June 21, 2017

The Curtain Raiser: Riga Masters Opens New Snooker Season

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:50 am

After a week long worth of qualifiers in Preston to establish the starting fields in both this and the China Championship in August, the real curtain raiser for the new season starts on Friday with the Riga Masters from Latvia, which will be fully covered by Eurosport.

Essentially this event is a slight teak on the old PTC format thankfully with one less round at the venue, opening up with 7 tables in action, followed by 5, before it moves to two main tables for the last eight onwards. They’ve also made the semi-finals and final a little longer than the seven frames format in that they are now the best of nine.

Neil Robertson returns to the scene of his most recent trophy, strange to think that having started the season so well he was to not lift any more silverware over the course of a long season, while battling with his very modern addiction, that of video games, which put him off stride on the table and led to an ultimately disappointing season for the Aussie. Do we have a new curse? Who wants to win this if your season goes tits up afterwards?

Contrast this with Mark Selby, snooker’s most recent millionaire who won a total of 5 titles last season including 2 of the big 3, he’s got so much dosh these days that he can afford to pick and choose his events this season and despite entering this he is a late absentee. Apparently however this is no summer holiday choice on the part of The Jester, Mark has apparently carelessly dropped an unspecified but I assume fairly heavy object on his toe, so misses this because of injury rather than choice.

I’m not going to be covering the best of seven frame events this season, they don’t really interest me and in a way it helps me look forward to the events that I always enjoy. I’ll probably watch a bit of it if I am sat in front of the telly at any point but for me the snooker doesn’t really get interesting until it starts getting a little cooler and the nights become a little darker and earlier, not when it’s blazing sunshine outside.

But that’s not to say it won’t be a decent event for those that choose to watch it, but from a betting point of view I’ll probably just stick to the outright market as I find the best of sevens very unpredictable and am seeing less and less value in the match betting as the bookies become a bit more savvy to any potential ringers out there. But at big prices, the ‘one in each quarter’ tactic looks to be the way forward for this event, especially given the lack of big names in the field.

The flatter playing field is definitely more evident nowadays and the old adage that anyone can beat anyone has never been truer within the lower ranks especially, so match betting in short formats in snooker these days is a slippery slope to being a bookies mug punter in my opinion, though we do often see the cream rise to the top at the business end of things.

If you are planning to duck in and out of events this season as I am you can take a look at the full calendar for the season here.

Riga Masters Outrights: Stephen Maguire (12/1), Mark Williams (20/1), Thepchaiya Un-Nooh (100/1), Hossein Vafaei (125/1). 

Click here for the draw

Click here for the format

Here’s the Eurosport TV schedule for the Kaspersky Riga Masters in the UK.

Friday 23 June

0900-1145 LIVE day one on Eurosport 1
0900-2000 LIVE day one on Eurosport Player
2145-0045 Day one on Eurosport 1

Saturday 24 June

0900-1245 LIVE day two on Eurosport 1
0900-1300 LIVE day two on Eurosport Player
1630-1825 LIVE day two on Eurosport Player
2110-2300 Day two on Eurosport 2

Sunday 25 June

0900-1300 LIVE quarter-finals on Eurosport 1
1430-1700 LIVE semi-finals on Eurosport 2
1830-2130 LIVE final on Eurosport 2

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