IEM Cologne is one of the biggest CS:GO tournament of 2022. In his latest betting preview for Pinnacle, Adam Boothe looks at some of his outright picks for the tournament. Read on to find out more.
It’s July, and that can only mean one thing: another visit to the “Cathedral of Counter-Strike” – IEM Cologne! This event is one of the greatest, longest running, and most historic annual events on the CS:GO calendar, hence it’s nickname.
The teams that have lifted the trophy have all been legends in their own right, with teams such as Ninjas in Pyjamas, Fnatic, SK Gaming, and NAVI all being victorious here, with the latter two even winning the prestigious tournament twice.
One quality which can separate an event apart is a best-of-five grand final, something IEM Cologne has on offer. Despite all its years of running, however, we have only seen one iteration of the event reach the final deciding map and it was during the online era in a final featuring two North American teams… so does that really count?
IEM Cologne should be considered just one small step lower than the prestige of a Major. And, in fact, it has hosted a couple of Majors as well. If this is your first introduction to the event, I highly recommend checking out the ample frag videos and highlight packages of years past. However, if you only have two minutes and do not want to risk getting trapped down a rabbit hole of watching hours upon hours of incredible esports moments, then this is a recommended watch:
In this preview, however, we’ll cover how to strategically navigate IEM Cologne’s betting market via a look at Pinnacle’s CS:GO odds offering. This piece will break the participating teams down into two categories; the write-offs and the contenders.
This event, like last year, is featuring a play-in group of 16 teams, which starts on July 5. Eight of these will earn a spot at the main event beginning two days later and running for 10 days afterward. Of the eight teams already awaiting their opponents on July 7, none can be classified as a ‘write-off’. The less-dominant version of NAVI we have witnessed up until this point in 2022 has opened the gate for a wider field to make some deep runs in tournaments or at least take victories through small bursts of brilliance.
The teams we should perhaps not bother with a second look, who I believe will not make an impact in Cologne are Sprout, Pain, Complexity, 00Nation, Order, and Tyloo. This is not to say they cannot win a match or two in the play-ins and, after all, two wins is all that is needed to qualify for the next round. However, it is in that subsequent stage that they would become relatively insignificant. Cologne, like the Majors, has just never seen the miracle Cinderella runs. It will probably happen one day, but I prefer to get my money on quality teams that will be relevant at every event in the circuit, rather than a one-hit-wonder.
Additionally, when you think of some of the underdogs who have reached the finals at the most prestigious events, they are not in the same class as the teams mentioned above. BIG Clan at Cologne 2018, Cloud9 at Boston 2018, Avangar at Berlin 2019, Cloud9 at Berlin 2017, Ence at Katowice 2019, or even both Gambit and Immortals at Krakow 2017. These are all teams in the realm of the top 10-20 in the world through even the worst performing periods of their career. The teams I’ve listed above are not budding up-and-comers either. Most of them feature a core of players we have seen reach the top of their respective careers already or serve as farm teams for bigger organisations with more money to spend. That being said, if you want to put a dollar on Tyloo in a bet that’s paying out $1,000 for no other reason than ‘why not’, by all means shoot for it!
With Viktor “sdy” Orudzhev now at the helm of CIS powerhouse Natus Vincere, in place of Kirill “Boombl4” Mikhaylov, we’ve seen them bounce back from their Antwerp Major loss to FaZe Clan with a first-place finish at the Blast Spring Final. This path to victory included an absolute demolition of the aforementioned world #1 team to the tune of 16-6/16-1. It is unsurprising to find NAVI in the position of favourites coming into IEM Cologne, according to the Pinnacle Outright market where they are priced at 2.740*. FaZe Clan are behind them at 4.170*, with Cloud9, G2, ENCE and Heroic all circling at around a probability of 15%.
Since FaZe Clan won their first ever CS:GO Major in May, there have been five sizeable events of competition: the Pinnacle Cup Championship, IEM Dallas, Global Tour Dubai, BLAST Premier Final, and the Roobet Cup. The fields have not been equal for these five events; however, all have featured a plethora of the teams we will be seeing this week. The finals of these events have been BIG vs. FaZe, NAVI vs. Vitality, NiP vs. MOUZ, Heroic vs. Astralis, and Cloud9 vs. ENCE. Of these teams not previously mentioned, there are significantly more enticing prices: BIG at 12.520*, Vitality at 22.260*, NiP at 18.770*, MOUZ at 77.910*, and Astralis at 16.900*.
MOUZ, for all their talent, are clearly the odd team out. However, they have not won a single event since Flashpoint over a year ago when Robin “Ropz” Kool was still with the team. I won’t be backing them for IEM Cologne but they are the first relative long shot which a case can be made for.
In regards to Vitality, their best performance of the year was just a couple of weeks ago at BLAST. Had they taken a map off NAVI in that final, I doubt we’d see them at this price. However, the CIS squad, even in their first event with “sdy”, looked like the powerhouse of last year, trouncing Mathieu “ZywOo” and co. in much the same way they did FaZe two days prior. BIG pounced on FaZe also this past month, with two 2-1 victories at the Roobet Cup which is what has brought their price down from their prior pricing.
IEM Cologne promises to be one of the most competitive events again this year. While it may seem obvious, it needs to be said that those top six teams deserve to be priced as the top six as they will likely fill most of the playoff bracket.
Best of luck with your action this week!
*Odds are subject to change.