November 20, 2010

The UK Championship: ‘To Qualify’ Market

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:53 pm


It's not exactly Prague, but it's where they all want to be.

While all the EPTC action is going on in Prague I’ve been having a good old study of the UK Championship draw. Both the individual matches and the overall qualifying as well as the main event itself.

As I’ve said before, I haven’t really been completely embroiled in the baize from a betting perspective at all yet this season. I know I should probably have chanced my arm a bit more in the World Open after what by normal standards wasn’t a great, though not a losing, Shanghai. But the PTC’s have been minimum stake events and what I really look forward to is an event like this to get involved in, this is where we seperate the big boys from the journeymen, the wheat from the chaff, the chart toppers from the busking bums. Today ladies and gentlemen we go back to business, that business being to bash the bookies. They have been generous with the free bets, but there ain’t no room for sentiment in this game, it’s us against them boys and girls.

It starts on Tuesday in Sheffield when the first 16 matches get under way and I’ll be previewing each and every one of them including head to heads on Monday, hopefully recommending a few winners along the way. The outright preview will follow the qualifiers, I’ve placed my first bet today but not all have their prices up yet so we’ll wait and see on that market.

But today Skybet have played a blinder and bashed up their ‘to qualify’ market. A price for every player that starts out in pursuit of the big prize to make the main venue in Telford. If you don’t have an account with them but fancy a bet on this click here to open one, the more of you that do this the more likely we are to get better offers from them in the future for all blog readers, as well as more and more free bets for our competitions. Oh, and I might get a few quid from it too, but you wouldn’t begrudge me that would you?

You can find the draw on World Snooker but I’d recommend you have a look at Matt’s Prosnooker Blog site here for a much clearer job.

So who is likely to qualify? Well this is a market for big punters and no mistake as only single bets are allowed. There are four players that I think are highly likely to qualify at odds on and five more that I am prepared to take a chance on at odds against.

The Strong Contenders:

First off, I’m going to recommend Matthew Stevens at 2/5, who is likely to face either Rob Milkins or Matthew Couch to qualify. Now I know I tease our Matt about his ‘nearly’ status but I reckon even his B game could take these two and I like to think that our recent interview with him will spur him on to better things, he is a confident selection.

Next up, Mark ‘Don’t call me Mavis’ Davis at 1/2, a likely tie against Joe Swail or James McBain again very winnable for him. Thirdly, Ricky Walden at 4/11 who might face either Angles McManus or Jimmy Michie to guarantee a match up against the Jester in Telford, he can take either of them. Finally, Pinner Potter Martin Gould at 1/3, a quality act on his day who is likely to blow any of his potential opponents away and comfortably reach the venue to play Dotty.

I recommend 2 points win on each of these 4 to make it to Telford.

Skybet have now priced this up as an enhanced Snookerbacker Acca at 3/1, so let’s have another 2 points on that shall we?

The’ Live Contenders’

Grit in human form, that's our Fergal

For those not wanting to bust the bank account backing the four players above one of the aims of this blog is always to find a bit of value for the smaller punter. So first in this category I’m going to plump for Fergal O’Brien at 11/4. I think Fergs is good enough to come through his opener to line up against Barry Hawkins, who he has beaten on their last three meetings.

Secondly, Dominic Dale at 7/4, whilst I can’t pretend that I think this is a great price it’s the only one there. I’d expect that our Dom would be about this price to beat Andrew Higginson, but he also might have to beat Jack Lisowski beforehand. In his favour though he’ll come into this in good spirit and in a bit of form and Andrew doesn’t seem to like it when players get ‘at him’.

Next up, Rory McLeod at 11/4. The 147 king has a very winnable first match before facing Liang Wenbo. Liang can sometimes let slower, more methodical players get to him and has lost matches he should have won in the past to them. The price is about right and reflects a fighting chance for blog hero Macca, bad news is though that if he wins he plays Robbo at the venue on TV and we all know what that means……..

I’m not going to dessert my mate Anthony McGill at 4/1, I’m just not giving up on him yet. Assuming he wins his opener he faces Michael Holt and then Mike Dunn to get to the venue, winnable for a player that practices with John Higgins.

Finally, a big chance can be taken on 9/1 shot Xiao Guodong who is more than capable of winning through his first three matches (Reanne Evans, Michael Judge & Stuart Pettman)  to a tie against Judd Trump, while Judd did me a massive favour in the summer there are signs his form is beginning to fade a little, not what you need if you face a player accustomed to the surroundings with three wins under their belt. You never know.

In terms of recommendations, I’ll chance 0.5 point wins on O’Brien and Dale and 0.25 points on McLeod, McGill and Guodong.

The Best of Luck to anyone planning to get involved before kick off on Tuesday.


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