BLAST Premier Spring Showdown is just around the corner, and Michael Lee is back to provide us with his Counter-Strike: Global Offensive betting picks and predictions for the opening two matches of the European league.
Today, he takes a look at ENCE vs Copenhagen Flames and Heroic vs NKT, who will play their games on Wednesday, April 27.
BLAST Premier Spring Showdown Europe
The European BLAST Premier Spring Showdown kicks off on Wednesday, April 27, at 16:30 CEST, with a clash between ENCE and Copenhagen Flames. These two rosters met just once before, back at the end of March during Pinnacle Cup III, when Copenhagen Flames came out ahead with 16-12 and 16-8.
But despite winning that match, CPH enter this bout as 2.25 underdogs. That might seem weird, but we have to consider that ENCE made the finals of ESL Pro League Season 15 at the start of April, which is impressive for a team of this calibre.
At the tournament, ENCE finished second in their group, which featured FaZe Clan, FURIA, Outsiders, and Team Vitality, which is impressive. Still, we have to keep in mind that Outsiders and Vitality flopped and that FaZe had a very shaky start to the tournament.
In the playoffs, ENCE eliminated Fnatic, Movistar Riders and Ninjas in Pyjamas, which might seem like a massive achievement, but realistically it isn't as good as it may seem. Fnatic is hardly a tier-1 team nowadays, which holds true for Movistar Riders as well. Meanwhile, Ninjas in Pyjamas weren't playing at their full strength.
I'm not trying to say that ENCE didn't deserve to make the ESL Pro League finals, but they had a very easy road to the big stage. Since then, ENCE attended European RMR, where they qualified in the fourth spot, albeit they only defeated Spirit, HEET, and ANonymo Esports.
ENCE are still a very good team, but I feel like their quality is a bit exaggerated, and they definitely haven't produced enough for me to say that ENCE are better than Copenhagen Flames.
The Danes have not achieved as much as ENCE in the recent weeks, but they had produced a remarkable run through the European RMR. They finished the Swiss Stage with a perfect 3-0 record and victories against Sprout, SINNERS, and Ninjas in Pyjamas. CPH also made it through the Intel Extreme Masters XVII - Dallas: European open qualifiers and have lost just one of their last 15 matches.
ENCE might look stronger on paper, but this match should be much closer than what the betting odds suggest. At 2.25, I'll take Copenhagen Flames any day of the week.
BLAST Premier Spring Showdown Europe
To know how this match should go, you just need to check what the CS:GO betting odds show, and according to the latest offer, Heroic (1.02) should defeat NKT (10.00) with their eyes closed. Maybe that's an exaggeration, but realistically, it's very hard to make a strong case for the outsiders.
NKT are a Thai CS:GO squad, currently ranked no.109 in the world. Besides that, NKT also recently parted ways with one of the team's best player in Sodbileg "cool4st" Batbaatar. But even had cool4st remained with the team, that wouldn't change the fact that NKT are weaker than Heroic in all aspects of the game.
I must touch on the fact that Heroic has not been phenomenal in 2022. They kicked off the year with a fifth-eighth-place finish at Pinnacle Winter Series #1, added a top-four at IEM Katowice, won the Pinnacle Winter Series #3 and crashed out of ESL Pro League S15 in ninth-12th place.
But despite their inconsistent performances, Heroic found their stride during the European RMR, where they defeated forZe, Fnatic, and Natus Vincere, proving themselves as a threat for the upcoming Major.
NKT and Heroic share a 10-2 record across their last 12, but Heroic have been playing at the top level competitive CS:GO can offer, whereas NKT's 12 matches only include bouts against a few regional opponents and other tier-2/3 squads.
This is a David vs Goliath match, from which Heroic should emerge as convincing victors. They might not give their 100% knowing that they can't lose, but even if they play at half strength, Heroic should close it out quickly.
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