After a lengthy qualifying session that saw teams competing in America, China, Europe, the Philippines and South East Asia, the five qualifiers are now known that will take their place against the three directly invited teams, EHOME, Team Liquid and Team Secret in this massive Premier level event.
The qualifiers from each region are:
- compLexity Gaming from the American qualifier
- Wings Gaming from the Chinese qualifier
- Team Empire from the European qualifier
- Mineski from the Philippine qualifier and
- Fnatic from the Southeast Asian qualifier
The teams have been drawn into two initial groups, Group A and Group B, where they will contest a round robin of matches in each group over the first two days of action. The top two teams will progress into Sunday for the Best of Three Semi Finals, before the winners of the Semi Finals then go on to face off in a Best of Five Final later on Sunday night.
The group draws are as follows:
- Group A – Team Liquid, compLexity Gaming, Wings Gaming and Mineski
- Group B – Team Secret, EHOME.cn, Fnatic and Team Empire
The first two match ups in each group are known with Team Liquid facing Mineski in the opening match in Group A, followed by compLexity Gaming taking on Wings Gaming in the second match. In Group B, Team Secret take on Team Empire in the opener, with Fnatic taking on EHOME.cn in the second match up.
The two winners of the first two games in each group will face off against each other, as will the two losers of each game, in the third and fourth matches with the two teams with a 1-1 record after these games facing off to claim the second qualifying spot in the group alongside the team with the 2-0 unbeaten record.
Currently the bookmakers are offering around 15/8 on Team Secret to lift the title, with EHOME a 9/4 shot and Team Liquid a 7/2 shot. Fnatic is the next best odds at 6/1 with compLexity Gaming a 9/1 shot. The remaining three teams are ranked as outsiders somewhat with Bet365 Sport having Wings Gaming a 20/1 shot to win the title, Team Empire 50/1 and Mineski the 80/1 long shots to be the Champion on Sunday.
You can also place lots of other bets on this huge Dota 2 event at Bet365 Sport including betting on which teams will reach the final, which group the eventual winner will qualify from, match betting on each of the matches, handicap match betting and betting on the Map Score as well as several more markets.
ESL Pro League Season 3 Europe and North America reaches crunch time
By this time next week, we will be ready to start the final week of fixtures in both the ESL Pro League Europe and ESL Pro League North American qualifying tournament and we should be a lot closer to knowing which of the four teams from each region will be on their way to the Season 3 Finals to be held offline in London in May.
With a guaranteed prize pool of $512,000 up for grabs at the London event, including a top prize of $200,000 for the winning team (double what was on offer last year), qualification is all important for the teams battling out in each of the regional qualifiers.
So which team look likely to follow Fnatic into the history books as the winners of the 2016 event?
In the European qualifying section, 12 of the best CS:GO teams have competed against each other over the past eight weeks to decide who will earn one of the four coveted qualification spots and with still some Week Eight fixtures left to play, as well as all of Week Nine’s games, one team has earned their place in the Finals already.
Ninjas in Pyjamas are that team having amassed a superb 16-2 record over their 18 matches thus far. Given that there are 22 games to be played by each team, the team currently in fifth place in the table, cannot catch them even if they were to lose all four of their remaining matches.
With three places in qualifying still up for grabs, it looks very much like a race between four teams for that final trio of qualifying spots. Astralis are currently lying second with a 15-5 record, with Fnatic on 14-4 in third and G2 ESports in fourth with a 12-6 record. However in fifth Natus Vincere have played two games less than G2 ESports and have an 11/5 record.
Team Dignitas, with a 7-9 record can’t be ruled out just yet, but the odds on them qualifying are very slim.
Key matches to come include an Astralis v Fnatic double header in week 9, while Ninjas in Pyjamas will take on G2 Esports twice also in Week 9 which could give the teams below them hope of catching them.
The competition has been equally as fierce, if not more so in the North American qualifiers and as yet, with a round and a half of fixtures still to go, no team has yet confirmed its place in the qualifiers and there is still everything to play for at the top of the table.
Indeed, all of the top seven teams in the table at the moment all have a chance of making one of the top four sports with just four games difference between the top side Luminosity Gaming (14-4) and 7th placed Team Liquid (10-6).
In between them are four teams with a 12-6 record (Selfless Gaming, OpTic Gaming, Cloud9 and NRG eSports, while Renegades lie sixth in the table with an 11-7 record.
What this means is that over the next couple of weeks, all the key clashes that will decide which four of these seven possible teams make the finals, will be taking place. The permutations are almost limitless as to what could happen but with so many key games to come, this does look like a very promising eSports betting market for the next couple of weeks.
Currently, you can bet on the Match Winner market for all of the key ESL Pro League matches at Bet365 Sport for both North American and European qualifying sections. And you can compare action across various eSports bookmakers using this handy eSports betting odds tracker.