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eSports Betting - IEM World Championship 2021 Odds Preview

Who wins CS:GO - IEM Season XV - World Championship?

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The chaos surrounding IEM World Championship 2021 in Katowice is real. And with uncertainty comes big betting opportunities for those who understand the risks.

Our first tip: Odds will shift if increased Covid risk forces the tournament to shift to online only! Even IEM admits to a possible venue shift if local conditions warrant it. Some teams are better in live LAN games, others excel at online tournaments. For now we’re assuming that their LAN plans without an audience will go ahead, but keep your eyes peeled for unique betting opportunities if those plans change.

With that out of the way, let’s look at potential winners at both stages, and where you’re likely to find good expected value (EV) on your bets.

IEM World Championship 2021 Odds for eSports Betting

The first eSports betting round at the IEM World Championship 2021 will probably be from the play-in stages. The real wildlings among you might bet on who will earn the final open slot in Katowice by winning the ECC on the 19th of January. And then you might parlay the winner of that as the winner of the play-in stage as well! But let’s focus on known quantities for the moment. In unbiased, alphabetical order, the play-in teams are:

BIG, BOOM, Chaos, Cloud9, Complexity, Fnatic, Gambit, Illuminar, Liquid, Mousesports, OG, Renegades, Spirit, TYLOO, Virtus.pro

IEM World Championship 2021 odds preview for the play-in stage.

From a pure rankings standpoint, BIG (ranked 4th in the world by HLTV) would normally be the odds on favorite. They were on fire in the first half of the year. But their form has dipped somewhat, not being able to crack into the top two of any big tournaments in the last half of 2020. There might be a confidence issue. They’re probably favorite to win, but unlikely to hit their true EV if the bookies do their job right. eSports betting being a bit less predictable as far as setting the line, this will need to be watched closely.

OG (ranked 7th by HLTV) is constantly hovering in the ‘contender’ zone. They started out slow, but finished strong, scoring three top two finishes in the last half of the year. But they 0-2’ed their latest head to head with BIG, so that momentum didn’t help them when it counted.

Mousesports (ranked 9th by HLTV) did well at the BLAST Fall Showdown, but couldn’t follow it up at the Finals. They haven’t been in great form since the ICE challenge early in the year, frankly.

That leaves Liquid, (ranked 10th by HLTV) who just might be the right team at the right time. They’ve had good showings all year long, and a 2nd place finish at the IEM Global Challenge 2020. More importantly, their win against BIG at that event was quality, edging out Nuke and taking Inferno convincingly. CS:GO betting being what it is, many bookmakers will probably underestimate their line, making their EV potentially great.

Conclusion: BIG is the likely winner, but Liquid might carry the best value unless the eSports betting bookies are sharp.

That leads us to the IEM World Championship 2021 group stage.

IEM World Championship 2021 odds preview for the group stage.

Astralis is the best team in the world by all accounts. They started slow this year, but came on incredibly strong in recent weeks with wins at IEM Global and Dreamhack Winter, not to mention coming in second at BLAST Fall Finals. The right team at the right time, peaking perfectly for an early 2021 push. This might be your best bet, even if it is also a ‘safe’ bet, relatively speaking. It will depend on the line. CS:GO betting is a funny old thing, and sometimes the book makers are a bit too conservative. We’ll see.

Natus Vincere still has a decent shot as the world number two. They have had a bad time against Astralis, but maybe their form will trend up in the next two months. They’re certainly among the best out there. If the eSports betting gurus give them a hard time, they might have enough EV to take a punt.

But if I wanted to put my money on an underdog that is likely to be overlooked by the linemakers, it would be placed on Evil Geniuses. They had a scorching Summer run with three first place finishes in a row, briefly hitting number one in the world in late September by HLTV ratings. They’re one of the few teams in contention who has an average player age under 24… the other being NaVi, who we just talked about. We know they have the talent, they just don’t have the consistency. In a couple of months, it might be time for their young energy to surge. This is where I would look for some good EV, since the CS:GO betting scene isn’t great at predicting resurgences… just look at how many people were writing off Astralis after their dip.

Cheeky Accumulators

If your favorite betting site allows you to do accumulators, and you like that kind of extra action, here are a couple ideas:

Astralis winning every match played on Inferno before winning the tournament: If you’re betting on them to win anyway, you should leverage their amazing 76.1% win rate on Inferno. They’ll be pumped going into this, and aren’t likely to lose on their favorite map.

Liquid placing top four in both the play-in and the group stage: If they are one of the teams coming out of the play-in, don’t expect Liquid to stop there. Momentum will be on their side, and they could easily defy the odds and make a deep run. eSports betting being what it is, you’ll probably get a line with plenty of EV if you place this kind of bet the moment it becomes available.

In Conclusion

With so many unknowns still in the air, from the unknown group stage teams, to the final slot up for grabs in the play-in stage, to the venue itself, there’s plenty of angles to shoot. Keep up to date with developments, and check back here after the ECC Finals on January 19th.