2021 UK Snooker Championship Betting Preview
The first Triple Crown event of the 2021-22 snooker season gets underway on November 23, as the UK Championship returns to the famous York Barbican.
Across the two-week tournament, the best snooker players on the planet will battle it out for the prestigious trophy, with the final scheduled for December 5.
Neil Robertson is the defending champion, having defeated Judd Trump in a dramatic final last year. Can the Australian defend his crown? Will Trump gain his revenge? Or could we see a different man scoop the prize this time around?
Luckily for you, this 2021 UK Championship betting preview should help to answer all the above questions – and plenty more, too!
After going through the bookmakers’ odds for the snooker UK Championship, I analyze all the 2021 UK Championship betting favorites, as well as the prospective outsiders.
I also share my snooker predictions for the 2021 UK Championship at the end, but let’s start with the UK Championship odds.
2021 UK Championship Winner Odds
As things stand, the top-rated online sportsbooks see Judd Trump (4.50) as the favorite to win the 2021 UK Championship.
Trump was just 22 when he clinched his first – and only – UK Championship title all the way back in 2011. Now 32, he returns to York Barbican as last year’s beaten finalist.
Neil Robertson (7.00) and Ronnie O’Sullivan (7.00) complete the four-man group of frontrunners. Robertson is the defending champion, while O’Sullivan has won seven UK Championships over the years – more than any other player in history.
Shaun Murphy (15.00), Kyren Wilson (17.00), and John Higgins (19.00) find themselves outside the cluster of favorites, with 2019 champion Ding Junhui (34.00) further behind.
Before we go any further, let’s take a look at the latest snooker world rankings.
Current Snooker World Rankings
Despite sitting second in the bookies’ 2021 UK Championship odds list, Selby is the current world #1. Still, it is worth noting that Trump (#2) is hot on Selby’s heels.
|LATEST WORLD SNOOKER RANKINGS|
As you can see, the gulf between the top two and the chasing pack is vast. O’Sullivan (#3) trails Trump by almost 350,000 points, with Robertson (#4) and Wilson (#5) even further back.
Recent UK Championship Winners
As I already mentioned, Robertson is the UK Championship title-holder. The Australian beat Trump 10-9 in a thrilling final last year, clinching his third UK Championship crown in the process.
Here are the previous five tournament winners.
|LAST 5 UK CHAMPIONSHIP WINNERS|
|2020||Neil Robertson||Judd Trump||10-9|
|2019||Ding Junhui||Stephen Maguire||10-6|
|2018||Ronnie O’Sullivan||Mark Allen||10-6|
|2017||Ronnie O’Sullivan||Shaun Murphy||10-5|
|2016||Mark Selby||Ronnie O’Sullivan||10-7|
After triumphing in 2005 and 2009, Ding returned to secure a hat-trick of UK Championship titles in 2019.
Before Ding’s third triumph, the great O’Sullivan claimed back-to-back titles in 2017 and 2018. “The Rocket” is officially the most successful player in the history of the tournament.
Selby won his second UK Championship in 2016, adding to his 2012 success. Can the reigning World Snooker Champion get his hands on a third trophy this year?
Why is Trump the 2021 UK Championship Favorite?
When Trump claimed his first UK Championship crown in 2011, it looked as though the youngster would go on to win many more.
Unfortunately for the Bristol-born player, that hasn’t happened.
Despite reaching two UK Championship finals since then (2014 and 2020), Trump hasn’t been able to scoop the illusive prize again. But that could change this year.
Although he failed to claim a Triple Crown title last term, the 2019 World Snooker Championship victor heads into the new campaign in winning form.
Having fallen at the final hurdle in 2020, Trump will be desperate to make amends for last year’s shortcomings.
Will Selby Win His Third UK Championship in 2021?
Selby continued his World Championship domination last season, claiming his fourth title in eight years. He also won Scottish Open and European Masters during the previous campaign.
The 38-year-old reached three UK Championships finals in five seasons between 2012 and 2016, winning two and losing the other. Since then, however, he hasn’t made it past the quarter-finals.
After winning his second UK title, Selby was knocked out in the second round in 2017 before suffering a humiliating first-round exit from the 2018 tournament. He then made it to the fourth round in 2019 before falling at the quarter-finals last year.
It is difficult to explain exactly why a man with four world titles under his belt has continuously came up short in the UK Championship.
That said, nobody would be shocked if Selby went all the way this year.
Can Robertson Defend His UK Championship Crown?
Having won three of the past eight UK Championships, it’s safe to say that “The Thunder from Down Under” has dominated the tournament in recent years – alongside O’Sullivan, of course.
The Aussie has invariably enjoyed playing on British shores throughout his illustrious career, which has also seen him win a World Championship.
Of course, it will be tough for Robertson to defend his UK Championship title. I mean, only one man – O’Sullivan – has secured back-to-back UK Championships in the last 25 years.
But if anyone can emulate Ronnie’s feat, it’s Robertson.
Will O’Sullivan Clinch His Eighth UK Title in 2021?
It is no secret that O’Sullivan is not the player he once was.
Granted, the 45-year-old has won a whopping 37 ranking events over the years – as well as 34 non-ranking events; yet, by his own lofty standards, he has flattered to deceive recently.
Although the six-time world champion competed in 13 tournaments last season, he failed to win a single trophy. He even reached five finals in 2020-21, but he didn’t manage to secure any silverware.
Following back-to-back UK Championship triumphs in 2017 and 2018, Ronnie fell in the fourth round in 2019 before suffering a second-round exit last year.
While it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see O’Sullivan rediscover some form at York Barbican, he might not be in the best shape to compete with the likes of Trump and Selby.
When he is at his best, though, there is nobody better.
Could an Outsider Upset the UK Championship Odds?
There are three players just below the bookies’ four-man group of favorites who stand a genuine chance of upsetting the 2021 UK Championship odds.
Having analyzed the leading contenders, it’s time to check out the outsiders.
Murphy Reached the 2021 World Championship Final
Murphy won the UK Championship in 2008 and has since lost two finals (2012 and 2017). Needless to say, “The Magician” knows what it takes to go deep into the tournament – and lift the trophy!
Although he has been knocked out in the early round in each of the previous three UK Championships, he did manage to reach last season’s World Championship final – only to lose 18-15 to Selby.
When it comes to betting on the 2021 UK Championship winner, you would be foolish to disregard Murphy altogether.
Wilson Beat Trump in the 2020 Champions League Final
At the age of 29, Wilson has an impressive six tournament wins to his name – four ranking and two non-ranking.
After reaching the World Championship final two seasons ago, the man from Kettering clinched the Champions League title last term. Better still, he beat Trump 3-1 on his way to lifting the trophy.
Wilson has now reached five ranking finals over the past three campaigns. As he continues to rise up the snooker ranks, he could pose a serious threat to the bookies’ favorites at York Barbican.
Higgins Knows What It Takes to Win the UK Championship
Between 1996 and 2010, John Higgins reached five UK Championship finals. He triumphed on three occasions during that period (1998, 2000, and 2010), losing the showpiece in 1996 and 2009.
Since then, however, the Scottish veteran hasn’t had much to shout about. In fact, he hasn’t made it past the quarter-finals in each of the past ten UK Championships.
That said, he did win the Players Championship last season and also reached the final of The Masters. Let’s see if he can build upon a solid 2020-21 campaign this term.
My 2021 UK Championship Predictions
If you want to bet on the 2021 UK Championship, it is important to consider the competitiveness of the tournament. In fact, I think we could see one of the most competitive UK Championships in a long time this year.
With the bookies’ top four favorites priced between 4.50 and 7.00 – and a number of outsiders to keep an eye on – picking the winner won’t be easy.
Selby will be confident of going all the way, too. After sealing his fourth World Championship earlier this year, “The Jester from Leicester” should easily improve on last season’s quarter-final exit from the UK Championship.
If Robertson wants to defend his title, he will need to be at the very top of his game – especially if Trump and Selby find their best form.
Although O’Sullivan is arguably the greatest snooker player of all time, he has faltered in numerous finals recently.
Of course, you should never write off Ronnie altogether. But after analyzing all the leading contenders, I expected Trump and Selby to battle it out in a two-horse race for the 2021 UK Championship title.
For further advice on placing your snooker wagers, head on over to our comprehensive snooker betting guide.