ESL Road to Rio – NA Playoffs – EU & Loot.Bet – May 6, 2020

     Wednesday will be a much slower day than Tuesday, headlined by the first North American playoff game which features Cloud9 and Envy. I’ll also be mixing in plays from the European region as well as the Loot.Bet event. We got off to a rough start this week. We went 0-3 in our CIS plays followed by Godsent getting 2-0’d by FaZe. We hit on North and the over in that match to make a little back. Ninjas in Pajamas looked to be on their way to a win before one of the players lost internet connection. That match will be resumed later this week. If NiP can close it out they’ll be our saving grace and it’ll only be a loss of 1.5 units on the day. 

Envy (+118) vs Cloud9 (-148) – 4:00pm EST – Road to Rio (NA) Playoffs

     The North American playoffs begin today with Envy taking on Cloud9. These teams come into this one pretty evenly matched. Cloud9 is ranked 20th globally while Envy currently ranks 29th. Envy finished Group B in second place while Cloud9 is coming out of Group A in third place. Each team finished group play with a 3-2 record, but I think Group B was the more skilled division. Envy was able to upset team Liquid as a +650 pooch which ended up cementing their position in the group. Envy also picked up wins over YeaH! And Bad News Bears while dropping games to MIBR and Furia. Envy was able to steal a map in each of their losses. Cloud9 started off group play being upset by Triumph which ended up being their only win. After the upset, Cloud9 rattled off three straight 2-1 wins before losing their final game to 100Thieves. The winner of todays match will move on to face Gen.G in the semi-finals!

     Envy and Cloud9 will be meeting for their fourth best of three series since March 27th. Envy won the first series 2-1 before dropping the next two by the same score line. We have seen nine maps played across the three series. Envy should continue to use their first ban on Vertigo while Cloud9 will use theirs on Mirage. Envy should use their map pick on Nuke. Over the past three months, Envy is 6-1 here including a win over Cloud9. Cloud9 should use their first pick on Overpass. Cloud9 is 8-1 over the past three months playing here including a 16-5 win over Envy in their most recent meeting. Cloud9 may opt to use their pick on Train, but Envy has made their matches on Train much more competitive than the Overpass match. Regardless, Cloud9 holds an advantage in win percentage on all three of the remaining maps. In Rio, Cloud9 holds a 3-1 record on the tie breaker map compared to Envy who’s record is 1-2. I expect each of these teams to win their map pick before Cloud9 eventually bests Envy on a closely contested third map.

Miner’s Money Picks: Cloud9 (-148) & Total maps o2.5 (+108) *1.5u*

 

Godsent (-165) vs Nordavind (+135) – 8:30am EST – Loot.Bet Season 6

     Over the course of the last month or so I haven’t been making plays in events other than Road to Rio. I’ve found that events featuring lower tier teams have much more variance. Top tier teams play more strategic counterstrike which in turn makes their matches more predictable. With that being said, I couldn’t pass up on this price for Godsent, not against a team that I see as a lower tier. Godsent has been very impressive in their Road to Rio matches. They currently sit in a three way tie for second place in their group with two matches to play. If group play ended today they would qualify for playoffs. Nordavind, on the other hand, has been playing best of one series in the BLAST rising event. The competition level is much lower than that at Rio and I expect that to show in todays match. If Godsent comes out focused and doesn’t overlook Nordavind they should be able to control the game from start to finish. The only thing that worries me is that this is a classic look ahead spot with Godsent being set to play Mousesport on Friday. Based on the skill gap I still feel comfortable laying -165 and would play this all the way to -210. 

Miner’s Money Pick: Godsent (-165)

 

Vitality (-191) vs Ence (+156) – 12:30 pm EST – Road to Rio (EU)

     The only European Road to Rio match I’m be targeting before start is between Vitality and Ence. Vitality comes into this match at 3-2 in group play while Ence is a game behind at 2-3. A win here would go a long way for Ence as they would hurdle Vitality into the last playoff spot with just one match remaining. Ence would be taking their own fate into their hands. There is plenty familiarity between these two squads. They have played 21 maps against each other over the course of the past year. Vitality currently holds a 13 to 8 map advantage. Six of those matchups have been best of three series. Five of those six series were decided on map three! In a game that will shape playoffs I expect each squad to give their best effort. I think we’ll see each team pull out all of their Strats in order to get this one done. Neither team has any glaring map advantages. Ence will ban Vertigo which is Vitality has the highest win percentage at recently and Vitality will ban Train which has been Ence’s best map over the same span. I see this match as a true coin flip between teams that have plenty of history which forces me to lean Ence. The odds imply Ence only wins this match 38% of the time but I would put that number closer to 45%. Hopefully Ence will study the tape and roll out some creative strategies. Ence also comes into this match on a seven map win streak after rolling through the Elisa Invitational. This new found confidence may give Ence the boost they need to win a match that they can’t lose if they hope to make playoffs.

Miner’s Money Picks: Ence (+156) *.8u* & Total maps o2.5 (+110) *1.5u*

 

Live spots to target: 

  • Make a play on Navi to win the series if they lose the first map.
  • Make a play on Navi to win the second map if they drop the opening pistol round and eco that follows.
  • Make a play on Fnatic to win the series if they drop the first map. This is a must win for Fnatic and I expect their best effort.

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