When you have a roster that has stayed together as long as the Virtus.pro (VP) squad has, one is bound to see the team go through peaks and troughs in terms of performance. Without a doubt, the past few months has been a low one for the Polish squad. Following their semi-final finish at the PGL Major in Kraków, Poland, Virtus.pro put together a string of losses including to some tier-2 teams. This led to VP dropping to Premiere in the ESL Leagues and early exits in a number of tournaments such as the ELeague Premier Groups. They had even dropped out of the top 10 rankings for several months.
This air of a subpar Virtus.pro could be felt by any netizen of the CSGO community. The twitter feed of TaZ signalled a dark view Virtus.pro’s performance from even within the team. Below is a more sombre tweet by him following their loss to Immortals in the semifinals of the Kraków Major.
It is in this setting that VP entered the arena of EPICENTER 2017 in St. Petersburg, Russia. With big names like Astralis or Faze, few had any high expectations for Virtus.pro at this event. And yet, the polish squad saw an incredible resurgence and all but claimed the trophy. In the Grand Finals, VP brought the eventual champions SK to the brink. The series reached all 5 games with several overtimes, including two in the final game. The road to the finals for VP was not an easy one either, having to face the current Major champions Gambit; Faze, the #1 ranked team going into the event; and a strong-looking G2 esports team. Virtus.pro was beginning to look like Virtus.plow again.
This polarization of expectation against performance is a better’s dream. The community’s skepticism of VP’s performance showed in the odds of any bets on ESP. For every match up, Virtus.pro was a huge underdog. In the graph below, you’ll see that the highest odds VP ever got was 38% in the Grand Finals — this was after showing some strong performances vs. Gambit, Faze, and G2.
Betting on VP for the matches they won would have resulted in staggering returns, with almost a 5:1 in their match against Faze. If you had bet €10.00 (€50.00 total) on all of the matches VP played at this event, including the losses, you would have won a total of €97.87 (a 95.74% increase). Looking specifically at the loss against SK in the Grand Final. Betting on VP with odds at 38% would not have been an unwise choice. With the series being as tight as it was, such skewed odds were clearly not indicative of how well Virtus.pro performed in the finals or at this event as a whole.
In many ways, Virtus.pro defied a lot of expectations with the outcome of this event. Still, in the long run, was it all that surprising? This is not the first time in the long history of the polish team that they have had a dip in performance. Yet in the past, they have always shown resilience and bounced back. Perhaps it was just a matter of time before the plow had its resurrection. Having a keen insight into the long-term track record of Virtus.pro could have led one to capitalize in big ways on the odds at ESP for EPICENTER 2017.
The other side of the Grand Final at EPICENTER 2017 saw SK Gaming claim the trophy. Like Virtus.pro, they also had had a few less-than-ideal results, which eventually lead to felps stepping aside into a sub role and bringing in boltz in on loan from Immortals. While boltz was previously on the squad in 2015 during the Luminosity days, there were a lot of questions as to how he would have meshed with the team.
Concerns over the performance of this slightly modified SK were quelled early into the tournament. Boltz seemed to have not miss a beat in rejoining his old teammates as SK claimed victory after victory, eventually resulting in the championship.
Despite the storyline of boltz’s return, coldzera’s performance stole the spotlight (as he often does). On the fantasy esports front, the numbers behind his performance were mind-boggling. His statline included 295 ESP Points, dwarfing the the 217 and 198 points that took up 2nd and 3rd place respectively. He also claimed the top spot on the points-per-game metric with 24.58, ahead of ELiGE’s 17.60 in second. Most importantly, he was also the second most salary-efficient player with 10.93 points/$100 salary, despite costing $2700 to pick. In almost every other metric, coldzera either continued his domination or hotly contested the first spot. Winning any of our fantasy pools for this event would have almost certainly required coldzera.
While Neo of Virtus.pro was unable to put up as many overall ESP fantasy points as coldzera, he was still one of the best picks in the tournament given how well he performed in relation to his statistical average. Despite only costing $1700 in salary, Neo garnered 198 points which was enough for third best. This combination meant that he had the highest salary-efficiency with 11.64 points/$100 salary. Selecting a cheaper but salary-efficient pick like Neo also meant that you could easily afford picks like coldzera into your lineup. The combination of these two picks was made by the majority of the players placing in the top 10 of our pools.
In Thorin’s Exclusive Pool for EPICENTER, the top set of picks went to Kaster34PT who scored 854 points. Along with the coldzera & Neo picks, Kaster34PT also bolstered his team with Fallen who also had a strong performance both in points and salary efficiency. Interestingly, however, of Kaster34PT’s picks, only 2 (coldzera & Neo) were also in the best possible team. That selection of players would have been as follows:
As seen above, there was a lot of room between the 1st place in Thorin’s Pool and the optimal set of picks. At 970 points, the ideal set of picks was 116 points ahead of Kaster34PT’s, which was a 13.5%~ increase.
Making the ideal fantasy team is about striking a balance between expensive and cheap players, of course. But picking the right ones within each category is where the difference between a great set of picks and a poor set comes in. Regardless of salary, it is pivotal that that pick gets you the best bang for your buck, regardless if they’re a star player or a stable one on a strong team.
What kind of insights do you have into esports betting and fantasy? We’d love to hear your thoughts. You can continue the discussion with us over on twitter!