The 2022 PGL Major Antwerp is just around the corner, and Michael Lee is back with his Counter-Strike: Global Offensive betting previews and picks for the first round on Monday, May 9. Today, he takes a look at Team Vitality vs Complexity, G2 Esports vs Team Liquid, and MIBR vs Outsiders and offers his top picks for the games.
PGL Major Antwerp: Challenger Stage
On paper, Team Vitality are significantly better than Complexity and even their placement on the global CS:GO rankings (11th) is noticeably better than Complexity's (22nd). But even though Vitality look strong, they have not shown much this year.
Since February, when Vitality won BLAST Premier: Spring Groups 2022, the French team has failed to achieve anything. Across the next four tournaments, their best placement was sixth at the PGL Major Antwerp 2022: European RMR A, where they could only defeat Dignitas, Eternal Fire, and MOUZ.
You have to respect the individual talent on this team, but Team Vitality's performances across the last few months have left a lot to be desired. And until Vitality start producing better results, I will remain highly sceptical about their chances to make a deep run in Belgium.
Complexity are hardly in a much better spot. They have not won a single event this year, and their best tournament finish came in February when they placed top-four at ESL Challenger #48. Even in the recent BLAST Premier: Spring American Showdown 2022, Complexity left a lot to be desired, as they could only manage a fifth-eighth place finish with a 0-2 defeat against MIBR.
That said, we have seen some flashes of greatness from the NA squad, so perhaps they're finding their form just in time.
This is a match between two struggling teams, and even though Vitality look better on paper, I wouldn't be able to justify betting on them at 1.25. Complexity can win and are a good bet at 3.75.
PGL Major Antwerp: Challenger Stage
Two esports juggernauts in Team Liquid and G2 Esports will meet in the first round of the PGL Major Antwerp Challenger Stage. G2 Esports are favoured to win at 1.53, while Team Liquid are 2.37 underdogs, and I don't have a problem with those odds.
Team Liquid used to be one of the top CS:GO teams, but they're not even close to achieving that status nowadays. Since the roster change, Liquid have yet to achieve anything worth getting excited about, and they have not come even close to winning a single big tournament in 2022.
They made it to the playoffs at ESL Pro League Season 15 but exited the tournament in fifth-eight place. Then in the American RMR, Liquid again placed fifth and couldn't improve upon that in the recent BLAST Premier: Spring American Showdown 2022, where they finished in the bottom four.
G2 Esports were hardly more impressive recently, with a 17th-20th place finish in ESL Pro League and a fifth-place finish at PGL Major Antwerp 2022: European RMR B. But they made the finals of IEM Katowice and are the PGL Major Stockholm 2021.
G2 Esports are stronger and have results to back that claim up, but they're in bad shape, just like Liquid. So even though I believe G2 Esports should win, I don't expect to see a very one-sided match. Take over 27.5 rounds at 2.00!
PGL Major Antwerp: Challenger Stage
Outsiders can be viewed as one of the dark horse teams to win the Major, and considering the talent on this roster, I wouldn't be shocked to see them do it. Or, at the very least, Outsiders should make a deep run and reach at least the final four.
At the same time, Outsiders are also a team that can fall apart and go 0-3. I don't expect that to happen, but the point is that Outsiders have a very high ceiling, but they might not reach it.
MIBR are a team no one expected to make it to the Major, but they deserve to be here. Following a streak of poor performances early in 2022, when MIBR failed to show up at IEM Katowice and BLAST Premier Spring Groups, the Brazilian lineup woke up and started posting solid results.
They won ESL Challenger League Season 40: North America, finished American RMR in second place, successfully qualified for IEM Dallas as the second South American seed, and finished inside the top four at Spring American Showdown 2022.
Besides their accomplishments, MIBR have also been playing well in their games. Although they had to face lesser teams, weaker than Outsiders, I still have to acknowledge that MIBR are in solid form.
The question is whether MIBR can beat Outsiders. There is a chance, but Outsiders would have to underperform, and I don't expect that to happen. The round handicap for this match is set at 3.5, which is very low, and it makes the Russian squad a far more attractive pick.
MIBR should be able to put up a fight, but Outsiders should win with four rounds to spare.
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