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Let's try to analyze and guess the winner

Maciej Firlej

It is arguably the biggest CS:GO tournament in the world, with a prize pool of $850,000 and a chance to qualify for IEM Cologne 2023.

The Group Stage is set up in four groups of six teams, with each team playing their matches once in a best-of-three series. The top two teams advance directly to the Playoffs, while the third-place team and bottom-four teams are eliminated.

Group A

The ESL Pro League Season 17 kicks off on February 22nd in Malta, with 32 teams battling it out for $850,000 and a chance to be crowned CS:GO champions. This season features a brand-new format, with the top eight teams in each group advancing to the Playoffs stage.

There are a wide variety of betting options for this event, including pre-tournament markets like outright winner and group winners, as well as match-day markets like map betting and head to head betting. As we get closer to the tournament, more match-day betting markets will launch at online bookies.

Currently, G2 Esports are the outright favourites at +115 with most esports betting sites, followed by Heroic at +450 and FaZe Clan at +700. The reigning IEM Katowice champions are expected to be hard to beat in Group A, as they have won their last 15 matches and will be playing in a triple-elimination group with eight other teams.

Another team to look out for in Group A is paiN, who are on a three-match winning streak after they took down ex-Villainous. They also had a great performance at the ESEA Winter 2023 Cash Cup North America, where they beat EG White 2-1 in the final. They will be playing without Hampus who is out due to personal reasons, but they should have a good game against Ninjas in Pyjamas who are coming off a disappointing IEM Katowice result.

While paiN and Ninjas in Pyjamas both have decent recent performances, they are unlikely to win their group. The only other team in this group that can challenge paiN is BIG, but their star rifler Florian “syrsoN” Rische is out with a knee injury. This means they will have to rely on the rest of their roster to take them to the finals, but we expect this to be a close match.

Both paiN and Ninjas in Pyjamas will need to be at their best if they want to claim the Group C crown, but we are leaning towards paiN in this match. They are on a three-match winning streak and have a number of talented players that will ensure they can bring their A-game.

Group B

The ESL Pro League is one of the world’s largest CS:GO tournaments. It features 32 teams that compete for a prize pool of $850,000 and the chance to book their spot at IEM Cologne 2023 and BLAST Premier World Final 2023.

The tournament is structured with groups of eight teams, each competing in a triple-elimination format. The best team in each group advances forward to the playoffs, where they will battle it out for a chance to win the Grand Final.

Throughout the season, there are multiple betting markets for CS:GO matches. These include pre-tournament betting markets and match-day betting markets, which are available for both online and mobile bookmakers. The betting options range from map handicaps and head-to-head odds to outright winner and group winner wagers.

While some of these bets can be quite risky, they also offer great value. For example, you can place a -1.5 map handicap on a team, which means they will be expected to win by at least a map margin. This option can be particularly useful for matches where two teams have very similar strengths and weaknesses.

Group B has a few interesting matches, with Heroic and MOUZ both in the running for a RO8. There’s also a big BR derby between Imperial and FURIA Esports, as well as a mid-pack duel between BIG and Complexity.

The group also contains some teams with recent form, such as Outsiders and Fnatic, who have both won a lot of games recently. However, G2 Esports have shown some impressive results lately, especially after they won the IEM Katowice 2023 play-in stage and are a strong contender to advance as the #1 team in this group.

You can watch all of the matches at the ESL Pro League Season 17 live on the official ESL CS GO Twitch channel. The group stage is broadcasted at the same time so you can watch it all in one go if you want to.

The Group Stage is scheduled to start on February 22nd, with the first match taking place at 3:00PM Central Time. It will be streamed on ESL’s main channel and on its B channels on Twitch and YouTube. Community figures like Gaules and 99Damage may also be streaming some of the games on their channels, so you can check out their feeds to get an idea of the game.

Group C

The new ESL Pro League Season 17 is set to feature a number of different teams in the Group Stage, with $850,000 on the line. This will include some of the top-tier teams in CS:GO, including FaZe Clan, Team Vitality, Heroic, and Outsiders, among others.

The group stage will see teams competing in round-robin matches, with the first place team advancing to the quarterfinals, and the second place team securing a spot in the finals. The third and fourth teams will also advance to the playoffs, where they will face off against the other four top teams in a best-of-three series.

One of the groups that will be interesting to watch is Group C, where we have four strong teams that have a great chance to make it out of this group. These teams are ENCE, NiP, OG and Vitality, and we can expect some interesting results from all of them.

ENCE are likely to take the top spot in this group, considering their performance at IEM Dallas 2022 and PGL Major Antwerp 2022. They are the $3.00 favourites to win this group, and they have the edge over the rest of their opponents. However, we believe that NiP and OG can also challenge the top spot in this group, so it's a close call.

Vitality are also a good bet to win this group, and their roster is stacked with strong players. The team is currently ranked eighth in the world and has performed well at IEM Katowice 2023, where they topped their group.

In this group, they've been able to beat 00Nation and Grayhound with a score of 22:18 and 16:6, respectively. That's a good indicator of their current form, and we expect them to do well against Rooster in this matchup.

OG is another team that is worth considering in this matchup, and it has an impressive record against teams like Rooster and 00Nation. They've won 2-0 in three of their last five matches against them, and they also have a high percentage of wins on multiple maps.

We'll have to wait and see what happens in this matchup, but it looks like OG has a slight edge over Vitality at the moment. Both teams have had a few changes in their rosters this week, and that could play a part in the outcome of this matchup.

Group D

The 17th season of the ESL Pro League is set to begin in Malta on February 22 and will see 32 of the best CS GO teams from around the world compete for a share of $850,000 and a spot at IEM Cologne 2023 and BLAST Premier World Final 2023. The event is divided into four groups, each with eight teams and will feature a single round-robin Group Stage before the top three teams advance forward to the Playoffs.

Of the 32 teams, 15 of them are ESL permanent partner teams, with the remaining 14 coming from the company's lower-level tournaments and leagues. This allows ESL to balance the experienced teams and inexperienced teams in the tournament, while allowing new talent to enter the competitive scene and get a chance to play with some of the biggest names in the world.

G2 Esports, Outsiders and Cloud9 look to be the most likely teams to make it out of their group. The reigning IEM Katowice champions are expected to advance as the #1 team, and based on how the bracket is set up, they should do so with ease. The only other team that looks like it could have a chance is Fnatic, but they aren't expected to make the top three.

Another team that has had a bit of a rough start to their 2023 campaign is VP, but they have been in a good run recently. The team has been playing well in the ranked circuit and their god-tier tandem of YEKINDAR and Jame are providing plenty of AWPing power. This is a big advantage against Liquid and can be the key to winning this match.

In other matches, we expect OG to cruise past Grayhound and FaZe to do the same against NiP. VP, on the other hand, will be a difficult team to beat in this group because of their god-tier pairing and strong AWPing.

Outsiders have struggled to perform at a high level in recent events, but they should be able to pick up wins in this group because of their solid form and experience against higher tier teams. Despite this, they haven't been able to defeat Cloud9 in their last five games and that might put them behind the curve.

Group E

The ESL Pro League is an international CS:GO tournament, which sees 32 teams competing for the title of world champion. The winner of the tournament will walk away with $200,000 of prize money and a spot at IEM Cologne 2023.

The tournament will be hosted by Malta and will include the top CS:GO teams from around the globe. Each team will be placed into four groups of eight, and matches will be played in a best-of-three format.

Group E will see Heroic - the reigning IEM Katowice champions - take on FaZe Clan and Team Vitality in a three-map series. The Danish powerhouse is a strong favourite at +200 with esports betting sites, but the competition will be tough.

Despite their lack of recent form, FaZe Clan should be able to put up a good fight against the likes of Vitality and Heroic in this group, but we think the odds are too short for them to win. The defending champs are ranked eight places higher than the other teams in this group and should be too strong to be beaten.

It's a tough group to predict, but the winner will likely go straight through to the quarterfinals and we think they're worth a bet at +300 with Bovada. The other teams in the group will be tough to beat, too.

Team Liquid were the third-best team at IEM Katowice, and they'll have a lot of momentum going into this season's Pro League. However, we think they'll lose their opening match to Natus Vincere.

There's still a lot to be said for Liquid, and it's easy to imagine them getting back on the winning track. We haven't seen them play in a Pro League since 2016, but they did have a decent showing at the StarCraft II LAN last month. They were a bit too far down the bracket for their liking, but they put up some impressive wins against Oliveira and Ryung.

While we didn't get the results we were hoping for at IEM Katowice, Liquid had some solid performances in their other majors this year. Kurum and robin both put up strong showings at the Corrupted Cup, and they'll have another shot at qualifying for the CS:GO Regional Finals this weekend.

Group F

Group F of ESL Pro League Season 17 is home to several of the top teams in the world. The tournament will feature the best CSGO players from Europe, North America and Asia, with a prize pool of $850,000 up for grabs. The tournament will kick off on February 22nd, with the best teams in the world battling it out for a piece of the action.

In this group, we’ll see teams such as G2 Esports, Outsiders and Defiant competing for their share of the hefty prize pool. While these are some of the top names in the business, they won’t have it easy against the competition in Group F.

As is often the case with a group this size, we’re sure to see some high-flying matches that will be well worth watching. However, there are also some less spectacular ones that are likely to go unnoticed.

While it’s no secret that a team with a great name and the ability to execute will likely win a lot of the Group Stage matches, a team with a lesser known player can still make a splash. The team that stands out here is paiN, which won a major CS:GO tournament last year and has been riding a three-match winning streak since.

This South American powerhouse has been playing some great Counter-Strike lately, especially during the ESEA Winter 2023 Cash Cup North America. Their most recent match was a nail-biting win against ex-Villainous, and the team will be looking to continue their form in the coming weeks.

The team is also in the midst of an ongoing rebuild, as the roster lost their star rifler Hampus in late January, and has since reassembled around k0nfig. While k0nfig hasn’t exactly been putting together the best game of his career, his team has still been able to show their mettle at the occasional tournament.

The group has a handful of incredibly interesting teams that will be worth watching, but the match that deserves a closer look is the one between OG and Vitality. Both teams have the skill set to take down any of their rivals, and OG’s performance in this group will be crucial in deciding who goes through to the next round. OG’s recent success has seen them rise to the very top of the ESL rankings, and they will be tough to beat in this group.