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The Legends Stage of this year's CS:GO IEM Rio is underway
  1. Esports

Esports: ESL Pro League Season 16 Thursday and Friday Match Previews

Group A action continues in Season 16 of the ESL Pro League with plenty of power-clashes between teams who have made a mainstay in this event over the last five seasons.

The action continues beginning on Thursday and rolls throughout the rest of the week.

This group has plenty of teams that could make an impact once the playoffs arrive. Natus Vincere and Team Vitality are just a couple of teams that lead this opening Group. Thursday sees Natus Vincere face off with Fnatic along with a big match between NIP and Team Vitality.

The action doesn't stop as there is a quick turn around into Friday as Natus Vincere takes on Endpoint to open that day's action.

Followed by matches featuring NIP, Team Spirit, Team Vitality and Fnatic. Group A should be very exciting, and these matches should prove to be some of the most important of ESL Pro League Season 16.

Natus will have to put up a fight against Fnatic

What

Natus Vincere v Fnatic, CS:GO ESL Pro League Season 16

Where

Salini Resort, Malta

When

10:00 ET, Thursday 1st September 2022

How to watch

ESL Twitch Channel

Odds

Na'Vi -1.5 -137, Fnatic +1.5 +100

Natus Vincere flexed its muscles in their opening match of ESL Pro League Season 16, as the team was able to easily take care of business against Team Spirit. They were able to win two maps to get the job done. Na'Vi won on Nuke 16-11, and then closed it out on Dust II with a 16-9 win.

Fnatic had its way with NIP in their opening match as they held the Ninjas to four points on both maps. Fnatic won on Ancient 16-4 and then closed it out on Overpass 16-4. Fnatic was led by 42 kills from Fredrik 'roeJ' Jorgensen who has been their top player since joining the organization.

In a surprising fashion Natus was able to get outstanding numbers from each of their five players led by 37 kills apiece from both S1mple and Perfecto. It was a big surprise performance from Perfecto as he has usually been one of the mid-level players for the team.

Both teams are clearly among the favorites in Group A to get through to the Round of 12. In fact, both Fnatic and Natus Vincere might have a shot to win the whole ESL Pro League. This match will be back and forth but leaning Natus -1.5 is the right play to back.

Vitality clear favorite against NIP

What

Ninjas in Pyjamas v Team Vitality, CS:GO ESL Pro League Season 16

Where

Salini Resort, Malta

When

13:30 ET, Thursday 1st September 2022

How to watch

ESL Twitch Channel

Odds

NIP +175, Vitality -250

Ninjas in Pyjamas came out flat in their opening match of Group A as they failed to secure a victory against Fnatic. NIP looked flat as they only scored 4 points on Ancient and Overpass losing both maps soundly.

As for Vitality they looked strong against Endpoint as they were able to secure a 2-0 win. Vitality was able to win on Vertigo 16-12, before closing Endpoint out on Inferno 16-5. Vertigo was a good map for ZywOo as he finished with 38 kills. He didn't quite have the same charge on Inferno, as apex led the way with 23 kills.

REZ looks to be the only player playing at a level that is anywhere near competitive for the Ninjas as he was the most consistent player on both maps for the Ninjas. He finished with 13 kills during both maps. That isn't going to be enough firepower against Vitality.

The Ninjas are going to have a tough time avoiding a 0-2 start to Group A. Vitality is a must bet for the victory in this match.

Edge goes to Team Spirit against NIP

What

Ninjas in Pyjamas v. Team Spirit, CS:GO ESL Pro League Season 16

Where

Salini Resort, Malta

When

10:00 ET, Friday 2nd September 2022

How to watch

ESL Twitch Channel

Odds

NIP -150, Spirit +110

The Ninjas have likely had the hardest path in Group A of ESL Pro League Season 16, and their week only gets more challenging as they face Spirit on Friday's action.

Spirit couldn't quite get the job done in their opening match against Natus Vincere as they lost in two maps. The first map was Nuke which they lost 16-11. They followed that up with a 16-9 loss on Dust II. They certainly had a more productive start to the season, then NIP.

Spirit has relied on strong matches from Igor 'w0nderful' Zhdanov who had the best overall match from both teams in their last match. He finished +14 in the k/d ratio and finished with 44 kills.

The Ninjas lack the firepower to even hang with the other teams in Group A, and Team Spirit clearly has the edge in this contest.

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