The BLAST Premier series returns this week with the 2023 Spring European Showdown, set to take place from March 29 – April 2. The tournament will welcome eight Counter-Strike: Global Offensive teams competing for the lion’s share of the $67,500 prize pool, BLAST Premier points, and a ticket leading to the Spring Final.
Ahead of BLAST Premier Spring European Showdown 2023, esports betting sites have Cloud9 priced as +110 favourites, followed by Fnatic (+350), Ninjas in Pyjamas (+600), OG (+900), and BIG (+1000). The rest of the field consists of 9INE (+1100), Copenhagen Flames (+1800), and Rare Atom (+2500), who are all expected to crash out early.
Can outsider cause a stir?
BIG, OG, and Ninjas in Pyjamas enter BLAST Premier Spring European Showdown 2023 as three CS:GO esports teams expected to do well without challenging for the top spots. That’s a fair assessment, given their lack of notable success this season, but all three squads can compete at the highest level.
Ninjas in Pyjamas seem to have finally settled on a roster at the end of January, when they permanently signed Kristian “k0nfig” Wienecke. But despite fielding what looks like a competent squad, success has proved hard to come by for NiP.
Besides finishing Intel Extreme Masters Katowice 2023 in 13th-16th place, Ninjas in Pyjamas also failed to deliver in ESL Pro League Season 17 (17th-20th). Yet their worst performance of the season happened less than a week ago when NiP crashed out of Intel Extreme Masters Dallas 2023: European Open Qualifier #1 with a 13-16 defeat against 9 Pandas.
There’s a good chance NiP will exit the Spring European Showdown in the first round, where they’re set to face OG. Granted, OG are not in a much better spot than NiP regarding their results in Big Events.
OG has not only failed to achieve anything noteworthy since BLAST Premier World Final 2022 (3rd-4th), but the European squad will also continue to work on adapting to playing without in-game leader Nemanja “nexa” Isaković. The Serb stepped down from the active lineup in February and was replaced by Nikolaj “niko” Kristensen, which could work either way, but it won’t make OG as strong as Cloud9 or Fnatic.
BIG join the list of outsiders with a slight chance to make a deep run but, like OG and NiP, haven’t shown much this season. BIG are always a dangerous squad, yet their best result of 2023 was the semifinals at Elisa Invitational Winter 2023 – in bigger events, they were far less impressive.
On a more positive note, BIG have quite a comfortable bracket, as they only need to defeat Rare Atom and the winner of 9INE vs Fnatic to reach the finals. While not an easy task, we’re getting +550 on BIG to make the big stage. That’s a 16.5% implied probability, which looks very low.
Will it be Fnatic vs Cloud9?
We can look for all the possible scenarios where any of the eight teams win the BLAST Premier Spring European Showdown, but it all comes down to one question: can that team defeat Cloud9 or Fnatic?
Cloud9 are priced as strong favourites, which is hardly shocking considering the Russian squad’s resurgence. After months of shaky showings, C9 woke up in ESL Pro League Season 17, where they reached the finals and put up a strong fight against FaZe Clan (1-3).
It marked their first memorable tournament run since October 2022, when Cloud9 reached the semifinals of ESL Pro League Season 16. But as impressive as C9 looked this month, it’s fair to question whether this is a sign of great things to come, or just a flash in the pan.
Fnatic have yet to leave a mark this season and weren’t too impressive at IEM Katowice 2023 (9th-12th) and ESL Pro League S17 (13th-16th). The only thing Fnatic have to show is winning Elisa Masters Espoo 2022 in November and taking maps off G2 Esports (1-2) and Team Vitality (1-2).
Even though Fnatic are, on paper, much stronger than any team besides Cloud9, we have to consider that over the last month they’ve only beaten MiBR (2-0), Eternal Fire (2-1, 2-1), and IHC Esports (2-1).
BLAST Premier Spring European Showdown 2023 betting predictions
We’re not getting very high odds on Cloud9, but +110 with BetOnline looks like a fair offer considering the level of opponents they have to face. Beating Copenhagen Flames should come easy, and with the form they’ve shown, C9 can easily make it past the winner of Ninjas in Pyjamas vs OG.
From there, Cloud9 only need to defeat whichever team makes it out of the other side of the bracket, where things can get messy. Barring any major upsets, BIG and Fnatic should face off in the semifinals – which, based on the two teams’ recent showings, looks like anyone’s game.
It’s doubtful for Rare Atom to upset a tactically sound team like BIG, so we’re essentially getting +550 on BIG to defeat Fnatic and reach the finals, which is as absurd as it sounds. In a perfect world, Fnatic and Cloud9 face off in the finals, but from a betting perspective, taking Cloud9 to win it all and BIG to reach the finals is the right move.
Cloud9 outright winner
BIG to reach finals