2017 Snooker Masters preview
The best sixteen players in the world descend on Alexandra Palace over the next few weeks, with a prize fund of £600,000 available as part of the 2017 Masters.
This non-ranking tournament is a great way to start the New Year, with Ronnie O’Sullivan installed as the 3.75 (11/4) favourite with bet365 and the Rocket is the reigning champion to win an event that he traditionally fares well in.
As we have come to expect from the talented potter, he picks and chooses the tournaments where he appears these days, although he has won this event on six occasions and his last three appearances have been W-SF-W.
Therefore, O’Sullivan merits serious consideration although it’s worth noting that at the 2016 UK Championship, the Rocket found a player too good for him and Mark Selby will be ready to go for Masters title number four over the next few days.
The reigning world champion claimed a 10-7 win in the final having beaten Shaun Murphy comfortably in the semi-final and clearly has no issues with facing his old adversary.
Selby is available at 5.00 (4/1) with William Hill although another player worthy of consideration is John Higgins who came close to beating the former at the UK Championship when losing by a deciding frame at the quarter final stage.
The Wizard of Wishaw is a 9.00 (8/1) chance with Ladbrokes and will meet Mark Allen in the opening clash before a potential last eight match against Judd Trump or Marco Fu.
Trump is always overrated to win these events, with William Hill going as short as 7.50 (13/2) about him winning for the first time at Alexandra Palace. However, he might even be vulnerable in the opening clash against Marco Fu.
Kyren Wilson makes his bow in this tournament and has been handed a tough clash against Ding Junhui, someone who reached the final of the 2016 World Championship and has the game to win a lot of titles.
Ding is 11.00 (10/1) with BetVictor to get over the line in this one, with Stuart Bingham perhaps overpriced considering he’s the number three seed and the Essex potter is a decent each-way shout at odds of 26.00 (25/1) with Ladbrokes .
All of the players at this tournament form part of the top sixteen in the world, so there won’t really be too many “shocks”, perhaps with the exception of Liang Wenbo beating Ronnie although the young Chinaman won’t be fazed by this match-up.