Michael Lee is back with his esports betting previews and predictions. Today, he looks at the opening round of Intel Extreme Masters Season XVII – Dallas, providing you with his insight and picks for Astralis vs Team Vitality, FURIA vs Imperial, and Ninjas in Pyjamas vs BIG.
Esports Betting Tips: Monday, May 30th
Astralis vs Team Vitality
IEM Dallas 2022
Astralis and Team Vitality are two Counter-Strike: Global Offensive teams that carry a lot of prestige, but they share another similarity – they've both been struggling this season.
Team Vitality have not won a single event this season, except for finishing top of their group at BLAST Premier: Spring Groups 2022 in February. They've since attended IEM Katowice, ESL Pro League Season 15, Pinnacle Cup III, and PGL Major Antwerp, and Vitality have not achieved much in either of the tournaments.
Most recently, Vitality exited the Antwerp Major in the Legends Stage with a 2-3 record. Perhaps they deserve some slack since Vitality did end the Challengers Stage with a perfect record, and they've only lost against Ninjas in Pyjamas, Outsiders and Heroic. But their performances across the tournament were far from convincing.
Similarly, Astralis haven't shown much this year, and they are still searching for their first event victory of the season. Like Vitality, their PGL Major Antwerp run ended prematurely, but the Danes crashed out even sooner, going out of the Contenders Stage with defeats against Vitality, Team Spirit, and Team Liquid.
Besides that, Astralis travel to Dallas without their coach, which can't help their cause, and it might explain why they're the underdogs for this match. But despite everything, I can't see this match as anything more than 50/50.
This is a fixture between two out-of-shape teams and there is no way of telling who will come out on top, so I have to side with Astralis at 2.20.
FURIA Esports vs Imperial
IEM Dallas 2022
FURIA Esports are 1.60 favourites for their opening IEM Dallas match against Imperial, but realistically, they should be priced as even greater favourites. I'm not sure where or how exactly are Imperial Esports getting so much respect, especially for this match.
I must admit that Imperial performed well at PGL Major Antwerp 2022, where they exceeded the expectations, but let's be real, Imperial finished the tournament in ninth-11th place with defeats against BIG, G2 Esports, and Copenhagen Flames. Meanwhile, their only wins came against Bad News Eagles, Cloud9, Team Liquid, forZe, and IHC Esports.
On the other side, FURIA made it all the way to the quarter, with wins against Liquid, BIG, and G2 in the group stage. Their only defeats came against Ninjas in Pyjamas and Team Spirit, who beat them in the Legends Stage and in the playoffs.
Besides FURIA's better results at the Major, they are also much higher up the regional rankings than their Brazilian rivals and have achieved significantly more in domestic events.
This is a match FURIA shouldn't be losing and based on the teams' recent performances. I don't believe we're in for a surprise result.
Ninjas in Pyjamas vs BIG
IEM Dallas 2022
Ninjas in Pyjamas will have to play in IEM Dallas without their in-game leader Hampus "hampus" Poser, who will miss the event with illness. As a replacement, the Swedish squad brought in Erik "ztr" Gustafsson, which shouldn't harm the team's synergy too much, knowing that he has played with the main lienup before.
Although ztr is definitely a downgrade, I wouldn't say that the recent changes make Ninjas in Pyjamas much weaker. In other words, I expect the Swedish squad to be just as potent as they have been so far this season.
Earlier this month, we saw Ninjas in Pyjamas attend the Antwerp Major, where they performed surprisingly well and made it all the way to the quarter-finals. They couldn't reach furthe but there's more to their performance than meets the eye.
Ninjas in Pyjamas have lost just two games at the Major, against the defending Major champions and the eventual finalists Natus Vincere (1-2) and the Major champions FaZe Clan (1-2). So, in other words, NiP's only two defeats came against the current strongest CS:GO teams in the world and they still won one map against them.
But despite all that, PickleBet has Ninjas in Pyjamas priced as 2.00 underdogs against BIG, which makes completely no sense. BIG are a solid team, but they're not nearly as good as Ninjas in Pyjamas.
They performed well at the Major; however, the Germans did not come close to reaching the playoffs, losing against NaVi, FURIA, and Team Vitality in the Legends Stage.
Ninjas in Pyjamas might be weaker without their IGL, but even with that handicap, they should be stronger than BIG. At 2.00, NiP are severely underrated and are my favourite bet for the opening round of IEM Dallas.
Ninjas in Pyjamas to win