We're off to the Playoffs! After almost a month of excitement, the Group Stage of ESL Pro League Season 17 has come to an end, leaving just sixteen teams left to fight it out for the grand prize.
ESL Pro League Season 17: Round of 16 schedule and betting odds
16 teams were eliminated from the tournament during the Group Stage, and the remaining 16 will now fight for survival at every stage of the Playoffs. From March 21 until the March 26 Grand Final, the teams will be competing in a Single-Elimination, with all matches being decided under the best-of-three rule. That's with the exception of the Grand Final, of course, which will be a best-of-five match.
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Each of the 16 teams will be competing for their share of the $850,000 prize pool, with the ultimate winner receiving $200,000, 3,000 BLAST Premier Points as well as qualifications for IEM Cologne 2023 and the BLAST World Final.
The Playoffs will begin with the Round of 16 bracket, which features the third and fourth-placed teams from each group from the Group Stage. The third-placed teams will participate as the High Seeds, while the teams who ranked in fourth in each group will participate as the Low Seeds.
And the Round of 16 will kick off at 14:30 GMT when we'll see Natus Vincere (NAVI) going up against 00Nation.
NAVI (1.15) vs 00Nation (4.80)
NAVI had a tougher-than-expected run through the Group Stage, having just survived Group D through their victory in their Mid Bracket Final victory over Team Spirit. Their Group Stage run opened with a shocking 2-1 loss to forZe, despite NAVI having been heavily favoured to defeat the Russian team. Fortunately for the Ukrainian superstar team, NAVI had much better luck in the Mid Bracket, comfortably defeating Astralis and Rare Atom with scores of 2-1 each before earning their place in the Playoffs through the Mid Bracket Final.
00Nation meanwhile just barely avoided elimination in the Group Stage, having earned their last chance to qualify for the Playoffs through their victory in the Group C Lower Bracket Final, where they defeated Ninjas in Pyjamas with a score of 2-1. It was a troubled journey to get there, however, with 00Nation having suffered back-to-back defeats at the hands of both OG and Grayhound Gaming before the team finally found their footing in the lower bracket.
NAVI are the clear favourites to win here, with odds of 1.15 vs 00Nation's 4.80.
That's not the only action to be had at 14:30 on March 21 either. While NAVI and 00Nation go head-to-head, we'll also be treated to a match between FURIA Esports and Fnatic.
FURIA Esports (1.75) vs Fnatic (1.95)
FURIA earned their spot in the Playoffs through Group B, where they emerged victorious in the Mid Bracket Final with a 2-1 victory over BIG in the Mid Bracket Final. Their otherwise strong run through Group B hit a snag in the Upper Bracket Semifinals when the team suffered a 2-0 loss to MOUZ - who themselves went on to lose their Upper Bracket Final match to Heroic. Still, FURIA had better luck elsewhere in Group C, with victories over Imperial Esports, Movistar Riders and BIG to brag about.
Fnatic, meanwhile, just barely made it to the Playoffs. The team emerged victorious in their Lower Bracket Final match against Eternal Fire, capping off a troubled run through Group A. Despite a strong start to the tournament, with Fnatic claiming a 2-0 victory over MIBR, the team soon ran into difficulties. Their 2-0 loss to Outsiders in the Upper Bracket Semifinals saw them falling to the Mid Bracket, while their 2-1 loss to G2 Esports in the Mid Bracket Final saw them facing potential elimination in the Lower Bracket. They may have ultimately lived to fight another day - but do they have what it takes to defeat FURIA?
The odds are in FURIA's favour here, at 1.75 vs Fnatic's 1.95.
Our next pair of matches will take place at 18:00 GMT when we'll see paiN Gaming competing with Team Liquid.
paiN Gaming (3.50) vs Team Liquid (1.25)
paiN Gaming have made it through to the Playoffs through their victory in the Group C Mid Bracket Final, where they claimed a 2-1 victory over Grayhound Gaming through a 2-1 win. Despite an early loss to Ninjas in Pyjamas in the Upper Bracket Quarterfinals, paiN Gaming otherwise pulled off a promising run through the Group Stage - having defeated the likes of Rooster and OG to make it this far. It's a respectable performance, but they're facing tough competition in their Round of 16 debut.
Team Liquid had a tough run through the Group Stage, disappointing their fans with some poor performances in Group D. They kicked off the tournament with a stunning upset 2-0 loss to Rare Atom, despite the odds having been overwhelmingly in their favour. Liquid recovered slightly once in the Mid Bracket, with a 2-0 victory over ATK, before again suffering defeat - this time at the hands of Team Spirit in the Mid Bracket Semifinal. They ultimately earned their spot in the Playoffs through a 2-0 win over Astralis in the Lower Bracket Final. Liquid were ultimately able to turn things around - but they have a long way to go if they want to match their second-place result in ESL Pro League Season 16.
Team Liquid are favoured to win here, with odds of 1.25 vs paiN Gaming's 3.50.
And finally, our second match at 18:00 GMT will see G2 Esports facing off against Movistar Riders.
G2 Esports (1.06) vs Movistar Riders (7.00)
Given their incredible record in recent months, you'd be forgiven for being surprised to see G2 participating in the Round of 16 Bracket. And indeed, it certainly was a surprise to see the Katowice 2023 champions losing to Cloud9 in the Upper Bracket Semifinals, through a 2-0 loss. It was perhaps the first of many upset losses so far this tournament - but G2 have otherwise made up for that disappointing result, having faced off the likes of Eternal Fire, MIBR and Fnatic to make it to the Playoffs.
Movistar Riders, meanwhile, have defied the odds to make it this far. The team had a promising underdog run through Group B, having claimed surprise wins over the likes of Complexity Gaming early in the tournament. Of course, it still wasn't an easy run for Movistar, who suffered defeat at the hands of both Heroic and FURIA Esports, before qualifying for the Playoffs through their victory over BIG in the Lower Bracket Final.
The odds are heavily in G2's favour here, at 1.06 vs Movistar Riders' 7.00.
Four more teams are due to be eliminated from the tournament at the end of the Round of 16 - meaning that we're rapidly approaching the endgame of ESL Pro League Season 17. As such, you'll not want to miss a moment - so make sure you check out our handy upcoming ESL Pro League match schedule. And to make the most of your CS:GO betting experience, why not sign up now to claim your free 100% bonus?