It seems I made a very big blunder when I said that the Blast Pro Finals was the last big tournament for CS:GO for 2019. I did not notice that Epicenter was just looming around the corner when I made that announcement. Well, for you guys who thought cannot make last-minute bets for a holiday payday, well this is good news.
Epicenter 2019 will be closing out the year for CS:GO on the premier tournament scale. This event will have a $500,000 prize pool. The winner of the event will go home $250,000 richer. What a nice way to end the year right? The tourney will be held in the Crocus Expo Hall in Mother Russia’s capital, Moscow. The tournament proper will start on the 17th of December and will end on the 22nd. If you are also a Dota 2 fan, then you will be plenty busy since it has the same tournament dates as the World Pro Invitational in Singapore.
Let’s check the list of participants and betting predictions for the 2019 Moscow Epicenter.
A total of 8 squads will be competing for half a million prize pool. There were 4 direct invite spots while the remaining spots were secured from qualifiers in the EU, CIS, and China. The directly invited teams are Avangar and Natus Vincere which are both from the CIS, Evil Geniuses from NA and the French roster Team Vitality.
The Danish squad Heroic and Mousesports secured their spots from the EU qualifiers. Forze, the CIS newcomers secured their spot on their regional qualifiers. And a brand new squad will make a debut in the global CS:GO scene by winning the Chinese qualifiers, EHome.
There has been a single roster replacement in the tournament. Fnatic was supposed to attend the tourney when they won one of the spots on the European qualifier. However, they decided to extend their vacation so they vacated the spot. Mousesports was chosen to replace them in the tournament.
The format of the tourney follows one of the most standard event formats in the CS:GO scene. The group stages will be double elimination and will be played in best of 3. Three teams from each group will advance to the playoffs while one from each group will be eliminated. The winners from each group will advance directly to a semi-final seed while the second and third teams get a quarter-final seed.
Epicenter 2019 Predictions
From how this group is stacked up, the team that has the biggest chance to secure the semi-final seed and win their bracket is the French squad, Team Vitality. They have been pretty consistent during the past 6 months and have placed fairly well in a lot of big tournaments. A close second to them and the only one who has a chance to kick them off the spot would be Na’Vi.
With GuardiaN returning to their fold, they have been a strong team on paper. On tournaments though, that has yet to be seen, although GuardiaN is adjusting well to his new environment. The loss of Edward and Zeus has really messed up Na’Vi’s team synergy. If they manage to fix that, then they will surely become a contender in the future.
Tough luck for EHome to be placed on this group. They would be playing against squads that have been doing this for a lot of years. What’s even worse is that their opening match will be up against the French giants. Being the new kids on the block, I think we will see the huge difference in their gap in skill.
If they end up playing against Heroic in the eliminations match, I will be giving the edge to Heroic since the Danes have been playing a lot longer in the CS:GO scene and have the experience on big tournaments to back it up. If only EHome was grouped up with Forze, they would have had a chance. But with Vitality as their opening match and most likely Heroic on the eliminations, they have a very slim chance of getting out of the group and go to the playoffs.
Opening Match Picks
Team Vitality vs. Ehome –Team Vitality
Na’Vi vs. Heroic – Na’Vi
Now, this is a Group of Death. All of the competitors here have had experience playing in big tournaments throughout the year. The most decorated out of all of them would be Evil Geniuses though and I think they will be the one coming out on top. They have been a very strong team lately, even during their NRG days before EG acquired them. After an organization with better management acquired them, they have just been on an upward spike. A close second to them would be Mousesports, who is actually going to be playing the Grand Finals match against Fnatic in the ESL Pro League.
Mouz has recruited a lot of quality players when they signed Woxic from Hell Raisers and Karrigan from Faze earlier in the year. However, Mouz might be fatigued coming into this tourney since they would only have a couple of days of downtime and would still need to travel to be able to participate in this event, so Avangar might be able to edge them over and take the second place. Still a long shot but only one could hope, right?
Forze is in the same position as Ehome as the squad that will not come out alive in this Group of Death. If I were to pick between both CIS squads, I would obviously pick Avangar. They got Jame in there who has been in a lot of CS:GO montages on YouTube lately, and overall, they just have more experience than Forze. I mean not to knock on the CIS youngbloods, Forze did come in second during Blast Pro Moscow, but it was also Avangar who won that event.
I still think they are still too inexperienced and it is too early to be able to challenge a team like Mouz or EG that have been winning Major tournaments. Also, Forze’s opening match would be against EG, so it is most likely that they will be knocked down to the elimination matches. Their opponents on the decider matches will be a difficult one either way since it is going to be either Avangar or Mouz. If I were to bet, I would bet on Avangar or Mouz before I would wager on Forze.
Opening Match Picks
Forze vs. Evil Geniuses – Evil Geniuses
Avangar vs. Mousesports – Mousesports
If you have your own Epicenter 2019 CS:GO betting predictions, then share them in the comments below.