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Esports: IEM Rio Wednesday match previews

Having been one of the most successful events on the Counter Strike: Global Offensive circuit last year, the IEM Rio is back and in full flow this month.

With a prize pool of $250,000, the S-Tier event taking place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil began with 16 teams competing in two double-elimination format groups.

Three teams will then progress from each section to compete in the playoffs later this week and we are a step closer to discovering which six teams will make it out of the groups.

On Wednesday, both upper-bracket finals and lower-bracket finals in each group will take place with heavyweights such as FaZe Clan and Cloud9 involved in the action.

FaZe Clan can show their class

WhatTeam Vitality v FaZe Clan
WhereRio de Janeiro, Brazil
When15.00, Wednesday 19th April 2023
How to watchbet365 Sports Live Streaming, ESL Twitch & YouTube channels
OddsTeam Vitality 5/6, FaZe Clan 5/6

Having come into the IEM Rio as one of the favourites to go the distance and win the title, CS:GO juggernauts FaZe Clan now find themselves on the brink of elimination from the event before the playoffs have even begun.

The tournament started well for FaZe Clan, who eased to a 16-3 drubbing of 9z in the upper-bracket quarter-finals, but their subsequent upper-bracket semi-final did not go to plan as they lost 2-0 to FURIA.

That was, however, a fairly close contest with FaZe losing the second map Nuke 16-13, and it is worth remembering FURIA are the Brazilians most likely to capitalise on home advantage at this event.

Team Vitality, meanwhile, were knocked out of the upper bracket even earlier, losing their first match to OG 19-17 before edging their way past MIBR in the lower bracket.

Looking at the bigger picture, FaZe Clan won season 17 of the ESL Pro League only last month and also came out on top in the BLAST Paris Major 2023 European Last Chance Qualifier recently, so they are worth chancing at 5/6 to win this "pick-em" contest.

Heroic should edge out Ninjas in Pyjamas

WhatNinjas in Pyjamas v Heroic
WhereRio de Janeiro, Brazil
When18.30, Wednesday 19th April 2023
How to watchbet365 Sports Live Streaming, ESL Twitch & YouTube channels
OddsNinjas in Pyjamas 6/4, Heroic 1/2

Group A is a little further ahead than Group B heading into Wednesday's IEM Rio action with the lower-bracket final already set.

Ninjas in Pyjamas and Heroic will lock horns in the final of the lower bracket with the winners immediately progressing to the playoffs and the losers set to exit the event, and at 1/2, Heroic are strong favourites to advance.

Not a lot has separated the sides in terms of their performances at this event - both lost their upper-bracket semi-finals before prevailing in the lower-bracket equivalents - but Heroic have been the more impressive on the recent CS:GO circuit.

The Danes were of course runners-up at the IEM Rio late last year, losing to Outsiders in the final but impressing throughout the tournament, and they came into this year's event in third spot in the HLTV world rankings.

Ninjas in Pyjamas, meanwhile, are down in 18th spot, having struggled to impress of late, being unable to cause a stir in the ESL Pro League, and failing to qualify for the BLAST Paris Major via the Europe RMR B.

Heroic, however, finished second in that qualifying campaign and they are worth a bet to win this match given their added experience, but it is unlikely to be a clean sweep so back them to prevail 2-1 at 11/5.

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Cloud9 fancied to topple FURIA

WhatFURIA v Cloud9
WhereRio de Janeiro, Brazil
When22.00, Wednesday 19th April 2023
How to watchbet365 Sports Live Streaming, ESL Twitch & YouTube channels
OddsFURIA 11/8, Cloud9 8/15

The best is saved until last on Wednesday as the Group B upper-bracket final between red-hot home talents FURIA and in-form Cloud9 rounds out the day's action.

FURIA may be down in 11th spot in the HLTV world CS:GO rankings but they have shown a lot of heart in this event and are performing above their usual level with a home crowd behind them.

They opened with a pretty convincing 19-15 defeat of Fnatic before raising a few eyebrows with their 2-0 victory over big guns FaZe Clan to secure a spot in the upper-bracket final.

Cloud9, meanwhile, looked even more comfortable in their run to this stage of the competition, sweeping aside MIBR 16-8 and then OG 2-0.

They are 8/15 to win and that is not a massive surprise given how they have been performing in 2023 so far.

Cloud9 were runners-up in season 17 of the ESL Pro League last month before winning the BLAST Premier Spring Showdown Europe, and they finished second at the BLAST Paris Major 2023 Europe Last Chance Qualifier.

Things are starting to click into place for the European heavyweights and they can lay down a marker with victory here, although FURIA should win a map. Back Cloud9 to win 2-1 at 9/4.

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