Live from the “cathedral of Counter-Strike”, the 2018 ESL One tournament gets underway in Cologne, Germany on July 3 with 16 teams battling it out for a share of the $300,000 prize pot. Which team will be declared victorious? Read on for our preview of the event, the format and the teams in contention.
The world’s biggest CS:GO tournament comes to Germany for the fourth year in succession, with a 10,000 strong audience in attendance to accompany the hundreds of millions of viewers watching the live streams all over the world.
Twelve teams in total received direct invites to the competition, whilst the other four gained entries through their regional qualifiers.
The 12 teams who received direct invites:
- FaZe Clan
- G2 eSports
- Team Liquid
- Natus Vincere
- Ninjas in Pyjamas (NiP)
The four teams who achieved qualification through regional qualifiers:
- North (European Qualifier)
- Gambit eSports (European Qualifier)
- Renegades (North American Qualifier)
- B.O.O.T – d[S] (Asian Qualifier)
ESL One Cologne: The format
The group stages take place between the July 3-5 with two groups of eight teams. The seedings for the group will be determined by the ESL CS:GO World Rankings that currently sees Astralis on top. Three teams from both groups qualify for the play-offs that take place between July 6-8, with the top teams in both groups advancing directly to the semi-finals whilst the 2nd and 3rd placed teams qualify for the quarter-final stage. The initial matches will be under a best of one (BO1) format and all matches after will be a BO3. Once into the playoffs, the quarter and semi-finals will also be a BO3 format, culminating in the grand final being a BO5 match-up.
ESL One Cologne 2018 odds: Evaluating the favourites
Astralis (2.179*) come into the tournament as big favourites on a run of 11 straight wins with recent victories against rivals FaZe (6.000*) and Liquid (10.160*) in their last two outings. The 3-0 defeat they suffered to FaZe at IEM in Sydney in May may have sparked their recent good run of form and they will no doubt look to extend their streak at ESL One.
FaZe teamember karriagn will be desperate to improve following his last performance against Astralis in the ECS season 5 semi-finals where he achieved an abysmal K-D ratio of -23.
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Natus Vincere (8.360*) also come into the competition in good form, winning their last eight matches in a row. Na’Vi are third in the overall rankings and with an opening match against outsiders G2 (25.150*) to start their tournament off, they look good value to extend their winning streak to nine.
Team mousesports (9.100*) - whose team members all hail from different countries - will been keen to avenge the narrow 3-2 defeat they suffered against FaZe at ESL One Belo Horizonte in June. They kick off their campaign against the European qualifiers Gambit (61.080*) who they should comfortably dispatch.
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Could there be an upset?
It’s difficult to make a case for rank outsiders ENCE (120.970*) and Asian qualifiers B.O.O.T – d[S] (240.750*) and with opening group stage matches against hot favourites Astralis and FaZe, it would be no surprise to see two comprehensive defeats, making the market on key players like device (Astralis) to score an ace (3.000*) or rain (FaZe) (3.490*) to do likewise might be more appealing to bettors.
NiP (25.630*) could be a team that could go further than expected into the tournament, having recorded victories over tournament favourites Astralis and FaZe as recently as April and May this year in the ESL Pro League and ECS Season five respectively. With an opening match against Cloud9 (20.700*) who come into the competition with just three wins in the last eight matches, NiP will be confident of advancing to a potential showdown against Astralis for a play-off position.
Alternative betting markets to consider
The outright markets and individual matchups will be a popular choice for bettors, but Pinnacle also offers a wide range of betting options away from traditional markets that could offer potential value. Betting on the map with the highest CT-side win percentage for example could be an engaging prospect for customers with solid CS:GO map pool knowledge and with odds on Train at (3.990*) with a 54% recent record in favour of CT teams winning, makes this one of the more intriguing markets available.
*Odds subject to change.