Season 17 of the ESL Pro League recently finished, but fans of Counter Strike: Global Offensive have not had to wait long for the next key event on the calendar to begin with the BLAST Premier Spring European Showdown underway.
Earlier this year, the BLAST Premier Spring Groups took place, with six teams progressing from them to the BLAST Premier Spring Finals, which take place later this year.
But there are an additional two spots to fill in the BLAST Premier Spring Finals field. with one set to come from the European Showdown and one from the American Showdown.
Both events have begun and are straight knockout events, starting with eight teams competing in quarter-finals, then semi-finals and then a Grand Final.
In the BLAST Premier Spring European Showdown, the quarter-finals have started with two down and two to go on Thursday.
|What||BIG v Rare Atom|
|When||15.30, Thursday 30th March 2023|
|How to watch||DAZN|
|Odds||BIG 2/5, Rare Atom 7/4|
Only eight places separate BIG (18th) and Rare Atom (26th) in the HLTV world CS:GO rankings, but the prices for their upcoming encounter in the BLAST Premier Spring European Showdown suggest one team is a far bit ahead of the other.
Germans BIG are 2/5 shots to win this quarter-final contest and, although there is evidence to support those quotes, it may not be as straightforward a win as expected.
BIG were a touch unfortunate in Season 17 of the ESL Pro League recently, having recorded three wins in Group B, but they failed to make the playoffs after losing in both the mid-bracket and lower-bracket finals against FURIA Esports and Movistar Riders respectively.
But they held their own in both of those finals, taking each match to three maps, and they could have progressed to the knockout stage on another day.
Rare Atom looked a little worse than BIG in the recent ESL Pro League season, losing three of their four matches, although they did face ENCE, Natus Vincere and Team Liquid, who they actually beat in their other game.
They only qualified for the BLAST Premier Spring European Showdown as a consequence of their 5E Arena Asia Cup triumph but their recent ESL Pro League experience should have prepared them for these kinds of matches.
Overall, BIG have the edge in experience and looked handy at the recent ESL Pro League and should win but Rare Atom are worth chancing to pick up a map, so back BIG to win 2-1 at 11/5.
|What||Fnatic v 9INE|
|When||18.30, Thursday 30th March 2023|
|How to watch||DAZN|
|Odds||Fnatic 2/5, 9INE 7/4|
The last quarter-final in this month's BLAST Premier Spring European Showdown looks to be a pretty one-sided affair but punters should not read too much into prices or rankings.
Fnatic, who were invited to this event and given a shot at making the BLAST Premier Spring Finals, are 2/5 to defeat 9INE, who are 7/4 to prevail and qualified for this competition as a result of winning the RES West EU Masters recently.
Fnatic are 11th in the HLTV world CS:GO rankings, while 9INE are down in 28th spot, but that does not tell the full story.
While Fnatic are still one of the most iconic teams in the Esport, they have struggled to make an impression for some time, winning the Elisa Masters Espoo 2022 back in November but having done little since.
They struggled in the IEM Rio, IEM Katowice and Season 17 of the ESL Pro League and were not involved in the BLAST Premier World Finals at the end of 2022.
Indeed, qualifying for the BLAST Premier Spring Finals from this competition would be a big achievement for this Fnatic side and would provide a desperately needed confidence boost.
And, although they may well do that, it is not a foregone conclusion that they win this match against a 9INE team who are in good form and having been winning B-Tier tournaments to boost their world ranking.
As well as the RES West EU Masters, 9INE also won the GAM3RS_X Polish Clash 2023 back in February and although that event is not on the same level as this tournament, winning is winning and they will enter this game full of confidence.
With that in mind, a bet on over 2.5 maps at 10/11 could be the best way to play it in this encounter.