Blast Premiere Playoffs – June 6, 2020

     Saturday is littered with great match ups from the start of the slate to the end of it. We have quarter-finals matches in the European Region and semi-finals going on in the American Region. We didn’t have the best day on Friday, but part of that was me getting greedy. We started the day out with a Mousesports win over Astralis. We then took Vitality to cover -1.5, which came back to haunt us as they lost 2-1. Laying a map is something I usually never do, but I thought Vitality had a good chance at the 2-0. We went 1-1 during the Triumph match. We hit on them covering their +1.5 map spread, but gave a half unit back on their money line. Cloud9 lost on the third map to close out what should have been a much better day. All in all, we finished 2-3-1 and lost just over a unit. We’ll be looking to get that back on Saturday.

 

Blast Premiere Playoff Record: 2-3-1 (-1.25u)

 

Mousesports (-130) vs Ence (+100) – 6:30am EST

     We start the day off with a matchup I love! Mouse is moving on after beating Astralis to take on Ence in the quarter-finals. Ence had a bye to the quarter-finals after finishing group play as a two seed. They didn’t lose a single game, although two of their games finished in ties and they only have a +5 round differential. The ties came against Vitality and Nip, while they found wins against Saw and Astralis. The winner of this match will find themself in the semi-finals match against Mad Lions.

     Mouse should start things off by banning Overpass, but on Friday they banned Inferno first against Astralis. Ence will most likely follow that up by banning Vertigo. Each of these teams use Train as their first pick more often than any other map. I’m not sure if Mouse will secure Train or use their secondary pick of Dust2. Ence will most likely pick Train if Mouse do not, otherwise they would probably pick Mirage. Mouse’s second ban would be on Inferno/Overpass, which will force Ence to chose between Dust2/Mirage or Nuke. I would expect them to take Dust2/Mirage. There’s also a chance these two teams just leave Train to be the potential tie breaker.

      I’m going to be backing Mousesports again today. The line was certainly short against Astralis, and I think it is again here. Mouse has completely turned their form around and even found a win against Astralis on Overpass, which is their usual instant ban. All five players are still exceeding their HLTV average for the last three months. Ence also wasn’t as impressive as their group play record shows. They struggled to beat a reeling Astralis roster and needed a Saw choke to find that win. They also started out extremely slow against Vitality before Vitality blew a 14-9 lead. Their +5 round differential shows just how easily they could have lost every game. The map pool should also slightly favor Mouse, as they are the better Train team. Dust2/Mirage will be closer to a coin flip, but I would have to give Mouse the edge on Nuke as well. They are an extremely experienced squad and that should show against the young guns on Ence.

Miner’s Money Pick: Mousesports (-130) *1.3u*

 

Fnatic (-125) vs Vitality (-105) – 10:00am EST

     Vitality will be taking on Fnatic after getting a victory against Dignitas in the first round. It took Vitality three maps to put Dignitas away, but neither of their wins were too competitive. Fnatic had the first round bye as they finished in second for their group. Fnatic finished group play with a 3-1 record. Their only loss came to Mad Lions in 16-10 fashion. They were able to beat up on Dignitas and Virtus.Pro, but only beat Mouse by 2 rounds on Train. We have the treat of two competitive European matches on Saturday. Vitality And Fnatic met in a series that went the distance just about a month ago during Road to Rio Group play. Vitality took home that series by winning Dust2 16-13, as well as Mirage 16-11. Fnatics map win came in double overtime on Inferno. The final score was 22-20.

     Vitality will get things started by banning one of Fnatic’s favorite maps, Train. Fnatic will then ban Vertigo. Vitality has looked extremely strong on Vertigo And Fnatic won’t want to meet them there. Vitality should use their first pick on Dust2, but there’s a chance they want to force Fnatic to play Nuke. Fnatic has been struggling on Nuke losing three of their last four maps. Fnatic will most likely pick Inferno even though they were struggling there towards the end of Road to Rio. Their only other choice would be to pick Overpass, which they may do considering Vitality took Fnatic to overtime the last time they played Inferno. Vitality will ban Overpass/Inferno depending on what the Fnatic pick is. This will make Fnatic chose between Dust2/Nuke or Mirage. That favors Vitality as Fnatic has lost their last five on Mirage. Vitality is extremely comfortable on Dust2/Nuke, so Fnatic will have to pick their poison.

     I was a little surprised to see Fnatic listed as a favorite in this one. Fnatic looked extremely shaky before starting group play at Blast Premiere. They were just 4-6 in the 10 series previous to Blast. They finished blast with a 3-1 record, but were gifted with an uncompetitive group. Fnatic also lost to the top seed in the group handily. The score was only 16-10, but could have been 16-6 without a couple huge clutches. Vitality on the other hand, has been trending in the right direction. Their form has improved from an HLTV rating of 50 to passing Fnatic up around 135 over the course of the last five weeks. Fnatic is down from 200 to 125 over the same time span. Since I believe the map pool favors Vitality and they are in better form, they will be the team I’m backing in this one.

Miner’s Money Pick: Vitality (-105) *1.05u*
 

Furia (-170) vs Gen.G (+140) – 1:30pm EST

     North American semi-finals start on Saturday with Furia playing Gen.G and Evil Geniuses taking on MiBR. The winner of the semi-finals matches will qualify for the Blast Spring Finals, while the two losers will square off for the final spot at the Finals. Gen.G earned their spot in the semi-finals after beating Triumph on the tie breaking map. That series was extremely close on every map as Gen.G found both map wins by a 16-14 scoreline. Triumph was able to secure their map win on Nuke in overtime. Triumph was a nice surprise at Blast and had a great run, but I think something has looked off for Gen.G. They should have been able to handle Triumph and without a Triumph choke on the third map, they would have lost. Furia finished group play with a 2-1 record after dropping their first match to MiBR. They found their wins against Gen.G and Chaos only allowing an average of 6.5 rounds against them in their wins.

     Gen.G will get things started by banning Overpass. Furia will follow this up by banning Dust2. The map pick for Gen.G will most likely be train. They were able to beat Furia 16-6 on Train in their last meeting. I would expect Furia to pick Mirage, but the last time these teams met they forced Gen.G to play Vertigo. Furia won that match 16-12, and Gen.G is just 2-4 there in the last three months. Gen.G should use their second ban on Vertigo/Mirage depending on what Furia picks. Furia will pick whichever map they like more between Inferno and Nuke.

     This match is a tough one for me. I believe that Furia is currently the best American team in competition. They have excelled with the online environment, but struggled to get things going against Gen.G in the past. I thought they were a sure lock in the Road to Rio playoffs, but flopped on Train before losing Inferno 16-9. They were able to right that wrong during Blast group play and beat Gen.G on Inferno 16-8. I’m still a little worried about Train though. Furia should be able to compete, but the last time out was ugly. I’ll still be playing the Furia money line. I’m also going to make a small investment on Furia to win exactly 2-1. I don’t see Furia letting Gen.G eliminate them in back to back playoff events.

Miner’s Money Pick: Furia (-170) *1.5u* & Furia to win 2-1 (+250) *0.5u*

 

Evil Geniuses (-150) vs MiBR (+120) – 5:00pm

The other semi-final North American match is between MiBR and Evil Geniuses. MiBR went to a three map showdown with Cloud9, winning on Dust2 and Inferno, after dropping Overpass. Evil Geniuses earned a first round bye after going 2-0-1 during group play. Evil Geniuses had two closely contested wins over Cloud9 and 100 Thieves. They closed out group play with a 15-15 tie against Triumph. MiBR and EG met once this year, towards the start of April. EG was able to take that series 2-1 after dropping the first map. We should be in for another good one to close out the day.

     MiBR uses their first ban on EG’s regular first pick, Nuke. EG should ban Overpass to start. I expect MiBR to switch up their regular first pick of Train, and force EG to play Vertigo. They beat EG on Vertigo in their last meeting and the last Vertigo match EG played, they lost 16-2 to 100 Thieves. Evil Geniuses will most likely go with their secondary first pick, Inferno. EG will be a favorite on Inferno, but MiBR hasn’t lost on Inferno at Blast Premiere. MiBR’s last ban should come in on Mirage. This will force Evil Geniuses to pick between Train or Dust2 for the final map. EG only has a 40% win rate on both. Theres a chance MiBR chooses to ban Train and force EG to pick between Mirage or Dust2. I believe MiBR’s play style benefits from the more scrim style maps, and they should be able to have a strong  T-side on either Mirage/Dust2. The tie breaker will favorite MiBR no matter which way they decide to go.

     I’ll be backing the short dog to end the day yet again. I haven’t been all too impressed with the play of Evil Genius throughout the best of ones. They should have lost to Triumph and the 100T/Cloud9 games could have gone either way. EG has been extremely reliant on the play of Cerq, who has answered the call posting a 1.44 rating at the event. I don’t think he will find the same success he did in his group. MiBR has much more raw talent than anyone EG played so far. I also believe MiBR is hitting stride. They found a big wins over Furia and Cloud9. They also seem to be getting used to the roster change from Mayern to Trk. The map pool will be favoring MiBR considering they should dominate Vertigo and have an edge on the third map. Their bans have a ton of control over the map pool. They’ll also be competitive on Inferno. Don’t be surprised to see a 2-0 in this one.

Miner’s Money Pick: MiBR (+110) *1.5u* & MiBR -1.5 (+350) *0.4u*

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