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Esports: CS:GO ESL Pro League Tuesday match previews

The playoff stage of the latest season of the ESL Pro League is nearly upon us, but there is still one final group to play in Malta.

The latest season of the ESL Pro League, one of the biggest events on the Counter Strike: Global Offensive calendar, featured an initial 32 teams battling it out for a prize pool of $850,000 with the champions also securing spots at both the IEM Cologne and the BLAST World Final at the end of the year.

Bringing together the strongest CS:GO teams from across the globe, season 17 of the ESL Pro League has begun with a group stage featuring four triple-elimination groups of eight teams.

From each group, four progress to the playoff phase and Groups A, B and C have already been wrapped up.

Cloud9, Outsiders, G2 Esports and Fnatic qualified from Group A, Heroic, MOUZ, FURIA and Movistar Riders progressed from Group B and Team Vitality, FaZe Clan, paiN Gaming and 00 Nation made their way through Group C.

That means there are only four spaces left in the playoffs and we will edge closer to discovering which teams take up those spots when the fourth and final section - Group D - gets underway this week.

Here is a look at three of the matches taking place in Group D on Wednesday.

Natus Vincere can justify long odds-on price

WhatforZe v Natus Vincere
When15.00, Wednesday 15th March
How to watchbet365 Sports Live Streaming, ESL Youtube & Twitch channels
OddsforZe 11/2, Natus Vincere 1/10

It has been a bit of time since Natus Vincere went the distance at a major tournament, but they are often fancied against the lesser lights and are widely expected to beat forZe in their upper-bracket quarter-final in Group D.

Currently fifth in the HLTV world rankings, NAVI showed promise when making the 3rd-4th spots at the IEM Katowice in February this year, but that was the first time they had made an impact at an event since placing in the 1st-3rd spots at the BLAST Premier Fall Groups in August.

Going the distance at this season's ESL Pro League seems unlikely, but they are 9/4 shots to win Group D and make the playoffs and they should have few issues in this match.

ForZe are down in 32nd spot in the HLTV world rankings and could only place third at the ESL Pro League Season 17 Conference Europe, so punters might want to consider a 2-0 win for Natus Vincere at 8/15.

Tight tussle expected between Spirit and Astralis

WhatTeam Spirit v Astralis
When15.00, Wednesday 15th March
How to watchbet365 Sports Live Streaming, ESL Youtube & Twitch channels
OddsTeam Spirit 5/4, Astralis 4/7

If Natus Vincere do not top Group D in this season's ESL Pro League, Astralis are among the most likely to capitalise.

The Danes have not been performing on the biggest of stages recently, but have been getting results nonetheless, winning the CCT North Europe Series Three title in February and making the 3rd-4th spots in the Elisa Masters Espoo back in November.

As for Team Spirit, they have a bit more big-tournament experience on their side, having made the group stage of the recent IEM Katowice. They are 14th in the HLTV world rankings, whereas Astralis are 15th, so there might not be a lot in this one.

With that in mind, opt for over 2.5 maps at 5/6.

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ENCE should have few problems

When18.30, Wednesday 15th March
How to watchbet365 Sports Live Streaming, ESL Youtube & Twitch channels
OddsATK 15/2, ENCE 1/20

Another one-sided affair on day one of the action in Group D sees ATK take on ENCE, who are 1/20 to get the job done in this match.

There is a gulf in class between these teams when it comes to both quality and experience, with ATK currently 77th in the HLTV world rankings coming into season 17 of the ESL Pro League.

They booked their place in this event by winning the ESL Pro League Season 17 Conference North America, but this feels like uncharted territory for them, whereas ENCE were involved in season 16 of the ESL Pro League, albeit crashing out in the group stage.

ENCE should win this comfortably and a bet on them at -5.5 on the first map rounds handicap at 5/6 could be the way to play it.

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