SNOOKER trader Ed Acteson (@EdActeson) returns with an outright preview of the upcoming UK Championship from York.
UK Championship | 24th November – 6th December 2015 | BBC
The snooker tour heads to York on Tuesday for the first major of the season, where a strong field will hope to capitalise on reigning champion Ronnie O’Sullivan’s continued absence by scooping the UK Championship crown, and with it a cool £150k.
Judd Trump and Neil Robertson currently head the betting but even though both former winners obviously have the class to triumph again, I don’t see value in backing either at 6/1 considering the tricky draws they’ve landed. Instead, I’d rather support 2012 champion Mark Selby who can be backed at 8/1 with Skybet.
Selby’s form in recent majors has been wildly inconsistent; he has failed to progress past the Last 16 in five from 11 attempts but has reached the final on each of the other six occasions, landing three victories. This suggests that if he gets going, he’ll take some stopping and with little to fear before a probable semi-final showdown with Neil Robertson, he has every chance of hitting that kind of form.
Robertson cruised to victory in the Champion of Champions last week but finds himself in an ominous Quarter with another two former champions, Stephen Maguire and John Higgins, to deal with before he even considers Selby. At worst, Selby will face Michael White and Joe Perry in the equivalent fixtures and with that a far more palatable run, the 8/1 available on the Jester from Leicester gets my vote.
In the top half of the draw, Mark Allen looks to have an awful lot going in his favour. He is arguably the form player in the world at the moment after a string of positive results, including finishing runner-up to Neil Robertson last week and winning the Bulgarian Open the week before. Furthermore, the short format (best of 11 until the final) should suit his high impact style of play.
Though I wouldn’t completely rule out backing him for the outright at 22/1, I do worry that his questionable safety play and gung-ho approach might be exploited by the top players, against whom pure attacking verve generally isn’t enough. However this shouldn’t prevent him from reigning supreme in his Quarter, an outcome which can be supported at 5/1 (Betfred).
Standing in his way are Ding Junhui and Stuart Bingham but a look at their respective form indicates that neither have been pulling up trees recently. Ding has only played in four tournaments since the World Championships in April and his lack of match practice was evident in October’s International Championship where he made an unceremonious exit at the hands of Ryan Day in the Last 32.
Bingham, on the other hand, has been active but enduring a grim run since stunning The Crucible to become world champion. Since that astonishing day he has actually lost more matches than he’s won (W10-L11) and with four first round exits during a torrid period, it is clear that he is struggling to regain the form that led him to that shock victory.
Barring a major turnaround in fortunes, neither should be able to prevent Mark Allen continuing his recent red-hot form.
Finally, I’d like to suggest a small wager on Kyren Wilson to win the 2nd Quarter at an extremely generous 25/1 (Betfred). Wilson is a player on the up having climbed the world rankings from 56th to a career high 22nd so far this season.
He has several formidable hurdles to jump with Mark Williams, Judd Trump and Shaun Murphy in the same section but having already beaten Trump twice this year as well as claiming his maiden ranking event, Wilson will be full of confidence and fearing nobody. With this in mind, 25/1 is too good to turn down.
UK Championship – Mark Selby to win outright (8/1 each-way SkyBet)
UK Championship – Mark Allen to win the 1st Quarter (5/1 Betfred)
UK Championship – Kyren Wilson to win the 2nd Quarter (25/1 Betfred)
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