OUR snooker expert Ed Acteson (@EdActeson) shares his insight into picking a big-priced winner of the upcoming Snooker Shoot-Out.
Snooker Shoot-Out | 12th-14th February 2016 | ITV4
How do you predict the winner of a snooker tournament where form is irrelevant, the fixtures are unknown and a single mistake leads to elimination?
That is the question facing us in the Snooker Shoot-Out and it is one the industry are seemingly unsure of with current favourite Judd Trump as big as 14/1 to take the spoils.
The tournament is entering its sixth year and the table below tells the story so far, listing the age, ranking and recent form of the finalists at the time each event took place.
|Range||23-45||6 - 33|
There have been 10 different finalists and 19 of a possible 20 unique semi-finalists, Graeme Dott being the only man to visit the final four twice, which shows just how much of a lottery this competition is.
The shot clock and single frame format heaps pressure on the players, leaving no room for error. Luck also plays a huge part with each round’s fixtures drawn randomly rather than the players following a fixed path. It makes the tournament exciting but also renders predicting the winner a hellish task.
This is compounded by the notion that form just doesn’t matter. As you can see, Stuart Bingham in 2014 is the only man to have made a final on the back of any semblance of recent success and he didn’t even win.
So in form and fixtures, we have lost two of the usual indicators of who could go well but it isn’t all doom and gloom. There are several statistics available that should allow us to narrow the field somewhat.
The average age of a finalist is just under 33 overall but has declined year on year since it began with the exception of 2014. These matches demand an element of speed and agility which, coupled with the raucous darts-like atmosphere, should continue to suit the younger players.
Additionally, the ranking level of the players who have done well tells its own story. The average world ranking of the finalist is 19.2 but nobody ranked higher than 14 or lower than 33 has won. This is significant as I believe it portrays a certain type of player, high enough in the rankings to possess the required skill but low enough to need to take the tournament seriously.
There is further evidence that an element of class is required, with five of the 10 having previously competed in the final of one of the three majors throughout their career and a further four having reached at least one quarter final. This tells me that having experience of high pressure matches is hugely advantageous in such a stressful environment.
So by filtering the outright market using age, ranking and big tournament experience as parameters, we are left with a select sample of players from whom I like the chances of Liang Wenbo (50/1 each-way Boylesports) and Matthew Selt (80/1 each-way Sportingbet).
Both tick every box and Wenbo will be full of confidence after his recent run to the UK Championships final whilst Selt has turned his career around in the last 18 months, threatening to break into the top 20 in the world.
Furthermore, I will also support Kyren Wilson (50/1 each-way Sportingbet) and Jimmy Robertson (125/1 each-way Sportingbet). Admittedly neither have the big tournament experience but they do meet the other requirements.
Wilson is another player who shouldn’t be short on confidence following a breakthrough season and Robertson is huge value at 125/1, double the odds most companies are offering.
He made perhaps the finest pressure clearance in the tournament’s history in 2013, snatching victory against Tian Pengfei, blasting in 57 in two and a half minutes which shows he can excel under pressure.
Snooker Shoot-Out – Liang Wenbo to win (50/1 each-way Boylesports)
Snooker Shoot-Out – Matthew Selt to win (80/1 each-way Sportingbet)
Snooker Shoot-Out – Kyren Wilson to win (50/1 each-way Sportingbet)
Snooker Shoot-Out – Jimmy Robertson to win (125/1 each-way Sportingbet)
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