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Esports: Call of Duty Major Friday qualifiers

After the shortest off-season yet, the Call of Duty League returned last Friday with the beginning of the qualifiers for the first Major of the season.

Major One will take place in Raleigh in the USA later this month and will feature the 12 teams from the Call of Duty League as well as four qualifier teams.

Last season's Call of Duty League was pretty unpredictable with each of the four season stages and the Pro-Am Classic having been won by different teams.

However, it was stage four champions Los Angeles Thieves who went on to win in the Championship Grand Finals against Atlanta FaZe.

After the first batch of qualifiers in Major One, only Boston Breach, London Royal Ravens and Minnesota ROKKR have 100 per cent records.

Here is a look at three of the Major One qualifiers taking place on Friday.

Ravens worth a bet after strong start

What: Seattle Surge v London Royal Ravens
Where: Online
When: 20.00, Friday 9th December 2022
How to watch: Call of Duty League Twitch channel
Odds: Seattle Surge 5/6, London Royal Ravens 5/6

Seattle Surge enjoyed a strong end to the 2022 Call of Duty League season, coming out on top in the Stage Three Major with a 5-3 victory over Atlanta FaZe in the final.

And they were also competitive in the end-of-season Call of Duty Championship back in August, falling at the penultimate hurdle with defeat to FaZe in the elimination final.

It is therefore perhaps no surprise that Surge opted to keep their roster the same for the new 2023 season, although their first two qualifiers for Major One did not go to plan.

They began with a 3-2 defeat to the LA Guerrillas in their opener before falling to a second successive defeat against Boston Breach, who prevailed 3-1.

That leaves Surge on the back foot in these qualifiers, whereas London Royal Ravens thrashed New York Subliners 3-0 before a 3-2 defeat of LA Guerrillas and they could be worth chancing at 5/6 to come out on top in this one so early in the season.

Minnesota can show their class against Florida

What: Florida Mutineers v Minnesota ROKKR
Where: Online
When: 21.30, Friday 9th December 2022
How to watch: Call of Duty League Twitch channel
Odds: Florida Mutineers 2/1, Minnesota ROKKR 4/11

Neither Florida Mutineers nor Minnesota ROKKR enjoyed particularly strong 2022 campaigns in the Call of Duty League with neither winning a major, instead finishing ninth and 11th in the final season standings.

In response to that campaign, Florida Mutineers made a number of roster changes during the off-season, parting ways with "Skyz", "Owakening", "2ReaL", and substitute "Yeez".

Such wholesale changes usually mean the team takes time to readjust and the Mutineers began the first weekend of Major One qualifying with a narrow 3-2 win over a struggling Las Vegas Legion side before a 3-0 hammering by OpTic Texas.

Minnesota ROKKR, meanwhile, defeated OpTic Texas themselves 3-1 before prevailing by the same scoreline against Toronto Ultra.

They have made the much stronger start to their qualifying campaign and are a decent bet not only to win, but also at -1.5 on the match handicap at 10/11.

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Guerrillas can see off struggling Subliners

What: New York Subliners v LA Guerrillas
Where: Online
When: 23.00, Friday 9th December 2022
How to watch: Call of Duty League Twitch channel
Odds: New York Subliners 1/1, LA Guerrillas 8/11

After the first weekend of Major One qualifying, New York Subliners find themselves bottom of the pile with two defeats from two games and a -5 differential.

The Subliners were comfortably beaten 3-0 in their opener by London Royal Ravens before losing 3-1 to Toronto Ultra and the odds suggest they will suffer a third defeat on the spin when they lock horns with LA Guerrillas.

LA Guerrillas made a pretty strong start to the 2022 Call of Duty League season, taking the Stage Two Major, and they had a pretty quiet off-season with "SlasheR" the only player to depart the main roster.

Both of the matches LA Guerrillas have played in Major One qualifying so far were close - they edged Seattle Surge 3-2 before losing to London Royal Ravens by the same scoreline - but they should have enough in their locker to overcome the underwhelming Subliners

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