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Na’Vi, FaZe Clan Favorites to Win IEM Cologne

One of the most prestigious Counter-Strike tournaments in the world is back – IEM Cologne is being played at the Lanxess Arena, where it belongs. The Cathedral of Counter-Strike, as it is known, last hosted a tournament before the COVID-19 pandemic, and its return as the host is among the bigger highlights of this edition, given the unparalleled atmosphere that it has provided in the past.

Of course, key to that experience will be the presence of CS:GO bigwigs like Natus Vincere, FaZe and Cloud9 who have been marked as early tournament favorites in the outright Sportsbook odds. Neither of these teams will feature in the tournament until the group stages, which begin July 7, two days after 16 teams battle it out in the play-ins.

Natus Vincere (+195) is the defending champion and currently offers the shortest outright Sportsbook odds, although FaZe isn’t too far behind with betting odds of +220 to win the tournament. The last edition of the IEM tournament happened in Dallas earlier this year when Cloud9 won in comprehensive fashion; they are value picks on the Cologne outright odds table at the moment with odds of +375, with ENCE (+425) and Heroic (+700) rounding out the top five.

Make sure to check out our guide on How to Bet on CS:GO and let’s take a look at the event in more detail.

Odds to Win IEM Cologne
Natus Vincere+195
FaZe Clan+220
G2 Esports+1000

Odds as of June 30 at Sportsbook

Favorites To Win the IEM Cologne 2022 Title

Natus Vincere (+195)

There are few ways this year can go any better than it already has for Natus Vincere. They’re coming in fresh off a victory at the BLAST Premier spring finals, which made them the second team to seal qualification for the BLAST Premier world finals that will close off the year in December.

Of course, they could have sealed that spot a little earlier at the PGL Major in Antwerp, where they dominated the tournament with an 87.5 percent win rate right up till the semifinals before falling 2-0 to FaZe in the grand final.

Nevertheless, their last two S-Tier tournaments have resulted in winnings of $350,000 and the kind of form that makes it seem inevitable that they will at least be in the grand final at Cologne come the middle of July.

In the larger picture, their Ukrainian-Russian roster could have been a real challenge for Natus Vincere this year, but they’ve navigated those waters admirably. They did have to bench long-term in-game leader Boombl4 in May because of the goings-on in his personal life, but his replacement sdy has filled in adequately as the superstars in s1mple and b1t have gone on a rampage lately. There is a lot of glory that still awaits this team in what has already been a great year.

FaZe Clan (+220)

FaZe is perhaps the only other team this year that is performing at the levels that Natus Vincere have hit. Having qualified directly to IEM Cologne 2022 as the top-ranked team in the Road to Cologne EU leg, every tournament in the lead-up has been about consolidating their form.

That has involved an annihilation of Natus Vincere in the finals of the PGL Major in Antwerp, which would typically have made them the absolute favorites ahead of Cologne. It didn’t quite materialize that way, however, because they put on a disappointing showing at the Blast Premier spring finals, partly because they had already sealed qualification to the Blast Premier world finals by then thanks to the Antwerp triumph.

Even so, their IEM Cologne title odds of +220 put them more or less on par with the favorites with an implied probability of 31.3 percent of going on to clinch the title. The title at Cologne has evaded them over the last few years, though, and that is the only red flag we spot when we look at the odds. They will have to break a jinx to win the tournament and, on form, they look more likely to do it than they ever have.

Value Picks To Win In The IEM Cologne 2022 Odds

Cloud9 (+375)

Cloud9 was crowned champion of the IEM Dallas tournament most recently, their biggest result since their return to CS:GO after more than a year through the acquisition of Gambit Esports’ Counter-Strike team.

In the immediate aftermath of that return, it seemed like an ambitious project – they finished in the 12th-14th bracket at PGL Antwerp in their first S-Tier tournament. Since then, their two tournaments have yielded podium finishes, with the championship at Dallas and a 3rd-4th finish at the Roobet Cup earlier this month.

It seems like the starting troubles are out of the way, and while there are a whole number of teams that could cause them problems – ENCE, G2 and Astralis, for instance – we think that at these odds, they offer tremendous value.

Betting Strategy For Sportsbooks Of IEM Cologne 2022

The format of this tournament – with the number of teams in the play-in stage and the frenzy before we get into the group stages and playoffs – is very conducive to upsets and wild-card results.

With that being the case, we suggest going the safe route in your pre-tournament wagers and banking on the top two favorites, at least until we head into the first round of the group stage.

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