CS2 Copenhagen Major Betting Insights with Niclas Sundell


With +8 years of esports industry experience and years as a professional Counter-Strike player, Abios’ Sales Director Niclas Sundell shares his thoughts on the upcoming CS2 Major in Copenhagen from 19-31 March 2024. 

With a unique combined knowledge of esports and betting, Niclas talks about the best markets and teams to watch and shares thoughts on how sportsbooks should make the most out of the historic competition. 

What excites you the most about PGL Copenhagen Major 2024? 

I am so excited that this Major is played in Copenhagen, Denmark. Just like Sweden, the country has a long pedigree in esports and a strong fan culture. They really love it there, almost to the same degree as fans in countries such as Brazil. With the level of fandom and heritage in esports, we expect a high sound level in the arena and a high engagement level, both from a viewership and betting perspective. 

As far as domestic teams go, it would have been fantastic to see Astralis qualify. Still, we also have Norwegian Heroic. They predominately sport a Danish roster, giving domestic fans something to cheer for.

What should sportsbooks do to ensure they can make the most out of the historic competition? 

This Major will be a historic milestone for the game, as it is the first one played in CS2. On top of that, there are several likely contenders for the win. Several teams have proved themselves in recent tournaments, and there are a handful of star players with the potential to swing matches, bringing a lot of anticipation to the playing field. This comes with a feeling that anything can happen – which is part of the excitement. 

As such, sportsbooks should make sure to create activations around customer acquisition, retention and engagement to ensure they attract players from arguably the largest event in the esports betting calendar. 

In recent years, many sportsbooks have stepped up in marketing their esports verticals towards their customers in-app and through targeted campaigns across various digital channels. This is a clear testament to the success of esports in sportsbooks, even amongst the largest ones. As a result, we look forward to seeing what campaigns and activations sportsbooks can dream up during the Major. 

What market types and betting features will impact sportsbook revenue most? 

From what we’ve seen in IEM Katowice, player props have seen large volumes. We’ve seen that esports fans follow and cheer on players to the same extent as teams, which makes it all the more exciting to bet on player performance. 

As for Abios, we have several projects in the works that I’m excited about. For CS2 in particular, we’re looking at adding more player props to our market offering. We already offer a robust collection of pre-game markets, allowing partners to create markets on Total Kills Over/Under, Total Headshots, Pistol Rounds and more. This is something we’re looking to expand upon for live markets. This, combined with the bet builder, is definitely something I’m excited really about.

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What players and teams have established themselves as fan favourites ahead of the major? 

For me, there are three teams to watch: FaZe Clan, Team Vitality and Team Spirit. 

FaZe Clan saw an incredibly strong 2022, winning the PGL Antwerp Major, along with an IEM Cologne and ESL Pro Leagues, awarding them the coveted IEM Grand Slam. While they haven’t been able to replicate their previous successes in 2023 fully, they still hold a dream-team roster spearheaded by in-game team leader Karrigan giving them a solid chance to win the Major. 

With the successes of the previous Major still fresh under the belt and victories in the BLAST Fall and World Finals, Team Vitality has shown equally strong form. The team is built around Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut, voted best Counter-Strike in the world in 2023 by HLTV, proving the team can move from strength to strength and is a real threat in the competition. 

Snipe2DieTV – CS:GO Channel ZywOo – The Best Player In The World – HLTV.org’s #1 Of 2023!

Lastly, IEM Katowice opened our eyes to Team Spirit. Especially their newest star player, Danil “donk” Kryshkovets. During the best-of-five grand finals, Team Spirit went against FaZe Clan and dominated with a 3-0 victory, spearheaded by donk, who got an unprecedented 82 frags and a rating of 1.92 in the series. For reference, team member Shiro came in second with 53 frags. 

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This shouldn’t happen in a tier-1 tournament, and especially not to a 17-year-old playing in one of his first tournaments in the highest tiers of play. Many young, inexperienced players choke when playing on the larger stages in front of a massive crowd. Not Donk. His playstyle, where he combines oppressive entry frags with brave angles, throws his opponents off guard and makes him top frag consistently. 

The combination of young players with potential, older, more experienced players and one of the best AWP players in the world, Shiro from Cloud9, may give Team Spirit the edge needed to win the Major.

Is Counter-Strike 2 ready for a Major? 

Many pros and fans voiced concerns about the competitive viability of Counter-Strike 2 after its release and during consequent tournaments in late 2023. With the numerous updates and tweaks Valve Corporation has made since, the game has reached a very high level of competitive integrity, in my opinion. 

RELATED: Betting insights and habits from IEM Katowice 2024

In recent months, several professional players have taken to X/Twitter to voice their more positive sentiments, and there’s definitely a flow to the game that wasn’t there when it was first released. As such, I definitely think the game is ready for a Major, and the competition will very much be the ultimate test of the competitive viability of Counter-Strike 2.

How will you spend the major? 

A few friends and I are looking to visit Copenhagen for the Major. If that doesn’t happen, I’ll make sure to have two screens in the office: One for work and the other for watching the action unfold. *

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