The group stage of ESL Pro League Season 14 is already showing some exciting matches, and of the best will feature Natus Vincere vs FaZe Clan.
Reigning IEM Cologne champion Natus Vincere is back to defend its reputation as the best Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team in the world. Of all the teams in Group C, FaZe Clan has the best chance to stymie the Eastern European juggernaut. These teams will fight in pursuit of Pro Leagues’ $750,000 prize pool, and you can get in on your own winnings with some well-placed CSGO bets over at Stake.
FaZe Clan is in an interesting spot heading into ESL Pro League. Captain Finn “karrigan” Andersen led his men to a hard-fought third-place finish in Cologne with big wins over Team Vitality, Heroic, and Gambit Esports. The international all-stars ended their run with a 0-2 loss to Natus Vincere in the semifinals, but the pair’s close match at BLAST Premier Spring Final might signal a potential upset. A gutsy $20 bet on FaZe in three maps would earn a $104 return.
Unlike some other top teams, FaZe needs a player to pop off in order to win most games. That sounds like a point against them, but all five of FaZe’s players have the potential to go into beast mode. The responsibility usually falls to Håvard “rain” Nygaard or Russel “Twistzz” Van Dulken, but esteemed veteran Olof “olofmeister” Kajbjer Gustafsson has been on an uptick recently. That even spread of talent ensures that FaZe Clan doesn’t have as many bad days, which can’t be said for their opponents.
What can be said about Na`Vi that hasn’t been said already? Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev is indisputably the best CSGO player in the world and he’s backed by solid firepower in Egor “flamie” Vasilev and Denis “electronic” Sharipov. That success is reflected in the low 1.40 odds to take down FaZe. The squad’s LAN victory at IEM Cologne paints it as the favorite of ESL Pro League Season 14, but Na’Vi is still far from invincible.
This season of Pro League is online with no offline play on the table, even for the playoffs. In recent online events, Natus Vincere have stumbled against teams it had no business losing to. Akuma, Gambit, and even Team Spirit have all claimed recent victories online. Na`Vi is still the definitive favorite for the playoffs, but a marred group stage record is in the realm of possibility.
As far as recent records go, Natus Vincere has history on its side. They easily handily defeated FaZe at IEM Cologne and won a narrower 2-1 victory at the BLAST Premier Spring Finals. Natus Vincere and FaZe been competitive in almost every online match played between the two this year.
Any savvy CSGO bettor would hesitate to lay money down against s1mple, but the potential returns are too great to ignore. Regardless of the two teams’ recent records, FaZe Clan is on the same level as Natus Vincere. FaZe winning wouldn’t even be the biggest upset at ESL Pro League Season 14 so far. If Na`Vi shows the slightest sign of weakness in group play prior to meeting Faze Clan, FaZe becomes an even more tempting prospect.
If you want to play the safe route and bet on Natus Vincere’s overwhelming aggression, this match has the highest odds for any of Na’Vi’s group stage matches.