August 31, 2016

Shanghai Masters Qualifying Day 2

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:34 am

BarnsleyThe qualifiers continue today from Barnsley as the second set of 32 players take on yesterday’s winners. I’d hazard a guess that in terms of betting this ranks amongst the highest of the season in terms of interest with the snooker punting fraternity.

There are still a lot of us out there who prefer this format over the flat structure which inevitably produces largely the same bunch of winners at the end, remember it was through this format that Kyren Wilson started his rocket up the rankings.

The main appeal for me is seeing the players at the start gradually improve having beaten the players around them in the rankings and gaining confidence with every match. Inevitably there will be one or two, perhaps more, who will end up boarding the plane to China having won their four openers, it just remains to be seen who they might be.

Compare this with someone ranked in the 90’s in their first season having to play a top 8 player first match all season and I’d argue that it’s this format that is the fairer one and offers more opportunity for improvement, but while snooker remains, in the words of the great man ‘commercially driven’, who wants to see these guys on the telly when you can trot out Ronnie, Judd, Selby, Robbo and Ding et al?

Talking of Ding and snooker being commercially driven, his inclusion in the line up for the Champion of Champions raised a few eyebrows last week. After all, the clue is in the title of the event and Ding actually isn’t one yet. His inclusion, unlike that of Shaun Murphy a few years back comes at the expense of players who are actually champions and not simply because there aren’t enough of them. Bazza also appeared to suggest the from now on the World Championship Runner Up is an honorary champion and therefore merits inclusion, so we’ll see what happens if Rod Lawler graces the final Crucible weekend next year having taken care of Ding and Liang Wenbo. My guess is those goalposts might be moved again and all talk of this consigned to the dustbin, but maybe that’s just me being cynical, it wouldn’t be the first time.

Anyway, we hit the bar yesterday with two out of three winners and a narrow loser for the big treble. Today is a little tougher and I can’t really see a great deal of value out there, unlike yesterday. So I think it’s back to the traditional favourites acca for me.

Recommended Bet: Accumulator on Jimmy Robertson, Jamie Cope, Zhang Anda and Rod Lawler pays almost 7/1 with Marathonbet. Treble on Joe Swail, Andy Hicks and Chris Wakelin pays 10/1 at Bet 365.  

August 30, 2016

Barnsley or Bust: Shanghai Masters Qualifiers

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:42 am

It’s over to Barnsley this week for the qualifiers of the Shanghai Masters, one of only a couple of tournaments that retain the old format of seeding with those higher up the rankings not starting until later in the week and the highest 16 seeds to enter going straight to the main venue in China, including for the first time this season a certain Ronnie O’Sullivan.

I’m a bit pushed for time today but having a quick scan I think there is a bit of value in doubles and trebles on the three below, with the treble paying over 21/1 at Stan James.

Recommended: Doubles and Treble on Chen Zhe, Ian Preece and David John.

Click here for the draw

Click here for the format

August 23, 2016

Paul Hunter Classic Preview

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 10:30 am

Paul HunterIt’s been quite a while coming but this week sees the return of snooker action to our screens as the potters head to Bavaria, the Stadthalle Fürth to be precise, to compete for the Paul Hunter Classic, which was famously and poignantly won last season by newly crowned World Open Champion Ali Carter.

It’s one of only two events that provide top class action for the amateurs this season and they get underway on Wednesday at the venue. Again it’s played over the best of seven format all the way through to the final on Sunday, with €25,000 on offer for the eventual winner. It’s also a chance for the snooker community to remember Paul and again lament on what a tragic loss it was for the sport when he left us.

Unfortunately a few of the bigger names in the sport have chosen to give this a miss. Obviously there is no Ronnie O’Sullivan and also AWOL are the likes of Neil Robertson (too busy playing video games), Shaun Murphy (on baby watch), Judd Trump (on holiday), Ding Junhui (never plays in these) and Mark Williams (playing golf and bingo). But the current world champion is in the mix as is the holder and man in form Carter, so there is enough quality in there to keep us all entertained over the weekend.

I haven’t yet seen the Eurosport schedule but I am assuming it will get a bit of coverage on the TV stations (EDIT – it isn’t on the TV channel unfortunately) as well as full coverage on Eurosport Player, which seemed to be working fine once it got up and running for the last couple of events so might be worth an investment if you haven’t already, given that they cover everything on there throughout the season.

Mark Selby is a very short priced favourite for this in a huge field. Granted that he does look the stand out in his section of the draw but 4/1 best price in a field of 128 is a bit skinny for my liking. He might well win it of course but I’d prefer to take a punt on others that are more than capable over the shorter format at much longer odds.

Draws could have been worse for the likes of Ricky Walden, the holder Carter, the man he beat in China Joe Perry and lower down the experienced Angles McManus, so it’s worth just spreading some shrapnel around on others rather than steaming in to Selby in my humble opinion.

So here is my band of merry men, best of luck if you are having a punt.

Recommended Outright Bets: Ricky Walden (16/1), Ali Carter (25/1), Michael Holt (80/1), Joe Perry (22/1), Dave Gilbert (66/1), Alan McManus (125/1).

Click here to view the full draw.

Click here to view the format.

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