After a burst of success earlier this year, Heroic is back in full force, surprising just about everyone with how it’s made its way to the ESL Pro League Season 13 finals. Trouncing FURIA in the semifinals with a 20-3 T side across two maps, Heroic made it look easy as it breezed into a finals spot on Saturday.
Across from Heroic is Gambit, a team who doesn’t need much introduction if fans have caught CSGO’s recent tournaments. For those that haven’t, Gambit’s young and talented roster is built around 19-year-old AWPer Dmitry “sh1ro” Sokolov’s aggressive style. As we noted in this week’s team and player power rankings, sh1ro is a star in the making if he isn’t one already.
Outrights here have Gambit early favorites to win EPL 13 on Sunday, and it’s not to hard to figure out why. An Intel MVP AWPer, a win in Katowice, 10 wins in a row, and an 83% win rate since February makes it an easy call for bookmakers to put Gambit at 1.55 favorites to Heroic’s 2.45 line. That said, Heroic has put together nine wins in a row of its own, and in-game leader Casper “cadiaN” Möller has his team looking sharp. On top of Heroic’s most recent wins, the last time these two teams faced off against one another at IEM Katowice, it was a very close affair.
Heroic went up 1-0 off the back of a 16-12 Overpass before Gambit took Inferno 16-14, bringing the teams to Mirage for map three. Heroic crumbled there, giving up the map and match to Gambit 16-3. The same is unlikely to happen here, with EPL’s finals featuring five maps instead of three. The Mirage loss looked much more like Heroic couldn’t catch its breath as Gambit capitalized on the opportunity. With a limited number of bans available for the EPL finals, that’s unlikely to happen again. While we still wouldn’t recommend taking Heroic for the grand finals, there’s enough room elsewhere to make the match an enticing opportunity for bettors.
Given how close the two maps were in their previous match combined with Heroic’s current streak, four maps is likely with a full five-map contest very possible. Gambit is slaughtering opposing teams, and Heroic’s association with its disappointing 2019 and 2020 roster is still following them. This version of Heroic is much better, and is capable of pushing Gambit further than many think.
As mentioned, the close matchup also leaves room for tighter bets on final scores. Pinpoint predictions are hard to make, but taking available over/under lines set at 5 is a smart move. It would be a high-percentage bet to go with Gambit for defensive pistol rounds. Gambit currently leads all top-ten teams with a 67.6% win rate during its CT-side pistol rounds. For smaller and less-traveled markets, sh1ro is a sure candidate for MVP even if Gambit lose, while history says three-out-of-five maps should end with odd-numbered scores.
The grand finals of ESL Pro League Season 13 are going to be a close one when it kicks off at 9:30 a.m. EST, 1:30 p.m. GMT on Sunday, April 11.