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Esports - CS:GO ESL Pro League Thursday preview

Only eight teams remain in season 17 of the ESL Pro League and on Thursday, the much-anticipated quarter-finals get underway.

The ESL Pro League is the latest major event on the Counter Strike: Global Offensive calendar and began with a line-up of 32 teams who competed across four triple-elimination groups.

Four teams from each section then progressed to the tournament's knockout stage, which started with a round of 16 and then moved to a round of 12.

And now it is time for the quarter-finals, which feature each of the four winners from the round-of-12 matches as well as each of the four group winners - Cloud9, Heroic, Team Vitality and forZe.

We will soon know the final four competing for glory at the ESL Pro League Season 17 with the winners set to qualify for the IEM Cologne and the BLAST World Final 2023 and scoop $200,000 in prize money.

All matches in the playoffs are best-of-three with the best-of-five format not coming into play until the Grand Final.

Cloud9 should have the edge over MOUZ

WhatCloud9 vs MOUZ, ESL Pro League
When9.30am EST, Thursday March 23rd, 2023
How to watchESL YouTube / Twitch channels
OddsCloud9 -300, MOUZ +180

Cloud9 managed to place in the 3rd-4th positions in season 16 of the ESL Pro League last year and they are one step away from making the semi-finals in the competition once again.

The European heavyweights stormed through Group A at the very start of season 17 of the ESL Pro League, swatting aside Evil Geniuses, G2 Esports and Outsiders to come out on top in their section.

As a result, they were rewarded with automatic qualification for the ESL Pro League Season 17 quarter-finals and they are now only two wins away from the final.

They will be eager to prove a point after a disappointing showing in their last major event - the IEM Katowice earlier this year - in which they lost both of their games.

At -300, they are strong favourites to get the better of MOUZ, who are +180 shots and initially reached the round of 12 after finishing as runners-up in their group.

In their first knockout contest, though, they were pushed close by paiN Gaming, winning 2-1, having lost the first map of that match.

They looked vulnerable in that game and Cloud9 have not put a foot wrong in Malta so far, so it is worth siding with the favourites to win this one.

That said, MOUZ came out on top 2-1 when these sides last met at the IEM Rio Major last year so it could be close and punters might want to consider a 2-1 win for Cloud9 at +225.

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Defending champions Vitality should have few problems

WhatTeam Vitality vs ENCE, ESL Pro League
When1.00pm EST, Thursday March 23rd, 2023
How to watchESL YouTube / Twitch channels
OddsTeam Vitality -225, ENCE +163

One of the standout performances at this season's ESL Pro League has come from Team Vitality, who are -225 shots to win their quarter-final against ENCE and progress to the final four.

Currently fifth in the HLTV world rankings, Team Vitality were champions of the ESL Pro League Season 16 but have not done a lot since and expectations were tempered coming into the new campaign with FaZe Clan and Ninjas in Pyjamas among those in their group.

But they kept their cool and won all three of their matches in Group C against Grayhound, OG and big hitters FaZe Clan to win the section and secure a spot in the last eight.

In their first two matches in the group they conceded a total of only 23 maps and they are fancied to show their class against ENCE.

Ranked 20th in the world, ENCE have sought success in smaller events in the last few months, such as the CCT North Europe Series 2, which they won back in December and they are not on the same level as teams like Vitality.

They performed well to come through the upper bracket in Group D but were given a pretty soft run.

A 2-0 win over G2 Esports last time out is not to be sniffed at but Vitality are in much better form and should have few issues. Back the favourites to win this 2-0 at +163.

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