The BLAST Premier World Final 2022 is underway in Abu Dhabi and it does not get much bigger than this in the world of Counter Strike: Global Offensive.
The S-Tier event has a prize pool of $1 million with the eventual champions set to scoop half of that and be crowned the best CS:GO outfit in the world in the BLAST Premier series.
Only eight teams feature at the event, having qualified either through performances in Majors or the ESL Pro League, through their position on the Global Leaderboard or because they won the Spring or Fall Finals.
The eight teams are spread across two groups and will play in best-of-three encounters with the top teams in each group progressing to the semi-finals, the second-placed teams advancing to the quarter-finals as high seeds and the third-placed teams going through to the last eight as low seeds.
Therefore, only one team will be eliminated from each section in the group stage.
It is the pinnacle of the BLAST Premier CS:GO circuit and on Wednesday, there are some key encounters taking place.
What: Heroic vs OG
Where: Abu Dhabi
When: 12.00, Wednesday 14th December 2022
How to watch: DAZN
Odds: Heroic -275, OG +200
Regardless of how things unfold in Abu Dhabi, Danish side Heroic can reflect on a strong year in CS:GO.
Currently first in the HLTV world CS:GO rankings, Heroic managed to finish in the top four of the IEM Katowice at the start of the year and won the Pinnacle Cup Championship back in June.
But it was more recently that Heroic really caused a stir.
The Danes firstly caught the eye at the IEM Rio Major in Brazil, getting through the Legends Stage with a 3-1 record before winning knockout fixtures against Team Spirit and tournament home favourites FURIA to reach the final.
They fell at the final hurdle against Russian outfit Outsiders but they went up a gear at the recent BLAST Premier Fall Finals, defeating giants FaZe Clan 2-1 in the Grand Final.
Heroic have made the call to leave Martin "stavn" Lund out of the side for the BLAST Premier World Final, resting him for the 2023 season, but their roster remains one of the strongest on the circuit and they look about right at -275 to beat OG.
OG are a level below Heroic, having failed to make it beyond the Challengers Stage of the recent IEM Rio, while they lost both of their matches at the BLAST Premier Fall Finals by 2-0 scorelines.
They could again be shut out in this one and a 2-0 win for Heroic looks a fine bet at +125.
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What: Natus Vincere vs Team Vitality
Where: Abu Dhabi
When: 15.00, Wednesday 14th December 2022
How to watch: DAZN
Odds: Natus Vincere -175, Team Vitality +125
CS:GO juggernauts Natus Vincere have won both of the last two editions of the BLAST Premier World Final in 2020 and 2021 and they are -175 to start their latest campaign with victory over Team Vitality.
It has been an up-and-down year for NAVI, who crashed out in the quarter-finals of the recent BLAST Premier Fall Finals but enjoyed plenty of success earlier in the year with a run to the final of the PGL Major Antwerp in June, having also claimed the BLAST Premier Spring Finals title in the same month.
They are still a team to be wary of on the CS:GO circuit and for the first time at a LAN event, they are set to experiment with a six-man roster.
Academy talent Andrii "npl" Kukharskyi is joining the star-studded lineup and they look a solid selection to record a victory over Team Vitality.
Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev remains one of the most iconic players in the world of CS:GO and will be key to their chances at this end-of-season event given his experience of top-level Esports and NAVI will be eager to prove they are not on the slide.
And while they should get the job done, Vitality are no pushovers.
They gained entry to this event due to their strong performance in season 16 of the ESL Pro League, so have recent success under their belts, and they sit fourth on the BLAST Premier World Leaderboard.
They lost to Natus Vincere in the final of the BLAST Premier Spring Finals, losing 2-0 on that occasion, but they have enough in the tank to pick up a map this time around and over 2.5 maps makes appeal at -120.
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