The UK Championship is well under way at the Barbican Arena in York. Let’s take a quick look at the betting and see if we can find any value.
One of the major changes that Barry Hearn has made is that the top 128 players all get a fair crack of the whip, and the top 16 are no longer guaranteed a spot in the TV stages of the tournament. The last 32 which is televised on BBC and Eurosport kicked off on Monday November 30th, and most of the big names have made it through the first 2 rounds. A notable absentee is Ronnie O’Sullivan, who decided he wasn’t going to defend his crown, but is doing TV work instead…a bizarre decision indeed. O’Sullivan will however be back for the Masters in January.
The oddmakers are struggling to decide between Mark Selby, Judd Trump, Neil Robertson, Shaun Murphy, and John Higgins when it comes to picking a winner with all 3 priced up at 4/1 or 5/1, depending on where you go. Stuart Bingham was among the favourites but in a huge shock he was dumped out by Peter Ebdon in the last 32. Selby, Higgins, and Robertson are all on the same side of the draw, with Murphy and Trump at the other end.
If you look at how the season has gone so far, John Higgins is the man in form. He won the Australian Open back in late June, admittedly a long time ago now, and also the International Championship in China at the start of November. If you were savvy, you could have backed him at 14/1 last week before the tournament started. However to make it to the final he’ll likely have to get through Robertson and Selby.
More recently Neil Robertson defeated Mark Allen 10-5 in the final of the Champion of Champions event at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry two weeks ago.
On current form I’d expect to see semifinals of Murphy vs Trump and Selby vs Robertson, which would both make for fantastic matches. In the matches they’ve played, Selby holds a 14-6 advantage of Robertson with one draw, but a lot of the matches have been very close, and Selby’s form hasn’t been great for a long time now. In fact he only barely scraped into the last 16 yesterday, coming out on the right side of a final frame decider against Jamie Hones. Judd Trump holds a 16-7 advantage in his career against Shaun Murphy and I’d expect Trump to do the business this time around.
I’m calling a Trump vs. Robertson final, I think it’s a tossup to try and decide who wins it so have an each way bet on both Trump and Robertson at 9/2 and 5/1 respectively. Then watch the Final safe in the knowledge that you’re in the money!