ESL Road to Rio EU: Fnatic versus Vitality betting analysis
Nick J. May 1, 2020
Despite being the number-one ranked team in the world, Fnatic sits just inside the playoff picture for ESL's Road to Rio. Right below them in the number four spot of group A is Team Vitality, tied in the standings with Fnatic at 4-2 but with a -8 round differential holding them below the Swedes in the standings. This matchup is incredibly important in terms of standings going into CSGO's Summer Regional Major tournament, but it's also a great opportunity to become familiar with the smaller CSGO betting markets, as this matchup is full of them.
Fnatic's number one rank doesn't make it unbeatable
Fnatic's run to number one has been a slow process that's been carved out over the course of several months and pushed along by an underperforming Astralis team. That's not to say the team isn't good at what it does, but Fnatic's wins come from skilled plays and a foundation of greatness by Ludvig "Brollan" Brolin. After winning nine of twelve matches to take home first place at ESL Pro League Season 11, Fnatic had some suspect losses at Road to Rio. They're in an odd place. Despite being ranked number one in the world for the first time since 2017, Fnatic let Heretics play them much too close for comfort in the Swedes' 2-1 win against what is a clearly inferior team.
That performance, combined with a 2-1 loss against a struggling Dignitas team and a crushing 2-0 loss to ENCE, means that taking the opposing positions on lines that heavily favor Fnatic have a decent chance of coming through. That said, Fnatic owns a solid advantage head-to-head against Vitality, having won eight of four in the since the start of 2019 and 66% of their matchups since Fnatic started its race up the rankings last October.
In terms of maps, Fnatic is all over the place. They pick and ban purely on their opponent's strengths, banning Vertigo and Nuke against Astralis, confident that they could contend on the remaining maps. That matchup saw Astralis stymied, losing the series 2-1 and even dropping their own map pick on Train.
Vitality is a steady, predictable contender in Road to Rio
Team Vitality is a bettors dream team. Since the beginning of IEM Katowice, Vitality has beaten every team ranked beneath it and lost to every team ranked above it with only three exceptions. If someone had bet on or against Vitality purely using the world standings, they'd be 12-3 with minimal effort. This obviously makes taking Fnatic to win a solid proposition with its number one ranking, but it also means there's an opportunity to look into some of the deeper markets. Map handicap is a decent market, with Fnatic winning four out of five of the most recent matchups by more than five rounds.
With the team's recent performances, it's almost like Mathieu "ZywOo" Herbaut simply can't carry the players around him in the face of more complete teams. It makes sense that the responsibility to win games on his own might be too much for the incredibly talented player. Everyone on Vitality has penciled in a spot at the bottom of the scoreboard in 2020 except for ZywOo.
The real issue with Vitality is the loss of Alex "ALEX" McMeekin, the team's in-game leader that left at the beginning of March. Without him, Vitality has had its ups and downs. There's always a chance that Vitality beats Fnatic here, but if it happens it will be due to Fnatic misplays rather than a Vitality outplay.
Vitality's Best Maps
Vertigo: 3-1, 75%
Mirage:: 2-2, 50%
Overpass: 2-2, 50%
There is one final market to bring some attention to. Total rounds on any map between these two teams have only varied a total of five rounds in their past five matchups with one map ending at 23 total rounds, one ending at 28 total rounds, and a whopping three maps ending at 25 total rounds. This consistency makes the total rounds markets on all maps decent options.
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