The German Masters gets underway tomorrow in Berlin. Ali Carter is well drawn to retain his title. He is best priced 25/1 with Ladbrokes and has a real chance. In the Shootout at the weekend he cued straight and confidently – in particular he did pot two blacks sliding across the face of the object ball which both made the centre of the pocket. This is a strong indication of a player’s form.
Carter opens against Dechawat Poomjaeng and should walk into the last eight. He is a strong tip to go deep into the event and possibly retain his title.
Ali Carter – Cueing very straight and wants to retain his title.
In the opposite half Neil Robertson has become the real deal and it’s no surprise that he is 5/1 favourite (sportingbet). The Aussie has a reasonable draw although Tian Pengfei and Marco Fu are potential dangers so we’ll have a saver on the world number one.
The Shootout gets underway tonight at 6pm from the Tower Circus Arena in Blackpool ending on Sunday night .
It is a bit of a lottery although we’re best sticking with the players who meet the following criteria.
1. See the shot quickly and play it quickly
2. Have bottle – just one miss can be the end.
3. Are currently playing well
Robert Milkins – Made the final in 2011 and is very quick on the shot – 66/1 (Ladbrokes).
Other players who meet this criteria are Alfie Burden (100/1 general) – Burden has bottle and his aggression can help him go far into the event.
Anthony McGill (66/1 Coral) is good enough to lift a trophy – he did make the final of the Scottish Open in 2012. And he does fancy himself which is a critical quality in this format.
We’ll have to leave the match betting alone – simply because more or less anyone can win. But the players who have wit and can adapt to the rules can be at the forefront also. Mark Selby is the cleverest snooker player on the circuit and this will suit him.
But his address is just a bit too long. The Jester is currently 16/1 favourite – simply because layers have no idea who is going to win so they may as well reflect the ranking for standard tour events just lengthening the prices to account for the rules. A 10 minute frame time and 15 seconds per shot which is reduced to 10 seconds per shot after five minutes.
Quite simply the way to give yourself the best chance is to play safe as normal and when you get in just try and make a 30+ break and if your break down play a good safety. Your opponent will start to panic and have no option but to try and push the boat out so just manage the table from thereon in.
Good luck. And what fun!
Masters Snooker gets underway on Sunday from Alexandra Palace in North London and you can read my preview for sportinglife.com here
World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan heads the market at 11/4 (general) with defending champion Mark Selby best priced at 13/2 (general).
Joe Perry stands out as real value in the draw. The Wisbech player has been a professional since 1991 and is now playing his best snooker which is remarkable given the improved standard of play on the tour. Perry has risen five places to 15th in the current world rankings and this week won Group Two of Championship League Snooker against a really strong field – winning eight out of nine matches along the way.
Joe Perry – Not without a shout at a big price
He said afterwards that it will help him go to the Masters with real confidence. He opens against Stephen Maguire who took some time off at the start of this season and hasn’t yet regained the level of form to enable him to compete. So we’ll take the 13/8 (StanJames) for Perry to prevail and have a speculative each-way punt at the generous outright 66/1 (general) as well as a saver on him to win quarter three at 7/1 (general).
In the first quarter Selby opens against Mark Davis and the Jester showed some form in the UK Championship losing in the final to Neil Robertson. But he now doesn’t seem capable or confident of steamrollering an opponent – preferring instead to use his methodical approach and acute understanding of the variables of the game to work out the best shot for nothing. This can disrupt an opponents rhythm which is why he is involved in more scrappy frames and long matches than any other top sixteen player. Although there is no reason why he should change because it clearly works for him. But we’ll discount Selby simply because there are many players coming into this tournament in very good form.
Judd Trump opens against Marco Fu and is at risk of losing in the opening round. Trump hasn’t managed to sustain his form of the last three seasons – in the five major ranking events of this campaign he entered he has only made the last 16 once. Also he is short of recent success on the big stage so we’ll take a punt on Fu who this season triumphed in the Australian Goldfields Open and was runner-up in the International Championship in China. We can ignore his loss to amateur Mitchell Travis in the opening round of the UK last month. The 2/1 (CORAL) is worth a bet and also we’ll have a small each-way saver outright at 40/1 (general).
Ding Junhui has won three ranking titles so far this season which reflect his current form and he isn’t finished yet. He now looks relaxed around tournaments and can now even play at his best in China whereas before he felt the pressure too acutely to perform. He opens in the second quarter against the new slimline Shaun Murphy and the 15/2 (UNIBET, 888sport) for Ding outright should be taken.
O’Sullivan has a great record in this tournament – in the last ten years he has lifted the title three times and lost 10-9 in the final three times too. He didn’t enter last year. He plays Rob Milkins in the first round and the venue is just a 30 minute drive from his Chigwell home. This means he can go home during the tournament which will help him.
But I’m not sure he is value at 11/4. His focus and commitment this season have largely been exemplary but the snooker landscape has changed. Selby and Robertson at the top of their game don’t fear the Rocket at all which does negate somewhat the Ronnie factor. Quite simply O’Sulllivan’s best used to be usually good enough to win but with the plethora of tournaments and consequently the higher standard of play this now means his best is no longer a guarantee of success.