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Intel Extreme Masters Cologne 2023 Tournament Tips & Outright Predictions

24 Jul 2023
Tit Krajnik 24 Jul 2023
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  • IEM Cologne 2023 is set to kick off on Wednesday, July 26
  • One of the final major events of the CS:GO era
  • 24 teams and $1,000,000 on the line
Lanxess Arena in Cologne
Lanxess Arena in Cologne (Getty Images)

Intel Extreme Masters Cologne 2023 Predictions

Intel Extreme Masters Cologne 2023 is set to start on Wednesday, July 26, welcoming the world's best 24 Counter-Strike: Global Offensive teams, competing for the lions' share of the $1 million prize pool and the coveted title of IEM Cologne champions.
  • Intel Extreme Masters Cologne 2023 Predictions
  • Intel Extreme Masters Cologne 2023 Odds
  • Intel Extreme Masters Cologne 2023 Favourites
  • Intel Extreme Masters Cologne 2023 Outriders

The outright betting markets for IEM Cologne 2023 make it seem like there are just two strong candidates to win the tournament – Team Vitality and Heroic – which makes sense considering the two were the best-performing team ahead of the summer break. However, many squads have made roster changes over the last month, which brings uncertainty and unpredictability as there's no telling how the new rosters will gel and which will reach new heights or crumble.

  • Team Vitality and Heroic are the leading favourites to win
  • As the first major event after the break, IEM Cologne 2023 will likely produce upsets
  • Should Vitality and Heroic be considered such big favourites? 

Intel Extreme Masters Cologne 2023 Odds

Of the 24 attending teams, there are a handful of strong candidates to go all the way, including the reigning Major champions, Team Vitality (4.00) as the main favourites, Heroic (4.33), FaZe Clan (6.00), and G2 Esports (6.00).

Behind the leading four squads, we have the new-look Cloud9 (7.00), ENCE (9.00), and Natus Vincere (9.00) as the only remaining teams priced at single digits, ahead of underdogs in FURIA (17.00), MOUZ (19.00), Team Liquid (19.00), Apeks (26.00), Astralis (26.00), Ninjas in Pyjamas (26.00), and Fnatic (34.00).

The remainder of the field consists of teams who are considered to have little to no chance of making it far, and while anything can happen, and there will likely be a few upsets, it does seem highly unlikely for any of the outsiders to reach deep.

Intel Extreme Masters Cologne 2023 Favourites

Five teams enter IEM Cologne 2023 as a serious threat to go all the way and hoist the coveted trophy. Still, most focus is on Team Vitality (4.00) and Heroic (4.33) as the leading candidates and top favourites on the outright betting markets.

Team Vitality have made just one roster change during the summer break, by signing Shahar "flameZ" Shushan as a replacement for Peter "dupreeh" Rasmussen. The swap doesn't look like it will make Team Vitality any weaker, but there's also an argument to be made that Vitality won't be much stronger.

The Bees already showcased its new lineup at BLAST Premier: Fall Groups 2023, where they started strong, with two commanding wins against Evil Geniuses (2-0) and Complexity (2-0), but then slipped against Ninjas in Pyjamas (0-2) in Group A final. Vitality eventually bounced back with a 2-0 sweep of BIG to qualify for BLAST Premier: Fall Final 2023.

Throughout the tournament, Vitality haven't produced much and have only won against pretty weak teams, which begs the question of whether Vitality should be priced as the leading favourites to win IEM Cologne 2023. The talent is there, and Vitality have a high ceiling, but based on their recent showings, Vitality will need a bit more time to gel together fully.

Heroic have also attended BLAST Premier: Fall Groups 2023, but unlike Vitality, they had a far less bumpy road. Heroic won all their matches in Grup B against BIG (2-0) and Natus Vincere (2-0, 2-1) to earn a direct bye to BLAST Premier: Fall Final 2023.

Just three matches aren't enough to properly evaluate teams, and we can't use their form before the summer break, as it holds no weight. The bookmakers are dealing with the same issue, so the offered CS:GO betting odds for IEM Cologne 2023 are primarily based on what the teams have accomplished ahead of the break, which explains why Vitality are the leading favourite even though Heroic arguably look better.

Intel Extreme Masters Cologne 2023 Outriders

Vitality and Heroic look like the best teams on paper, and it's hard to argue with that, but we can't ignore FaZe Clan (6.00), G2 Esports, and Cloud9 (7.00). All three have the talent to compete for any major trophy and are serious candidates to make a deep run at IEM Cologne 2023.

Of the three, G2 Esports look the shakiest. G2 Esports had their ups and downs ahead of the summer break, and they've failed to impress at BLAST Premier: Fall Groups 2023, where they placed seventh-ninth, following a 0-2 loss against Natus Vincere in the final round of the Play-In stage.

Over the tournament, G2 Esports have beaten just Evil Geniuses (2-1) and OG (2-0) but have struggled against Liquid (1-2), FaZe (0-2), and NaVi (0-2), which is concerning. The main issue with G2 is that Nikola "NiKo" Kovač is the only player posting positive performances, and you can't make it far if 4/5 of the roster isn't stepping up.

This can easily change at IEM Cologne 2023, but until proven otherwise, G2 Esports are a team I would consider fading. FaZe Clan are in a better position, having shown good form at BLAST Premier: Fall Groups 2023, where they won Group C, but we must also consider that FaZe have only beaten OG (2-0) and Team Liquid (2-1, 2-0) so it remains to be seen how they'll do against tougher opponents.

Lastly, we have Cloud9, which is an exciting team. After months of disappointing results, Cloud9 rebuilt its lineup by signing two former Natus Vincere players Denis "electroNic" Sharipov and Ilya "Perfecto" Zalutskiy, forming one of the most stacked CIS CS:GO rosters in history. On paper, Cloud9 look like a very scary team, and if the players click, Cloud9 will make it very far.

The only genuine concern with Cloud9 is that the new-look roster hasn't played an official game yet, which explains why Cloud9 are priced at 7.00 in IEM Cologne 2023.


It's tough to say how IEM Cologne 2023 will end, but if we had to pick between the two leading favourites, Heroic are an easy choice. Even though Vitality are the reigning Major champions, they haven't shown enough at BLAST Premier: Fall Groups 2023 to earn the tag as the favourites to win in Germany.

Another team that deserves some attention is Cloud9. Admittedly, the Russian squad are a bit of an enigma, and there's no telling how will the new roster perform. But Cloud9 have signed two of the best CIS players and added them to an already stacked and experienced roster. So while Cloud9's project can collapse, there's also a chance they emerge as the no.1 team in the world.

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Top Pick: Cloud9 To Win Outright @600.00 at Stake.com - 2 Units
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