 13
Team Vitality and mousesports last met in December 2020, during BLAST Premier Fall 2020 Finals, where the French squad recorded a comfortable 2-0 victory with 16-7 on Inferno and 16-8 on Dust2. Cédric "RpK" Guipouy and Mathieu "ZywOo" Herbaut were the best players on the team with 1.45 and 1.44 HLTV rating respectively, while David "frozen" Čerňanský emerged as the best player on mousesports with 30 frags and 0.91 HLTV rating
Since that match, mousesports lost Finn "karrigan" Andersen, who has left for FaZe Clan a couple of weeks back. Since his departure, mousesports have not looked like themselves, so it wouldn't be too wrong to say we might be in for another 2-0 sweep for Vitality.
Not only am I concerned with mouz's recent performances, but without karrigan as their in-game leader, this team won't succeed until they find a way to stabilise. They need to start from scratch and hope Christopher 'dexter' Nong proves to be a good IGL for them.
Don't get me wrong, mouz have all the firepower you'll ever need to be at least competitive with the likes of Robin "ropz" Kool, Frederik "acoR" Gyldstrand, Aurimas "Bymas" Pipiras, and frozen, but firepower alone can only take you so far. Against tactically sound teams like Vitality, mousesports ware bound to struggle and I expect to see just that on Monday.
ESL Pro League Season 13
Ninjas in Pyjamas and FaZe Clan haven't met since October 2020, when NiP won 2-0 at DreamHack Open Fall 2020 with 16-12 on Inferno and 25-22 on Overpass. Fredrik "REZ" Sterner was the best player on the team that day with 65 frags and 1.31 HLTV rating, while Håvard "rain" Nygaard emerged as the best player on the side of FaZe with 68 frags and 1.29 HLTV rating.
As the score would suggest, the match was extremely close - especially the second map, where FaZe held a 11-4 HT lead, but still lost in overtime.
Since then, FaZe parted ways with Nikola "NiKo" Kovač and Markus "Kjaerbye" Kjærbye, who got replaced by ex-Team Liquid star Russel "Twistzz" Van Dulken, and one of the best in-game leaders in the scene in Finn "karrigan" Andersen. Without trying to sound too biased, FaZe are a team build to win championships, however, they will likely need a bit more time to synergise before we can start talking about a possible Major title.
I have not been impressed with the way NiP have been playing in 2020 and for the first few months of 2021. While they had good starts of some of their tournament runs, NiP always found a way to lose games they should have won, and eventually suffered early eliminations.
FaZe are still a work in progress, but with the individual quality and the veteran figures they have, FaZe shouldn't struggle against a young team like NiP. We might see a three-map series, but if the game extends to the third map, you have to trust FaZe to seal the deal.
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