Snookerbacker

November 6, 2016

My Big COC Preview

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 6:06 pm
Let the action commence

I know, I know, it’s just juvenile isn’t it?

Well, the title of the blog post ensures a sustained hit rate from those perhaps looking for something else at least, Monday sees the start of this season’s Champion of Champions event in Coventry and the action is covered throughout by the excellent team at ITV.

It’s a 16 player tournament which in effect is a standard knockout format, but for one reason or another they prefer to split this into 4 groups of 4 players, 1 group playing each day to determine the final four, it’s more convenient for the players as they only play a maximum of three days if they reach the final and don’t have to hang around all week with a feeling quite literally of being ‘sent to Coventry’.

The prize money once again is not to be sniffed at and is broken down as below:

Champion £100,000
Runner-up £50,000
Losing semi-finalists £25,000
Group runner-up £10,000
First round loser £ 7,500

With John Higgins having already picked up 200 grand over in China if he can manage to win this as well this could make a serious dent into a mortgage on a Spanish villa, he also has the benefit of a few days rest as he doesn’t start until Thursday.

So, the groups in the order that they play are listed below with a short summary.

day-1

It’s fair to say that one name and one name only stands out from this bunch, but whilst they keep on spelling Dark Mavis’s name wrong we’ll move on. Ronnie O’Sullivan is a heavy favourite to come through what looks like the most favourable bunch he could have ermm ‘drawn’. Finland’s Robin Hull is capable obviously and a very heavy scorer when he is in the mood, he is here because he won the Shootout. Mavis and Gouldy again are dangerous on their day but neither is firing at all this season yet and I can only conclude that if Ronnie doesn’t win this group his game is not in great shape, even with his C game and on the form of the other three, he should come through this quite easily with minimal frame droppage.

Predicted Group Winner: Ronnie O’Sullivan to beat Martin Gould 

day-2

I think you’ll get pretty short odds on the words ‘of’ ‘group’ and ‘death’ being mentioned in no particular order within the first ten seconds of Tuesday’s programme and it’s these poor unfortunates that have been handed the responsibility of playing in this obligatory named foursome. Coin tosses are pretty much the order of the day here and it’s only with a pinch of salt that I’d follow any possible ‘clues’ as to the identity of the group winner. In terms of freshness, we know that Stuart Bingham should be knackered but he’s proved time and again that the busier he is the better he gets, Robbo is yet to start firing so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ballrun progress. There are some who think that Ding will go into a slump following his hammering by Selby in China and he looked a bit cheesed off last week so perhaps there is something in it and a chance for Ali Carter to hook up with his old Essex sparring partner again in the Final. Since Ali beat Stuart in the World Championship the roles of victor have been reversed and I’m going to plump for the busiest player on the circuit to defy fatigue and keep his strong run going.

Predicted Group Winner: Stuart Bingham to beat Ali Carter

day-3

If Group 2 is the Group of Death, I’d say Group 3 is the Group of Induced Coma. Again, any conclusions drawn might be based on false or misguided information but Selby, despite losing to Mark Allen last week has to be top of your list to be the last man standing here. Liang Wenbo I’m sure will want to get back to winning ways after tailing off a bit following his win at the English Open but I think Selby will have too much for him in every department and will be relatively fresh. The other match again is a difficult call and I just have a slight fancy for Perry (6/4 recommended), Mark Allen looked shattered when losing to Higgins a couple of days ago and Joe’s form has been solid enough to suggest that he might defy the odds in that match.

Predicted Group Winner: Mark Selby to beat Joe Perry

day-4

So far we have the Group with no Name, the Group of Death, the Group of Induced Coma so I think I will call this one the ‘Group of Very Nearly Certain Accidental Death for which you may be entitled to Compensation’, catchy no? You’d imagine that Judd would fancy his chances against outsider Anthony McGill and I actually quietly fancy Judd’s chances overall this week. He is playing well enough, will have had a decent rest compared to the other 2 big hitters and I just feel that this week it could be his turn again. Shaun Murphy has been in superb form the last couple of weeks and must be wondering what he has to do to win a trophy, such has been the standard of his opponents against him. Higgins will be sufficiently rested but I’ll still take Murphy to beat him as John seems to struggle a little these days with consistency and perhaps he might not be the same player back on home soil as we saw last week.

Predicted Group Winner: Judd Trump to beat Shaun Murphy

Incidentally, take a look at this new prediction widget thingymajig on Cue Tracker if that’s your kind of thing. I measured my percentage on match predictions a couple of seasons ago and it was consistently 3 out of 4, or 75%, it would be interesting to see how this computerised predictor fairs against that come the end of the season.

Predicted Final Outcome: Semi Finals: Trump to beat Bingham and O’Sullivan to beat Selby.

Final: Trump to beat O’Sullivan.

Betting – O’Sullivan to reach the final at 5/4. Trump to win the tournament at 11/2. First Round Acca – Perry, Bingham and Murphy pays over 9/1. 

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