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IEM Global Challenge - Betting Preview

The year is soon coming to an end, but we still have plenty of high-level Counter-Strike to look forward to. The likes of Vitality and Astralis will look to end the year on a high note with a win at the coveted IEM Global Challenge.

Valentin Gustafsson
Freelance Esports Writer
15th Dec, 20·☕️ 7 min read
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The year is soon coming to an end, but we still have plenty of high-level Counter-Strike to look forward to. The likes of Vitality and Astralis will look to end the year on a high note with a win at the coveted IEM Global Challenge.

Competition Information

IEM Global Challenge will feature $500,000 in prizes and a stacked field, which includes the current Top 5 teams in the world.

The format is pretty straight forward. Most of the ESL events this year have featured the same system, and this one is no exception. The eight teams have been divided into two double-elimination groups. The teams will play each other in a best-of-three format, with the top two teams advancing from to the playoffs. The playoffs will feature a simple single-elimination bracket, with best-of-threes for all matches except for the final, which will be a best-of-five.

PickleBet is currently offering outright odds for this tournament both for the group stage and the entirety of the event.

The groups and group winner odds are as follows:

Group A

  • 🇩🇰 Astralis (2.50)
  • 🇫🇷 Vitality (2.50)
  • 🇩🇪 BIG (6.00)
  • 🇪🇺 Complexity (6.00)

Group B

  • 🇺🇦 Natus Vincere (2.35)
  • 🇩🇰 Heroic (3.20)
  • 🇧🇷 FURIA (4.20)
  • 🇺🇸 Liquid (6.00)

Astralis and Vitality are coming in as the favourites after their recent tournament success. The outright winner odds are as follows:

  • 🇫🇷 Vitality (3.95)
  • 🇩🇰 Astralis (4.00)
  • 🇺🇦 Natus Vincere (4.60)
  • 🇩🇰 Heroic (6.40)
  • 🇧🇷 FURIA (8.40)
  • 🇩🇪 BIG (11.00)
  • 🇪🇺 Complexity (14.00)
  • 🇺🇸 Liquid (22.00)

IEM Global Challenge kicks off with the first matches on December 15th, and the tournament will run through December 20th.

The Current Season

Vitality

Vitality
Record: 115 / 2 / 67
Most Played Map: Dust2 (62.2%)
Best Map: Vertigo (77.8%)
Worst Map: Mirage (51.9%)

Odds: 3.95

Vitality are coming in as the odds-on favourites to win after winning two tournaments straight, BLAST Premier Fall Finals and IEM Beijing. The French side has been a consistent force all year with several second-place finishes, but it wasn’t until just recently that they managed to get a title under their belt. Now when that monkey is off their back, they are looking more dangerous than ever. The addition of Nivera has made them even better on Inferno and Dust2, and so far they haven’t dropped a single game on Inferno since Nivera joined the team. They haven’t lost to Astralis since his arrival either, and the same is true for BIG and Complexity who are both in this group. For that reason, it would be surprising to see them not advance to the playoffs.

Astralis

Astralis
Record: 99 / 0 / 45
Most Played Map: Nuke (70.6%)
Best Map: Inferno (78.8%)
Worst Map: Dust2 (61.3%)

Odds: 4.00

Astralis are in a good run of form at the moment, having won a stacked DreamHack Masters Winter and then grabbing second-place at the BLAST Premier Fall Finals. This is another team that has experimented with a six-man roster, and recently Bubzkji has been getting some playing time after months on the sidelines. So far, he has been stepping in for Xyp9x on Nuke to be specific. His numbers have been far from exceptional, but they have won Nuke five out of six times that he has played. Astralis have lost two straight to Vitality, and Complexity are a team that they have historically struggled a bit against. But considering that Complexity’s poizon is out on medical leave, Astralis should make playoffs here more often than not.

Natus Vincere

Natus Vincere
Record: 94 / 0 / 75
Most Played Map: Nuke (61.5%)
Best Map: Train (64.0%)
Worst Map: Vertigo (0.0%)

Odds: 4.60

NaVi have recently promoted B1T from the academy. So far, he has been utilized in the same fashion as Nivera and Bubzkji on Astralis, coming in to replace flamie on Inferno. It is still unknown if he is going to play on any other maps in the pool. This proved to be unsuccessful in both of their matches against Astralis, but they were able to get a win on the board on Inferno against FURIA. NaVi were already a very difficult team to forecast before the changes, but with so little data available on B1T with this team, it makes things all the more difficult. While this team definitely has tournament-winning upside, it is very sceptical if they win often enough to warrant a bet on them at these odds. However, their recent record against Astralis is no joke, which is why they are likely priced in this range.

Heroic

Heroic
Record: 122 / 0 / 73
Most Played Map: Nuke (79.5%)
Best Map: Nuke (79.5%)
Worst Map: Dust2 (50.0%)

Odds: 6.40

Heroic are definitely in a bit of a slump after what was a brilliant run of form for them earlier in the year. With that said, they are definitely a team that is capable of winning a tournament like this. Vitality and Astralis are both teams that they have proven that they can beat, even in a BO5 as we saw in the grand final of DreamHack Open Fall. The question is how they will fare in this group. They have never played FURIA and Liquid in 2020, and Natus Vincere are a team that they have historically struggled against.

FURIA

FURIA
Record: 109 / 0 / 61
Most Played Map: Inferno (67.3%)
Best Map: Mirage (73.3%)
Worst Map: Nuke (51.4%)

Odds: 8.40

FURIA looked incredible at times in North America, but since making the move over to Europe, they have failed to capitalize on their good form. The competition is so much more fierce in Europe, so this isn’t particularly surprising, especially when you consider that Liquid have been able to pose much of a threat to them in North America. With that said, they have had a few respectable results, and they are definitely a team that can surprise. Their group, which features NaVi, Liquid and Heroic, is wide open as far as I am concerned. They lost to NaVi in the most recent tournament, but they have always had the mental edge against Liquid, and Heroic are a team that they haven’t played against this year.

BIG

BIG
Record: 162 / 0 / 95
Most Played Map: Dust2 (65.0%)
Best Map: Mirage (70.9%)
Worst Map: Vertigo (55.2%)

Odds: 11.00

BIG were finally able to grab a spot on the podium after a string of poor results, finishing in third place at the BLAST Premier Fall Finals. They have been drawn into a very difficult group with Astralis, Vitality and Complexity. Vitality have absolutely dominated them as of late, winning four straight games, and they have to face them in the opening match. Their saving grace could potentially be a lower-bracket run with wins against a Complexity side that they usually win against, and an upset against Astralis. But a lot of things need to fall into place for that to happen.

Complexity

Complexity
Record: 16 / 0 / 15
Most Played Map: Mirage (60.0%)
Best Map: Dust2 (50.0%)
Worst Map: Vertigo (0.0%)

Odds: 14.00

Complexity are currently without their AWP:er poizon, who is out on medical leave. They have decided to bring in the former c0ntact player ottoNd as a stand-in for this tournament. This is a pretty solid replacement, and we have seen Complexity do well with a stand-in before, but the odds are just far too short to consider a bet on them. Their group is the most difficult one imaginable, with two of the hottest teams in the game right now in the form of Astralis and Vitality, as well as a BIG side that they have historically struggled against.

Team Liquid

Team Liquid
Record: 48 / 0 / 31
Most Played Map: Inferno (50.0%)
Best Map: Overpass (77.8%)
Worst Map: Inferno (50.0%)

Odds: 22.00

Team Liquid are definitely in a tough situation at the moment. They have been largely overshadowed by rivals EG and FURIA in North America recently, and their stint in Europe has been unsuccessful so far. They bombed out of the most recent BLAST event without winning a single map, losing to mousesports and Astralis, so it is not hard to see why they are the underdog here. With that said, the quality is definitely there, and this group is open enough that it really would not surprise me if they surprised a team or two at this tournament. If they don’t, I think this team will have a long discussion about if any significant changes need to be made in 2021.

Betting Tips

Out of the two favourites, I like Vitality the most. They have been a consistent team all throughout the year, and they are coming off two big wins. Astralis aren’t as appealing of a bet at these odds when you consider their recent history with both Vitality and NaVi, two teams that have gotten the better of them on a grand scale.

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