May 30, 2018

Rank and File

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 2:50 pm

Top Ranker

We’re not going to see a lot of action on the baize for a bit so I have been considering a decent bet on one of the season long markets that has appeared online recently. Ladbrokes have priced up players to win a ranking event this season and are allowing multiple bets on it, so I thought I’d do a bit of research and share my findings with the group.

Snooker obviously now has a lot more ranking events than it used to, which explains the fact that we now have to look quite far down the ranking list to spot someone that has never won one (currently Yan Bingtao at 23rd on the list). I’ve done some analysis of the last four years rankers, I have even taken the trouble to list all the finalists and the results for you on this page, now that’s what I call top drawer service.

Here are some of my conclusions following my painstaking investigation:

Firstly, over the past four seasons there have been 67 ranking tournaments, those 67 have produced a total of 26 different winners, so it doesn’t take a genius to work out that for a lot of them we are seeing a familiar face and repeat winner get his hands on the trophy.

Over the past four seasons however there are only three players who have won a ranking event in every season and it may not be the three you would automatically think. The first as you would probably expect is World Number 1 Mark Selby. The Jester has won a total of 11 ranking events over the past four seasons, comfortably more than any other player on the tour, hence his number one tag and bulging wallet.

The second is Judd Trump, who has won 6 ranking events over this period and is just one behind Ronnie O’Sullivan who has won 7 but who failed to win one in season 2016/17, although he did win the Masters and was runner up in the UK to Selby, before returning to winning ranking form in style last season with 5 titles.

The third is Neil Robertson whose 4 ranking titles in this period have all come in different seasons. So these are the only three on the whole tour who can claim this level of consistency when it comes to winning rankers. You actually have to go back 11 seasons to the last time Robbo didn’t win at least one ranking event which is pretty impressive as well as amazingly consistent. 

As well as the three names above, plus O’Sullivan, there are only a further four players who have 3 or more ranking titles to their name in this period, those being John Higgins who has 5 and Ding Junhui, Stuart Bingham and Mark Williams, who all have 3 to their name, Williams’ all coming last season.

It may come as a surprise that Shaun Murphy and Mark Allen haven’t been mentioned yet, but they are both stuck on 2 ranking titles in the last four seasons, the same number as Ali Carter, Michael White, Barry Hawkins, Marco Fu, Ryan Day, who won both his last season and Anthony McGill, although one of his was that awful Shootout so he can only have one and a half. That actually completes the list of multiple ranking event winners in the last four seasons.

So what about this market? How easy do you think it is to predict that a player will definitely win a ranking event this season from the current calendar of 19? Selby you would assume will at some point get his hands on one, Ronnie will probably win one of the home nations ones and/or one of those other ITV ones he likes, Higgins shows no signs of letting up and Judd seems to develop a winning habit at some point in the season for a short spell. World Champion Williams will also be looking to carry over his winning streak and add to his recent run of successes. But apart from them who else? Can Robertson deliver again and keep his incredible ranking run going? Will Ding play in enough of them this time to be worthy of a bet or is he too risky to ermm risk? Will Kyren Wilson, still with just one ranking event to his name, kick on this season and add trophies to his collection given the promise he’s been showing?

I can’t believe that Murphy hasn’t won anything ranking-wise recently other than the lowly Gibraltar Open, he’s been in quite a lot of finals in this period and has lost in 7 of them and surely Masters Champion Allen is a prime contender to add something again this season? What about any new ranking winners? One of the new crop of Chinese players perhaps like Zhou Yuelong or Yan Bingtao? (though I’d not chance any dosh on Cao Yupeng for obvious reasons) or perhaps one of the recent improvers like Jack Lisowski? 

Maybe some of the old firm like Joe Perry, Dark Mavis, Stephen Maguire or Ricky Walden might get back to the winners enclosure? Can the likes of Carter, White, McGill, Fu, Gould or Wenbo add to their ranking stats? So many questions….

After much deliberation I’ve decided to have a go on this market for some long term interest and I’m going to go with a sixfold which brings in a mix of established winners and those I think are due another trophy, I’m in this one for the long haul, best of luck if you join in.

Recommended Bet: Pays 9.07/1 (with odds boost at Ladbrokes) Mark Selby, Judd Trump, Mark Allen, Kyren Wilson, Shaun Murphy and Stuart Bingham all to win a ranking event in the coming season.

Also recommended (later edit): Mark Selby to finish the season as World Number One at 13/2 with Black Type. 

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