The next BLAST Pro event is upon us, this one taking place in beautiful sunny Madrid. And whether you like their goofy format or not, it always presents fertile ground for bettors to make some cash. So, here is a rundown of all the teams with a legitimate chance to take home the title, as well as some of my favorite csgo betting picks for the event.

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“Trophy" Astralis -250

When last we saw our heroes, they were getting manhandled at BLAST Pro Miami, nearly bottoming out in groups with an embarrassing losses to MIBR and FaZe, along with a close loss to the eventual and perennial second place team, Liquid. This is about as vulnerable as we’ve seen Astralis look in the last year and a half, which, combined with the fact that we haven’t seen them in about a month, might make some feel a little nervous about their chances in Madrid. So, I’ll present a case both for and against, and see which case makes me feel persuaded. First, the against:

Astralis has been sitting out for a month. Maybe practicing, maybe not, who knows. While they’ve been resting, the rest of them have been bootcamping for, and then attending, IEM Sydney. This very well could hurt Astralis, as they could be coming into Madrid both rusty and sans momentum, two things which the winner of Sydney will not be struggling with. Furthermore, this event is best of one only, which never bodes well for the assumed best team at an event.

That all being said, Astralis is still obscenely good. They lost eight events last year, which seems like a lot until you realize they won 14. They’ve had a long time to bootcamp and prepare, and should be coming into this event angry, looking to reclaim their spot as the undisputed best team in the world. (Not that anyone should be disputing it now anyway, but still.)

I still feel like the for is more convincing. Astralis definitely look the weakest they have been in a long time, but I don’t see any real threats in the field.

“Trophy" Na’Vi +350

Na’Vi are definitely the right team to pick to upset Astralis at this tournament. They also didn’t attend IEM Sydney, and should have been bootcamping hard to dethrone Astralis. This is the only shot they’ll get at the Danes in the immediate future, and they’ll certainly be motivated to make the most of it. Liquid are coming off a win at IEM Sydney, their first big event win with their current roster. Granted, not a super convincing win, as they needed all five maps to squeak by Fnatic, but a win nonetheless. In a post game interview, Twistzz remarked that Liquid were the clear cut number two team in the world, and were pushing for the number one spot. If Na’Vi plan to shut Liquid up, this will be the place to do it.

S1mple is in good form right now, although what else is new. What Na’Vi really needs, as per usual, is a stand out performance from electronic, and an acceptable one from flamie. Electronic has been underratedly good since the Major, putting up big numbers at StarSeries and BLAST Pro Miami. When he and s1mple are firing on all cylinders Na’Vi starts to look pretty scary.

“Trophy" ENCE +400

On some level, I think ENCE has a better shot at this tournament. Astralis is one of the smartest teams to ever touch the game, which means even though Na’Vi has a transcendent talent on their team, Astralis can gameplan around him, and hit Na’Vi in their weak points. While ENCE doesn’t have a talent like s1mple (although we may be talking about sergej like this someday, so don’t be surprised), they have talent more evenly spread throughout the team.

It’s much harder to game plan for Allu and sergej than it is to game plan for s1mple and electronic, which is where ENCE shines. They play a more Astralis-esque game, although it isn’t a perfect match. The top three players on ENCE all have at least a +120 K/D ratio over the last 3 months, which is significantly better than Na’Vi’s numbers.

The biggest question for ENCE at this tournament is how will Aerial play. His stats look like that of a third option on this team, which is likely due to how frequently he plays as the hard entry. That’s a necessary component for a team like this, but it does leave them with a lack of firepower in the mid round. He or xseven are going to need to step up if they want go toe to toe with Astralis.

“Trophy" NiP +1200

NiP are showing signs of life again, for the first time in a long time. F0rest had a lights out event in Sydney, with one of the best K/D differences of anyone in attendance. The Ninjas played their compatriots and eventual grand finalists Fnatic in a thrilling best of three that went all the way down to the wire, ending 1-2 in Fnatic’s favor.

If f0rest can have a repeat performance in Madrid, NiP could do some real damage. While I don’t think they make for a realistic candidate to win, I can see them stealing a map from Na’Vi and Astralis both. The bottom half of their map pool is questionable, which would make me nervous about putting money down on them in a best of three, but their top half is solid enough to make them a real upset candidate.

“Trophy" Cloud9 +2500

I always forget how weird this roster is. Why is cajunb playing for Cloud9? I don’t know, but it doesn’t really matter. Cloud9 has a 0% win rate on three maps with this roster. Granted, they’ve only played 16 maps with this lineup, but somehow that doesn’t make me feel better about their chances at this event. The only way I’m putting money down on C9 is if someone else at the event is having a complete meltdown, and they have to play Cloud9, or if someone has a stand in or something. This Cloud9 roster is absolutely not equipped to tussle with the big boys at this event, and I imagine the results will reflect that.

“Trophy" Best Bets

NiP +220 vs Na’Vi

NiP is not the kind of team that Na’Vi has trouble, usually. The Swedes don’t play a particularly beautiful or well thought out brand of Counter Strike, instead relying mostly on f0rest to have big games and carry them through. That all being said, and this defies logic to some degree, f0rest is one of the players I can see toeing off with s1mple and coming out ahead. Sure, he’s sort of washed now, but when he’s on his aim is impeccable, and he brings with him over a decade of CS experience. NiP also has a map pool that matches up pretty well against Na’Vi, although that could be said of a lot of teams.

ENCE +140 vs Na’Vi

You might be seeing a pattern emerging here. I think ENCE and Na’Vi are a lot close together in skill than most, both because I think highly of ENCE and lowly of Na’Vi. This is also Na’Vi’s first game of the event, which rarely goes well for them. Getting ENCE at +140 is never a bad thing, unless they’re going up against Astralis, so this might be my favorite wager of the event.

NiP +175 vs ENCE

Pretty good odds for a Swedish team that’s on a roll versus the Finns, who haven’t played in a serious event since the beginning of April. This match will take place right after ENCE plays Na’Vi, and after NiP plays Astralis. This match will largely depend on the momentum of the two teams coming in, so it really depends on how you feel about Na’Vi.

Place Your Blast Pro Series Madrid Bet

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