It’s no secret that the minds of the entire gaming community are pointed towards the first day of ESL Pro League Season 9 Finals. This highly anticipated event will be the highest point of early summer 2019. It’s the second-best thing right after the Majors. And, need I remind you, the last ESL PL Season finals (December 2018) crowned the Intel Grand Slam Season 1 winning team, Astralis. This year, all ESL Pro League Season 9 teams will hope to stop Astralis.
The Great Danes are no longer at the pedestal of the CS:GO esports scene. They’ve been taken down by the fiercest NA side, Team Liquid. However, Team Liquid “cheated” their way to the top spot as they didn’t have to face Astralis to win their two latest campaigns (DH Masters Dallas and IEM Sydney).
To be honest, Astralis missed out on a few tournaments and had a poor run of form on the last three competitions they competed on. Their ECS S7 Finals, BPS Madrid, and BPS Miami performances were nowhere near their usual form. The question is, can they turn everything around and come out victorious in Montpellier? Well, all that and more can be read in the ESL Pro League Season 9 Teams section of this article!
But first, let’s take a look at the best esports betting sites to use during this tournament.
Starting off with the basics, let’s check out the best esports betting sites that you can use for betting on this event. The ideal search location is our dedicated list of the best CS:GO betting websites. This page features a short list of the best bookies out there alongside comprehensive explanations of their key virtues and downsides. It’s a must-read for everyone who’s still on the lookout for the best esports betting website!
Before we start busting out the freshest info on the most prominent ESL Pro League Season 9 teams, let’s check out the entire bunch first.
The clear favorite in Group A is the greatest Danish team of all time, Astralis. As far as the competition is concerned, I reckon Fnatic and NRG ought to be the toughest nuts to crack. In fact, as far as the playoffs are concerned, I bet we’ll see Astralis in the semifinals and these two sides in the quarters.
Let’s be realistic here, Group B is going to be a much tougher contest than Group A. Even though, on paper, both of these groups should be perfectly distributed according to the ESL World Rankings, the real picture holds a completely different view. The likes of FaZe, Team Liquid, and MIBR are all top-tier contestants, not just for advancing through to the playoffs but lifting the trophy, too.
First up, let’s talk about the greatest and (in recent months) most notorious CS:GO team out there. As the title implies, I am referring to Astralis. The best Danish team is currently going through a very rough patch. Their track record isn’t the greatest, having lost to outsiders on ECS S7 Finals and suffering tough defeats on two BLAST Pro Series earlier.
Can the Danish boys return to their former glory? Can dev1ce and dupreeh find their stride again? Can Xyp9x roll back to his clutch performance magic? If they can, then Astralis will be a tough contender for the title. If they succumb to the pressure, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them fail to reach the playoffs just like on ECS Season 7 Finals earlier this month.
It’s true, Astralis isn’t playing very well at the moment. Failing to reach the ECS Season 7 Finals playoffs tells a tale of their struggles. It’s not that their opposition played their best game of CS:GO ever. It’s all on Astralis players who’ve, yet again, failed to show up for the occasion.
And this leads us to the inevitable fact that many of us are trying so hard to overlook. Astralis basically gambled away their entire CS:GO legacy. The Thorin’s Thoughts episode covering this topic is a must-watch. We’re talking about one of and probably the best CS:GO teams of all time… Yet they threw all that in the water by prioritizing their parent company’s events over others. Did they do this deliberately, or was it just a coincidence resulting from CS:GO’s hectic schedule? I can’t be the judge of that. However, the fact is they had a lot of drama regarding this, and it’s something that could affect their performance in Montpellier.
Second up, we have FaZe Clan, one of the most interesting ESL Pro League Season 9 teams. What was once considered as the hottest superstar team in Europe is now dubbed as one of the best underperformers out there. They’re a team packed with talent with NiKo, GuardiaN, and the legend himself, olofmeister, yet they still fail to perform. Sure, their recent BLAST Pro Series victory brings a dash of hope.
However, this team was created to win Majors, not petty weekend events. However, with all the recent drama surrounding Tfue’s allegations and rumors of FaZe Clan needing to shut down their esports business, there’s a dark cloud over NiKo and the boys. Can they get out of it and finally show up for the occasion at one of the most prestigious events in CS:GO competitive calendar?
I feel like I’ve been repeating myself over the course of the last few months. Every time I talk about FaZe, I mention their constant rollercoaster performances. But now, looking back at those events, I suddenly realized it’s not their performances that are a constant rollercoaster, it’s their entire season!
FaZe Clan went from being trash and losing against North, AVANGAR, and Renegades to beating Astralis and Team Liquid. Then, they had another episode of trashiness, losing against the likes of NRG, Grayhound, and Virtus.pro. It’s nothing but ups and downs for NiKo and the boys. True, now that they have NEO onboard, perhaps their consistency will improve. The Polish strategist isn’t exactly the change FaZe Clan fans wanted, but it was definitely the change this FaZe Clan roster needed!
Now, let’s talk a bit about the greatest NA roster out there. As most of you already know, Team Liquid is finally at the top of the CS:GO rankings on HLTV. While this is a remarkable feat for the boys in blue, they got it under fussy circumstances. You see, Astralis missed out on a few events, and Team Liquid showed up for the occasions. And it was just enough to snatch the top spot from the Great Danes.
I’m not trying to undermine Team Liquid’s rough run to the top spot by emphasizing Astralis’ absence from certain tournaments. I’m just trying to put their recent spell of performances into perspective. Team Liquid won three tournaments in 2019, two of which were after the Katowice Major. iBUYPOWER Masters marked the event on which Team Liquid finally defeated Astralis in the grand finals. DH Masters Dallas and IEM XIV Sydney, on the other hand, were their post-Major treats. They ended up defeating the likes of ENCE and Fnatic along their path to the trophy.
However, beating Astralis in iBUYPOWER Masters IV isn’t that big of a feat. Not only was the tournament itself a proper mess (numerous problems including security flaws, synchronization issues, audio delays and the horrible state of the venue), but its significance in the CS:GO pro scene is outright nonexistent.
That being said…
It’s funny but true. Team Liquid’s recent success comes from tournaments which Astralis didn’t even participate in. I’m mainly referring to DH Masters Dallas and IEM XIV Sydney. After all, those two tournaments served the biggest kick to Team Liquid’s HLTV rating.
And that’s why I believe ESL Pro League Season 9 Finals will be a proper spectacle. If everything aligns properly, and if both of these teams show up for the occasion, I reckon we’ll finally get to see them in the grand finals of a proper event.
Need I remind you, these two teams met on five grand finals in 2018. Astralis, of course, snatched all five trophies. As for 2019, they only met once, and that was in the grand finals of iBUYPOWER masters. And I’ve already explained why I can’t take that tournament into account.
So, yeah, if Team Liquid wants to cement their position as the world’s best team, they’ll have to take on the previous title holders. They’ll either come out on top and deal the killing blow to Astralis or succumb to the pressure and go back to their home, sweet, home in second place. That said, it truly is all or nothing for Team Liquid!
As far as Brazilian teams are concerned, MIBR is by far the strongest side. In fact, as far as teams from the NA region are concerned, MIBR is also among the prominent names. Despite their high profile, they still failed to snatch notable silverware. Players like coldzera and FalleN are surely worth more than semifinals finish on IEM Sydney, ESL Pro League S8 Finals, and two Majors.
At first, people thought of them as yet another choke-prone team packed with potential. The fans kept thinking they’ll deal with the psychology of crucial matches and come out victorious. Unfortunately, MIBR failed to deliver. The fans kept thinking they’ll finally get some silverware when TACO and zews arrived, completing the all-Brazilian roster. Yet still, MIBR failed to deliver.
The question is, will this MIBR team finally achieve something noteworthy. They always seem to be near the top but never at the top. If they had a bit more composure in Katowice or a bit of extra luck in London, we would be talking about back-to-back Major winners here. Instead, we’re talking about an underperforming team packed with top-tier players who can’t seem to find their stride.
But can that change in Montpellier? Can fer finally win a proper trophy with the magic of FalleN and coldzera by his side? Can zews finally close out a tournament with MIBR? Well, in all honesty, I believe it’s now or never for these boys. Even though they had a heartbreak on ECS S7 Finals, these players have a history of coming back stronger after a disheartening defeat.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying MIBR will lift the trophy here. I’m just saying they are one of the potential dark horses. Team Liquid and Astralis are the main contestants, no doubt about that. They’re followed by FaZe Clan and, whether you like to admit it or not, MIBR. If MIBR keeps working on their map pool depth, I’m sure they’ll make their dark horse potential known!
Now that we’ve come to the end of the article, it’s time to turn our attention to the betting side of things. Needless to say, there’s a handful of ESL Pro League Season 9 teams which have trophy-lifting aspirations. Astralis and Team Liquid are the most obvious answers, but there are additional contestants hoping they’ll create one or two upsets.
Allow me to answer the million-dollar question right off the bat here. No! I don’t think Astralis will win this tournament and get right back on the top of the CS:GO food chain. While I do believe dupreeh and the boys won’t have many difficulties with advancing to the playoffs, I believe their (potential) complacency and new in-game approach could turn out catastrophic once they’re in the playoffs and are going up against some of the world’s best.
Let’s face it, Astralis is not the team we used to know. Arguably, they haven’t been on the same level since winning the Katowice Major. Sure, they did win BLAST Pro Series Sao Paulo right after the Katowice spectacle. However, that’s where their trophy run ends. The Great Danes haven’t won a single tournament since March, and that’s something that’ll definitely be on their minds once the Montpellier matches start rolling.
At the moment, Astralis is at +110 to win outright, one of the highest they’ve been at during the last year or so. Even though the odds are somewhat exciting, I for one will not be betting my money on them. That said, I don’t think you should either.
For starters, Astralis’ form in recent months hasn’t been the greatest. They are not the world’s best CS:GO team according to HLTV.org. Even though they lost their flattering title due to missing out on several tournaments, the tournaments they ended up competing on were poised with poor, disheartening performances. Their main roster is still packed on all fronts, but it seems as though their team play and tenacity (something that pushed them to unimaginable heights) are not at an all-time high.
For those reasons, +200 on Team Liquid seems like a much better deal. They’re not only the best NA team in wicked form, but they’re also well-motivated to keep their #1 position on HLTV (the one they’ve stolen from Astralis just a few weeks ago). Overall, their roster composition is looking fine, and if they can suffocate Astralis during the map-deciding phase, I reckon their title chances will be pretty good.
Of course, Astralis won’t be the only team to beat. Another interesting outright betting option to consider is FaZe Clan at +600. Starting out in Group B, FaZe Clan will have a tough job of reaching the playoffs. They’ll have to go through the likes of Team Liquid and MIBR if they want to skip straight through to the semifinals. If they achieve this, we all know their performances can snowball into perfection, making them impossible to defend against. NiKo is still enjoying himself out there, and I reckon we’ll get to see another monstrous performance from the BOSSnian superstar!
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