Counter-Strike has become a fast favourite amongst punters looking to make a little on the side in the esports scene – the game is simple to follow with high octane action and plenty of household star players, as well as having a huge following thanks to big names in sporting like Neymar Jr who has been streaming Counter-Strike for a number of years. But there’s certainly a nuance to betting on Counter-Strike and particularly at a major event like IEM Katowice 2021 where you can place wagers at, so what should you know before placing a wager?

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The group stages aren’t too impactful – Whilst the group stages go onto to determine who’ll be playing in the knockout rounds, viewers shouldn’t take too much in the results of the teams that out qualify each other. Some are certainly better during the group stages, others may be holding back strategies until the later knockout rounds, and others may just need a small warming up period. Take the groups at face value for performance, as many will certainly step up their performance later on, and performances will certainly change throughout the course of the event.

Don’t discount the previous winners – Whilst there are the big favourites for IEM Katowice with those being in the likely names of Na’Vi and Astralis this year, it would be foolish to discount those who have previously won a major. Those who have won before having done so for a reason, and whilst they may not be performing at their prime or peak, the players certainly have the calibre to step up to the plate when it’s most needed and could certainly put in a surprise performance to take many off guard.

This counts for the underdogs, too – You have to be very good to qualify for a major in the first place, and all of these teams have a long history of playing against each other with both big wins and big losses – whilst it’s easier to look at the previous winners to seek an easy bet, don’t discount the underdogs either as they can certainly step it up when they need to, and one good event for many of the players can change the fortunes of many.

IEM Katowice 2021 takes place at the end of February so there’s still plenty of time to do a little research into how to best choose your bets – it’s still unknown whether the event will be played online or offline, but a last minute change could have an impact too so it’s important to keep an eye on this – it’ll certainly be an exciting event to kickstart the year however.