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Esports: ESL Pro League Saturday preview

It's getting down to the nitty gritty in Season 17 of the ESL Pro League, as the final group will be thinning out the herd in what is elimination Saturday for Group D.

It has been an exciting 17th season of the ESL Pro League in CS:GO and things are heating up as the playoffs are nearly here.

Saturday's slate has three matches with very important consequences on the line. The action starts with a clash between Astralis and ATK, as they face-off in the eighth-place decider match, with the loser going home.

Team Spirit will lock horns with Natus Vincere, while Liquid faces-off against Rare Atom in the final match on Saturday's slate.

Astralis too powerful for ATK

What:ATK v Astralis, ESL Pro League 
When:11:30, Saturday 18th March 2023 
How to Watch:ESL YouTube & Twitch Channels 
Odds:ATK 6/1, Astralis 1/12

Both teams in this match-up are on the brink of elimination, yet neither team wants to go home as ATK and Astralis face-off.

ATK will have to dig pretty deep if they want to stay alive, as they have lost their last two matches in Group D coming in.

As for Astralis they are no stranger to being in contention in ESL Pro League, where they are a former winner of this event in prior years. They haven't looked that great lately, suffering a 2-0 loss against Team Spirit, before dropping to the Middle-Bracket and losing 2-1 against Natus Vincere.

Astralis will need blameF to deliver a stellar performance, much like he used to do for his former team Complexity Gaming.

ATK has lost six straight matches and they certainly don't have much luck on their side. This first-time meeting with Astralis could get ugly. Backing Astralis at -1.5 in Match Handicap at 4/9 is a smart play.

Natus looks to get back on track

What:Spirit vs. Natus Vincere, ESL Pro League
When:15:00, Saturday 18th March 2023
How to Watch:ESL YouTube & Twitch Channels
Odds:Spirit 6/5, Na'Vi 8/13

A huge mid-bracket match between Team Spirit and Natus Vincere has plenty of things on the line for both teams. Neither side wants to go to the elimination rounds, but one of these two will.

The last time the teams played each other was at ESL Pro League Season 16. That was well over a year ago, and Natus was able to secure a 2-0 victory winning 16-9 on Dust2 and 16-11 on Nuke.

Natus has made a big turnaround after dropping their first match against FORZE in Group D play. They were able to beat Astralis and Rare Atom, both in three maps.

As for Spirit, they have also gone 2-1 in their three matches played thus far in this event. They share a similar defeat to Natus, as they also lost in three maps against FORZE.

Natus has been a usual contender in this event, and their top player s1mple has been one of the many faces of the ESL Pro League over the past four seasons. Spirit will be a game opponent this time around, but not taking Natus at 8/13 To Win would be a mistake.

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Rare Atom can shock the world

What:Liquid vs. Rare Atom, ESL Pro League
When:18:30, Saturday 18th March 2023
How to Watch:ESL YouTube & Twitch Channels 
Odds:Odds: Liquid 2/9, Rare Atom 3/1

It's win or go home for Liquid and Rare Atom, as both teams will fight it out in the Group D sixth-seventh decider match.

A loss in this match-up sends you home. China's Rare Atom has made some impressive moves during this event, as they have put up a strong fight. That includes a blowout win against this same Liquid team at the beginning of Group D play.

They even beat Liquid on Overpass 16-3. Liquid will be out for revenge and given their experience in the ESL Pro League, they have a chance to win this match outright. However, the spread is going to be tough to cover, given the teams match-up so well. A loss here would be very disappointing for Liquid as they currently sit as the #3 team in the CS:GO World Rankings.

A player match-up to watch for this clash is how well Mercury will be able to match his recent stats for Rare Atom, as he has been averaging 0.76 kills per round. Liquid’s top player lately has been NAF, who is averaging less than 0.70 kills per round.

This is a tough call, but leaning Rare Atom at +1.5 in Match Handicap at 4/5 is the best choice.

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