The Intel Grand Slam is a tough nut for CS bettors to crack. It requires bets placed with the next year and a half in mind, rather than the next week or month. Here are our picks for the Intel Grand Slam.

The 2019 Intel Grand Slam is one of the most prestigious titles in esports. Since Liquid won the second Grand Slam, the requirements have changed somewhat, but the idea is still basically the same. To win the Intel Grand Slam, a team needs to win multiple IEM and DreamHack Masters events.

“Trophy" Intel Grand Slam Format

Due to the ease with which Liquid completed the second Grand Slam, the format has been changed somewhat to restrict the requirements. Now, to win the Grand Slam, teams must win one of an IEM World Championship, ESL One Cologne, or an ESL/DreamHack Major.

Predicting this sort of event is interesting, as we have to keep in mind the longevity of the teams. It’s not just who will win tomorrow, or next month, but who will be winning next year.

Team Liquid (-118) 

Odds by as of 9/9/19

Team Liquid are the favorites for the Grand Slam, for obvious reasons. They’ve already won a qualifying event, and they’ve been the best team in the world for some time now. The combination of EliGE, Twistzz, Stewie and NAF makes for an incredibly potent offense and defense, which means they’re able to win smaller tournaments even on their off days.

What worries me about Liquid is that their best days might be behind them. Every great team falls off eventually, and putting money on Liquid would essentially be betting on at least six more months of continued dominance.

Astralis (+125)

Astralis at +125 makes a lot of sense. Their form has been subpar for the last couple months, but they’re still one of the best teams in the world when they’re on. We know they can win several tournaments in a row, as they did so in 2018. They have more than enough firepower to win any given tournament.

While the Danes have been out of form through most of 2019, they’re still the same team they were when they won back to back Majors.

Natus Vincere (+600)

It’s interesting to me that Na’Vi is rated so highly. While yes, they do have s1mple, they haven’t been a consistent threat to win tournaments really ever. I rarely pick them on a per tournament basis, so I definitely wouldn’t want to put money on them winning multiple big LANs in a row.

Na’Vi is likely planning to dump Zeus after BLAST Pro Moscow, and replacing him with another fragger. Boombl4 was an IGL on his last team, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he picks the mantle back up on Na’Vi. They just seem too volatile to win tournaments like they’d need to.

Team Vitality (+1000)

Vitality suffer from Na’Vi syndrome as well. ZywOo is obviously incredible, and Vitality have a few tournament wins in the bag (although none that count for the Grand Slam). But I don’t trust the supporting cast at all. While they do have their good games, apEX and NBK aren’t enough to make Vitality a top tier team.

The biggest problem for Vitality is that there’s little room to improve. Unless KennyS becomes available or they strike gold in tier two of the French scene, there’s really no better options for them to pair with ZywOo.

ENCE (+2000)

This is a team that has some serious upside in these odds. ENCE are on the precipice of a big roster move, one that increases their upside by a pretty wide margin. The addition of suNny makes them an even scarier adversary, at least in theory. That extra firepower will let them go toe to toe with teams like Astralis and Liquid, provided all their players can play the looser style that they want to favor moving forward.

ENCE are betting that extra firepower will compensate for them losing their IGL that brought them into the top five. While that isn’t a gambit that pays off often, it could be the oomph that ENCE need to go from contender to dynasty.

FaZe Clan (+2000)

FaZe Clan absolutely should not be here. It looks like they’re kicking their IGL after the Berlin Major, they will likely be making roster moves in addition to that, Olof and GuardiaN are getting old, NiKo is losing his luster. I guess it makes sense to have them here because their organization has money, and so in theory they could make upgrades to stay relevant for the next year. However, FaZe has shown reluctance to open up their wallets for this team. I wouldn’t put any money on FaZe at all.

MIBR (+5000)

This is a pick only for the bravest of people. Putting moneh on MIBr would mean you have a lot of faith in FalleN, and in KNG. I’m as big of an MIBR fan as anybody, and this prospect makes me nervous. While I certainly think they have a better shot at winning the Grand Slam than FaZe, and I think +5000 is solid odds for the Brazilians, I don’t think there’s much chance that MIBR can win four S tier events over the next year or so.

NRG (+5000)

NRG are another interesting dark horse. They’ve got the talent, and they’ve got the IGL. They have players with championship experience, and they have the funding to stay relevant for a while. Stanislaw has always been someone who had the potential to lead a Major winning team, and this is his opportunity to prove it.

Mousesports (+6600)

Yet another interesting team. Mousesports are a lot like NRG actually, an experienced IGL surrounded by impressive young talent in conjunction with a veteran player. They’ve been anointed as the cool hipster team by the scene at large, and there’s a lot of faith around the scene that they’re the next team up.

For this bet, I like Astralis at +125, ENCE at +2000, and NRG at +5000. All of those bets provide value, with the risk factor increasing as you go along. Astralis at +125 seems like an undervaluation to me. Liquid only has a one event lead, and I think there’s a better chance that the Danes improve than Liquid maintaining. ENCE are making roster moves that could payoff big time, and that might make that +2000 look like a joke in three months. NRG have some of the best upside in the CS:GO scene right now, and they should scare every team in tier one right now. It wouldn’t surprise me to see them taking tournaments left and right.

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