The first day of ESL Pro League Group D will end with a firecracker best-of-three between the group’s second and third seeds. Both Team Liquid and Ninjas in Pyjamas landed rough ninth-place finishes at IEM Cologne. Pro League is their chance to bounce back into the top tier of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
With the shadow of Gambit Esports looming over Group D, Liquid and NiP will throw everything they have at each other to establish an early winning record. And if you’re looking to profit from this clash, you can head to Stake to get the absolute best odds on every CSGO match at ESL Pro League Season 14.
Even after acquiring arguably the second-best CSGO player in the world, Ninjas in Pyjamas is still finding its footing. The Swedish squad is trying to recapture the magic that led to top-four finishes at Flashpoint Season 3 and BLAST Premier Spring. A lackluster result at Cologne has set the Ninjas as underdogs for Pro League, but the team is still the favorite against Liquid. Stake has NiP at 1.69 odds to beat Liquid.
It’s impossible to discuss NiP without bringing up Nicolai “dev1ce” Reedtz. The former lynchpin of Astralis is still the shining star now that he’s with Ninjas in Pyjamas, but his performance isn’t up to his usual standard. It doesn’t help that the other four players have had to bend over backward to accommodate him. Either half of rifling duo Fredrik “REZ” Sterner and Nicolas “Plopski” Gonzalez Zamora can just as easily take over the game. NiP has the potential to go far at ESL Pro League Season 14 if its top players can align their games.
After a quick $17,000 championship victory at cs_summit 8, Team Liquid is undoubtedly the best CSGO team in North America. ESL Pro League has 17 times that prize pool and roughly double the amount of sheer talent. The top American team certainly has the potential to go deep in playoffs, but it starts with having a decent group stage showing. A win over Ninjas in Pyjamas would all but ensure a positive record in Group D.
The surprise addition of Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo earlier this year brought a new level of consistency to Team Liquid. The Brazilian AWPer is partially responsible for the squad’s extended map pool, which now includes Overpass, Mirage, Nuke, and Inferno. Keith “NAF” Markovic is the star for TL with a 1.06 KD ratio and a 45.4% headshot rate. Liquid is rated as the underdog for this match at 2.08 odds to beat NiP.
These teams have only dueled once in the entirety of 2021, though it did include both squad’s newest members. Their bout at IEM Cologne ended 2-1 in favor of NiP. Liquid won their own map pick Overpass in overtime before losing handily on both Dust 2 and Mirage. North America’s great hope may have polished up its map pool, but it plays right into the hands of the Ninjas.
Ninjas in Pyjamas is more of a favorite than the relatively close odds would suggest. The Swedes have a much better recent record in online tournaments with solid placements at BLAST Premier and Flashpoint. It’s not impossible for Liquid to win one map or even take the series, but the statistical signs point to NiP. If you think Group D’s first big matchup can go the distance, a $10 wager on Ninjas in Pyjamas in three maps will earn $34 on Stake.