Two of the best in the world meet to decide their playoff fate tomorrow. Liquid and NRG face off in a match that will determine who seeding works in the playoffs. The winner of the series will advance to the semi-final and be confirmed a top 4 finish. Whereas, the loser will have to drop into the quarter-final and battle through an extra team to win the Championship.
Liquid are currently ranked as the #1 team in the world and they are backing it up with their recent performances. They also have the potential to win the Intel Grand Slam at this event. It would be truly amazing if a team managed to pull that off so early in the year.
They have had very close games so far in the tournament, however, which could just be early shakes. They faced off against MVP PK in the first round and it took the full 30 rounds for them to pull out the win. Their most recent match was a best of 3 series against Natus Vincere (NaVi).
Liquid could have very well found themselves down 1-0 in the series as they were 15-11 down on Dust II. Then the tides turned when S1mple attempted to knife a player, which resulted in his team losing a 1v3 situation. The map went to double overtime and Liquid snatched the win. NaVi bounced back to tie the series up 1-1 but fell short and Liquid knocked them to the loser bracket.
This time have been improving vastly at each event they attend this year. They’re currently ranked as the 5th best team in the world and are pushing to improve this at Cologne. After confirming that they had acquired Stanislaw to replace Daps, the team had to play one last event with Daps.
This was the ESL Pro League Finals where they finished 3rd-4th and Daps had been a key part of the success. Questions where then being asked regarding the roster change situation. However, all parties involved in the switch appear to be happy, content and believe it’s the best move for the roster in the long run.
So far at Cologne, NRG have faced off against Furia and FaZe, winning both series. Furia was their opening game which they went on to win comfortably, 16-7. The matchup against FaZe should have been their first real test but 16-11 and 16-12 wins found them ending the day on a high note.
As much as I’m loving the new NRG roster and how they’ve been improving over the past couple of months, I can’t see them pulling off a victory in a best of 3 against Liquid quite yet. This is purely due to the fact they have a new in-game leader and could very well be still finding their identity on some maps.
I would recommend going for +1.5 map handicap in the favour of NRG. The odds are 1.60 and it means NRG only need to win one map in the series and the bet will come through.