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ESL Pro League Season 18 Tournament Betting Preview & Outright Predictions

28 Aug 2023
tit-krajnik
Tit Krajnik 28 Aug 2023
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  • ESL Pro League Season 18 kicks off on Wednesday, August 30, 2023
  • 32 Counter-Strike: Global Offensive teams
  • $850,000 prize pool
ESL Pro League
ESL Pro League (credit: via pro.eslgaming.com)

ESL Pro League Season 18 Predictions


ESL Pro League Season 18 is the final iteration of ESL Pro League played on Counter-Strike: Global Offensive before we transition to Counter-Strike 2 and one of the most prestigious CS:GO events of the year. The tournament will kick off on Wednesday, August 30, with the group stage and run for just over one month, ending with the grand final on October 1, 2023, when we crown the new ESL Pro League champions.

According to the latest CS:GO esports betting odds, there are three strong favourites, a handful of live dark horses, and over a dozen complete outsiders with little to no chance of winning the event. However, as always, there are bound to be a few upsets and unexpected results, shaking up the balance of power in Malta.

ESL Pro League Season 18 Odds


We’re a month into the second half of the 2023 season, and since it’s been a month since the summer break, the teams attending the ESL Pro League Season 18 have had enough time to shake off the rust accumulated over the break.

We’ve already had a few tournaments take place in the last month, giving us a good insight into how good some of the top CS:GO teams are and based on those results, the bookmakers have priced Team Vitality, G2 Esports, and ENCE at 4.50, as the main three favourites to win ESL Pro League Season 18.

Close behind are Heroic and Cloud9 at 5.50, with FaZe Clan (7.50), Astralis (13.00), Natus Vincere (13.00), Virtus.pro (15.00), MOUZ (19.00) and Team Liquid (19.00) rounding up a list of live darkhorses who might cause some noise in Malta.

The rest of the teams are priced at 21.00 or over and are unlikely to make a deep run at ESL Pro League Season 18. We’ve seen crazier things happen before, but the gap between the top few squads and the rest is big enough to say that it’s doubtful for any team priced at 21.00 or over to go all the way.

ESL Pro League Season 18 Favourites


According to esports betting sites, Team Vitality (4.50), ENCE (4.50), and G2 Esports (4.50) are the main three favourites to win ESL Pro League Season 18, and that sounds fair since those are the three best-performing teams of the last few months.

ENCE have been extremely consistent even before the summer break and enter ESL Pro League Season 18 with one gold medal and three silver medals from their last four tournaments.

In June, ENCE won Intel Extreme Masters Dallas 2023 and have since reached the finals of ESL Challenger Katowice 2023, Intel Extreme Masters Cologne 2023, and most recently, Gamers8 2023.

G2 Esports have not been nearly as consistent as ENCE, but they’ve reached higher highs. Following an abysmal run at BLAST Premier: Fall Groups 2023 (seventh-ninth), G2 Esports won IEM Cologne 2023 and last week reached the semifinals at Gamers8 2023.

Like G2 Esports, Team Vitality haven’t been as consistent as ENCE in their tournament appearances, but the Bees are still rightly considered one of the main favourites to win ESL Pro League Season 18. The defending Major champions choked a bit at BLAST Premier: Fall Groups 2023, where they placed fourth-sixth, but have since reached the semifinals at IEM Cologne 2023 and last week won Gamers8 2023.

Heroic could be added to the conversation of one of the best teams entering ESL Pro League Season 18. The Danes are by far the most consistent CS:GO team of 2023, as they’ve placed lower than top-four in just three of 11 tournaments Heroic have attended this year.

Moreover, Heroic won BLAST Premier: Spring Final 2023 and BLAST Premier: Fall Groups 2023 and made the semifinals at Gamers8 2023. However, Heroic slipped in the quarterfinals in Cologne and lost against Astralis, which is slightly concerning.

Outsiders That Can Impress


Cloud9 are priced as the fourth favourite to win ESL Pro League Season 18 at 5.50, which is quite a generous offer, but there’s a reason why Cloud9 aren’t shorter – they’ve yet to produce anything remarkable.

Straight after the summer break, Cloud9 attended BLAST Premier: Spring Final 2023 and exited the tournament in seventh-eighth place, and they were hardly more successful at IEM Cologne 2023, which Cloud9 finished in fifth-sixth. Last week, Cloud9 also stumbled at Gamers8 2023 and crashed out in fifth-eighth.

On paper, those are not great results, but we have to remember that Gamers8 2023 was the first tournament in which Cloud9 had their full roster available. Moreover, their early exits from IEM Cologne 2023 and Gamers8 came at the hands of Vitality and ENCE, which are objectively two of the best teams in the world.

As mentioned before, Cloud9 is an exceptionally talented team, which is bound to pop off at one point. The only concern is that they’ve yet to do so, and we can't say for sure when Cloud9 will find the momentum needed to win big events.

Verdict

ESL Pro League Season 18 will welcome many great CS:GO teams, but regardless of how we look at it, it’s very hard to argue with the offered betting odds and who they show as the main favourites. Heroic might be the most consistent CS:GO team of the year, but they’re also known to choke in the playoffs, so 5.50 looks like a fair price.

Cloud9, on the other side, are not to be underestimated, but they’ve yet to show anything that would suggest they deserve to be considered equal to G2 Esports, ENCE, and Team Vitality. So, assuming we won’t see any major upsets – which of the three favourites is the most likely to win?

Even though G2 Esports can be unstoppable, they tend to have their on-off streaks, which doesn’t make them the most inviting bet for ESL Pro League Season 18. They can easily win the tournament, but G2 Esports can just as easily crumble and not make it further than the first round of the playoffs.

Team Vitality would be an obvious choice since they’ve recently won Gamers8 2023, where they beat ENCE in the finals. But I find it hard to believe that Vitality are stronger than ENCE, who beat them in the IEM Cologne 2023 semifinals and played a very close series in the Gamers8 2023 finals.

Picking between ENCE and Team Vitality looks like a complete coin toss. They’ve gone back and forth recently, and there’s no telling who would win if the two meet in the finals. But I’ll put more weight on consistency and the ability to perform well without any major ups and downs; therefore, ENCE are my pick.

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