ESL Road to Rio (EU) Group A Match Day Preview – April 28, 2020

     ESL Road to Rio kicked off last week and the group stage will provide matches just about everyday over the course of the next few weeks. The European and North American regions roll out their best teams as they compete in a round robin style qualifier. There will be plenty of top tier matchups as well as some lopsided ones, but we’ll be looking for edges across the whole slate. European matches start as early as 9:00am EST with others playing at 12:30. The North American matches kickoff at 4:30pm EST. Let’s jump right in to my European plays for Tuesday the 28th.

Ninjas in Pajamas (-205) vs Ence (+165) 9:00am EST

     Each of these teams are competing in the group A round robin qualifier for the Road to Rio(RTR) tournament. Ence comes into this matchup at 1-1 while Ninjas sit at the top of the group at 2-0. Ence shocked the world in their first game as they upset Fnatic 2-0, as a +400 dog, in the RTR opening match. Ninjas dropped their first map of the tournament but has been a perfect 4-0 across the next four maps since. They seemed to have really found their form in their last match as they handled Dignitas by a score of 16-9 and 16-4. Ninjas in Pajamas are certainly a team that I will be looking to back throughout this tournament and I feel like we are getting a good price due to Ence upsetting Fnatic in their first match. Ence looked lost against the up and coming Heretics squad and Ninjas will prove to be a much harder matchup.

Miner’s Money Pick: Ninjas in Pajamas (-205)

Dignitas (+529) vs Fnatic (-659) 9:00am EST

     Dignitas has been struggling lately and I think it’s safe to say that team is past their prime. They only managed to win two of their six Flashpoint matches and have started Road to Rio group play 0-2. It’s also worth mentioning that their only two wins both came against Orgless. Fnatic comes into this matchup ranked as the #1 team in the world after winning the ESL Pro League Season 11.  Fnatic’s first match after winning the ship was a shocking 0-2 loss to Ence. Fnatic may have been suffering from a super bowl hangover in a sleepy spot as a favorite north of -1000. They had a convincing bounce back win against Astralis in their next match winning as a +150 pooch. Fnatic controlled that matchup more than the score reflects as they let a couple big leads slip away from them in the second and third map. I think blowing those leads along with the loss to Ence serve as a wake up call to Fnatic and expect them to be extremely focused. If Fnatic gets out to early leads, I don’t think Dignitas will be able to find success mounting a come back. 2-0 Fnatic.

Miner’s Money Pick: Fnatic -1.5 (-160)

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