Natus Vincere didn't make it out of the Group Stages - that is the biggest shocker of the CIS leg on the Road to Rio. To be fair, forZe also failed to make it out of the Group Stages, so the six teams we profile heading into the Playoffs is full of dark horses.
For current betting odds for the Road to Rio CIS matches - check out esportsbettingtop.com.
Team Spirit (1st in Group A)
When we look at teams that should do well, and ignore NaVi and forZe, we look to Team Spirit. They have been a quiet powerhouse in the CIS region for awhile now. They might not perform well on the world stage, like their 13th-15th place finish in the ESL Pro League, but when it comes to regions they know what they are doing and that recently netted them a solid B-Tier placing in our CSGO Tier Rankings. Team Spirit is now the team to beat.
Winstrike Team (2nd in Group A)
This squad doesn't resemble the Winstrike Team you might be used to from the FACEIT Major, but it does include a former major winner in Hobbit (from Gambit at the time of the win) who is on loan from HellRaisers. Full of familiar names form the CIS scene; bondik, Hobbit, KrizzeN, and hooch - Winstrike has come out once again and proved that they can stand with the top CIS teams.
Nemiga Gaming (3rd in Group A)
Nemiga took the first shot at forZe, beating them 2-0 (16-9, 16-11) and sending them spinning in the downwards spiral thats aw them crash out of the Group Stage. The majority Belarusian team recently in January acquired speed4k, who competed in the most recent major with upset-team DreamEaters. Much like DreamEaters, I think Nemiga might have hit their limit in this tournament.
Hard Legion Esports (1st in Group B)
All three of the teams advancing from Group B tied in win-loss records with 3-2. Hard Legion were the final nail in the coffin of Natus Vincere, sending them home with a 2-0 upset (16-14, 19-16). Before this tournament Hard Legion had been struggling to post good results, missing out on the podium more times than not. They managed to scrape themselves into a position at the top of the group and get to skip the Quarterfinals.
Virtus.Pro (2nd in Group B)
The only other team, in addition to Team Spirit, to get a B-Tier ranking in our CSGO Tier Rankings. The roster, previously known as AVANGAR, were the runner-ups in the most recent major in Berlin, ultimately falling to Astralis during their reign of terror. Since then AVANGAR/VirtusPro have had spots of success, but 2020 has been ultimately dry for them - will they turn it around on the Road to Rio?
Syman Gaming (3rd in Group B)
A brand new Syman than the one we saw in Berlin, with the addition of mou (formerly of Gambit Esports) and kreaz (formerly of...quiet a few teams). Despite their best players being taken off to other places, Syman Gaming have managed to still post decent recents in the CIS region, but still nothing to write home about.
Virtus.pro vs. Nemiga Gaming
The obvious team to win in this game is Virtus.Pro, but nothing is ever a foregone conclusion in Counter-Strike. Taking a look at esportsbettingtop.com you would think it was a foregone conclusion with all betting sites having Virtus.Pro at an average of 1.32 odds (at the time of writing). It is likely that we see AVANGAR/VirtusPro on the podium once again.
Winstrike Team vs. Syman Gaming
This match will be a lot closer than the first one. The odds on esportsbettingtop.com are split right down the middle (at the time of writing). I would give the edge to Winstrike Team purely because they have the higher caliber players that are more proven in the high-stress playoff position.