This Saturdays see the start of the Betfair World Snooker Championship, and the return to snooker of Ronnie O’Sullivan after his self imposed sabbatical. It is also the start of another betting extravaganza with 17 continuous days of top quality snooker to look forward too.
This year sees the start of Betfair sponsoring the tournament, to market, sorry mark this, there is a Betfair Golden Cue on offer for the top break this year, as well as £10,000. Let’s hope all runs well at the Crucible between 3pm and 5pm on the three Saturday’s the tournament runs for (any regular Betfair users will know what that means).
Current world number 1, Mark Selby isn’t even the bookies favourite, despite already winning the UK Championship and The Masters over the past 6 months. This is probably down to the fact that Selby has only managed to make one world final (losing 18-13 to John Higgins in 2007), so hasn’t the track record when it comes to this longer format of the game.
On the whole, the bookies can’t separate four men in the betting, Mark Selby, Ronnie O’Sullivan, Judd Trump and Neil Robertson.
O’Sullivan seems (on the whole) to be just about favourite at 5/1 to 6/1, quite surprising since he has been out of snooker for so long. 2010 champion Neil Robertson is second favourite at 11/2 to 6/1. Some bookies have them as joint favourites, but on the whole the majority have O’Sullivan priced up at half a point, or one point shorter than Robertson – with the exception of Ladbrokes who have Robertson as favourite.
Mark Selby then comes in third favourite at 11/2 to 13/2, but again (like with Robertson) – showing just how open this tournament looks on paper – some bookmakers have Selby as joint favourite with Ronnie.
Judd Trump makes up the top four quartet, he is 13/2 to 7/1, like Selby, Trump has one final appearance, losing 18-15 to John Higgins in 2011. The field is then all in double figures.
For each-way bets, all the main online bookmakers are paying out on half the odds for a top two finish, basically getting to the final (to state the bleeding obvious).
Some bookies are giving incentives to try and gain our custom. BetVictor will refund all losing outright winner bets (up to a maximum of £50.00) placed pre tournament if defending champion Ronnie O’Sullivan wins the world title.
Ladbrokes are also offering money back as a free bet if O’Sullivan wins the title, up to a maximum of £25.00. As well as this they are also money back on losing match bets if your player loses in the deciding frame, again as a £25.00 free bet.
While Paddy Power are offering money back on losing outright match bets if a century is scored in the last frame of that particular match (bets have to be placed pre match and maximum refund is 100£/€).
Free bets can be used to bet for free on the snooker with. All three of the bookmakers listed above are offering free bets that can be used here, as well as new tournament sponsor, Betfair. Alternatively cash made from matched betting can be used, either way it is a bet for free.