DreamHack Masters – May 28, 2020

      We are in for a treat on Thursday with the European Group D in full swing. We have another couple of super series between Ence and Navi, as well as Ninjas in Pyjamas taking on Vitality. The North American match to close the day will feature Cloud9 taking on 100 Thieves in what should be a revenge game for Cloud9. Wednesday was a good day for us. We started out with a NaVi (-125) win over Vitality. We had Fnatic in the next match against FaZe. Fnatic came out to a 14-9 lead on FaZe’s map pick before losing 16-14. They then forced FaZe on an eco down 13-14 on Overpass, but lost to pistols before going on to lose 16-13. We were right there for a plus money team. We finished the day with a huge Gen.G (+130) win over Evil Geniuses. We also had great value considering closing line value. My play on Fnatic came in at +105 and they closed at -115. Gen.G closed at +105, whereas my play came in at +130. Line value is key when betting games with such high variance. All in all, we finished the day with a 2-2 record, but finished up exactly one unit!

 

DreamHack Record: 17-14 (+5.47u)

 

Vitality (-125) vs Ninjas in Pyjamas (-105) – DreamHack EU – 8:00am EST

     Vitality and NiP will be meeting for the third time in just over a month. The previous two meetings each went to a third map with the teams splitting wins. The Vitality win counted for a little more as it was in the playoffs for Road to Rio. I would have to say that NiP played better throughout Road to Rio, but Vitality claimed better placement as they stepped up when it mattered most. It’s worth noting that all of the three maps went to overtime, so that match was extremely close. Since their most recent match, NiP benched their in game leader, Lekro. The organization replaced him with Hampus of Gamer Legion. This raises some concerns as Lekro was blindsided by the move, so the team was most likely unprepared for it as well. There have been comments on the HLTV forum page about the poor management of the NiP office and I’ve seen likes from Nawk and Plopski on such comments. I’m a little concerned that there may be a rift amongst the NiP camp.

     The first bans should stay the same with NiP banning Dust2, followed by Vitality banning Train. NiP will have the first pick and should use it on either Vertigo or Overpass, depending on what Hampus is more comfortable playing. I would like to see Vitality go back to their regular first map pick of Nuke. Nuke is such a technical map that it should give NiP troubles with a new teammate/IGL. NiP should use their next ban on Mirage. Vitality will then ban Overpass or Vertigo depending on what NiP picked for their map. This will leave Inferno as the tie breaking map.

     If nothing had changed since the conclusion of Road to Rio, I would feel inclined to back NiP in this rematch. They were the more consistent team as Vitality relies heavily on the play of Zywoo. This is not the case though. We’ve seen plenty of roster changes from Rio to DreamHack and I don’t think any of them have instantly benefited the team. We saw Astralis struggle without the lead of Glave. We’ve also seen growing pains in both FaZe and Godsent with the introduction of their new players. I would imagine that FaZe and Astralis at least had an inkling that their roster change was coming, so the fact that the NiP change seemed to come as a surprise scares me. The last two matches between these teams were as close to coin flips as you could get. I mean three overtimes in one series is unheard of! I think the roster change from Lekro to Hampus will cause some growing pains for NiP. Especially if the players weren’t on the same page as the front office! That is enough for me to back Vitality as a short favorite.

Miner’s Money Pick: Vitality (-125) 

 

Natus Vincere (-160) vs Ence (+130) – DreamHack EU – 11:30am

     European Group D is absolutely stacked. We have another great morning of top tier teams squaring off. NaVi and Ence will match up for the first time in 2020. Each of these teams struggled during Road to Rio play. I already mentioned NaVi’s failure to make playoffs in the CIS region, but Ence met similar fate in the EU region. Ence went just 3-4 during group play resulting in a 9th place finish while failing to make playoffs. Ence is a team that can beat anyone on any given day, but fails to have consistent successful results. Their success relies heavily on the play of Allu and I expect to see a battle between him and Simple in this match. 

     Each of these teams use Vertigo as their first ban over 96% of the time. They also each only stray from that to ban Mirage about 4% of the time. Regardless of the order, I expect to see Mirage and Vertigo taken off the board right away. Ence will have the first pick since they are the lower ranking team. Ence should use their first pick on Train followed by NaVi using their first pick on Dust2. Train should be highly competitive and I would expect Dust2 to be more competitive than usual. NaVi usually dominates Dust2, but Ence has been finding their footing there winning their past four matches. Those matches weren’t against top quality teams like NaVi, but a win is a win. Ence will most likely use their second ban on Nuke, which will force NaVi to chose between Inferno or Overpass for their last map. I would expect to see Overpass in that situation.

     At the start of the Navi/Vitality match it felt like we were going to see the same NaVi that showed up for Road to Rio. They were being handled by Zywoo all over the map. At one point on Dust2 something clicked for them and they decided they weren’t going to lose any more. The team play instantaneously improved and their individual skill gap began to show. They never looked back from that moment. I think we will see something similar tomorrow. Allu may be able to carry Ence to some round wins, maybe even a map win, but if NaVi shows up as a team they should be able to weather that storm. NaVi is a short favorite on Dust and the tie breaker of Overpass. I also wouldn’t go as far as saying that Ence should be favored on Train, although that map is certainly more of a coin flip. I think we are getting a fair price on NaVi due to the fact that bookmakers may still be scared of their form. I will continue to take that edge, essentially betting on the fact that they show up. It’s also worth noting that NaVi can secure a playoff spot with a win against Ence. That should be a top priority for them after failing to make the CIS Road to Rio playoffs.

Miner’s Money Pick: Natus Vincere (-160) *1.4u*

 

100 Thieves (-150) vs Cloud9 (+120) – DreamHack NA – 3:00pm EST

     The last match of the day features two teams playing  well in the North American region. 100 Thieves will be taking on Cloud9 in what is expected to be a tightly contested series. These two teams met just under a month ago to close out group play in Road to Rio. 100 Thieves were able to take that series by a 2-0 scoreline. They started out by taking Cloud9’s map pick, Train, by a 16-13 margin. Cloud9 was able to put up 10 T rounds before crumbling on the CT side. Not at all what you want to see on your map pick.  100T went on to win their map pick, Vertigo, 16-12. The winner of this match will be able to lock themself in to playoffs and control their own fate in search of the top seed. I can’t stress the importance of being the one seed enough. It’s a huge advantage to be in the upper bracket. Even more so in the North American region, considering one win will put you in to the Grand Finals with a one map advantage.

     Cloud9 will use their ban on Mirage. 100 Thieves should then start by banning Overpass. They bypassed that ban in their last match, but that was against Gen.G. Cloud9 is 7-1 on Overpass the past three months and would punish pick them. I would expect Cloud9 to avoid Train as their pick, so I think they’ll play Inferno. 100 Thieves should then pick Vertigo for their map. Cloud9 draws a huge advantage in the second ban. The remaining three maps of Nuke, Dust2 and Train haven’t been good to 100T in the past. Cloud9 should ban whichever they are most uncomfortable on, which will probably be Nuke, but maybe Train. This will force 100T to pick between Nuke/Train or Dust2. Regardless of the pick/ban, Cloud9 has a better win percentage with more maps played on all of those maps.

      I bet on 100 Thieves in this same match exactly 26 days ago. I backed them at -180 before they steamed all the way down to -115 and I bet them again there. They cashed me tickets in that match, but I can’t back them again here. Cloud9 should have had this matchup circled on their calendar since May 3rd. I know I would have if I was on that team. They came out on fire just to crumble on the CT side of their heavily CT favored map pick. After that you could tell they felt defeat and carried that right on to Vertigo. They still managed to but up a fight on Vertigo, but I think they would have won if Train didn’t go so horribly. 

     This map pool also favors Cloud9 even more this time around. It’s not easy to beat a team twice in a row in such a short amount of time. It’s easier to make adjustments being on the losing side. Cloud9 won’t blow an early lead again on their map again. I also think Vertigo will be much more of a toss up this time around. I don’t see Cloud9 losing 2-0 and have to make them a favorite on the third map. Cloud9 has also been in much better form lately. Their HLTV form rating has been north of 100 for three straight weeks. 100T has declined from 89 to 39 in that same time span. The scale is 0-150 for reference! I think the fact that we’re getting plus money on Cloud9 is a gift and I will be making it my biggest play of the day.

Miner’s Money Pick: Cloud9 (+120) *1.75u*

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