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Esports: ESL Pro League knockout match previews

Season 16 of the ESL Pro League is edging closer to its conclusion with the tournament's playoff stage having got underway in Malta.

In the round of 12, two matches have taken place so far with FaZe Clan, who placed second in Group B, fighting back from a map down to beat Complexity, who had finished third in Group C.

And earlier on Tuesday, North American powerhouses Team Liquid continued their fine form with a 2-1 defeat of Fnatic.

On Wednesday, the last two round of 12 matches will take place, completing the tournament's quarter-final lineup.

First up, Group B's third-placed team Outsiders prepare to lock horns with Group D runners-up FURIA with the winner of the clash setting up a quarter-final encounter with Team Vitality.

And in the evening it is Natus Vincere's turn as they take on a Heroic team who finished with a 4-1 record to defy the odds in Group C. The winner of their knockout match will go on to face red-hot G2 Esports in the next stage.

All of the teams in the ongoing ESL Pro League are playing for a $175,000 share of the prize money as well as direct qualification to the BLAST World Finals and next year's IEM Katowice.

FURIA unlikely to have things all their own way against Outsiders


Outsiders vs FURIA, ESL Pro League


Salini Resort, Malta


08.30, Wednesday September 28th 2022

How to watch

ESL YouTube / Twitch channels / bet365 Live Streaming 


Outsiders +138, FURIA -188

Outsiders performed well to finish above the likes of MIBR and Roobet Cup 2022 champions BIG in Group B, with their only two defeats understandably coming against seriously strong G2 Esports and FaZe Clan sides.

Those matches should have prepared them somewhat for the round of 12 and they open against stubborn opponents in FURIA.

FURIA sailed through Group D with a 4-1 record, missing out on top spot as a result of their inferior round differential to Cloud9, and are seventh in HLTV's world Counter Strike: Global Offensive rankings.

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The Brazilians made the last four of the IEM Dallas earlier in the summer and the same stage of season 15 of the ESL Pro League, so will be counting on experience to carry them through.

But as their group campaign showed, Outsiders are often up for a challenge and they took a map off FaZe Clan on matchday three.

A FURIA win is priced appropriately at -188 but the better way to approach this one could be to back the Brazilian outfit to win 2-1 at +225.

Highly anticipated match-up could go the way of NAVI


Natus Vincere vs Heroic, ESL Pro League


Salini Resort, Malta


13.00, Wednesday September 28th 2022

How to watch

ESL YouTube / Twitch channels / bet365 Live Streaming


Natus Vincere -275, Heroic +200

It is rare to get such a heavyweight match-up in the round of 12 and there is no doubting that Natus Vincere's clash with Heroic is the most highly anticipated encounter of this stage.

Ukrainians Natus Vincere have long been considered among the very best in the world of CS:GO and they remain second in the HLTV world rankings.

But Heroic will pose a threat themselves, having exceeded expectations to win four of their five matches in Group C and finish above the likes of Complexity, Astralis and ENCE.

They claimed the Pinnacle Cup Championship as recently as June and the Danes are most definitely a team on the up.

But overall consistency has to be factored in and Natus Vincere have been in imperious form since May, finishing as runners-up at the PGL Major Antwerp, winning the BLAST Premier Spring Final, finishing second at the IEM Cologne and making the top three in the BLAST Premier Fall Groups.

It will be great from a neutral perspective to see the likes of Heroic's Rasmus "sjuush" Beck square up against the iconic Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev of NAVI but Natus Vincere should have too much for their opponents.

Each of the opening two round of 12 matches in season 16 of the ESL Pro League have featured three maps and that could also be the case with Wednesday's matches with a 2-1 win for NAVI the way to go at +220

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