OUR snooker expert Ed Acteson (@EdActeson) casts his eye over the upcoming German Masters.
German Masters | Wednesday-Sunday | Eurosport
The German Masters begins in Berlin on Wednesday and I have identified three players who I’m hoping will take my breath away.
The draw for this year’s competition is absurdly weighted, with six of the top nine in the betting located in the top half of the draw including the three favourites; Mark Selby, Judd Trump and Shaun Murphy.
With Barry Hawkins, Stephen Maguire and Mark Williams also lurking, it is incredibly competitive and whoever reaches the final will have had to overcome a treacherous route.
As such, I would rather leave that pack of players to fight it out amongst themselves and switch focus to the lower half of the draw, which looks saturated in value.
Mark Allen (10/1 each-way Sportingbet) leads the betting on this side and looking at his potential path through the tournament, it is evident why.
Allen is blessed with the talent to compete with the best in the world but his consistency holds him back. His worst case scenario here though sees him only having to overcome Mark Joyce, Mark King and Marco Fu in order to reach the semi-finals.
With Fu enduring a dreadful season, it should be a canter to the last four and a great opportunity to reach form before the tougher ties begin. As ever with Allen, his greatest opponent could be his own mentality but I’m happy to give him a chance.
Elsewhere in the section, world champion Stuart Bingham is the biggest name and the man with a target on his back. After two consecutive semi-finals, Bingham does a fine impression of a man returning to form after a torrid start to the season.
However, upon closer inspection, it would appear to be an illusion. Aside from beating a flu-ridden John Higgins at the Ally Pally and two victories over the mysteriously plummeting Ding Junhui, Bingham hasn’t beaten a top-16 opponent this season and the sight of him at a best priced 12/1 in the outright leaves me cold.
Both have enjoyed impressive, high profile results this season with Wilson winning the Shanghai Masters and Wenbo battling to the final of the UK Championships which demonstrates that they each have the mettle to thrive in a weak quarter.
If Bingham is to progress, he will likely have to overcome Wenbo in the second round, Wilson in the quarter-final before Allen in the semi, giving us three chances to get him out.
However, if my lack of faith in him is justified we could easily see two of our picks contesting a semi-final by which point we would be guaranteed at least an each-way return.
German Masters – Mark Allen to win (10/1 each-way Sportingbet)
German Masters – Liang Wenbo to win (40/1 each-way Betfred)
German Masters – Kyren Wilson to win (40/1 each-way Betfred)
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