May 4, 2022
May 4, 2022

PGL Major Antwerp Betting Preview

PGL Major Antwerp outright betting

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PGL Major Antwerp Betting Preview

The PGL Major Antwerp is 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 is fantastic to see CS:GO getting back to hosting LAN events, with majors dotting the calendar. PGL was the most recent tournament organiser to be awarded this prestigious level of event back in the fall of 2021. The upcoming PGL Major Antwerp 2022 tournament will once again showcase the world’s best CS:GO action, beginning on May 9.

The 24 teams taking part are all well-known and have been divided between the opening two stages of the event. 16 teams will begin at the Challengers Stage, with a Swiss System format being used to determine which eight will progress to the Legends stage.

If you happen to have looked at some of the betting markets already available with Pinnacle, you will have noticed that for the first time in years, a North American organisation are near the top of the betting. However, this Cloud9 team is actually comprised of a number of Russian players who were formerly known as Gambit. If they happen to win this event, there will be plenty of memes about it, you can be sure.

NAVI – Can they defend their title?

Any discussion about this major should start with the defending champions, NAVI. As a mixed Russian and Ukrainian roster, they have been subjected to far more distractions than many other teams this year. How much of their ‘slump’ can be attributed to the war in their home nation is difficult to ascertain, but what is not debatable is they are not performing at the same level as in 2021.

This is somewhat reflected in their prices on various markets but perhaps not enough. NAVI have yet to make an appearance in a final this year. At IEM Katowice in February, they were knocked out by G2 in the semi-finals and they suffered a quarter-finals defeat at the hands of eventual champions FaZe Clan at ESL Pro League Season 15. These were certainly both respectable performances, but their lack of dominance was obvious. And it does not end there – the CIS powerhouse had a relatively poor 5-4 win-loss record and only just scraped through the last-chance qualifier of BLAST Premier Spring, while they also lost to Heroic in the RMR to qualify for Antwerp with the third-fourth best record at 3-1.

None of this is to say NAVI are in poor form coming into Antwerp. It is really to say that they are human and not the gods who were put on a pedestal by fans during the second half of 2021. Let’s take a look at some key figures: from ESL Cologne in July until the end of 2021, NAVI only lost to three teams (Gambit, BIG, and Team Liquid) and won 79% of their maps. Through 2022, and playing some matches with a stand-in, they are still running well at a 68% map win rate; however, they have already lost to six different organisations. After being the team to beat for the past year, NAVI find themselves second on the Outright market behind the hottest team in 2022, FaZe Clan.

Will FaZe Clan live up to their number one world ranking?

The difference in price is only a few percentage points but it speaks volumes to the rise of Finn “karrigan” Andersen’s latest creation and perhaps one of his last chances at an elusive major title. After winning the ESL Pro League Season 15, FaZe took over the top spot of the HLTV World Rankings. Helvijs “broky” Saukants and Havard “rain” Nygaard persisted through the dark days for this team when their Danish In-Game Leader was forced to go roaming, and multiple stars entered the revolving doors of the organisation.

The time spent by “karrigan” in MOUZ brought one glorious thing to FaZe, the Estonian talent of Robin “ropz” Kool. And what seems apparent now is that the egos of prior rosters have left the building. Interviews have indicated that the team believes in “karrigan” and his abilities as a strategist and he is confident that he has the necessary talent to bring FaZe their first major trophy.

Popular betting markets

Moving on, I will now analyse the following popular betting markets: To Reach The Final; To Win Outright; and HLTV MVP.

What I like to do is narrow down my field of view gradually. The first teams to weed out are those whom we will never really want to bet on except in matchups against one another or on a significant map Handicap. Those first clubs are Renegades, IHC Esports, and 9z Team. It is difficult to find any combination of matches via the Swiss format which would allow one of those rosters to win six matches and end up in the playoffs. While this major is certainly open to a dark horse roster winning the title, these three clubs are beyond longshots. I would expect the only money to come in on those teams to come from the most hardcore of fans.

Based on the format of the event, only eight of the 16 teams competing in the Challengers stage are going to see the Legends stage of the competition. So you may perhaps start circling the teams which are the strongest out of those 16: Team Vitality, G2 Esports, ENCE, Astralis, Team Liquid, Team Spirit, and Outsiders. Note that it did not take us long to get to seven there - that is how deep the level of talent in CS:GO is nowadays.

At least one of those teams will receive a rather unfortunate draw and lose three matches to some combination of those other six, you can be sure. Currently, G2 is slated to play Team Liquid in the opening round of the stage. On the Outright market, both teams are in the top 16 which indicates they are both expected to be in the second round. An opening-round loss does not prevent them from progressing; however, we have to work with the information given – and both G2 and Team Liquid will open their campaign against a more difficult opponent than they were hoping for.

Are Team Vitality title contenders?

The one team I predict will progress out of the Challengers stage and be a contender to win their first major trophy is Team Vitality. On paper, they have everything you could want in a champion roster with the firepower, experience, and coaching. However, execution has plagued them a bit so far this year, not to mention that a previously fully French roster and separately Danish powerhouse now need to work together in a new language of communications, and they have won less than half of their 36 maps played.

That being said, they have only one series loss against a team not currently in the top 10. They themselves are currently sitting at number 11 in the world, but a quarter-finals berth in Antwerp would not be surprising in the least. They are not without their flaws; however, they stick out at this opening stage and at odds of 18.020*, they could be a value bet.

The BIG dark horse

The other roster I like the look of are BIG. The Germans are one of the eight squads beginning their campaign in the Legends stage but are priced outside the top 12. I have been an on-again, off-again fan of theirs since their creation back in 2017. The only constant over that time has been their star player, Johannes “tabseN” Wodarz, who has done just about everything under the sun to keep that team going.

It was announced this past week that their legendary founder, Faith “gob b” Dayik, would be returning from BIG’s VALORANT team to coach this group. Whether this team has the firepower to contend with some of the other giants vying for the trophy remains to be seen; however, they could be a Cinderella story in the making and I have added them as my second team to watch in the To Win Outright market, at odds of 23.810*.

"NiKo" - the MVP contender

One of the first prices that stuck out rather oddly was on Nikola “NiKo” Kovac to be Antwerp’s Most Valuable Player (MVP). Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev is the front-runner, currently priced at 3.040*, while his team NAVI are starting in the Legends stage and priced at 3.580* to win the event. However, “NiKo” is sitting at 3.640* to be the MVP with his roster G2 Esports starting in the Challengers stage and priced at 13.020* to take the title. Something does not really add up there.

There have been 17 majors played in CS:GO history and the MVP has come from the winning team every single time. While it is not written in stone that the HLTV MVP must be holding the major trophy, it is very difficult to imagine an outcome in which G2 does not win the event but “NiKo” wins the MVP award. At the very least, G2 will need to be in the grand finals for “NiKo” to be given this individual award, but will likely need to be the champions.

In either case, the price for G2 to reach the finals (6.480*) or to win the event (13.020*) has significantly better value than the MVP odds for “NiKo”. Again, it should be reiterated that there is no rule forbidding the MVP honours from going to a player on a defeated team (that I am aware of), but it would require something never seen before.

PGL Major Antwerp - To Win Outright odds



FaZe Clan








Ninjas in Pyjamas








Copenhagen Flames








Team Vitality


Team Liquid


Imperial Esports




Team Spirit


Eternal Fire


Complexity Gaming


Bad News Eagles




9z Team




IHC Esports


*Odds are subject to change.

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About the author

Adam Boothe

Adam landed in the world of esports betting by happenstance and with no premeditated notions it would ever be a long term endeavour. With few individuals having years of experience working on esports, and many less being willing to share, his articles cater to novice and veterans alike. Adam's approach is centered on bringing traditional trading methodology to the esports niche.

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