Betting-Previews.com returns with a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive preview and predictions for ESL Pro League Season 14. We kick off our coverage with a full tournament preview, along with our outright selections and picks for the opening round of play.
ESL Pro League S14 Tournament Preview
The ESL Pro League Season 14 will begin on Monday, August 16, and run through the entire month, culminating with the grand finals on Sunday, September 12. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the tournament will be played online on European servers.
ESL Pro League will feature 24 CS:GO teams, split into four groups of six. Each group will play out their games separately, dividing the group stage into four parts. The top three teams from each group will then advance into the playoffs, with the top seeds receiving a direct bye into the quarter-finals, while the second and third-placed teams get seeded into Round of 12.
The group stage will use a single round-robin format, with each team playing each other once. All games during the group stage will be best-of-three (Bo3). The playoffs will feature a single-elimination bracket with the same Bo3 format for all groups except for the grand finals (Bo5).
The group play will last for one week for each group, starting with Group A on Monday.
- Group A: August 16-20
- Group B: August 21-26
- Group C: August 27-31
- Group D: September 1-5
Main Favourites and Dark Horses
Natus Vincere and Gambit Esports are clear favorites to win the title, which would mean much more for Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev and his crew, who could win the Intel Grand Slam S3 with an ESL Pro League title. However, there are 22 other teams in the race, some of which could prove tricky to defeat and will be eager to spoil the plans of the current no.1 and no.2 team in the world.
Natus Vincere enter ESL Pro League Season 14 priced as the favourites, around 4.14 at Pinnacle. They are the current no.1 team in the world, according to HLTV rankings.
Prior to the one-month-long player break, they have managed to win IEM Cologne, where they destroyed G2 3-0 in the grand finals. Before that accomplishment, NaVi won the StarLadder CIS RMR 2021, where they took down their regional rivals 3-2 in the finals, but it is worth noting that Gambit managed to beat them twice at the same tournament, so NaVi are not exactly invincible.
If we look further back, NaVi reached the finals of BLAST Premier Spring Final 2021 but lost to Gambit, who beat them 2-0 without any issues. It’s important to mention that NaVi’s victory at IEM Cologne 2021 was on LAN, whereas ESL Pro League will be played online, so we will have to see how NaVi will fare after the transition.
It is also worth noting that NaVi are known as a team that starts some tournaments slowly, and they need some time to get warmed up, so they might look shaky at the start. Looking at their previous tournament openers, they have lost a map against Renegades at IEM Cologne, Nemiga at StarLadder CIS RMR 2021, FaZe at the BLAST Premier Spring Finals 2021, Cloud9 at the ESL Pro League Season 13,… you get what I am trying to say.
I expect NaVI to fight for the top places here, but at the same time, I would not be surprised by an early exit. Still, given how weak their group is, you would expect them to at least get out of the group stage.
Gambit have won 80% of their matches across the past three months, and since the start of the year, they collected gold at IEM Katowice 2021, Epic League CIS 2021, IEM Summer 2021 and BLAST Premier Spring Finals 2021. They also finished second at the Snow Sweet Snow 1, ESL Pro League Season 13, DreamHack Masters Spring 2021 and StarLadder CIS RMR 2021.
Gambit are one of the hottest teams right now. They can beat pretty much anyone, and with a good record against NaVi (they won four of their last five matches and were one map away from sweeping NaVi in the finals of StarLadder CIS RMR 2021), they are rightfully one of the favourites to lift the trophy!
G2 Esports have pretty much everything you need to become a top team, but so far, they haven’t managed to achieve much. Nevertheless, with a roster as stacked as this one, it is only a matter of time before they hoist a trophy.
So far, G2 have managed two second-place finishes at the IEM Katowice 2020 and IEM Cologne 2021. It is worth noting that they lost both finals matches against NaVI with 0-3.
G2 Esports’ group is not exactly stacked. Sure OG and Virtus.pro are decent teams but not unbeatable, especially not for G2, who are rightfully the group favourites. Despite that, I would not recommend a bet on G2 winning the group as it is the first event after the player break, and I am sure we will see some upsets, but they should be good for a deep playoffs run!
I guess many people will be expecting a lot from FaZe Clan, given their impressive win over Gambit in the quarter-finals of IEM Cologne 2021. I, on the other hand, am a firm believer that FaZe only did well because the tournament was played on LAN, where their veteran lineup is bound to outperform some less experienced players.
Their online results, however, are not that great.
Online, FaZe have lost against the likes of mousesports, Sprout, OG,… and since we are now back online, I expect their online trend to continue. I wouldn’t be surprised one bit if FaZe bow out of the group stage!
Fnatic are not one of the favorites to win the trophy, but with their recent acquisitions, I am quite optimistic about this roster’s future.
They have a good IGL in Alex “ALEX” McMeekin, young stars in William “mezii” Merriman and Ludvig “Brollan” Brolin, and a veteran figure in Freddy “KRIMZ” Johansson. They might not start firing at all cylinders right away, but they have the tools to make it out of the group stage.
Heroic are arguably the fourth-best team in the world (behind the big three), but with the recent drama surrounding their coach Nicolai “HUNDEN” Petersen, I am not too optimistic about their chances for a title here. They have been on a steady decline since reaching the number 1 in the ranking and have never really returned to their peak form since.
Team Vitality obviously have some unresolved issues in their team. They were the best team in the world a couple of months ago, but they gradually worsened and are now ranked as no.9 in the global rankings. If Vitality used their time efficiently and practiced during the player break, they might be able to recover, but I will continue to doubt this team until they prove me otherwise.
BIG recently kicked İsmailсan “XANTARES” Dörtkardeş and replaced him with gade, which is a noticeable downgrade. With XANTARES out of the team, BIG lost a lot of firepower, and I don’t know why they decided to sign gade since they have better options in their academy team or even at Sprout. BIG won’t get far.
Mousesports have all the firepower you need, but sadly their tactics are not on point. They will probably get out of the groups, but anything more is a lot to ask from them.
There are some other teams that I have skipped, but none have any real chance of claiming the title. Team Liquid, Ninjas in Pyjamas, Team Spirit, Complexity,…
Verdict & ESL Pro League S14 Tournament Betting Picks
Natus Vincere, Gambit and G2 Esports are the trio of mostly likely winners, and you can make a solid case for either of them. However, one squad that interests me from a betting perspective are G2 Esports, who seem to be priced quite generously at around 9.27 at Pinnacle.
We had already sent out a bet on Fnatic to get out of the group stage when the odds were 8.00 at Bet365; now, they are down to 5.50, which is still a decent bet!
I was contemplating betting on them to reach the finals (around 34.00 at Pinnacle), but I don’t see them winning big tournaments so early after making roster changes.
- Prediction: G2 to win ESL Pro League S14 – 9.27 at Pinnacle – 0.50 Units
- Prediction: G2 to reach the finals of the ESL Pro League S14 – 3.56 at Pinnacle – 0.50 Units
- Prediction: Fnatic to qualify from the Group C – 5.54 at Pinnacle – 0.75 Units*
- Prediction: Team to Play the Most Maps: Faze vs Ninjas in Pyjamas – Ninjas in Pyjamas to play more maps – 2.02 at Pinnacle – 0.75 Units
* Note that we had already recommended this bet to our premium members when odds were 8.00 at Bet365.
ESL Pro League S14 Group A Preview + Day 1 Picks
Heroic are priced at 2.80 to win Group A, which overrates them a little. I don’t know what to expect from Vitality (4.00), Astralis (3.75), and ENCE (12.00), who are a mix of players who failed to get into any other established team, so I don’t believe ENCE will make any noise at the tournament.
Bad News Bears (501) enter the tournament as the weakest team, and rightfully so. The NA scene has degraded rapidly, and these guys are one of few that are still holding on, hoping for an organisation to pick them up. They will be motivated to show something.
Bad News Bears might surprise some teams early on since they were already playing matches during the player break, so they are at least warmed up, but that’s pretty much everything they have going for them
Team Spirit (4.50) can be excellent on a good day, but I don’t know what to expect from them after a player break. I am sure there will be some rust involved.
I took a small bet on Bad News Bears to make it out of the group stage, purely because ESL Pro League Season 14 is the first event after the player break, and many teams will be rusty. It is still a big “IF”, and Bad News Bears will need some luck to make it happen, but at 51.26 (Pinnacle), I am willing to take a shot with them to make it out alive.
- Prediction: Bad News Bears to qualify from the Group A – 51.26 at Pinnacle – 0.25 Units
Group A Day 1 Picks
Since it is getting late, we will only send out suggestions for day 1, but you can expect a more detailed preview for the second day of play and beyond.
- Bad News Bears vs Heroic – Over 2.50 Maps – 3.24 at Pinnacle – 0.25 Units
- Vitality vs ENCE – Over 2.50 Maps – 2.11 at Pinnacle – 0.25 Units
- Astralis vs Spirit – Astralis to win – 2.00 at Bet365 – 0.25 Units