JOHN Higgins is back in big time snooker after suspension and betting markets suggesting a run to the UK Championship final for the former world champion Scot are to sure to be busy.
Unfortunate rather than malicious, Higgins paid a high price for his deeds, and although he has a rich history of winning the big finals, his results will be watched closely in the second richest tournament in professional snooker.
The UK championship is one of the highlights of the season as the leading 32 players in the world gather in Telford.
Chinese player Ding Junhui upset the odds in the 2009 when he topped the standings after defeating Higgins 10-8 in the final, and a repeat bet on the Chinese player to win in 2010 might be worthwhile, especially with one of the multitude of free bets on offer from online bookmakers.
The leading 16 players in the world are seeded in first round fixtures, but such is depth of the professional game there could be any number of results worth backing by the predictor who thinks the old guys and some of the newcomers are capable of defeating the leading lights.
As one sports writer said: “In the build-up to Christmas this is a cracking tournament, second only to the world championship in terms of importance. Most predictions extracted from betting markets appear to offer value, especially as it is a shortened format compared to the world championship.
“All eyes, and plenty of bets, will be on Higgins. He has the star quality, and the ability, and his return is undoubtedly one of the highlights of the season.
“If you want a tip, remember, it’s worth spreading your betting lines around. Look for the upsets in the first round fixtures, there could be good value odds to be found, but a bet on the likes of Ronnie O’Sullivan to win, combined with him to be the first to record a 147 maximum break, could be worth a punt by internet customers who must use a free bet supplied by an online bookmaker.
“Whoever tops the standings will then be worth a closer look when the world championship comes around in Sheffield in 2011. Don’t rule out Higgins.”