We break down four of today's matches in ESL Pro League, including a fierce battle between NaVi and BIG.
Spirit +1.5 (1.46)
These two teams have faced off once this year, and Spirit came out on top with a 2–1 victory. The maps in that series were Inferno, Dust2 and Overpass, and both teams won their opponents map picks in that series. There is an interesting opportunity for Spirit to pick Mirage which is the weakest map in terms of win rate for Vitality, but it is not something that they have commonly done against top tier opposition. If they do, they will have a nice chance at the upset, since their map pools are otherwise quite similar, giving them more than a fighter’s chance on both Vitality’s map pick and the decider. The handicap on Spirit is decent, since they have the potential to beat Vitality on either of the maps in the pool.
The last time these two sides met, BIG came out on top with a clean 2–0 sweep. Nuke and Dust2 were the maps in that series, a veto that certainly favoured BIG quite a bit as these are two of their strongest maps in the pool. There is a chance that we see the same type of veto again, but considering the last result, it would not surprise me if NaVi decide to go for a map like Overpass instead. While BIG have looked good on Overpass, they have been amazing on Dust2, winning their last seven games. If we see the same type of map veto, BIG will be clear favourites to win this one.
AGO Map 1 +3.5 (1.70)
AGO are coming off a big upset against ESL One Cologne winners, Heroic, and they will definitely be a live underdog once more against OG. Vertigo is a good map for AGO, so I would expect OG to ban it here, but this leaves room for AGO to pick Train if they want to. While this isn’t their bread and butter, Train certainly isn’t a bad map for them either. If you want to target the AGO upset, betting on them to win their map choice makes the most sense with this in mind. OG will be clear favourites on their map choice and eventual decider due to their strength on Mirage, Nuke and Inferno, so taking them to win their map choice or to win outright is the safest play. However, I definitely don’t mind taking a stab on AGO on their map choice at the longer odds.
Liquid Map 2 (1.40)
Liquid have been tough for 100 Thieves to deal with historically. They have yet to win a single game against them this year, losing four straight, and three of those were sweeps in favour of Liquid. At the late end of 2019 and start of the year, Liquid would continuously punish 100 Thieves on Mirage. Recently, 100 Thieves has started banning this map outright, but this only opened up for Liquid to pick Overpass or Nuke. Throughout all of this time, 100 Thieves haven’t beaten Liquid a single time on Liquid’s map choice. 100 Thieves were finally able to take this series to a decider at cs_summit 6 by picking and winning Dust2. With this in mind, I would expect them to give this a try again since it is the only thing that has worked for them so far. There is no doubt about it, Liquid are clear favourites in this matchup, especially on their map choice.