ESL has split its squads into two groups: North America and Europe. First, I will give my predictions for the North American side.
The fourteenth ranked crew is Rush. This amateur team came up from ESL’s semi-pro championship. They are a good semi-pro guys, but simply can’t compete with the top crews.
The thirteenth squad is Luminosity Gaming. The third Brazilian crew, it is full of the talent that Immortals and SK didn’t want. Lead by their AWPer Yel, they really don’t have enough firepower to be a major force.
The twelfth squad is Winterfox. They are the second crew out of Australia behind Renegades. Like Luminosity, they don’t have the firepower to compete.
The eleventh on my power rankings is Selfless. They are a good, decent squad. They can give good, tight matches to the best and even beat some of the lower level crews. However, I don’t see them become a real force in that season.
Number ten on my list is Misfits. These guys won the ESEA premier league to secure a spot in the ESL Pro. Much like Selfless, they can be a good but not a great squad.
The ninth best NA crew is Complexity Gaming. They are one of the long standing mid tier NA guys. CG are always good for a competitive match, but they aren’t good enough to win consistently. They won’t make the playoffs but will do enough to win a few matches.
Eighth on my list is NRG eSports. This crew is owned by many sports stars such as Shaq and A-rod. Another inconsistent mid tier squad, much like Complexity Gaming. However, they are a sleeper pick to maybe sneak into the playoffs.
Renegades were a good team last season, but I don’t think it will last. They are my seventh place in the list. The Australian roster will win its share of matches, but it’s playoff hopes are doubtful. They might be able to sneak in with a hot streak, however.
Now we are getting into the top six, which are my favorites to place ESL Pro bets on. Sixth is Team Liquid. After losing their rock in Hiko, I don’t think they will be able to do much more than barely qualify for the playoffs. Once the pride of NA, now they have been overtaken by better teams.
Fifth up is Immortals, the Brazilian crew. They are good guys lead by Hen1. They can beat any squad on any given day, but they suffer from a young and inconsistent roster. Look for them to secure a spot in the playoffs and maybe make a run if they can click.
My fourth best team is actually a surprise pick that I think will establish themselves as a solid NA power. They are Counter Logic Gaming. They have all the pieces and had an encouraging campaign last season, finishing seventh and barely missing out on the playoffs. I think they can mesh and make a major run this time.
Cloud 9 is my third best in the list. They are the reigning champions of both the ESL Pro League NA group stages, as well as the champs of the whole thing. However, they failed to qualify for the major. C9 has the potential to make it big, but their lack of consistency is infuriating to watch if you are a fan of these guys.
Second is SK gaming. This team was once the pride and joy of NA as consecutive major champs. They have cooled off a bit since their peak, but still boast an impressive lineup. They can make a deep run in the tourney, and maybe even win it all.
The number one team in the NA ESL pro league is Optic Gaming. They were always a massive power but really started to click a few months ago. The addition of a veteran in Hiko is the push they need to establish themselves as the king of North American CS.
Now we must discuss the EU side of the competition. It is important to note that the two groups are independent and only meet in the playoffs. Also, the European bracket is considered stronger than the NA one. For example, a tenth ranked EU crew is better than a tenth ranked NA. Here are my ESL Pro league betting tips for the European group.
Fourteenth on the EU side of the bracket is HellRaisers. They are a strong power in their own right, and they would be top 10 in the NA division. However due to the lack of bad teams in the EU division, they are my fourteenth place.
Thirteenth is LDLC. Made up of the French talent that EnVyUs and G2 didn’t want, they are another good but not great crew. They’ll win a few matches but won’t be major threats.
Squad number twelve is Heroic. Their roster is good and can be competitive, but they simply lack the firepower that some of the top guys have.
Number eleven is Team Kinguin. I think they will have some surprise upsets, but in the end, their lack of consistent firepower will cause them to barely hold on to their spot in the season, let alone make the playoffs.
The tenth crew on my list is Mousesports. With the loss of their star in Niko and already inconsistent results, they are doomed to regress. It’s unfortunate but it’s a sad fact that Mousesports are doomed to fail.
Number nine in my power ranking is Ninjas in Pyjamas. Once a major force, they have never been the same since they lost embarrassingly to Vega Squadron. They might prove me wrong, but could also crash and burn.
Eighth on this list is North. They have Magisk and Konfig, and maybe CajunB if he can get hot, but eventually, MSL’s lack of production will be felt.
Seventh is Virtus.Pro. They always look a bit weak online, and what will choking the major do to their morale? They might make it to the playoffs if can answer these questions and even can make a deep run, but right now I have them outside the playoff bubble.
My Europe ESL Pro league betting predictions for the playoff are next. Sixth is EnVyUs, the leftovers in the G2 super squad. While many might write them off, I think that lead by Scream, they will flourish.
Fifth is Astralis. While putting the major champs so low might seem unfair, I think as their strategies become more well known their firepower will fizzle. They are my surprise regression crew.
Fourth up is FaZe Clan. As I have said before, lead by Karrigan, they no longer look like a headless chicken. Look for them to make a deep run.
Third up is G2. The French squad looks intimidating and a combo of KennyS and Shox ought to strike fear into all their opponents. Another crew that will make a deep run.
Second is Navi. Lead by S1mple, they can flourish in any environment. They will make a nice, deep run.
Our best guys in the Europe league are Fnatic. They have come back together, and their hiatus will help them find the magic that led them to dominate the CS scene for so long. Look out for the old kings to make a reemergence.
I think the overall winner of the tourney will be Optic Gaming. They are the new age force lead by young stars and have a veteran presence in Hiko. They will probably have nice, long odds, so they are a good pick to make a ton of money on ESL Pro League betting.
Thanks for reading this article, I will see you next time, good luck!