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DreamHack Stockholm – Preview, predictions and best bets

Can we finally declare this as being known as the “era of Astralis” is there any team that can truly compete with them at this event? Will the resurgent MiBR under new coach and former desk analyst Yanko, be able to turn heads at Stokcholm? Can Natus Vincere continue to make strides and not waste the prime of S1mple? All that and more with our projections for Dreamhack Stockholm 2018.

GROUP A

Astralis

Clearly the team to beat here at the event, and, getting over even money for them to win this event should be considered overs. With their continuation of Device absolutely dominating on map control, frees players like Magisk and Xpyx9 to roam and pick up loose kills. The structure and execution that Astralis plays at really puts them on another level when compared to the rest of the entrants at this event. Their opening match will be against the Australian side Grayhound Gaming, who won’t have Erkast due to visa issues. This should be considered a win by 7+ rounds to start the event. Astralis will win group A as they don’t have a great deal to contend with, with North, Tyloo and Grayhound as their listed competitors.

Tyloo

Just one of the asian sides here to make up numbers. Tyloo are one of the top asiatic sides in the CS scene, however it just doesn’t match up well when against European talent. BnTet can only do so much for this side, but, against players like Kjaerbye, Valde, Xpyx9, Dupreeh and Device, Tyloo will struggle to get out of group a, as North are starting to hit their stride at the right time.

North

North are coming into this one after qualifying for IEM Chicago after giving up an early lead to ENCE, who are a better side than both Tyloo and Grayhound Gaming. North are expected to be the second qualifier from this group with great play from Valde, Kjaerbye and MSL right now being a big game changer for this Danish side. They won’t do better than Astralis, but, they will be competitive at this event.

Grayhound Gaming

A side that is happy to just be at the event. Expected to be the side that finishes the event in last position, and, having a stand-in does not help with Erkast having visa issues. With that said, if they can get big games from Dexter and Gratisfaction, they could surprise, it won’t be in game one against Astralis, but, in their losers match, likely against Tyloo, there is a chance they could get a win. But, there isn’t much light at the end of the tunnel for Grayhound at this event.

GROUP B

Natus Vincere

Natus Vincere are one of the dark horses here as you never know what you are going to get tournament to tournament. They have the worlds best inidividual player in Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev, who is a one man wrecking crew when at his best. When he gets good support play from Flamie and Electronic, Na’Vi are able to beat the best in the world, but, all three playing well at the same time has been the issue that has plagued this side. Inconsistency across the roster is what makes it difficult to say that they will step up here in Sweden. They will win their group – but after that, they are a big unknown.

NRG eSports

NRG, NRG, NRG. This is the most volatile side form a betting perspective as the entire team hinges on the play of Cerq. If Cerq is having an off day, then this team can lose to teams that don’t even rank in the worlds top 100. When they get elite level play from Cerq, they can mix it with the best, unfortunately there is no middle for this team, its either the ceiling or the floor. Cerq needs to go off in every game at this event for NRG to be able to make the final, or even survive the group stages, and with their inconsistency right now – getting out of the group stages may prove difficult.

Ninja’s In Pyjamas

This is an incredibly volatile group – they have pooled all the teams together and put them in here that can either play high or low with no middle. NiP are another of those sides. get_right is one of the best pure aimers in the game, unfortunately, the rest of the side seems to miss the target more often then not. Pistol rounds are usually something they win due to the level of Denis in these rounds, but, after that, the lack of executions, poor communication and just absurd play calling at times is what really limits this roster. The individual talent is there on this roster, they just don’t have the team mechanics to win an event like this, even in front of a home crowd – but, that home crowd may be enough to get them out of the group stages.

Ghost

Ghost may have used all their luck during the Zotac Cup, where they eliminated the more heavily fancied Optic Gaming – beating them on what many thought was an instant 1-0 for Optic when claiming Nuke. This group they find themselves in, their best chance of survival is if they are able to draw NiP and NRG as their first two matches, unfortunately, they have drawn Na’Vi, who should beat them by 7 or more rounds. Ghost just like NRG, don’t have the talent level across the roster to beat a team like NiP or Na’Vi and will struggle to not come last.

GROUP C

FaZe Clan

If Faze don’t top the group they have been drawn in, then, they shouldn’t waste any more time and pack their bags and go home. Being pooled in one of the weaker groups where the main opponent is going to be Optic. They start proceedings off against Heroic, who have been absolutely abysmal over the last few months with constant roster changes, they haven’t really recovered since losing Snappi and Yugi to Optic. Faze is in a position where they should qualify in first and do so with a round differential in the +10’s. Faze were underwhelming in their last major appearance, crashing out in the group stages. Better is expected here as they are the best side in Group C.

Heroic

No form to speak of leading into this tournament. The addition of Acillion after Rubino had to leave due to an eye injury hasn’t proved overly impressive. Veteran banana legend Friberg is extremely hit and miss and it is hard to see where the map control and the fragging is going to come from for this team. There isn’t many positives here for Heroic and they have drawn a group where they will most likely be going home as the bottom of it.

Optic Gaming

Shock losers at the Zotac Cup, when they were expected to do no worse then make the final. Expectation and reality are often two different things in this world and Optic went in with the attitude that they were already there. Then got their pants pulled down by Ghost. After what should have been a humbling experience for the Danish quintet, they have found a group that, with a bit of luck they could win. But, they would need to go past Swedish giants Fnatic in front of their home crowd in order to achieve this – a highly unlikely feat based on recent performances. However, if Optic are able to jag Inferno in this best of one, they could very well beat Fnatic who have underhwelming at best of late. Optic have every chance if Yugi is on fire, as the lack of fragging from him at Zotac was one of the key contributors to their demise.

Fnatic

The recent roster shuffles for Fnatic has had its ups and downs. Giving Lekr0 the flick was a strange choice, and adding Draken, who is a high ceiling, low floor type of player didn’t make much sense. Releasing Golden for Xizt however did, as Fnatic really needed an IGL and Xizt is that. However, they don’t have a great deal of firepower outside of Krimz, but, this team should be good enough to finish second in this group. Heroic and Optic are two beatable sides for the Swedish giants, and they won’t want to waste this chance in front of a home crowd.

GROUP D

MiBR

Have we seen enough from MiBR at Zotac to suggest that the new coaching change is enough to put them back on the map? The answer is no. Zotac was compiled of a handful of low level teams that MiBR were expected to trounce, and they did just that. Now, we see that side has drawn a favourable group where they will start the event against HellRaisers, who will provide a real challenge if Woxic plays well. Fallen seems to be thriving in his new surroundings, with Tarik and Stewie bouncing off one another well. Coldzera will need to step up again here to open the match up for MiBR if they are to progress from this competitive group.

Mousesports

Was Styko the problem? This is yet to be seen, as with Styko, Sunny and Ropz played much better as they had a meat shield that would draw out opponents. After taking that away and adding Snax, they don’t have this bullet bait on the roster any more and they have hsown that they just aren’t as good as hunting for the kills as they were when the kills were taken when opponents were chasing Styko. Chrisj and Oskar are not exempt here either as their play has been lacking. Hopefully the summer break gave this team the time needed to gel and they can put on a better showing here in Stockholm.

HellRaisers

HellRaisers are another of those “high ceiling, low floor” types of rosters. When they get the best from Woxic, they can mix it with the best in the world, when this side needs to rely on the likes of Fox and ISSA to make plays – they don’t win, its pretty simple really. Woxic is the spine of this team and when he underperforms, they don’t have the supporting players to pick up the slack. This is the floor of this team, is whether Woxic is playing well or not. Starting fresh, he needs to out duel Fallen, which could be what he needs to get sharp quickly. Can be a dark horse in this group if Woxic plays well.

Gambit

Not much to like about this side. Rewind the clock back to CS 1.6 and oyu had a much more competitive Gambit, fast forward to Global Offensive, and they just haven’t adapted well to the new surroundings. Drawing Mousesports isn’t a great start here, especially if the map lands on Train. Dosia needs to step aside, as his lack of fragging is holding back this roster. Adren, Hobbit and Mou all need to perform much better than they have of late if Gambit are to do better then last in in this group. Not much to like here.

BEST BETS AND SELECTIONS

TO WIN OUTRIGHT

Even at slightly above evens, you just can’t look beyond Astralis. They are the best side at the tournament, in the best form and just show that they have the best team mechanics time and time again. Maybe it is time to finally declare this the “Astralis era”?

Group D Winner

This is a very congested group – with some real standouts, and one clear punching bag (Gambit). However, the complete rebuilding of MiBR has proven successful and, on their utter destruction of Kinguin and coming into this one with game fitness, it is hard to look past them here in this group – especially if MiBR can give HellRaisers a beatdown in game one. While this is a tightly congested group – Mousesports should not be considered the favourites to win as they just don’t have the team chemsitry so far in a post-Styko environment funnily enough, despite the calls for Styko to be given the boot – he was the lynchpin for Mousesports winning rounds. MiBR have the better overall talent on their roster and at their best, will top this group.

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Counter Strike Global Offensive: ESL One Cologne 2018 Day One

Today marks the beginning of the ESL One Cologne 2018 Counter Strike Major. Last years winners, SK Gaming will be represented under a new name, MiBR (Made In Brazil). The red hoot favourites to win the event are without a doubt – Astralis, and, the odds reflect this. With some questionable sides at this event, lets break down the opening games of day.

Astralis v Team Ence

Astralis, easily are the favourites to win ESL One Cologne, and, in all likelihood, they will walk away winners. Their first test comes against finish side, Ence. Aleksib, the former Havu Gaming member has recently started to perform at the level needed at for Ence, and, Aerial will need to be at his best for Ence to stand a chance here. With Xypx9. Dupreeh, Device and Magisk on the lurk, there isn’t really much too look forward to if you are one the Ence roster tonight. What we have seen from Astralis in their opening rounds at tournaments is that they like to drag their first game out to warm up – the line is at -6.5, and, it isn’t advised to bet on this match, as with Astralis and their first Bo1 game, they have often dragged them out for a bit of early practice. Expect to see the same here.

Ninjas In Pyjamas v Cloud 9

Both are organsiations in free fall. NiP have struggled to be consistent for the last 12 months now, and, even adding a good young talent in Lekr0, they still haven’t really put a good foot forward in regards to preparation for this event. The certainly won’t be an NiP magic at this event. For Cloud 9, they are in a similar boat, bringing Skadoodle back out of retirement didn’t change much, adding Mousesports castaway Styko won’t change things, and the continued lack of input from Automatic isn’t helping them at all. All in all, this game reads as two teams that are going to struggle against one another, and at the event overall. With that said, NiP hold a big edge in pistol rounds due to the Denis factor. Apart from that, it really is anyone’s game.

Best Bet – Match Total OVER 26.5 Rounds @ $2.00/+100 on Unibet

Natus Vincere v G2 eSports

G2 are still struggling to find themselves after all the recent roster changes and player sales, basically rebuilding the old roster that use to win things has been what G2 has been working on, bringing back Shox, KennyS and adding coach Smithzz. Still, no consistency and are struggling just about everywhere, this boot camp they said that they went on, won’t change much as their first opponent is Na’Vi, who are coming of a big win in the Asian Championships. Expecting the momentum of Na’Vi to keep rolling here and they handle business against a struggling G2 side.

Best Bet – Natus Vincere -3.5 round handicap @ $1.72/-139 on Unibet

Mousesports v Gambit

Mousesports finally did what we have been calling for them to do now for over six months, and, that is to cut the weak link that was Styko. Unfortunately, they added Snax from a very underwhelming Virtus.Pro roster. Snax may have been one of the games best two years ago – but, has really left something to be desired this year, but, that could have something to do with the expectation of losing as a Virtus.Pro member. Mousesports did above what was expected with a stand-in at the ESL One Belo Horizonte event, and, are expected to perform even better considering that get their best player Oskar back for this event and lose their worst in Styko. Gambit, haven’t been overly iompressive, have won games here and there, but, the addition of MiR from Vega Squadron has really helped them in the fragging department. On a one for one skill matching, Mousesports are better than Gambit, but, new player in, and, communication issues to be expected, this game could finish at 16-11 or 16-12.

Best Bet – Match Total OVER 26.5 rounds @ $2.25/+125 on Unibet

FaZe Clan v B.O.O.T[d]s

FaZe are not going to mess around here, they start off with one of the easier opponents in the entire competition, the round line reflects this, and irrespective of what the map rotation lands on, FaZe should beat the Asian qualifiers by more than 9 rounds. The line is set at -7.5 which is more than achievable for FaZe, but, just in case they lose a pistol being overconfident, it will be safer to take the match total under market. Not really much information needed here, FaZe are that much better than their opponent here.

Best Bet – Match Total UNDER 26.5 @ $1.65/-154 on Unibet

Renegades v MiBR

MiBR formerly known as SK Gaming, have a winnable matchup here agains the Australian side who have really fallen off the wagon since their coach left due to a falling out with jkaem. The leadership hasn’t been their for the Boys, and, they find themselves against a re-branded and hungry MiBR first up. Unless this map falls on Inferno or Train, Renegades will ultimately struggle in getting this win – or even covering as they team play and communication just hasn’t been there. With that said, MiBR haven’t been overly good either, and were only able to get a surprise win on home soil because the crowd was telling them where opponents were hiding. They won’t have that edge in Cologne, but, must beat beatable teams to be taken seriously. Renegades are beatable.

Best Bet – MiBR -4.5 handicap @ $1.85/-118 on Unibet

BIG v Team Liquid

Another replay of the Belo Horizonte beatdown that Team Liquid dished out is to be expected again here. BIG may be the home side here, being the German representatives, but, on a one for one skill level, team strategy level and communication level, Team Liquid are far superior. A -4.5 handicap is a soft line because BIG are the home side, that won’t mean much though, as the North American top seed will be able to get the job done here against BIG, for the third time in less than a month.

Best Bet – Team Liquid -4.5 handicap @ $1.95/-105 on Unibet

Fnatic v North

The most difficult match on the opening round of games to try and predict. If the map falls on an open brawler like Mirage or Overpass – Fnatic hold the edge 60-40, any other map, it really is a true 50-50 set up. North are their own worst enemy 90% of the time, executing poorly and missing shots that could win rounds, where Fnatic just try to take too many one on one duals expecting to come out superior. Both sides like to throw away team members with un-necessary peeking and aggression, which is why it is difficult to see a winner here. One thing that looks like though, is both sides reaching 11 wins – unless of course, it is one of the two previously mentioned maps.

Best Bet – Match Total OVER 26.5 rounds @ $2.00/+100 on Unibet

Futures Bets
To Win Outright – Astralis @ $2.30/+130 on Unibet
Group B Winner – FaZe Clan @ $2.50/+150 on Unibet
Map with highest % of T wins – Dust 2 @ $3.50/+250 on Unibet

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