The Call of Duty League Championship Weekend marks the final event on the CDL competitive calendar with a massive $2,500,000 prize pool. Read our in-depth betting preview of the CDL Championship Weekend 2021.
Call of Duty is one of the most popular video game series of all time, having sold over 400 million copies since its inception in 2003. Despite such high sales numbers, it remains a relatively small esport compared to the likes of CS:GO or League of Legends. At the start of the 2021 season, the Call of Duty League (CDL) decided to move the 12-team esport from being played on PlayStation 4 to PC, allowing for a better experience for both the players and viewing audience.
Despite this, the game is still played using a controller, with players using customised PlayStation 4 controllers. At the same time, the CDL also decided to revert to the much more popular 4v4 format, having spent the previous two years experimenting with 5v5 matches.
Credit: Call of Duty League
Starting back in late February and running until the start of August, the 2021 CDL regular season consisted of five stages. Each stage was made up of a series of online seeding matches which determined the bracket for the end-of-stage tournament, known as the major, each of which had a $500,000 prize pool. Teams accrued CDL points throughout the season based upon the number of victories in the seeding matches as well as their placings in the majors.
Boasting a prize pool of $2,500,000, the 2021 season culminates with the CDL World Championship. From August 19-22, the eight best professional Call of Duty teams in the world will battle it out at the Galen Center in Los Angeles, with each team having their eye on the $1,200,000 first-place prize.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a large part of the CDL season was played online, with only the Stage 4 and Stage 5 Majors being played on LAN. Before the season started, Atlanta Faze were almost unanimously considered to be the strongest team in the game, a label they proved accurate by going 5-0 in the Stage 1 group games and following it up with a dominant victory at the Stage 1 Major.
Faze continued this form throughout Stage 2, only to be upset in the final by underdogs Toronto Ultra, who put together an impressive losers bracket winning run off the back of an inspired mid-season roster change. In fact, ever since this point, Toronto have been one of the best teams in the game and are the second favourite team to win the Championship, currently priced at 3.55*.
Both Stage 3 and Stage 4 proved to be rather uneventful for Faze, with the heavy favourites taking first prize at both major events relatively comfortably. However, whilst these stages proved to be uneventful, this couldn’t be further from the truth for Stage 5 where Faze were shockingly upset twice and finished in 7th- 8th place after failing to win a single match.
Their first defeat came at the hands of Minnesota Rokkr, a previously underperforming team with incredible potential, who managed to put all the pieces of the puzzle together at just the right time en route to a well-deserved tournament victory. In the best-of-9 final, Rokkr managed to pull off the unthinkable and come back from a 4-0 deficit vs. Toronto Ultra, winning the series 5-4 in what is the greatest comeback in Call of Duty history.
This series, along with the fact that it was the first post-Covid tournament with fans in attendance, plays a large part in why Stage 5 is considered to be potentially the best Call of Duty tournament of all time.
Credit: Call of Duty League and Minnesota ROKKR.
Based on performances throughout the regular season, only the top eight teams have qualified for the World Championships. These eight teams have been seeded across a double-elimination bracket, with the first and second seeds starting in the winner’s bracket round two (WBR2), guaranteeing them a top-six finish. Conversely, the seventh and eighth seeds start the tournament in the loser’s bracket round one (LBR1), meaning they’ll need to play flawlessly if they want to walk away with the $1,200,000 first prize.
Off the back of strong performances throughout 2021, Atlanta Faze and Toronto Ultra have earned their place in WBR2, whilst Florida Mutineers and the LA Thieves will start in LBR1.
Priced at 1.98*, Faze are definitive favourites to win the CDL World Championship. Given the quality of the players and their performances throughout 2021, this is a very much deserved price. Nipping at their heels are Toronto Ultra, the number two team in the world, who are currently priced at 3.55*. Having defeated Faze in the Stage 2 final, Toronto have proved themselves capable of performing on the biggest of stages and winning trophies.
Despite their incredible performance at the Stage 5 major, Minnesota Rokkr are only fourth favourites, priced at 8.35*, perhaps due to being drawn in what is considered to be a difficult WBR1 matchup against 2020 world champions Dallas Empire. Rokkr sit behind fan-favourites Optic Chicago, who are marginally more favoured at 7.30*. Given the quality and extensive past achievements of the players on this roster, fans of Optic will be hoping that they can play to their potential and earn their first trophy of the season.
The two biggest outsiders are LA Thieves and Florida Mutineers, who are both priced at odds of 105.0*, reflective of the difficulty they will face in starting from the loser’s bracket.
Whilst all prices quoted above are for the CDL World Championship Winners market, Pinnacle have a variety of other markets available to bet on, including the tournament MVP or whether a team will reach the grand final. Additionally, each individual game will feature spreads, Money Line and Totals markets, giving you plenty of choices when deciding what to bet on. Going into the CDL World Championship, the competition has never been stronger with a number of teams thinking they have a realistic chance of lifting the trophy.
Will Faze manage to recapture their dominant form after a lacklustre Stage 4 performance? Can Rokkr manage to earn back-to-back tournament wins at the biggest tournament of the year? Could LA Thieves or Florida Mutineers pull off the unthinkable and win the tournament starting from LBR1? Or will Optic finally reach the performance level their fans believe they’re capable of at just the right time?
We’ll find out the answer to all of these questions very soon, when the CDL World Championship begins on August 19.
*Odds are subject to change.