THE Masters snooker tournament, held at Wembley from January 9, pits the world’s best 16 players against each other with the guarantee that fans will witness a feast of unforgettable cueing skills, together with a constant flow betting action throughout a week where reputations can only be enhanced.
Although contested in the UK during January, the tournament is one of the highlights of the world snooker season and the quick-fire fixtures, where each match is limited to the best of 11 frames all the way up to the final, means those punters using the internet to search for odds and place their bets have plenty from which to select.
Now in its 35th year, the Masters has a history of throwing up memorable results. In the first staging of the event, it took a re-spotted black in the final frame before John Spencer beat Ray Reardon 9–8.
More recently, in 2010 Mark Selby saw off the challenge of Ronnie O’Sullivan in another memorable conclusion, proving once again that predictions of this being an extremely tight, hard-fought event, likely to favour those who have researched snooker betting markets, are invariably accurate.
With 16 players bidding to top the standings in such a shortened version of the game, in play betting promises to be very popular. Not surprisingly then, online bookmakers plan to offer a steady flow of free bets throughout the course of the tournament as the odds and form fluctuate.
To date, one of the most interesting multiple wagers has been a bet on who the final competitors will be, combined with betting on either which player will score the most century breaks, or lose the fewest frames. One thing is for certain: the competition and the betting will be unaffected by the perilous British weather. Echoing the grateful sports fans mood, one sports writer said: “The winter has meant lots of traditional fixtures have already been lost. Thank goodness for the snooker – not only to keep people entertained, but to give those anxious predictors of outcomes the opportunity to enjoy a bet on a live event.
“The Masters is a cracking way to start the year. The shortened nature of the matches ensures that results are uncertain, often all the way to the final frame.
“One of the big stories of the snooker year is going to be the return of John Higgins after his six month suspension. He’s already been well backed in a succession of betting markets.
“The fact he won the UK championship in his first tournament back means he will definitely be worth considering on each-way terms at the very least. However, if you’re looking to utilise a free bet made available via an online bookmaker, I would look at Mark Selby, who has won two of the last three finals. The odds against him making it three from four are attractive and as he makes progress through the tournament, the chances are he’ll attract more followers keen to get their 2011 betting campaigns off to a winning start.