As Astralis vs Sharks Esports gets the Group B action started at the ECS Season 8 Finals in Texas, here's what you need to know, including live stream information, latest betting odds and predictions
AVANGAR picked Astralis to be in the group opposite them, landing Sharks Esports with a matchup with the Danish powerhouse in their opening BO1 in Arlington, Texas.
Astralis vs Sharks is due to start at 6pm GMT / 7pm CET / 1pm ET / 10am PT on Thursday, November 28th, 2019.
The road to Arlington
Astralis only played the fourth series (out of five) but ran the gauntlet to win the week and secure their spot. They 2-0'ed a M1X roster that have just signed with Team Secret earlier, they 2-0'ed FaZe Clan, and they edged out BIG 16-14 on Train to win the third map of the grand final.
Sharks Esports' path to reach ECS Season 8 Finals is more interesting. They qualified through the Challenger Cup, then for the LAN finals by having the most prize money from the first two series combined.
Picture: StarLadder / Flickr
They finished second in both Series 1 and Series 2. Series 1 saw them 2-0 INTZ, 2-0 Team Liquid, and then get beaten 2-0 by NRG Esports (yes this was before the transfer) in the grand final.
In Series 2 they 2-0'ed The Quest, beat Cloud 9 2-1, and then lost 2-0 to ATK in the grand final. However, since neither NRG or ATK played in both of the first two Series, Sharks Esports was able to accumulate more prize money than both of them with their two second place finishes, thus locking in their spot in the Season 8 Finals.
Who to watch
Nicolai "dev1ce" Reedtz is in top-five form once again. When the Astralis vs Sharks live stream begins, expect Astralis to look to his abilities to lead them as a favorite, but the fact that anyone on Astralis can pop off at any time is precisely what makes them so dangerous.
Picture: Copyright ESL / Carlton-Beener
Ignacio "meyern" Meyer is the young Argentinian prodigy that has more potential (in my opinion) than any other young talent in South America. Look for him to play a big role in Sharks trying to pull an upset in their opening match.
Also Luca "Luken" Nadotti his Argentine compatriot has broken Reddit a couple of times in recent memory with FPL plays. Will we see anything like that to steal the SA side a crucial round?
Astralis vs Sharks predictions
Mirage is a strong map for Sharks, but it's Astralis's permaban. Their map pool likely isn't deep enough to bait Astralis into a pick they want, but you never know.
Scoreline predictions for each map are below. The outcome of the banning phase is so crucial in BO1s, and this match is no different. I don't think Sharks have as much of a chance on super structured and strat heavy maps with Danny "zonic" Sørensen at the helm, but more "puggy" maps like Dust II and Vertigo could be ripe for upsets.
Nuke: 16-9 Astralis
Dust II: 16-13 Sharks
Inferno: 16-11 Astralis
Vertigo: 16-14 Sharks
Mirage: Astralis Permaban
Train: 16-7 Astralis
Overpass: Sharks Permaban
Don't forget, you can find the full ECS Season 8 Finals schedule updated throughout the tournament.