November 9, 2015

Who’s the COC of snooker? Champion of Champions Preview

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:47 pm

COCIt’s that time of year again when everyone except the employees at World Snooker use the best hashtag in snooker to describe the Champion of Champions event in Coventry. Televised again this week by the excellent ITV4.

We’ve reached the point of the season where the snooker roadshow heads home to the UK after recent adventures in China and Mainland Europe. Not only with this event but just over a week after its conclusion to York for the UK Championship before the other side of new year sees The Masters played out in London. This is what winter’s all about.

The Champion of Champions is an event that I quite like, though I’d prefer the opening matches to be best of 9 with no interval. But at least from the Quarter Finals onwards it’s at least best of 11, so what’s not to like?

OK, it’s a bit of a daft novelty playing it in groups, when effectively it’s a 16 man knockout event in a very traditional format, but it’s probably a welcome change for players who will only need to be there for their group day and hopefully then back for the weekend when the group winners fight it out for the main prizes, rather than hanging around for days on end.

Mark Allen’s win in Sofia bumped Ding Junhui out of Group 2 and it is quite staggering really that Ding isn’t playing in this given that he has been such a prolific winner in the recent past. It’s a bit of a fall from grace for China’s finest and it might give him the wake up call he clearly needs to start competing in a few more events. He did win the recent Asian PTC of course but that wasn’t considered important enough to merit a place in this.

Another absentee, this time through choice rather than chance is the reigning champion Ronnie O’Sullivan, who has never lost a match in this event. I like others was surprised that he didn’t want to defend his title in an event and venue that he has professed in the past to like a lot, even if he did call it the Champions Cup. He’s also of course ducking the UK and it remains to be seen if he’ll bother with the Masters. If he doesn’t, I’d suggest that his World Championship participation is in serious doubt.

But it’s more of a novelty these days if Ronnie does play so let’s just all move on to the post-Ronnie era and enjoy this event for what it is. It does seem odd that from 16 champions we also don’t see Ding or the bang-in-form MJW who might have got in by virtue of his Seniors win had the criteria been different but they are the rules and if your name’s not down as they say, you’re not coming in.  

Click here to view the draw and match times for the Champion of Champions. Click on the match below for the head to head stats courtesy of the exquisite Cue Tracker.

I’ve listed a few bets below but I have to say there isn’t a lot of value out there, my only punt as far as value is concerned is on Ali Carter, simply because if he beats John Higgins he’ll look outstanding value at 25/1, he’ll also come to this a bit fresher than Higgins which might help. 

Group Three – Tuesday 10th November 2015

Stuart Bingham (3) v Zhou Yuelong
Judd Trump (6) v Kyren Wilson

Predicted Finalists: Bingham and Trump. Predicted Group Winner: Trump.

Group One – Wednesday 11th November 2015

John Higgins (1) v Ali Carter
Joe Perry (8) v Michael White

Predicted Finalists: Carter and Perry. Predicted Group Winner: Carter.

Group Four – Thursday 12th November 2015

Neil Robertson (4) v Rory McLeod
Shaun Murphy (5) v Yan Bingtao

Predicted Finalists: Robertson and Murphy. Predicted Group Winner: Murphy.

Group Two – Friday 13th November 2015

Mark Selby (2) v Stephen Maguire
Barry Hawkins (7) v Mark Allen

Predicted Finalists: Selby and Allen. Predicted Group Winner: Selby.

Predicted Outright Winner: Shaun Murphy. 

Recommended Bets: 2 points on Murphy at 13/2. 1 point each way on Carter at 25/1. 2 point first round acca on Bingham, Trump, Perry, Selby and Allen pays just on 17/2 at Boyles.   

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