Intel Extreme Masters Katowice 2022 enters the tournament's final stage on Friday, and Michael Lee is here to bring you his betting previews and predictions for the first round of the playoffs. Today, he looks at two matches in Virtus.pro vs G2 Esports and Gambit Esports vs FaZe Clan, who will meet on Friday, February 25.
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Esports Betting Tips: Tuesday, February 22nd
Virtus.pro vs G2 Esports
Intel Extreme Masters Katowice 2022
Virtus.pro started their Katowice campaign with a 2-0 victory against the overrated Copenhagen Flames, who they beat with 16-9 on Vertigo and 16-10 on Inferno and followed it up with a 2-1 win against the weakened Ninjas in Pyjamas (16-9 on Overpass, 12-16 on Vertigo and 16-8 on Ancient). Unfortunately, Virtus.pro couldn't show up in the final group stage match, where they completely collapsed against Heroic, who beat them 2-0, with 5-16 on Mirage and 10-16 on Vertigo.
As for G2 Esports, they started their quest for the IEM Katowice title with a 1-2 loss against Fnatic but quickly bounced back with three straight wins over Team Liquid (2-0), FURIA (2-1), and Astralis (2-1). In their last match against Astralis, G2 lost the first map but then turned on their jets and crushed the Danes with 16-5 on Dust2 and 16-1 on Inferno.
A performance like that might seem very impressive, and they deserve some praise for producing a reverse sweep. But it is also worth noting that Astralis have been on a steady decline since their most recent roster changes and are nowhere near their peak!
The last time these two teams met was in August 2021 during the ESL Pro League Season 14 when Virtus.pro won with 2-1. G2 opened the series with a 16-11 victory on Dust2 but lost the remaining two maps (11-16 on Mirage and 7-16 on Vertigo).
Nikola 'NiKo' Kovač was the best G2 player on the server that day with 67 frags and a 1.24 HLTV rating, while on the side of VP, it was Mareks 'YEKINDAR' Gaļinskis with 57 frags and 1.23 HLTV rating. Since then, both teams have gone through roster changes, so I wouldn't think much of that result.
G2 Esports enter this match priced as favourites (around 1.60), which overrates them a little. While they did look good against Astralis on the last two maps, G2 also dropped a map against a team that is in total shambles. And let's not forget that G2 lost to Fnatic (1-2), a squad that was playing with a player who already knew he was getting kicked.
The match feels like a complete coin toss, so value should be with Virtus.pro.
Gambit Esports vs FaZe Clan
Intel Extreme Masters Katowice 2022
FaZe Clan started their Katowice campaign with a 16-12 victory against Sprout, followed by three straight (2-1) wins over MOUZ, Team Liquid and Fnatic. Unfortunately, FaZe lost their most recent match (1-2) against the current top-rated team in the world, Natus Vincere.
FaZe Clan's results don't show anything special, but they could be much worse considering FaZe were dealing with COVID issues.
Gambit Esports enter this match on a three-game winning streak against Copenhagen Flames, Vitality and Ninjas in Pyjamas. So far this tournament, the Russian team has dropped only one map (13-16 against Copenhagen Flames), which is very solid and something you would expect from the current number two team in the world.
But while Gambit are playing well, this is not the same Gambit we saw a while back – when they were winning all the events in the online era.
FaZe and Gambit last met about two months ago, during IEM Winter 2021, when Gambit won 2-1. FaZe took the series lead with a close 16-13 on Inferno, but they couldn't find the second map. Gambit bounced back with 25-22 on Overpass and sealed the deal with 16-10 on Ancient.
Russel 'Twistzz' Van Dulken was the best player on FaZe with 78 frags and a 1.15 HLTV rating, while all of his teammates ended the series below the 1.00 HLTV line. On the side of Gambit, Sergey 'Ax1Le' Rykhtorov was their best performer with 76 frags and a 1.24 HLTV rating.
To be perfectly honest, FaZe should have won their last match against Natus Vincere. They were the better team and needed to win only one more rounds to come out ahead. It was a huge missed opportunity.
Most people will expect an easy 2-0 sweep for Gambit, but in my opinion, we're in for a very close match, with both teams having a realistic chance to win the series. I expect three maps, but 2.37 on FaZe is too good to pass on!