BLAST Premier Global Final 2020 Betting Preview
The BLAST Premier Global Final 2020 is set to run from January 19-24 with eight teams vying for the lion’s share of US $1,000,000 prize pool. It will mark the first Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament of the year and the first Premier event after the player break.
Since teams will enter the tournament a bit ring rusty, we have approached betting on it with additional care, however, you can expect a bit more coverage of individual games. For premium bets check our BetMarkets profile or join our premium membership.
What even is there to say about Astralis? The way they managed to pull it back from the brink of disbanding their team to winning events again is shocking brilliant. That said, I’m not too high on Astralis’ management, especially after their idea of a 10-man roster, which was never going to come into fruition but was instead only a way to invite investments.
Nevertheless, the team is looking very solid and I would even go so far as to say that Astralis are the best team in the world, although not astronomically ahead from the likes of Vitality and Natus Vincere.
Astralis are the rightful favourites to win the BLAST Premier Global Final 2020, but considering this is the first event after the player break, I would rather stay away from backing them, as there will be plenty of opportunities to bet on the Danes later in the year. Additionally, Astralis have been losing maps and matches against weaker teams after taking a break before, so I have plenty of reasons to doubt them.
Astralis have a fairly favourable road to glory, as they won’t face any tough opponents until the upper bracket finals when they will meet with either Vitality or Natus Vincere. If they manage to defeat either of the two, Astralis will likely lift the trophy, but at these odds, they don’t attract me.
What is there not to like about Vitality? They are the only team with a working six-man lineup (ignore Astralis’s use of Lucas ‘Bubzkji’ Andersen – they have completely fucked him over by “allowing him to play some maps,” which is not how you use a player that is in his prime). What’s more, Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut looks set to be crowned as the best player of 2020, so it’s fair to say Vitality will enter the BLAST Premier Global Final 2020 in great spirit and hungry for another online title before returning to LAN in Katowice.
Can they defeat Astralis?
Why not? They have locked in a few head-to-head victories against the Danish squad in 2020 and did not look too bad in some of their defeats. Out of eight meetings with Astralis, Vitality won three games and forced Astralis to three-map games in five out of seven Bo3 meetings.
Vitality could have won their most recent bout with Astralis 2-0 but were somewhat unlucky that day, lost the overtime on the second map and dropped the ball in the third. Nevertheless, Vitality have been very consistent when faced with top teams and as long as ZywOo can perform well, they can defeat anyone and anywhere.
Vitality will start their journey with a match against Complexity, who will be playing with a stand-in Jakob “JUGi” Hansen instead of Valentin “poizon” Vasilev, which should serve as a good warm-up game for the French side. After that, Vitality will face with either Team Liquid or NaVi, who they should beat more times than not.
It seems like Astralis will be the only real challenge for the French side and as we have established above, Vitality can win these games.
Prediction: Vitality to reach the finals
NaVi started the year with a second-place finish at the ICE Challenge, top-three at BLAST Premier: Spring 2020 Regular Season, as well as a title from the Intel Extreme Masters XIV – World Championship. Things, however, turned sour for the Ukrainian squad as soon as the CS scene transitioned to online play.
NaVi managed to win the WePlay! Clutch Island, but that’s hardly worth celebrating considering the tournament featured only local CIS teams, who are not exactly top-tier. NaVi also won the Gamers Without Borders, which was more a show match with an experimental MR12 format rather than a proper tournament.
Other than that, NaVi managed a second-place finish at the ESL Pro League Season 12: Europe, where they lost to Astralis (2-3) and had to settle for another silver medal at the Intel Extreme Masters XV – Beijing Online: Europe, where they lost to Team Vitality (2-3). In both finals, NaVi were 2-0 up but failed to close out the deal.
Natus Vincere are priced at 6.08 to win the BLAST Premier Global Final 2020 and 3.06 to reach the finals which is fair. I would not risk betting on them, however, since they’re known for the slow tournament starts, so there is no way of telling how far can they go and how prepared the players will be after the break.
These three are the main contenders. Now let’s take a look at the rest.
G2 Esports have recently bolstered their squad with the signing of Nikola “NiKo” Kovač from FaZe Clan, but outside of that, I don’t have anything good to say about them. They have seen some success when they finished top-three at the BLAST Premier Fall Series 2020, although that was during the so-called honeymoon phase, shortly after the signing of the Bosnian superstar.
Since then, G2 have not achieved anything remarkable. A third-fourth place finish at the IEM Beijing-Haidian 2020 Europe, ninth-12th place finish at the DreamHack Masters Winter 2020 Europe and a fifth-sixth place finish at BLAST Premier Fall 2020 Finals is nothing to write home about. Having said that, G2 Esports had to face some of the strongest teams in the world, so not everything is as bad as it seem.
G2’s first match will be against FURIA, which they should win with ease, largely due to FURIA’s roster problems. After they get over that step, NiKo and co. will have to face either Evil Genuises or Astralis and I am not sure whether they can match either of the two teams.
Complexity’s success this tournament will heavily rely on the performances of Benjamin “blameF” Bremer or Kristian “k0nfig” Wienecke and having only two players to do all the heavy lifting can quickly turn around and bite you. I must give Complexity some praise for their performances in EU during the online era, but as soon as Owen “oBo” Schlatter parted ways with them, Complexity dipped in form.
To make matters worse, Complexity’s main AWPer Valentin “poizon” Vasilev is still unavailable and is getting replaced with god awful Jakob “JUGi” Hansen, who was last seen playing as a stand-in for Team Secret. Complexity will probably go 0-2 this tournament.
As far as NA teams are concerned, Evil Geniuses are the only team I have hope in to take anything from this tournament, however, I’m not too excited about their schedule. First EG need to face the tournament favourites Astralis, then G2, and if they make it so far, EG will have to overcome Vitality, which I don’t believe they can in their current condition.
FURIA have recently lost Henrique “HEN1” Teles, who reportedly left to play with his twin brother Lucas “LUCAS1” Teles. He got replaced by Paytyn “Junior” Johnson from Triumph, who will not be able to travel to EU due to visa issues, which forces FURIA to use the services of their academy player Lucas “honda” Honda, who has a total of five maps played recorded at HLTV. FURIA have been playing well in the NA region, but the current roster problems put them at an obvious disadvantage.
Like many other teams, Team Liquid have also made a roster change ahead of the 2021 season. They benched Russel “Twistzz” Van Dulken (who was their worst-performing player, albeit a very skilled individual) in favour of Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo, who will take over the AWP and in-game leader role.
With that, Jacky “Stewie2K” Yip will finally have a chance to focus on his preferred playstyle, which should, in theory, help Liquid, but I don’t believe we will see any sort of big improvement so early.
Liquid are in a group with Vitality, Natus Vincere and Complexity and while I believe Liquid can defeat Complexity, and probably surprise the ring rusty NaVi, they should not be as successful when faced with Vitality. Regardless, Liquid are definitely a team to watch in 2021, especially on LAN, but expecting any impressive results in their first tournament with a new player is a bit too optimistic.
Vitality to reach finals is the only bet I am comfortable making for this tournament. Individual match previews will be posted on the website soon, so stay tuned and check our esports section where we also cover the LCS Lock-In tournament.