The latest edition of ESL’s Pro League offers to be one of the most exciting seasons yet, with a new competitive era just beginning after the player break. FaZe Clan will be looking to defend their title and their spot as the best CS:GO team in the world, but there are many other teams challenging for their crown after some serious roster shakeups. Follow the action here at Bitsler and check out our various special betting offerings!
Bet on ESL Pro League with Bitsler
ESL’s Pro League is one of the most prestigious CS:GO events, featuring 24 of the best teams in the world. Four groups of six play out a round-robin bracket before the playoffs over the course of a month’s explosive action.
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ESL Pro League Group A: everyone’s stuck in transition
August 31 – September 4
- Natus Vincere
- Ninjas in Pyjamas
- Team Vitality
- Team Spirit
What’s so interesting about these teams is that none of them seemed to stumble on the magic formula with their roster decisions, and in many cases, they are outright stuck with temporary lineups as they’re waiting for a contract affair to sort itself out. NAVI has to cope with the long-overdue sabbatical of s1mple, the best player in the world, while NIP need to make things work without dev1ce, the blockbuster signing from Astralis who seems to be completely burned out and just waiting to run his contract down.
Meanwhile Vitality still haven’t managed to assemble a convincing international roster since bringing zonic, dupreeh and Magisk onboard, and despite the latest throw of the dice that saw ENCE’s Spinx join to replace misutaaa, their inconsistency continues. Team Spirit’s epic run at the PGL Antwerp Major was followed by the swift and shocking removal of degster, who’s since been acquired by OG: his replacement, w0nderful, is still trying to find his feet. Endpoint, the darlings of UK CS continue to be consistently inconsistent, their latest gamble involving Kjaerbye and Rejin. So far so good: after all, they qualified for the Pro League. Whether they can go any further remains to be seen.
Any team can emerge from this chaotic group, but our ESL Pro League odds at the time of writing suggest that NAVI, Vitality and NIP are the favorites to win their opening matches against Team Spirit, Endpoint and Fnatic, respectively.
ESL Pro League Group B: rockstars versus outsiders
- FaZe Clan
- FTW Esports
FaZe and G2 are the two juggernauts in this group, but the rest of the teams can easily challenge them on a good day. Major( and everything else)-winners FaZe have not been their pristine selves since the player break, and there’s always going to be a ticking clock over karrigan and rain, the veterans of the squad. Still, they remain the team to beat.
Their biggest challengers are G2, who took a huge gamble by replacing Aleksib with HooXi in the IGL spot, who’s got great ideas but is sorely lacking in the fragging department. In a way, his performances are even more uneven than karrigan’s, and it will be fascinating to see how they will develop.
BIG seems the most threatening of the chasing pack, with the German side locking down tabsen and gob b on a long-term contract to maintain their strong but not spectacular core for many years to come. That sense of stability is nowhere to be found with Outsiders, who continue to be barred from playing under the Virtus.pro banner and have to cope with the departures of buster and YEKINDAR.
The group is rounded out by a new-look MIBR side, replacing WOOD7 and chelo with brnz4n and HENI, plus Portuguese upstarts FTW, who are currently ranked #45 in the world on HLTV. Bitsler’s odds suggest that FaZe Clan and G2 are overwhelming favorites in their opening matchups against FTW and MIBR, with the BIG-Outsiders tussle seen as more of a coinflip, but the Germans marked as slight favorites.
ESL Pro League Group C: plucky underdogs and a fallen giant
For those who haven’t been around before the pandemic days, the idea of Astralis dominating a group like this may sound ridiculous. However, gla1ve’s previous squad was the most pristine team the game has ever seen, winning four Majors and countless other trophies. Now, they’re a shadow of their former selves and it would not at all be surprising if they failed to make it to the playoffs.
ENCE will have to make up for the departure of Spinx and Heroic continue to slowly integrate Jabbi in place of refrezh, but both are more complete teams than Astralis at this point. Meanwhile, MOUZ continued with their odd roster moves, following up NBK-‘s removal with the sudden benching of Bymas, bringing in xertioN from the academy squad just a few days before Pro League is set to begin.
Complexity continues to be an odd hodgepodge, but getting rid of junior and bringing in hallzerk, an actual AWPer, has done wonders to the squad. They could very well make a playoff run here, and the same goes for HEET, the ex-Double Poney squad of Frenchmen who continue to punch above their weight, securing a spot in the European RMR soon after qualifying for this Pro League season.
This group is wide open in terms of possibilities, but Bitsler’s odds clearly peg Heroic, Astralis and ENCE as the favorites for the opening matchups as they go up against MOUZ, Complexity and HEET, respectively.
ESL Pro League Group D: the showdown of American orgs
- Movistar Riders
- Team Liquid
- Evil Geniuses
- Eternal Fire
Though Cloud9’s rocking the ex-Gambit roster, there can be no doubt that it’s going to be a grudge match when they go up against Team Liquid and EG. It’s a testament to how far North American Counter-Strike has fallen that Jack Etienne’s org opted against fielding a team of US talents after so many years of trying to recreate the magic of Massachusetts. Team Liquid made small and steady improvements since they removed shox but they are still nowhere near ready to challenge the elite: meanwhile, EG finished last in their group four seasons in a row, triggering an automatic review of their partner status in the competition. A fifth embarrassment could be a prelude to a catastrophe.
FURIA remain an entertaining and strong squad but one that never managed to get close to trophies: still, a playoffs spot is firmly in their grasp. Movistar Riders are struggling to recover from the loss of SunPayus to ENCE, missing out on the RMR in the process. They might be in trouble here. Meanwhile, Eternal Fire, the Turkish superteam has never been anything but trouble, and it mmremains to be seen whether the departures of Calyx and bishop can improve their fortunes.
Bitsler’s odds peg C9 as overwhelming favorites against Cloud9 in their opening matchup, similarly to FURIA against Eternal Fire. Liquid’s likely to triumph against Movistar Riders, but anything is possible.
ESL Pro League Season 16: what’s next?
The event will continue with a playoff stage in late September and early October, featuring 12 of the 24 participating teams. The group winners qualify for the quarterfinals while the second- and third-placed finishers will battle it out in the round of 12 to join them. The winner will get more than just the glory: beyond the $175 000 winnings, they also directly qualify for IEM Katowice 2023 and this year’s BLAST World Final, too.
There’s a lot on the line and the action is guaranteed to be exciting: stay tuned here at Bitsler for our rolling odds and coverage!