ESL Road to Rio (CIS/EU) – May 5, 2020

     ESL Road to Rio resumes play Tuesday morning featuring both the European region as well as the CIS region. The North American circuit has another day off today before playoffs kick off at 4pm EST on Wednesday. CIS games start at 9:00am EST Tuesday morning followed by European matches starting at 12:30pm and 4:00pm.

Winstrike (-102) vs. forZe (-127) – 9:00am EST

     These teams come into this match in complete opposite form. Winstrike is on an 8-game winning streak while forZe comes into playing losing 4 games straight. Winstrike is in first place for the Rio group and forZe is tied for last. Based on that, it is intriguing that the book makers have listed forZe as a short favorite. ForZe has the higher global rank than Winstrike, but that is really it. These teams have met in three best if three series over the last year. ForZe leads the series with two wins, but each team has won four maps throughout and Winstrike won the most recent series 2-0. ForZe’s biggest advantages come on Mirage and Inferno. Winstrike should continue to use Inferno as their first ban so I expect forZe to pick Mirage. Winstrike has a better win percentage at all of the remaining maps. ForZe should use their first ban on Vertigo, but that will leave Winstrike with a choice between Nuke and Overpass. Winstrike hasn’t lost on either of those maps within the last three months. I expect to see this match go to map three. Winstrike should use their second ban on Dust2, although they have a better win percentage, they are 0-2 against ForZe on Dust. This will force forZe to chose between letting Winstrike play Nuke/Overpass  (whichever isn’t chosen) or playing them on Train. ForZe is 3-4 on Train in the last few months compared to Winstrike who is 5-1. I’ll be backing a short pooch in a better form in a series where I expect to see maps favoring them.

Miner’s Money Picks: Winstrike (-102) & total maps o2.5 (-115) *.5u*


Nemiga (+125) vs. Gambit Youngsters (-155) – 9:00am EST

     The other CIS matchup I’m targeting is between Nemiga and Gambit. Each of these teams come into todays match at 1-1 in Road to Rio group play. They’re tied for the final playoff spot with Nemiga currently holding the tie breaker based off total rounds won. The winner of this match will give themself a good chance to pull away from the bottom half of the group. This will be the third time over the last year that Gambit and Nemiga will face off in a best of three series. Gambit took each of those series by a score of 2-0. Gambit is also in slightly better form coming off back to back wins in the Loot Cup over Espada and forZe. Nemiga was able to beat ForZe in their only Rio win, but I wasn’t impressed with either of the teams in that match. My play in this match comes based off the eye test for me. Gambit has been impressive over their four game win streak. Nemiga has struggled with Gambit in the past and I don’t expect to see that change today.

Miner’s Money Picks: Gambit Youngsters (-155)


FaZe (-580) vs. Godsent (+450) – 12:30pm EST

     I’m going to start this off with a little disclaimer. You can’t think that every bet you make is going to win. Losing is inevitable, but some losses will hurt more than others. The key is risk assessment. You need to know when taking a risk is worth it and feasible for your bankroll. In CSGO, I’ll never suggest playing huge favorites. My cutoff tends to be around the -220 range. Anything north of that i tend to hold off and try to find a live spot that is less pricey. This is often possible because the worst ranking team plays their map pick first. That also sometimes creates opportunity to hedge your large plus-money plays.

     FaZe and Godsent should be the most watched match of the day. These teams come into this match holding the top two spots in Group B. A win for Godsent will push them into first place due to the head to head tie breaker over FaZe. If FaZe wins, they’ll have a 6 point lead over every other team in the group. I expect both of these teams to be extremely motivated to win. With that said, I give the motivational edge to Godsent. FaZe may think they’re in the clear after besting both Mouse and g2 in group play. They shouldn’t be over looking this Godsent squad. I think Godsent has a very good chance of stealing their map pick which should be either Dust2 or Nuke. FaZe should take inferno as their map pick and win easily. The third map can go either way. Godsent should use their second ban on Train since FaZe looked great there against Mouse. FaZe will be forced to pick between playing on D2/Nuke or overpass. They’re 2-4 on overpass over the past few months and D2/Nuke will be fall into Godsent’s playbook. More times than not, Faze wins this matchup, but the odds imply Godsent only wins 17% of the time. I think that number should be closer to 25% so I see the edge being on Godsent. I’ll also be putting a small investment on o2.5 maps. If Godsent can win their pick, we’ll be guaranteed to make money after the first map.

Miner’s Money Picks: Godsent (+450) & o2.5 maps (+150) *.75u each


c0ntact (+140) vs. North (-170) – 12:30pm EST

     Let me start by saying that I think this is the most interesting matchup of the day. It certainly won’t be the most viewed or feature the most talent, but I think map choices are somewhat unpredictable and I’m excited to see if it plays out how I think it will. These teams both currently sit at the bottom of Group B. North is 1-3 with their only win coming against famed Mousesports and C0ntact sits at 0-4, but has won a map in all of their losses. I expect North to be the more motivated team to win as they still have an outside shot to make playoffs. Meanwhile, c0ntact isn’t statistically eliminated, but might as well be. 

     As for maps, c0ntact will have the first ban and most likely continue to use that on overpass. Going this route will leave North with the ability to pick their favorite map, Vertigo. The other possible route would be for c0ntact to ban Vertigo, but they haven’t played Overpass in months so North will still have the advantage if they force c0ntact to play there. North tends to use their first ban on Train, but over the last three months c0ntact is 0-5 on train, so they may elect to use their ban elsewhere. My thought would be to take away either Mirage or Inferno from c0ntact right away. These are the only maps in which c0ntact has found wins on throughout Rio and I would expect them to pick whatever one remains. North is bad on each of these maps so I expect c0ntact to win their pick. That will be the only map they win. North should have an advantage on the remaining three maps. Expect North to get a much needed win by a score of 2-1.

Miner’s Money Picks: North (-170) & total maps o2.5 (-102) *.5u*


Ninjas in Pajamas (-180) vs. Heretics (+150) – 4:00pm EST

     I’ll try to keep this one brief since the preview is getting a little lengthy. NiP currently sits at the top of Group A with a 4-1 record and +47 round differential. Heretics is in third at 3-2. Heretics three wins come against the bottom of the group and their losses have came from Fnatic and Astralis. I’m not ready to put NiP in the same class as Astralis, but they have been much more impressive at Rio than Fnatic. NiP is in great form and a team that I’ve been backing from the start. This matchup also favors them as Heretics best map is Vertigo which is also a top map for NiP. NiP has also won their only previous match against Heretics. Heretics has been on the come up and it won’t surprise me if they can take a map, but I think the price on NiP is extremely fair. Sharps have also thought so. I was able to play NiP at -180 but at the time of writing this line sits at -210. I would still make a play here, but -220 would be my cut off.

Miner’s Money Pick: Ninjas in Pajamas (-180) *1.5u*

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