The first major event of the Counter Strike: Global Offensive season - the Blast Premier Spring Groups - is in full swing and the action continues to come thick and fast on Tuesday.
The S-Tier event is the first of the Blast tournaments taking place in 2023 and features 12 teams linked to the organization initially playing across three double-elimination groups followed by a play-in stage made up of three single-elimination gauntlets.
The winners of each of the initial three groups will qualify automatically for the Blast Premier Spring finals and they will be joined at that event by the winners of each of the subsequent gauntlets.
The rest of the teams competing will then drop into the European and American Showdowns to battle it out for the last remaining spots at the Spring finals.
The initial semi-finals and upper-bracket finals have taken place in each of Groups A, B and C with BIG, Astralis and Complexity the teams to have already dropped into the event's play-in stage.
In Group A, Team Vitality have already booked their place in the final and will face the winners of EG versus Heroic, while in Group B FaZe Clan will take on the winners of OG versus Team Liquid in the group final.
As for Group C, it is G2 Esports who are already through to the final and they will take on the winners of Wednesday's clash between Natus Vincere and Ninjas in Pyjamas.
The CS:GO Blast Premier Spring Groups reach their conclusion on Sunday 29th January.
|What||Evil Geniuses v Heroic, Blast Premier Spring|
|When||Tuesday 24th January 2023|
|How to watch||Blast Twitch & Youtube channels/bet365 Live Streaming|
|Odds||Evil Geniuses 11/2, Heroic 1/10|
Heroic have already lost to Evil Geniuses at this year's Blast Premier Spring Groups but are nonetheless 1/10 to come out on top when the teams reconvene.
Danish outfit Heroic were one of the standout teams at the end of the 2022 season, firstly coming out on top in the Blast Premier Fall Showdown Europe and then going on to win the subsequent Blast Premier Fall Finals against the odds.
In between those events, they also finished as runners-up at the IEM Rio Major, having been placed third in the Legends Stage of the tournament before wins over Team Spirit and FURIA in the Champions Stage.
They are undoubtedly one of the fiercest sides on the CS:GO circuit now and have a settled roster, so it would be no surprise to see them go the distance in Group A.
Although they lost to Evil Geniuses the first time around, it was a tight contest with the last two maps edged by EG having been won by 16-14 margins.
Heroic followed that loss with a 2-1 win over Astralis in the lower-bracket final and the best way to play this one could be to again go for over 2.5 maps at 13/8.
|What||OG v Team Liquid, Blast Premier Spring|
|When||Tuesday 24th January 2023|
|How to watch||Blast Twitch & Youtube channels|
|Odds||OG 11/8, Team Liquid 8/15|
Team Liquid are fourth in the HLTV world CS:GO rankings and considered the most likely to progress to the Group B final against FaZe Clan but OG are no mugs and should also not be written off in this lower-bracket final contest.
These sides have already met in Group B in the upper-bracket semi-finals with OG pulling off a shock 2-0 win to make the upper-bracket final, in which they lost to FaZe Clan and consequently dropped down to this game.
As for Team Liquid, their tournament hung in the balance after that opening defeat to OG but they bounced back with a 2-0 win over Complexity, storming to a 16-2 triumph on first map Anubis in that contest.
For many punters, OG could well represent value at 11/8 given they defeated Team Liquid only recently and they are certainly a dangerous side, having been placed in the top four at the Blast Premier World Finals at the end of last year.
But Team Liquid know how to perform when the pressure is applied and they were the side who knocked out OG in the Blast Premier World Finals back in December, prevailing 2-1 before falling at the final hurdle against G2 Esports.
Punters should again expect a competitive matchup between these sides but Team Liquid's greater tournament experience could be the difference and a 2-1 win for Liquid could represent value at 9/4.