Blast Premiere Spring Finals – June 15, 2020

     The Blast Premiere Spring Finals are starting following the conclusion of the DreamHack Masters. DreamHack was profitable for us throughout group play, and we carried that knowledge in to the playoffs. Officially we finished the playoffs with a 10-10 record, netting a profit of 2.16 units. I didn’t get a preview out for the last few days of matches because I was busy moving and also had some birthday festivities, but I tweeted my plays for every day expect the finals. I ended up playing both BiG and Furia to win the finals, so I dropped the ball forgetting to tweet out those plays. I’ll be less busy this week and plan on covering all of the matches for the Blast Premiere Spring Finals. Lucky for us, none of the matches are best of one, so I expect to turn a profit this week as well.

 

Ninjas in Pyjamas (-115) vs Mad Lions (-115) – 6:30am EST 

     Ninjas in Pyjamas and Mad Lions will be going to battle Monday morning for the final spot in the Blast Premiere Spring Finals event. The winner will move on to play NaVi, while the loser fails to make the event. The other seven teams in the European region have already qualified, and four of them will begin playing on Monday. The match up between NiP and Mad Lions is actually the third place decider from the Blast Premiere Spring Showdown. NiP and Mad Lions each came out of their groups as the one seed before losing their first playoff match. Both of these teams also grabbed a couple playoff series wins at DreamHack before getting bounced in the lower bracket semi finals. We should be in for a competitive elimination game to get the week started. The winner will move on to play NaVi on Tuesday.

     Since the conclusion of Blast Premiere group play, Mad Lions have used their first ban exclusively on Dust2. I doubt they do that here, as NiP auto bans Dust2. I would expect Mad Lions to ban either Vertigo or Overpass, and NiP will then ban Dust2. Mad Lions should use their first pick on either Mirage or Nuke. I think Nuke will be a better pick for them considering NiP’s recent struggles on Nuke. NiP will pick Overpass/Vertigo, depending on the ban from Mad Lions. NiP will be a huge favorite on both of those maps. Mad Lions will use their second ban on Inferno. This will force NiP to chose between Mirage/Nuke or Train as the tie breaking map. I would expect them to pick Train.

     I think the book makers did a great job setting these lines. The first two maps should each favor the team picking. Both teams should also be comfortable on the tie breaking map whether that’s Mirage or Train. I’d have to give a slight edge to NiP as a side. NiP stands a better chance of winning Nuke then Mad Lions have of winning Vertigo/Overpass. NiP has also been consistent in their play, win or lose, they’ve been getting better and better in each game. You can see the team getting more comfortable with Hampus as the IGL. Mad Lions have been the opposite. They look great in their wins, but seem to get blown out in their most important matches. They got blanked by Ence in the Blast semis and NaVi in the DreamHack semis. I expect them to put up a fight against NiP, and they should win a map, but I think NiP’s consistency shows on the tie breaker. I’ll be taking both the over and NiP. If Mad Lions pass on Nuke and pick Mirage, I won’t be playing the over as I worry NiP could win 2-0.

Miner’s Money Pick: NiP (-115) & o2.5 maps (+100)

 

G2 (-125) vs Vitality (-105) – 10:30am EST

     The first official match of the Blast Premiere Spring Finals is between Vitality and G2. Book makers have this match rated close to a coin flip as well. This is a trend throughout all of the Spring Final matches on Monday. Vitality will be entering this match after a five day break following a loss to NiP in the DreamHack Playoffs. G2 is on the opposite side of the spectrum. They made it  to the DreamHack Finals through the upper bracket, but blew their one map advantage in a reverse sweep by BiG. They were up 11-4 at half time of the fifth map, but blew the lead and lost in overtime. I’m curious to see if they let that get in their head or if they can refocus in just 24 hours.

     Vitality will begin to shape the map pool by using Train for their first ban. G2 will then use their first ban on Overpass. Vitality should use their first pick on Nuke. Since the start of May, G2 is 5-4 on Nuke while Vitality is 6-3. G2 should abandon their regular first pick of Dust2, and instead default to their secondary pick of Vertigo. Vitality will then ban Mirage, giving G2 the choice of Dust2 or Inferno for the tie breaking map. G2 will pick Dust2.

     I think that this map pool shapes out to be extremely even for each of these teams. G2 and Vitality met on May 15th during Road to Rio and all three maps were decided by a 16-14 scoreline. Both of these teams have improved their form since that match and come in to this one playing good counter strike. Normally I would be playing this over, but I’m very worried about the mental state of G2. Their loss to BiG was in heart breaking fashion. The timing of the loss couldn’t have been worse either. G2 had been struggling during Road to Rio and the start if DreamHack, but turned things around to find themself in the finals as a heavy favorite. I don’t expect them to be able to put that loss behind them too quickly and that should effect their play, at least slightly, against Vitality. Vitality has also had plenty of time to prepare for this match. In a so evenly matched contest, I think that will be enough of an edge to get Vitality backers to the window.

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

 

FaZe (-140) vs Ence (+110) – 2:00pm EST

     The final match of the day is another match up that is supposed to be closely contested. FaZe comes in as a short favorite against Ence. Each of these teams went through a roster change just after the conclusion of Road to Rio. Ence added Jamppy and FaZe added Bymas. Both of these players are young talent and should improve the team down the road, but Jamppy had a more immediate positive effect than Bymas. Ence has looked revitalized since their poor performance at Road to Rio. They didn’t lose a single Blast Premier best of one and then went a perfect 2-0 in the playoffs, beating Mouse and Mad Lions without dropping a map. FaZe has also found some success since the roster change, but they’re inconsistent. They’re just 2-3 in their last five matches including two blow out losses to BiG. Bymas will need to find more consistency and comfort in competitive Counter Strike before FaZe returns to peak form.

     Ence will have the first ban of the series. They use that ban on Vertigo 94% of the time. Ence should continue to ban Vertigo first, but may be reluctant to do so considering Vertigo is FaZe’s usual first ban too. FaZe beat NaVi 13-2 on Vertigo, so Ence should take the safe play and take the map off the board. FaZe will most likely use their first ban on Train. Ence has a tendency to pick Train first, so this hurts their map pool. Ence should now use their first pick on Nuke. FaZe got blown out on Nuke twice by BiG, so there is plenty of good tape for Ence to study. FaZe will go back to their regular map pick of Mirage. It’s worth noting that Ence frequently uses Mirage as their first pick and should be extremely comfortable there. Ence will use their second ban on Overpass, which will allow FaZe to chose between Dust2 or inferno for the tie breaker. I would expect to see Dust2.

     We’re going to be wrapping the day up by backing a small pooch in Ence. Ence has looked good throughout Blast Premiere, but this is more of a fade of FaZe for me. They’re struggling a lot more than their record shows since the roster change from Olof to Bymas. It feels like FaZe haven’t earned many of their wins. A lot of teams have just failed to get out of their own way while playing them, and the FaZe veterans will punish you for those little mistakes. Teams that show up ready to play against FaZe have steam rolled them. I think this Ence team is hungry and hitting their stride now. They should be focused on getting this win, and have had all week to prepare while FaZe finished DreamHack. The last time FaZe found themself in this same spot, BiG broke them down and dominated them. Hopefully Ence is just as prepared. The map pool also has a slight lean towards Ence. They should dominate Nuke and have a solid chance of taking Mirage. If it makes it to three, each team will be extremely comfortable on Dust2 and I would make it a true coin flip. Theres also a chance Ence bans Dust2 and forces FaZe on to Inferno for the tie breaker. On either tie breaker, I would rather have the plus money side with Ence.

Miner’s Money Pick: Ence (+110) *1.5u*

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