Set to kick off in just a matter of days, the IEM Sydney 2019 will see some of the best CS:GO teams from all over the world congregate at the land down under for a shot at the $250,000 prize pool and a chance to put themselves up on the board for Season 2 of the Intel Grand Slam.
Sixteen CS:GO teams will be playing at the IEM Sydney 2019, and none of them are named Astralis.
This is particularly significant to point out, because, for non-CS:GO fans out there, Astralis have had a choke hold on tournament titles for over a year now. The Danish side have won nearly every tournament they’ve played with their current lineup. More importantly, they have shown no signs of stopping anytime soon. But, because they’re not here, the competition is tighter than ever.
The gap between Astralis and the rest of the CS:GO scene might be as wide as a yawning chasm, but the rest are much closer to each other than most realize. Not to mention, 10 out of the 16 participants are ranked within the Top 19 of HLTV’s latest CS:GO rankings.
Who Are the Heavy Favourites to Win the IEM Sydney 2019?
Six CS:GO teams are neck-and-neck in the eyes of the bookmakers over at ArcaneBet.
On top of the list are FaZe Clan and Team LIquid, who are at 5.50 and 5.00 odds, respectively. Meanwhile, MIBR are at 6.50 odds followed by NRG eSports at 7.00 odds, with both mousesports and Renegades at 7.50 odds. Fnatic are close behind the six at 9.00 odds, with the rest of the field in double digits already.
Picking out just one out of the six, or all sixteen, is quite the difficult exercise.
Due to a combination of inconsistent performance from some of CS:GO’s top teams, and the fact that no one can seem to find a way to beat Astralis consistently, there’ve never been a clear No. 2, 3, 4 CS:GO team over the past year. The most consistent of them all is arguably Team Liquid. However, there is a reason why people have come to joke about how Team Liquid don’t know how to win tournaments.
Lest we forget, Team Liquid have played in the Grand Final of a total of 11 LAN tournaments over the past year, and they’ve lost in all but two of them. Sure, the argument exists that you can’t really take the losses against them since it came against Astralis, but even when they had a chance to win against a non-Astralis team, they didn’t really capitalize on it.
Until Team Liquid manages to shake that off, betting on them is a lot riskier than it looks.
Are There Any Underdogs Worth Paying Attention to at the IEM Sydney 2019?
The absence of Astralis and the supposed inconsistency of the other CS:GO teams make the IEM Sydney 2019 a prime opportunity for other teams to step up to the plate and surprise everyone, much as how ENCE eSports did at the IEM Katowice Major 2019.
Chief among them are Ninjas in Pyjamas, who have shown that they can still go toe-to-toe with the best that the CS:GO world has to offer. We would have thrown BIG in there as well for good measure. Unfortunately, BIG will be playing without their star fragger, İsmailcan ‘XANTARES‘ Dörtkardes, due to VISA issues, which means that BIG will be playing with a lot less firepower than they normally would have at the IEM Sydney 2019.
Given the odds, mousesports (7.50), technically, are not underdogs. But, if you consider that this is actually their first LAN together, it makes sense to consider them as such.
Featuring the right mix of talent, star power, and proven leadership in the form of Finn ‘Karrigan‘ Andersen, mousesports are one of the two most dangerous CS:GO teams at the IEM Sydney 2019, both because of how little tape there are on them and how they’re still likely trying to discover what works best for them, and the fact that they have the necessary talent to pull off an upset against all of the teams playing here.
Betting Prediction for the IEM Sydney 2019
Team Liquid are looking like the smart pick when you consider all of their achievements over the past year, but their inability to win trophies puts a huge question mark on their ability to rise to the occasion. On the other hand, FaZe Clan aren’t exactly the model of consistency themselves, and though they might have won the BLAST Pro Series Miami 2019, the team hasn’t exactly proven themselves yet against other competition in a more conventional setting where teams can actually take the time to prepare against them.
So, who are we placing our money on then?
mousesports are looking really attractive right now, but you can’t really expect a lot from a team playing in their first LAN together. MIBR and NRG eSports are both solid, but who are kidding? The former, especially, hasn’t really played well enough for too long to warrant a smart pick.
That then leaves us with Renegades.
Yes, Renegades don’t have a lot to show for themselves just yet. However, judging from their recent performances and the fact that they seem to improve after every game, it’s only a matter of time before they have multiple deep runs and titles to add to their resume.
The fact that Renegades are playing in front of their home crowd should only bolster their confidence even more, which makes them a team no one at the IEM Sydney 2019 would like to face in a high-stakes matchup.
Betting: Renegades to win the IEM Sydney 2019 outright at 7.50 odds. (ArcaneBet)
All in all, the IEM Sydney 2019 is an event with plenty of potential title winners. More than half of the pool has a legitimate shot at winning the title, and we’re not just saying that for technicality. But, the opportunity is just too good to pass up to not back the hometown favourites, Renegades, who have the opportunity to put OCE CS:GO on the map for years to come with a huge win at the IEM Sydneyn 2019.
Which team do you think will win the IEM Sydney 2019? Do you agree with our pick? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.