There has been plenty of upsets so far, but will there be more? We break down today's matches in ESL One Cologne.
NiP 1st Map Winner (2.12) or BIG 2nd Map Winner (1.58)
BIG will go up against NiP in the lower-bracket after being upset by Sprout in the first round. This is actually a pretty difficult matchup for BIG on paper. While their map pool is very strong, it isn’t ideal against a team like NiP that favors maps like Vertigo and Overpass. Additionally, they have never beaten this NiP core in a BO3, losing three straight. In their last match, which ended up being a clean 2–0 sweep for the Ninjas, BIG went for Inferno, but I would expect them to go a different route this time around. Nuke has fallen completely out of favor for this new NiP side compared to the NiP of old, and I would expect BIG to pick it assuming that NiP removes Dust2. NiP, on the other hand, will likely opt for Vertigo, and they will have a great chance at the upset on this map. Both teams have a fairly decent edge on their respective map choice, making the 1st/2nd map lines the most appealing. If you favor NiP as the underdog, a bet on NiP to win the first map of the series makes the most sense, and there is also the option to take the round handicap on this line. A bet on BIG to win the 2nd map is the most reasonable play if you like BIG to win, as this is where they hold the clearest advantage.
Heretics 1st Map +4.5 (1.68)
Just like NiP, fnatic floundered in the first round and now find themselves battling for their lives in the lower-bracket. They have been matched up against Heretics, which is one of the lowest-ranked teams in the tournament. There is some previous match history to go by between these two teams, as they faced off in ESL One Road to Rio back in April. In that match, fnatic won 2–1 in what was a very close series, with the first two maps going all 30 rounds. While fnatic are far superior to Heretics, it needs to be said that this is a pretty tough matchup for them due to the map pools of these two sides. Heretics favor both Vertigo and Nuke, two of fnatic’s weakest maps, which gives them a decent shot at the upset on their map choice. fnatic’s most probable map choice is Inferno, and this is Heretics third-best map, as well. Realistically, fnatic should win this series, but you’re looking at a huge sweat at odds of 1.25. This is a match that I would either leave out of the bet slip or take a flier on Heretics. The handicap line is interesting in this spot, but it needs to be said that we’re not getting the most optimal round spread.
Chaos 1st Map +2.5 (1.90)
Chaos are coming off a great upset win against FURIA in the first round, while 100 Thieves took care of business in a 2–1 victory against Gen.G. The last time these two sides met was at cs_summit 6, where 100 Thieves came out on top in a 2–0 sweep. However, it is worth noting that Chaos were without steel, who is perhaps the most crucial player as the in-game leader of Chaos. The two maps in that series were Nuke and Inferno, and it would not be surprising to see the same maps this time around. With the exception of Overpass which is likely to be banned, Nuke is 100 Thieves’ weakest map with an overall win rate of 35.7%. Since this is one of Chaos’ strongest maps in the pool and their most picked map, it seems likely that they will go that route. If Chaos want to throw a curveball, they could go for Train, which is a map that they have been flawless on with this lineup, or Mirage, which has been a rough map for 100 Thieves this year. I like Chaos’ chances of making this a close affair. Both Chaos to win the first map and the over at even money are interesting options.
PickleBet is currently running a prop bet promotion for ESL One Cologne. Here is my favorite prop of the day.
Pick: Xeppaa $2 LINE – Xeppa Over 50% Headshot % (1st Map)
Nuke is the most probable first map of the series between 100 Thieves and Chaos, and Xeppaa has averaged a headshot percentage of 57.1% on this map throughout his time on Chaos. His AK-47 usage is 47.78%, higher than many of the other players on this list. Chaos puts a lot of trust in Xeppaa to perform, so he will usually be the one to wield the better weaponry. In addition, he almost exclusively uses rifles, pistols and smgs on this map, so it is unlikely that any AWP kills will bring his totals down.