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Esports: Big end to week in the 2023 Call of Duty League

New York Subliners took the spoils at the first major of the 2023 Call of Duty League season, defeating Seattle Surge 4-1 in the final thanks, in part, to an MVP performance by KiSMET.

It is still the first week of qualifiers for the second major of the campaign and there are three matches to look forward to on Sunday evening.

Toronto Ultra, Florida Mayhem, OpTic Texas, Boston Breach, Los Angeles Guerillas and LA Thieves are all in action, looking to end the first week in style.

Toronto Ultra look to set the record straight

WhatToronto Ultra v Florida Mutineers, Call of Duty League Major 2 Qualifiers
WhereOnline
When20:00, Sunday 15th January 2023
How to watchTwitch
OddsToronto Ultra 4/11, Florida Mutineers 2/1

The opening major of the Call of Duty League season was one of frustration for the Toronto Ultra, who went 2-0 in their group and looked formidable when defeating Minnesota ROKKR 3-1 in the first round of the playoffs.

They were unfortunate to bump into Atlanta FaZe in the next round, however, and then even more so to meet eventual winners the Subliners in the lower bracket. London Royal Ravens were their first opponents at this qualifier and Ultra dealt with them convincingly, brushing them aside 3-0.

Florida Mutineers were in the same group as Ultra at the first major but they did not clash, with the Mutineers bowing out of the playoffs after consecutive defeats to New York Subliners and LA Thieves.

Winning their opening match at this qualifier over the LA Guerillas 3-2 was a statement of intent by the Mutineers, but Ultra are one of the form teams in the league and they hold a sizeable edge in this match.

Although it would be a surprise should the Mutineers walk away without a map, that is as far as they should get. 2/1 odds are available for a 3-1 Ultra victory in the Correct Map Score market and that seems the likely outcome in their first encounter of 2023.

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Boston Breach could cause an upset

WhatOpTic Texas v Boston Breach, Call of Duty League Major 2 Qualifiers
Where Online
When 21:30, Sunday 15th January 2023
How to watch Twitch
OddsOpTic Texas 8/13, Boston Breach 6/5

There is no point beating around the bush - OpTic Texas have been the biggest disappointment of the Call of Duty League thus far. The core of Scump, Shotzzy, iLLeY and Huke are destined for great things on paper, but they failed to make the playoffs of the first major after defeats to Toronto Ultra and Florida Mutineers.

That is well below the high standards that the likes of Scump and Shotzzy hold themselves too, and they enter the second major qualifier with a cloud hanging over their heads.

Boston Breach will not be an easy team to kick off their campaign against either, despite their inconsistent form at the first major. They won their opening qualifier matches over Atlanta FaZe and Seattle Surge, but failed to back that up in two subsequent matches and defeats to Elevate and Las Vegas Legion were bitterly disappointing.

They were back on track in their opening match of stage two with a convincing 3-0 victory over Minnesota ROKKR and will pose a significant threat to a wounded OpTic. If there is an upset to happen on Sunday, it will be in this match, with the Breach favoured to land the spoils.

LA derby could go all the way

WhatLA Guerrillas v LA Thieves, Call of Duty League Major 2 Qualifiers
Where Online
When 23:00, Sunday 15th January 2023
How to watchTwitch
OddsLA Guerrillas 9/4, LA Thieves 1/3

The final game of week one is the Los Angeles derby, as the Guerrillas tackle the Thieves in what should be a slog of an encounter.

Guerillas qualified for the Stage 1 Major with a 2-2 record in the qualifiers but failed to make the playoffs after defeats to eventual winners to the Subliners and Minnesota Rokkr. Their Stage 2 journey did not start in the best vein either, losing 3-2 to Florida Mutineers in a hardfought series.

Thieves' roster of Kenny, Drazah, Octane and Envoy were expected to be a leading force in 2023, so a 2-2 record in the Stage 1 qualifiers was a shade disappointing. After going unbeaten in the group stage, they could not muster enough to make a playoff run, exiting in the second round of the lower bracket after defeats to Seattle Surge and Toronto Ultra.

When the Thieves put it all together, they are a top-four side in the Call of Duty League, but as a 3-1 defeat to the Subliners in the opening match of the Stage 2 proved, they are not quite there in terms of challenging the best.

With the Guerrillas also struggling to put together consistent results, this match could be far closer than the odds suggest. Thieves are the likely winners, but an all-the-way series is in prospect, with the same 7/4 odds for it to go the distance looking the most tempting option.

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