ESL One Cologne – August 21, 2020

     We are in for a treat on Friday as two of the best teams in the Western Hemisphere will meet to see who makes the playoffs. We’re also able to find some early value in the European region. After a boring opening day for us, we finally get another chance to make some plays providing us with value. We have three matches starting at 9:00am EST. We’ll be making plays on the first and last game, but I’ll be skipping the contest between FaZe and MiBR pregame. *Be sure to follow @MoneyMiner_ on twitter to tail live spots and other plays from the major North American sports.* To start ESL One we missed on Ninjas in Pajamas against a scrappy OG squad. We followed that up by cashing on the Astralis domination against Fnatic. I made a play on Astralis to win ESL One (+700) and was thrilled by their opening day performance. They’ll be a team to keep an eye on moving forward, as I think the market is a little slow to adjust to their new roster. All in all to start ESL One, we went 1-1 and profited just 0.25 units. 

*Record since restart: 3-1 (+3.4u)*

 

Mousesports (-220) vs Mad Lions (+180) – 9:00am EST

     We’ll be opening up the day with an absolutely gross match up, between two teams without a real identity at the moment. Mousesports has been one of the biggest disappointments since moving to online play. After placing second in ESL Pro League, they’ve done nothing besides miss playoffs. Mad Lions have issues of their own though. They recently had their best player, Bubzjski, leave the team to play for Astralis. Bubzjski made an instant impact on Astralis and the gap he left on the roster for Mad Lions is very apparent. He was their top fragger, and they haven’t won a match since his departure. Some of their losses were even to lower tier teams in Nexus and Endpoint. 

     The map pool for this matchup shouldn’t favor either team too heavily. Mad Lions will ban Dust2 and Mouse will ban Overpass. Mad Lions should pick Mirage as their map choice. Mousesports will then pick Train. Neither of these teams will want to play Inferno or Vertigo, so we should see Nuke as the third map. 

     Making a play on this match presents a challenge. I usually don’t like playing the map spread without a glaring advantage in the map pool, but I feel like I can’t back either team on the money line. The price on Mouse is just way too high when you consider their form since the beginning of April. With that being said, I still don’t think there’s enough value to back a Mad Lions team that is reeling without their top fragger. This leads me back to the map spread. I’ll be backing Mousesports to win 2-0. If this team is finally sick of losing and decides show up, they can win Mirage and dominate Train on their way to a 2-0 victory. Before the pandemic, Mousesports was one of the best teams in the world. I’m sure they’ll be looking to return to that form before they end up missing the Major this fall.

Miner’s Money Pick: Mousesports -1.5 (+140)

 

Evil Geniuses (-140) vs Team Liquid (+110) – 3:00pm EST

     Here we have it. A match up between two of the premiere heavy weights in the North American Counter Strike region. This won’t be their first meeting this year, but it should be one of their best. This will actually be the eighth time these two teams meet for a best of three series since the start of 2020. Liquid currently leads the head to head matchup, winning four of the meetings, but EG have won the most recent three series. Each team has won exactly nine maps as well. 

      Liquid will use their first map ban on Train. Evil Geniuses will then use their ban on Overpass. Liquid will most likely pick Vertigo for their map choice. They’ve looked strong on Vertigo since the restart, and Evil Geniuses are below .500 in the past six months. Evil Geniuses will use their map pick on Inferno, as they currently have an eleven map win steak there. Liquid will use their second ban on Dust2, which will force EG to decide between Mirage or Nuke for the tie breaker. We will most likely see Nuke, as EG regularly avoids Mirage. 

     I am THRILLED to get the chance to back Liquid as an under dog in this matchup. During the player break, Liquid made a roster move to get rid of Nitro and bring in Grim from Triumph. Grim has had an instant impact on Liquid, as he is one of those jack of all trade players. In a match up between two teams as evenly matched as these squads, I’m always inclined to back the under dog. I’m happy that train of thought lines up with the value I see coming from Grim. I also think that Liquid gains a slight edge from the map pool. I expect them to secure a win on Vertigo. They’ll also have a fighting chance on Inferno. The third map will be pretty neutral for each team, but Liquid should be able to dictate which map Evil Geniuses will pick for the tie breaker.

Miner’s Money Pick: Team Liquid (+110) *2u*

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