Real Luck Group Ltd (CVE:LUCK), which operates the esports betting site Luckbox, has said it is seeing an increase in activity ahead of next week’s IEM Katowice international Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) esports tournament.
Starting February 16, 2021, the world’s top 24 CS:GO teams will compete over two weeks for US$1 million, including a top prize of US$400,000.
The tournament is held in Katowice, Poland, but due to the coronavirus (COVID-19), teams will play on-location across Europe and no fans will be in attendance. This is the second year that the virus has deprived fans of watching in person, but the grand final of last year’s tournament drew more than 1 million viewers, according to Reuters.
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Social distancing hasn’t stopped esports fans from getting in their wagers, particularly after many large esports events have been cancelled or postponed amid the pandemic.
“CS:GO fans have been starved of action for much of the past 12 months and IEM Katowice has a special place in their hearts,” Metodi Zaburtov, director of Sportsbook at Luckbox said in an interview with European Gaming.
“Data from previous years shows us that there is a significant uptick in CS:GO betting at this time of year thanks to IEM Katowice. This is largely due to the quality and popularity of the teams involved, the high-profile nature of the event and intense nature of the competition – with so many matches being played over two weeks.
“The fact that the tournament is online is a pity but esports fans have shown a strong willingness to continue to back their favourite teams and try to pick winners in such tournaments throughout the past year. We expect that to be the case even more for IEM Katowice.”
According to Odds Shark as of February 2, among the teams, Astralis is a slight favorite at +240 odds, followed by Vitality at +270. Defending champions Natus Vincere comes in at +500
Zaburtov speculated in the European Gaming interview that there may be value further down the betting sheet.
“I think it’s worth looking at some teams that have been very strong during warm-up tournaments. Complexity are on fire and available at odds of [+3000], while Big at [+1000], Virtus.pro [+1100] and Gambit [+3300} look great value. Also, the underachievement of the top two teams — Vitality and Astralis — in recent weeks is hardly great preparation. We have seen evidence to suggest that online tournaments lead to more shock results, with a noticeable series of outcomes going as predicted by the odds.”
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