January 23, 2010

Thunder Predicted to Strike Newport

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 4:51 am

Robertson - Can he take advantage of his draw in Wales?

Neil Robertson was my selection for the Pokerstars Masters despite his first round draw (and subsequent defeat) against Ronnie O’Sullivan, this time the Thunder from Down Under has a Maguire-esque draw and is my prediction to have a good week in Newport at the newly sponsored Welsh Open.

I should say from the outset that traditionally from a betting point of view the Welsh Open hasn’t been a good friend to me. I much prefer either the longer matches in the UK or the World Championships or the chance to assess everyone’s form by watching every match of the Masters (it’s also amazing the differences between a best of nine and best of eleven – the latter being what I’d pitch all this type of ranking event early rounds at). Tournaments like this, the Grand Prix and the China Open are much harder to call, primarily because of the shorter matches but also because of the four table set up which makes it difficult to know who is and isn’t playing well.

But here goes.

I generally like to play the outright markets in quarters and the top quarter of the draw looks on the face of it, set up for Robertson to make the semi-finals. The holder Ali Carter, should he win his tricky opening match against Mark Davis (or as he’s better known Dark Mavis) should provide Robbo with his first test of the week. But something is not quite right with Carter’s game at the moment and unless he improves in leaps and bounds on his recent performances, Robertson should steer his way to the Quarter-Finals with a bit to spare. Waiting for him, you’d expect to be Stephen Hendry (though if Dave Harold brings a batch of bananas along his first round might be tough – if this needs explanation check his Wikipedia entry). The homeboy Ryan Day is clearly another that is struggling at the moment and he could easily find the erratic but dangerous Tony Drago a bit of a handful in round one, but I’ll plump for a Robertson v Hendry quarter final which I’ll take Robertson to win.

Note: I’ll update prices as and when they appear, the bookies are fairly slow at pricing these up.

Recommended Bets in Quarter 1:

5 points win Neil Robertson to win Quarter 1 (7/4 Boylesports)

5 points Each Way Neil Robertson to win the Welsh Open (10/1 generally, I managed 11/1 on Betfair for the win bet)

1 point win Mark Davis to beat Ali Carter (11/4 Stan James)

1 point win Tony Drago to beat Ryan Day (5/1 Stan James)

To the second quarter which again sees Stephen Maguire with a half-decent draw but a resurgent Mark Williams may have something to say about that. Marco Fu has been knocking century breaks in for fun as well as beating almost everyone at Crondon Park and will benefit from being on the back tables against Andrew Higginson. Stephen Maguire is a player that I don’t rate as highly as some, regular readers of forums will know my reasons why, but briefly, you now have to go back over a year since the current world number two beat a player in the top 12 in a ranking event. I don’t think the winner of this quarter will go any further than the semi-finals but I’m going to take a chance with the unpredictable force that is Peter Ebdon to win the quarter and upset the legion of Mark Williams fans hoping for a home win.

Ebdon - Clings on and on and on and

Recommended Bets in Quarter 2:

2 points win Marco Fu to beat Higginson (1/2 Boylesports)

1 point win Peter Ebdon to win Quarter 2 (6/1 Boylesports)

1 point Each Way Peter Ebdon to win Welsh Open (around 64/1 on Betfair)

To the bottom half of the draw, where things could get messy for some of the stars of the show. Quarter 3 looks a bit easier to call with Ricky Walden surprisingly going out in the qualifiers, but we still have Ding, Murphy, Cope and Mark Allen to try and stop Ronnie getting to the semi-finals. Cope is a player I have a bit of hope for but he is frustrating at times and to me still needs to improve his temperament to match his game, Ding was out of practice at the Masters and I’m really not sure why he didn’t prepare for it as he should have done after winning the Pukka Pies UK. Allen should now coast to a tie with Murphy who I don’t think will struggle to dispense with Matthew Stevens or Barry Pinches. A tough quarter but:

Cope - Temperament to match talent?


1 point win Jamie Cope to beat Ding Junhui (6/4 Stan James)

3 points win Ronnie O’Sullivan to win Quarter 3 (6/5 Boylesports)

Finally to Quarter 4 and with Liang Wenbo out of the reckoning the World Champion Higgins should be assured a first round win and can Dott or Perry seriously trouble him next? I think not. The newly crowned master Mark Selby plays Judd Trump in Round 1 with Marcus Campbell or Mark King waiting so surely this makes this quarter slightly easier to call than the others. It’s Higgins against Selby or Trump in the Quarter-Finals. It’s very rare nowadays for players to win tournaments back to back and the price on Selby is far too short given this tough draw. I have a feeling that young Trump may just have a good week, he needs the ranking points (as for that matter does Selby) and will side with him up to a point with a very speculative outright bet. Higgins as ever, is the one to beat in this section.  These bets might sound strange but:

1 point win Judd Trump to beat Mark Selby (9/4 Stan James)

2 points win Graeme Dott to beat Joe Perry (Evens Stan James)

1 point Each Way Judd Trump to win the Welsh Open (49/1 Betfair)

Can Judd play his Trump card?

1 point win Judd Trump to win Quarter 4 (9/1 Boylesports)

3 points win John Higgins to win the Welsh Open (Currently 8/1 Betfair, might not last too long)

Recommended Round One Roll-Up

Stevens (Qualifying Match), Allen, Hendry, Fu and Williams.

Pays around 9/2 with Paddy Power and Sportingbet.

As ever, good luck to all and I hope you enjoyed the preview.

For anyone following me in on the Thunder from Down Under, you could inspire yourself before his matches with the following link, played at full volume, don’t worry about the neighbours GO ROBBO!

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