ESL Road to Rio – North American Playoffs – CIS & EU Group Play – May 8, 2020

     The match of the day on Friday is the North American semi-final between Gen.G and Cloud9. We’ll be finding action throughout the day prior to that match in CIS and European group play. Thursday was an extremely tough day for us with pre-match plays. Favorites swept the board, mostly going 2-0, which was a disaster for us. My plays prematch plays went 0-3 as I was on pooches and overs. It started with Gambit beating themself against Winstrike. Luckily, Team Spirit dropped the first map and a live play came in on them at +100 to salvage the morning. North came out and took the first map against Movistar which spelled disaster for our over. I quickly live bet North to win exactly 2-0 and took the Vertigo round spread at -2.5. This was followed up by a 100 Thieves loss to Team Liquid. All in all our pre-match plays lost us 4.2 units on the day, but the live spots I highlighted for us would have provided a bail out if you pulled the trigger! Regardless, bad days happen and we’re getting right back into things today.

Gen.G (-105) vs. Cloud9 (-125) – 4:00pm EST – Road to Rio (NA) Semi-Finals

     Road to Rio (NA) semi-finals start today with a match between Gen.G and Cloud9. These two teams met in group play on April 30th with Cloud9 winning the series by a 2-1 map scoreline. You can find my preview of that match on the site (https://matrixleak.com/esl-road-to-rio-na-gen-g-vs-cloud9-april-30-2020/). I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but both my picks hit from that preview. Just a reminder after a tough day yesterday! Back to business. Cloud9 and Gen.G come into this match both ranking in the top 25 globally. The bookmakers had set this match as a legitimate coin flip upon release. Each teams line was -115. This was a little surprising as Cloud9 was a +115 dog in group play. Since opening, Cloud9 has taken some steam and now sits at -125. I’m curious to see if they continue to steam or if that line will stagnate. Remember, on Wednesday our play came in on Cloud9 at -148 against Envy, but by the time the match started Cloud9 had steamed all the way to -230. Maximizing value is everything in these matches. I wouldn’t have been able to justify playing Cloud9 at -230, but I loved my play on them at -148. In this case the end result would have been the same, but a -230 loss hurts a lot more than a -148 loss, especially in the long run.

     These two teams have only matched up twice, but each match took place over the course of the last month. The teams come into this one using the same core they have had in each of the prior meetings. Cloud9 won each of those matchups only dropping one map to Gen.G. Interestingly enough, the only map Cloud9 lost was their map pick of train(16-14).After losing train they rallied to beat Gen.G on their pick, Nuke, and the tie breaking map of Inferno. Cloud9 won each of those two maps by a score of 16-9. In the first meeting (flashpoint) Cloud9 used their first pick on Vertigo and took the win in overtime. Gen.G again picked Nuke which they lost 16-13 after starting extremely slow on the T side. Picking Nuke for your map is sort of a risk in the sense that it’s a CT favoring map and you have to start on the T-side. I’ll be curious to see if Gen.G will go back to Nuke considering they’re 0-2 there against Cloud9.

      As for map predictions, the only thing I’m sure of is that Cloud9 will use their first ban on Mirage and Gen.G will use there’s on Overpass. That is a fact. If either team strays from their regular first ban they will give their opponent a huge advantage as each team owns a 7-3 record on the opposing ban in their last 10 maps. Each teams first pick is where things get tricky. Cloud9 used their first pick on Train in the recent matchup due to the fact that when they chose Vertigo Gen.G took them to OT. Well, when they chose Train they lost so there’s a side of me who thinks they may shy away from there as well. The only other viable option they would have would be to chose Dust2. I think that could be a strong play for them as they’re 5-1 here over the last few months. Dust2 also plays to their style as it places a lot of importance on winning individual gunfights. Don’t be surprised to see them run back Train though. This is there bread and butter and they hold a 9-5 record here over the last few months. The Gen.G map pick is even tougher. Nuke is the only map that they hold a glaring advantage against Cloud9 on in terms of win percentage. Cloud9 is 4-7 here over the past few months. The only problem with that is two of their four wins were against Gen.G! I think Gen.G is just going to have to attempt to make the correct adjustments to get it done on Nuke if they want to stand a chance. They have the tape so its time to hit the film room! With that being said, Cloud9 still will hold the advantage on whatever the third map ends up being. In their last meeting Gen.G picked inferno over Dust2 to be the last map. They got smoked there after losing their CT half 11-4 to open things up.

     I’m going to be making a pretty good size play on Cloud9 in this one. Gen.G hasn’t shown me any reason to think otherwise. Cloud9 holds the advantage for the map pool and has proven that they can beat this team. They’ve shown that they are the more skilled duelers throughout the last two meetings. I also believe Cloud9 has a much higher ceiling than Gen.G. As long as Cloud9 doesn’t get in their own way I expect to see them win this series before moving on to the finals versus the winner of Liquid/Furia. I would be quick to get on the number at -125 as the favorite steam has been real thus far in the playoffs.*Update*: No steam as of 2:00pm as the c9 number has remained stagnant! I would get on it soon as that may change as we inch closer to the start. *Update*: Some buy back on Gen.G in the market as line is back to opening of -115 as of 3:25pm

Miner’s Money Pick: Cloud9 (-125) *2u*

Pro100 (-117) vs Espada (-113) – 9:00am – Road to Rio (CIS)

     Pro100 and Espada come into this match having met for four best of threes prior. Each team won two series and each team has won five maps across the series. Two of those maps even went to overtime. I understand a majority of bettors will be running for the over, but I’ll be backing Pro100 as I see that as the safest side. I don’t want to get caught up cancelling out potential winnings if I split an over and Pro100 bet, or double losing for that matter. I’m backing Pro here because they’ve shown me more than Espada has in Rio. Espada has only found one win and it was against the worst team in the group. Pro on the other hand was able to beat Virtus 2-0 and their only loss in group play has came against NaVi. A win here for Pro would secure themself a playoff spot as well so I’m giving them a slight motivational edge. I think the bookmakers got this one right as I see Pro as the short favorite. It’ll be essential to Pro to get out to a better start than in their previous matchup versus Espada.

Miner’s Money Pick: Pro100 (-117) *.5u*

Virtus.Pro (-390) vs Hard Legion (+300) – 9:00am – Road to Rio (CIS)

     Virtus.Pro and Hard Legion will be meeting for their second best of three series. VP took the first took without dropping a map, although Legion was able to force overtime in one of those matches. Legion has looked abysmal in group play thus far. They come into this at the bottom of the group with a -33 round differential through their first three series. They actually won one of those series which paints the round differential in an even uglier color. VP comes into this match in a 3-way tie for first place, but they currently hold the head to head tie breaker. After being upset in the first match of group play it seems like VP got a wake up call. They went out and beat NaVi in the very next match, cruising to a 2-0 victory. They also didn’t drop a map against Syman (nothing to brag about). I think this VP team is very focused on playing their best counter strike for Rio. I expect to see them 2-0 Hard Legion tomorrow and will be laying the -1.5 maps.

Miner’s Money Pick: Virtus.Pro -1.5 maps (-110) *.5u*

Godsent (+350) vs. Mousesports (-450) – 12:30pm – Road to Rio (EU)

     Mousesports looked to start out Rio with a bit of a Super Bowl hangover, even tho they lost the “Super Bowl”. Godsent, on the other hand, started out Rio very strong. Things seem to have leveled out in both camps. Mouse recently got a huge win over g2 and should be looking forward to this match with Godsent. A win here is their only hope to qualify for playoffs. I expect Mouse to attempt to win convincingly as well in order to bolster their round differential in case of tie breakers. Godsent should also be prepared as they had a huge slip up in the loot.bet cup a couple days ago against Nordavind. I don’t think their effort will be enough to beat a Mouse squad fighting for their lives. The skill gap between these teams is just too much. Mouse is still a top 5 team globally. If Godsent is able to win the first map I will be making a good size live investment on Mouse to win the series 2-1, but for now I’ll be putting a half unit on Mouse to win. *UPDATE*: Mouse line has moved to -325 

Miner’s Money Pick: Mousesports (-325)  *.5u*

FaZe (-505) vs Copenhagen Flames (+374) – 12:30pm – Road to Rio (EU)

     Welp, here we go, the only other match I’m able to place a wager on in Rio. NaVi is playing but at -2000 odds I’ll certainly be staying away! So, we have Faze taking on Copenhagen Flames. This match is quite intriguing as FaZe has no real need to win this match. They have pretty much locked themself into the one seed in their group, considering they should beat c0ntact in their last match of group play. I would imagine they’re looking to finish out group play with an undefeated record, but a loss against Copenhagen would do more for them than a win. If Copenhagen is able to pull this upset off it will make it much harder for Mousesports to qualify for playoffs, which certainly gives FaZe a weaker competition pool. Now I know its a reach to say FaZe is going to throw this match, but the motivation for them to may not be 100% there. I also think Copenhagen has a very good chance to win on Inferno. They recently beat g2 on inferno by the tune of 16-6. This is g2’s only loss there in the past few months as they came into that map a perfect 5-0 over that span. With motivational doubt paired with Copenhagens ability to play Inferno my play will come on the Flames +1.5 maps.

Miner’s Money Pick: Copenhagen Flames +1.5 maps (+120) 

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