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Esports: CS:GO BLAST Premier Spring Showdown EU Friday & Saturday preview

One of the next big events on the horizon in the Counter Strike: Global Offensive season is the BLAST Premier Spring Finals, but the full line-up for the event is yet to be confirmed.

Six of the eight teams to compete in the BLAST Premier Spring Finals have been confirmed with teams qualifying from the BLAST Premier Spring Groups earlier this year, but the last two spots are set to be filled by the winners of the BLAST Premier Spring European and American Showdowns. 

Both are straight knockout events and on Friday and Saturday the semi-finals will take place in the BLAST Premier Spring European Showdown. 

The semi-finals feature some big-hitters with Ninjas in Pyjamas taking on Cloud9 on Friday, before BIG clash with 9INE on Saturday. 

The winners of each clash will be a step closer to making the prestigious BLAST Premier Spring Groups later in the year. Here is a look at how the two key semi-finals could unfold.

Dominant Cloud9 should ease past Ninjas in Pyjamas

WhatNinjas in Pyjamas vs Cloud9, CS:GO BLAST Premier Spring Showdown
When15.30pm, Friday 31st March 2023
How to watchDAZN
OddsNinjas in Pyjamas 3/1, Cloud9 2/9

Up to seventh spot in the HLTV world CS:GO standings, Cloud9 are a team to watch right now. 

The European heavyweights qualified for the BLAST Premier Spring Showdown Europe as a result of winning the RES East EU Masters earlier this month and, at the same time, they were excelling in Season 17 of the ESL Pro League. 

Cloud9 were runners-up in the latest season of the ESL Pro League, having reached the 3rd-4th places in Season 16 last year, and they even took a map off juggernauts FaZe Clan in the final. 

They did not put a foot wrong in their initial group, sweeping aside Evil Geniuses, G2 Esports and Outsiders on their way to the playoffs in which they took down MOUZ and ENCE. 

They will now have their sights set on qualifying for the BLAST Premier Spring Finals later this year and they made a convincing start to the BLAST Premier Spring Showdown Europe, easing past Copenhagen Flames 2-0. 

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They won 16-11 on Ancient and 16-7 on Vertigo, giving them a win by 14 rounds on aggregate across the two maps and they are strongly fancied at 2/9 to defeat Ninjas in Pyjamas. 

Ninjas in Pyjamas defeated OG last time out but lost the first map - Mirage - and squeezed past them 2-1. 

Cloud9 will represent a step-up in quality and Ninjas in Pyjamas may not cope, so back the favourites to win this 2-0 at 5/6. 

Alternatively, they could be worth a bet at -9.5 on the rounds handicap at 10/11. BIG a value bet to bring an end to 9INE's campaign.

BIG should have too much for 9INE

WhatBIG vs 9INE, CS:GO BLAST Premier Spring Showdown
When15.30pm, Friday 31st March 2023
How to watchDAZN
OddsBIG 8/11, 9INE 1/1

Only 10 places separate these teams in the HLTV world CS:GO rankings, but it is fair to say BIG can count on a lot more experience coming into their clash with 9INE in the semi-finals of the BLAST Premier Spring Showdown Europe on Saturday. 

BIG are unsurprisingly favourites at 8/11 to win this contest but that still looks like a price worth chancing. The Germans are in this competition as a result of their performance in the Spring Groups, whereas 9INE qualified by winning the RES West EU Masters. 

9INE are therefore not a team to be taken lightly and they are fresh from a 2-1 win over Fnatic in the quarter-finals, so they know how to defy expectations. 

But their strong recent performances in B-Tier events are unlikely to be a match for a BIG team who are used to mixing it with the best. 

BIG did not reach the playoffs in Season 17 of the ESL Pro League but they pushed Heroic close in their first defeat in the upper-bracket and made the final of both the mid bracket and lower bracket. Each of those finals were matches which could have swung either way and BIG should have taken a lot from those defeats. 

The edge in experience points to a win for BIG, who look decent value at 8/11.

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