Blast Premiere Spring Finals – June 18, 2020

    The upper bracket semi-finals begin on Thursday in the European region. We have two good matches, with NaVi taking on Complexity and FaZe playing Vitality. The North American region also has an elimination game on Thursday, featuring Furia and Liquid. We have a stacked slate from top to bottom. Wednesday was our first losing day of the event. We started out with Ence crumbling on their map pick, Train, and losing the series to G2. The double loser hurt, but we got most of it right back with NiP beating OG 2-0. We cashed on the over in Liquid/EG, but EG took the win so we lost our two team money line parlay. We ended the day 2-3 and lost 0.35 units in the process. We’ll be looking to get that back on Thursday.

**Blast Premiere Finals Record: 9-5 (+5.92u)

 

Natus Vincere (-205) vs Complexity (+165) – 10:30am EST

     NaVi and Complexity come in to this match after picking up first round wins. NaVi beat Ninjas in Pyjamas handedly by winning Mirage and Nuke. Complexity played a reeling OG, and won on the third map. They came out strong in that match and stole OG’s map pick of Train, but dropped their own map pick Mirage. In the end, they had a huge edge on Nuke as the deciding map. This is a huge match for both of these teams. The winner will move on to play in the upper level final against the winner of Vitality/FaZe. The loser will have to go to the lower bracket to take on G2.  Being relegated to the lower bracket means playing three more games before getting to the grand finale, whereas the winner of this match will only have one game prior. They’re both coming off a day of preparation, so we should see a couple of prepared squads.

     Complexity will start shaping the map pool by using their first ban on Overpass. Overpass is one of NaVis favorite maps. NaVi will use their first ban on Vertigo. Vertigo is a good map for Complexity, but not one they use for their map pick often. Complexity should use Mirage as their first map pick. NaVi doesn’t play Mirage nearly as much as Complexity, but NaVi’s dueling skill gap might show on a scrimmigey type map. NaVi have a 8-5 record on Mirage in the past six months, with their losses only coming against top 10 teams. Speaking of scrimmage maps, NaVi should chose Dust2 as their map pick. Complexity has a seven map win streak on Dust2 and a win rate of 72% in the past three months. They’re comfortable on Dust2, but have struggled against top 20 teams, going just 3-4 in the same time frame. Complexity should use their second ban on Train, considering they’re 0-4 there against true top tier teams. This will leave NaVi with the choice of choosing Inferno or Nuke for the tie breaker. They would play Nuke.

     In terms of pure win rate in the past three months you would think Complexity would get the edge in the map pool, but most of their wins have been against lower tier opponents. Their win rates look much more pedestrian when filtering for top 20 teams, and NaVi is better than almost all of the other top 20 teams. Its’s a fact that Complexity has been playing in a lower tier, and they may need time to adjust to the skill of NaVi. NaVi’s dueling ability should show on both Dust2 and Mirage, if they are the first two maps. If either team switches up for a more technical map, NaVi’s methodical play style should also give them a slight edge. Complexity is a good team, but they lose this game most of the time. Especially considering NaVi has openly stated their frustration in losing and their desire to win games. This makes me think they used their day off to get in extra preparation. It’s also tough to stop Simple and Electronic when they’re both playing well. If NaVi comes out how I expect them too, they should win this game 2-0, but if they come out slow and lazy you would have to consider Complexity a live dog. Therefore, I will be backing NaVi to win 2-0 to avoid the money line juice, and hope their skill is enough to get them through the first two maps. I may also look for live NaVi spots if they’re down early in maps, they tend to make games close when they’re playing lower tier teams. Be sure to follow the twitter @MoneyMiner_ to see the live plays.

Miner’s Money Pick: NaVi -1.5 (+145) *1.38u* & 2T Parlay: NaVi/Furia ML (+130)

 

FaZe (-125) vs Vitality (-105) – 2:00pm EST

     We have what is most likely the most anticipated match up of the day taking place in the mid day time slot. FaZe and Vitality are two top 10 teams that will go to battle to claim their spot in the upper bracket finals, against the winner of Complexity/NaVi. The loser will be relegated to the lower bracket, where they will meet Ninjas in Pyjamas. Vitality comes in to this match after finding a 2-0 win against G2. They blew G2 out on the first map, Inferno, before winning Mirage in overtime. FaZe went the distance against Ence, who has been extremely inconsistent. The first two maps were close, but FaZe got the blow out win on Nuke as the decider. That was an important win for FaZe as they had lost three straight on Nuke going into that map. Although both teams found a win in the first round, I would have to say Vitality’s win was much more convincing. 

     Vitality should have the opening move for the map pool since they are the lower ranked teams. They will get things started by banning Train. This is a somewhat strong map for FaZe. FaZe will then ban Vertigo. Vitality should use their map pick on Nuke. Nuke has been a tough map for FaZe since their roster change from Olof to Bymas. Vitality has also won Nuke 5 out of the 6 times they’ve played it since the end of Road to Rio. FaZe usually uses their first pick on Mirage, but they’ve been playing much better on Dust2 of late. I think it would make sense to pick Dust2 to ensure it makes it in the map pool. Vitality will most likely use their second ban on Overpass, as they’ll feel comfortable on both Inferno or Mirage/Dust2 for the tie breaking map.

      If you’ve been following the blog, you should know that I’ve been fading FaZe since the roster change from Olof to Bymas. They aren’t nearly the squad they were before the change and its shown in their game play. They have still won plenty of matches, but most of their wins haven’t come in normal convincing FaZe fashion. I still think their name is demanding too much respect in the market, and is therefore creating value for Vitality. I would have to make Vitality a slight favorite coming in to this match, but the book makers have it flipped. I think this map pool is pretty neutral for both squads, but Vitality is in much better form. Bymas has been gaining experience, but he still can be a liability when playing man down. I think Zywoo and squad will be able to expose that, especially after an extra day of preparation. I’ll be putting my money where my mouth is in fading this FaZe squad until I see more consistency. Vitality money line will be a 2 unit max play. We’re due for some FaZe regression here. I’ll also be waiting until just before tip off to bet this match, FaZe should be peppered. By the public, which may create more value on the Vitality money line. 

Miner’s Money Pick: Vitality (+100) *2.0u*

 

Furia (-180) vs Liquid (-150) – 5:30pm EST

     We finish the day off with what feels like the 100th Liquid/Furia series in the past few months. The reality of it is, this will be the sixth time these two teams meet for a series since the beginning of April. Furia has won all of the prior five meetings, while only dropping two total maps in the process. For the first time, Furia is a true favorite in this match. They were listed as just a -150 favorite four days ago with a one map advantage going into the grand finals of DreamHack. That was total disrespect, and they swept the series, but I’m a little surprised to see this much of an odds adjustment considering they’re not starting with a map advantage in this one. It might be a bit of an over reaction to the Liquid collapse against Evil Geniuses. Let’s dive right in and find out where the value lays in this win or go home tilt between Americas best.

     The picks tend to get a little choppy when teams have faced each other this many times in such a short period of time, so be ready for surprises. Liquid will use their first ban on Train. Furia will use their first ban on Dust2. Those are both facts. Now for the tricky part, Liquid uses Mirage as their first pick about 30% of the time, but Furia is a perfect 12-0 on Mirage in the last three months. I think this is enough reason for Liquid to abandon Mirage. They should pick either Inferno as a comfort pick, or Nuke as a punish pick. Nuke is Furia’s worst map by far, but they did beat Liquid there the last time they played. Furia will most likely pick Vertigo for their map pick, unless they want to ensure Mirage makes the map pool. Liquid will use their ban on Vertigo if given the opportunity. Otherwise, they would ban Overpass and force Furia to pick between Inferno or Mirage for the tie breaker. Both maps are comfortable for each team.

     This match is a tough one. You would think that Liquid is due to win a match against Furia eventually, but I don’t think that will happen in Liquids current form. They’ve struggled to put up back to back consistent maps since the start of Road to Rio and Furia has been on fire. With that being said, I don’t see much value at Furia at the current number. They were an underdog to Liquid in all of their matches prior to the DreamHack final. Even in that, they were only -150 with a map advantage. The move to -180 doesn’t make a lot of sense to me and I think we’ll see the market adjust throughout the day. Once Furia gets down to the -150/-160 range I will pull the trigger on a play for a unit.  For now, I will be using Furia as a parlay piece in a two teamer. I’ll be pairing them with NaVi money line in order to get +130 odds. If NaVi lose early, I may use Furia as a parlay with BiG against ForZe in ESL Pro League. I also see a little value on Furia to win exactly 2-1 at +250, but I’d rather save bank roll for a better live spot. I’ll put in an update and tweet if I play Furia at a cheaper price. *Update* Furia is currently at -140 and I will be playing them to win a unit. I’ll also be using them in a two team parlay (+150) with BiG money line against ForZe in ESL Pro League

Miner’s Money Pick: 2T Parlay: NaVi & Furia (+130)*Loss* – Furia (-140) *1.4u* & Furia/BiG parlay (+150)

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