It is a busy week in the world of Counter Strike: Global Offensive with the BLAST Premier Fall Groups having begun on Thursday.
Matches in the S-Tier event are set to continue through to the end of next week with the play-in stage and there is a prize pool of $177,498 on the table.
But more importantly, the purpose of the CS:GO BLAST Premier Fall Groups is to determine which teams will be competing in the BLAST Premier Fall Finals.
There are 12 teams involved in this week's event and half of them will head to the Fall Finals, while the other half will have to settle for places in the respective Fall Showdowns in their regions.
The teams initially compete in three double-elimination format groups with the winner of each of the three groups automatically qualifying for the Fall Finals, while the other three Fall Finals spots will be determined by the play-in stage gauntlet.
On Friday and Saturday, it is the turn of Group C with its opening matches between FaZe Clan and OG and G2 Esports and Team Liquid. Here is a look at how those matches could unfold.
|What||FaZe Clan v OG|
|When||17:30, Friday July 14th 2023|
|How to watch||Twitch & YouTube|
|Odds||FaZe Clan -700, OG +400|
FaZe Clan are expected to make the final in Group C and first up for them in the upper-bracket semi-finals are OG.
The Clan are currently third in the HLTV world CS:GO rankings and are fresh from claiming the SteelSeries CS2 Legends vs Champions 2023 title earlier this month.
This event will, however, rank higher on the agenda and they can take confidence from the fact they qualified for the BLAST Premier Spring Finals earlier this year, reaching the playoffs of that tournament and crashing out in the quarter-finals against Team Vitality.
It has not been as dominant a year as in seasons gone by for FaZe Clan but they did finish in the 3rd-4th positions at the IEM Dallas 2023 recently and they should have few issues in this kind of contest.
Beyond finishing 3rd-4th at the Brazy Party in early May, OG have not achieved a lot in the last several months and, although they made it to the Grand Final of their group at the BLAST Premier Spring Groups earlier in the year, they lost to FaZe Clan twice along the way.
In the group final of that tournament, FaZe Clan beat OG 2-0 and a repeat of that scoreline is worth backing at -150.
|What||G2 Esports v Team Liquid|
|When||11:00am, Saturday July 15th 2023|
|How to watch||Twitch & YouTube|
|Odds||G2 Esports -350, Team Liquid +250|
The other opening match in Group C at the BLAST Premier Fall Groups is a little more evenly matched, although G2 Esports are expected to come out on top at 2/7.
After a superb start to 2023 which saw them place in the 1st-3rd positions at the BLAST Premier Spring Groups and win the IEM Katowice, things have slowed down a bit for G2 Esports.
They did, however, look sharper last month at the BLAST Premier Spring Finals, easing through their group with two wins from two matches before defeat to Team Vitality in the semi-finals of the play-offs.
A 3rd-4th finish at the event was not to be sniffed at but it is fair to say G2 Esports have been up against it in matches with the bigger guns and it remains to be seen what else they can achieve in the 2023 campaign.
Team Liquid should not be written off entirely - they are ninth in the HLTV world rankings - but it has also been a relatively unconvincing few months from them with their 3rd-4th finish at the IEM Katowice in February their last notable performance at a major event.
Punters should not look to oppose favourites G2 Esports, who are a worthwhile selection at 11/10 to win this match 2-0.
Alternatively, G2 Esports could make appeal to some at -110 to win over 33.5 rounds.