Masters Snooker Betting 2018

A year on the green baize ended in dramatic fashion with an amazing comeback in the last tournament of 2017. From 8-4 in the final of the Scottish Open, Aussie Neil Robertson reeled off the last five frames to seal victory over Cao Yupeng.

It was a fitting end to a great 12 months of snooker and having rested over the festive season, the world’s best players are ready to do battle again. The 44th edition of the Masters, sponsored by Dafabet, starts at Alexandra Palace on January 14 as the countdown begins to the World Championship, starting in April.

History and Format

Ronnie O’Sullivan

The Masters was first held in 1975 and at that time was an invitational event, restricted to just 10 players. The list was expanded to 12 in 1981 and currently, the tournament features the 16 men who have won the most prize money in the previous 12 months.

Ironically, that list excludes Neil Robertson but we will see defending champion Ronnie O’Sullivan return to North London to defend his crown. This isn’t a ranking event but it is one of snooker’s Triple Crowns and therefore a competition that all are desperate to win. It’s a straight knockout and naturally our reigning champion is highly fancied to claim another victory in the final, scheduled for January 21st.

The Favourites

O’Sullivan holds the record with seven Masters victories and starts as favourite to add to that tally at 11/2 with GentingBet. Anyone who has followed snooker betting in recent times will find this all to be very familiar with Ronnie usually in front, followed closely by World Champion Mark Selby.

For this event, Selby is some distance away at a top price of 5/1 with Ladbrokes and Coral. Those two are seeded to meet in the final – the defending champion is traditionally installed as number one seed with the World Champion at number two – but the very nature of this event means there are no easy games at the Masters.

Chasing Pack

Judd Trump

Judd Trump follows the top two at best odds of 13/2 with GentingBet but while he picked up tournament wins in 2017, it was a bad end to the year for the man from Bristol. Trump’s focus and concentration was criticised on commentary by Stephen Hendry and while he’s always a threat, inconsistency always makes this a dangerous punt.

Gaps start to open up in the betting and we now move out to John Higgins at 8/1 with 10Bet. The Scot was runner up to Selby in the 2017 World Championship but it was a productive year for the veteran who took the Indian Open title with victory over Anthony McGill.

Now we come to our first overseas player with Ding Junhui who is on offer at best odds of 12/1 with MarathonBet and GentingBet. Ding won the World Open in 2017, beating Kyren Wilson in the final and has competed well in most tournaments over the course of the last 12 months.

In a similar price range is Shaun Murphy who can be picked up at a top price of 14/1 with Unibet and 10Bet. The world number 6 won a minor ranking event with the Gibraltar Open title at the start of the year but a number of runners up prizes made him a comfortable qualifier for the Masters.

Long Shots

With a field of just 16 players, the outside options aren’t too long in terms of pricing with the longest odds net to Ryan Day. William Hill have him as short as 40/1 and while Winner Sports have a best price of 100/1, it doesn’t seem advisable to take either.

Better options among the longer priced potters might include Anthony McGill who had that second place behind John Higgins and also won the Snooker Shootout. McGill is at a top price of 80/1 with Paddy Power and Stan James while some shorter players include the dangerous Mark Allen at 33/1 with GentingBet and Luca Brecel, who enjoyed a breakthrough year in 2017 and is at best odds of 40/1 with Coral and BetBright.

Options

Match Betting is already open for the first round of this year’s Masters Championship and along with the straight result, there is the usual set of side bets including correct score in terms of frames.

Long term options should also start to get busier from here and they will include a To Reach the Final market and a punt on whether there will be a maximum break of 147 in the tournament.

For now, however, it’s all about picking a winner.

Verdict

Mark Selby

Unlike sports such as darts, snooker seems to have gone past the days where one or two players will dominate and we’ve seen a number of different winners of major tournaments in 2017. Overall, it has been another great 12 months for Ronnie O’Sullivan and one that culminated in his sixth UK Championship victory in December.

Mark Selby also had a positive year but while the World Championship was an obvious highlight, it ended in a rather subdued manner for the Jester from Leicester. With players having taken a break, it’s a tough call but quality should rise to the top and while it’s tempting to side with the favourite, we’re predicting another strong year for Selby which we’re looking to start with Masters success.

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