January 2, 2011

Championship League Group 1

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:14 am

The Armchair Awaits

I’ve just been having a look through the prices that have been chalked up by five of the firms ahead of tomorrow’s opening group matches in the Championship League from Crondon Park.

It will come as no surprise that John Higgins starts as favourite with each of them at a best priced 7/2. The outsider of the first crop of seven is World Championship Runner-Up Graeme Dott who can be backed at 9/1 best price.

Higgins is the only player from those competing in this group to has won an individual group in each of the past two seasons, the only other player to do so being Mark Allen who isn’t competing yet. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that he’ll win his opener.¬†Indeed in last year’s first group Higgins finished fifth and out of the placings only just avoiding being booted out the whole event, this group being won by Stephen Maguire, who defeated Mark Selby in the Final, these two both line up again tomorrow.

We also have Shaun Murphy, who despite winning a Premier League title has not yet won an individual group. The Captain Ali Carter is another that has never won a group and after being an ever present in 2009 racking up a tidy sum, he was sent home first time out last year.

Finally, we have Mark Williams who didn’t arrive into this format until late last season taking a while to get used to it and despite topping the final group he also ended up not winning an individual event.

A point to note if having a bet is that you should always be aware that unless otherwise specified, you are betting on the eventual winner over the two days rather than the player that is in first place in the group going into the semi-finals. This always leads me to believe that the best tactic is to look for a player that you are confident will finish in a top four spot as then it becomes a straight knock-out contest which any of them can win, so I tend to avoid the favourites.

With that in mind, at the prices I’m going to plump for Maguire at 11/2 as I think he fits the bill as a solid top four finisher. If he makes the semi-finals I’ll probably just recoup some stakes at that stage when his price will be a lot shorter.

I can’t back Williams or The Captain with any confidence and perhaps they might be worth ‘dutching’ on the ‘Wooden Spoon’ market over at Sportingbet. MJW, despite making the final in Telford will not progress in this without starting to knock frame winning breaks in and Ali may need this outing to sharpen up his game for Wembley after an under par outing in the UK.

So my bets for the Group 1 are all at Sportingbet:

Group 1 Winner: Stephen Maguire 11/2

Group 1 Wooden Spoon: Mark Williams 5/1 and Ali Carter 4/1

To open an account with Sportingbet and take advantage of a ¬£50 matched free bet offer to blog readers click here and go to ‘Open an Account’. There are also prices available on all the individual matches and remember, this event is streamed live on the internet at several betting sites including Betfair and Bet 365.

Good Luck if you are having a bet.

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