May 19, 2010

Who will be Ranked Number One at the end of next season?

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 11:14 am

Ding seems much happier these days and it shows in his results

Skybet have priced up a market on who will top the ranking list following the 2010/2011 season, culminating in the World Championships next May.

They have priced this market up without John Higgins, on the presumption that he will not be lining up for all the ranking events given his current troubles. But I assume that if he does end up as Number One somehow, we will be betting on who will be World Number Two. 

The current prices on offer have the provisional number one on the one year ranking list Ding Junhui a short-priced favourite at 2/1, followed by Ronnie at 11/4, Robertson at 3/1 who has shot up due to his win at Sheffield, the resurgent Mark Williams is 6/1, Mark Selby is a very short 11/1 and the consistent Ali Carter at a generous 28/1.

To me Selby isn’t a viable option in this market as he is already almost 10,000 points (the equivalent of winning the World Championship and Ding breaking his leg prior to the event and withdrawing) behind Ding and almost 5000 behind Carter and I believe only the other five are runners and riders in this field worth considering. But if you fancy the likes of Maguire (who may also face a ban), Mark Allen or Shaun Murphy to blow everyone away this season, which in truth they would have to to stand any chance of top spot, they have priced them up too.   

The ranking list is based on this last season’s results and the forthcoming results in what so far are seven ranking events as opposed to the six last year, with the addition of the Berlin event carrying ranking points.

The current standings on the one year ranking list are here.

Here I’ll assess the chances of the runners and riders:

Ding Junhui 2/1

Current One Year Ranking: 1 Current Points: 27200

Last Season: Shanghai QF, Grand Prix R-Up, UK Won, Welsh L32, China R-Up, World L16.

Ding will have been disappointed to not reach at least his first Quarter Final of the World Championship and he does tend to struggle at the Crucible which if it continues will obviously hinder his chances of clinging onto top spot if any of the others have a strong or even more consistent season than him. I think his price is a little short and given that he does tend to sometimes throw in a bad performance and seems to take a dislike to certain tournaments and venues I’d be prepared to take him on. But he is top of the one year list by virtue of his results so there is no reason he can’t do it again. 


He's now the scalp they all want

Neil Robertson 3/1

Current One Year Ranking: 3 Current Points: 25580

Last Season: Shanghai L32, Grand Prix Won, UK L16, Welsh L16, China L16, World Won.

Obviously my current flavour of the month puntingwise but the big question for me is can he sustain it? First time World Champions can go two ways, from strength to strength (Davis, Hendry, Williams) or struggle to maintain the form and the pressure of being the champ (Dott, Murphy). Robertson I’m sure would be the first to admit that currently he does not belong on the same platform as the three greats of the game mentioned but he has a good attitude and I think he’ll handle being Champion well. He is likely to be seeded number one this season also so he’ll be the one they are all trying to shoot down. I’d rather back him at 3/1 than Ding at 2/1 but again, I wouldn’t as there are too many ifs and buts. If you look at his performances this season, apart from winning two events he did very little else in the ranking tournaments (apart from his 147 in China, but you don’t get any extra for that!). 


Ron - Always up for a laugh

Ronnie O’Sullivan 11/4

Current One Year Ranking: 4 Current Points: 23960

Last Season: Shanghai Won, Grand Prix L16, UK SF, Welsh SF, China L32, World QF.

Ronnie needs a challenge and his number one challenge has always been John Higgins. He feels similarly about Mark Williams but does not regard anyone else as in his league. This despite the fact that Mark Selby seems to now have his measure. I think if Higgins gets a ban Ronnie will lose a bit of his already waning enthusiasm for the game. He is too inconsistent to consider backing to have a consistent enough season to reach top spot. The 11/4 is a bet for his fans and nobody else.


Mark is back to winning ways

Mark Williams 6/1 

Current One Year Ranking: 5 Current Points: 23480

Last Season: Shanghai L16, Grand Prix SF, UK L16, Welsh QF, China Won, World L16.

Mark is back. To me he looks very nearly back to his best and he is one that should not struggle for enthusiasm as he always looks bored anyway. If he could continue his ‘phoenix from the flames’ rise back to the top it would be some sporting story from one of the games greats. He has played well all season and would have beaten anyone bar O’Sullivan at Sheffield. Ronnie remains a thorn in his side and his record against the Rocket is not good for a player as accomplished as he is. But in most events they are likely to avoid each other until at least the Semi-Finals by which time Ronnie may have spat his dummy out against a lesser player. I’d have Mark as the bet in this market, his carefree attitude is a plus, he’s been there and done it and O’Sullivan excepted, he has the measure of all the other players in this market. Getting back to winning ways in China may be a sign of things to come.   


Ali with his favourite toys

Ali Carter 28/1

Current One Year Ranking: 6 Current Points: 22520

Last Season: Shanghai L16, Grand Prix L32, UK QF, Welsh R-Up, China SF, World SF.

Another staggering under-estimation of Ali in the market. 28/1 for a player as consistent as him is a very good price and I’ve nibbled at this. He had off-the-table distractions to contend with at the beginning of the season but since he’s got back to playing snooker and channeling his thoughts to the matter in hand he has been the model of consistency. OK, he might not win anything again but if he makes the semi-finals of four or five events he will stand an excellent chance of ending up much higher in the rankings than he is currently. He is worth a saver at the odds and is a far better bet than the 11/1 on Selby.

Recommended Bets:

2 points Mark Williams @ 6/1 to be World Number 1 (without John Higgins) for 2011/2012 season  

0.5 points Ali Carter @ 28/1  to be World Number 1 (without John Higgins) for 2011/2012 season

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