With the 2021 Dota Pro Circuit’s winter season halfway done, teams outside first place are in a position where they need to scramble their way into the recently announced ONE Esports Singapore Major. One of the teams looking to break their way into contention is Live to Win, but Akbar “SoNNeikO” Butaev’s squad has a tough road ahead after taking two losses to teams currently ranked in the top three.
The side needs to start posting wins if it wants to get a spot in the playoffs, but that’s easier said than done. In week four, Live to Win faces Natus Vincere in a tough best-of-three.
Live to Win brought together a number of notable veteran players from the CIS region who had played on top teams including Virtus.pro, Gambit Esports, and Na’Vi. Those sorts of teams can click into being a serious contender in short order but Live to Win doesn’t seem to be on that level yet. Its lineup includes the following players:
Live to Win is 2-2 in the ESL One CIS Dota Pro Circuit league to this point. Its wins came at the expense of Team Empire and NoTechies, and its losses came from Team Spirit and Virtus.pro. That puts the team in a position where it will likely need to win in order to qualify for the ONE Esports Singapore Major.
Though the CIS region has three slots in the major to work with, Live to Win is in an awkward position as NoTechies and Team Spirit have the inside track on a third-place spot in the rankings and Team Empire could conceivably make a run as well. A win over Natus Vincere would do a lot to boost Live to Win’s positioning, and that makes this a critical matchup.
The CIS region was expected to see Natus Vincere and Virtus.pro sitting comfortably at the top of the standings while everyone else fights beneath them, and that’s exactly how things have gone thus far. Both teams sit at 4-0, with almost all those series between them being sweeps.
Natus Vincere’s lineup is made up of the former FlyToMoon squad that broke out in 2020, which includes the following players:
Na’Vi has a very real chance of going perfect in the winter season. Of course, that would require the team successfully getting through this matchup against Live to Win.
Na’Vi vs. Live to Win heavily favors Na’Vi, with Winners.bets odds currently standing at 1.21 vs. 3.90. WIN.gg’s prediction algorithm does flag that as a bit of a bargain in favor of Live to Win, with WIN.gg having Live to Win’s odds of winning at 41.4% while the implied odds of victory from a 3.90 line is a much lower 25.6% chance of winning.
Na’Vi is still the clear favorite, but that does suggest that this match is worth a closer look. Live to Win has a strong roster and there’s a real chance the team could take at least one map from Na’Vi, or post strong kill tallies. Bettors ought to check out the side markets on this one, if not ponder an outright bet on Live to Win.