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Betting the 2019 Snooker Championship League – Latest Odds, Predictions, and Picks
We are entering the final stages of the 2019 Snooker Championship League, and as always, the tournament provides a lot of betting opportunities that catch the eye.
After some thrilling battles in the group stages, we are now left with 13 players that can end up winning it.
A lot of top talent will be contesting the crown this year. The reigning champion, John Higgins, is in a bit of a pickle, but this was true last year as well. The top seed Mark Selby is there, of course, and so are Judd Trump and Neil Robertson.
One of the pleasant surprises this year, David Gilbert, put up the first maximum break in the tournament. I’ll get into it more when discussing the odds, but a lot has happened already, and the best is yet to come.
The players are already positioned in Group 7 and the Winners’ Group and are waiting for the final stretch.
I am primarily interested in the betting options here, but since the Snooker Championship League is not your ordinary snooker tournament, I will briefly go over the format and rules so that you don’t have to wonder what things like the Winners’ Group and Group 7 are and how you qualify for them.
Snooker Championship League Format Explained
The tournament is a fairly new addition in the pro snooker calendar. Its first edition was held back in 2008 in the Crondon Park Golf Club in Stock, Essex. It has since moved to Coventry, and the final stages are hosted at the Metrodome in Barnsley.
It’s a non-ranking tournament, but there are a lot of different ways for the players to grab some winnings along the way, and the total prize fund is £200,000. There are basically two major phases in the tournament which stretches from January to March.
25 participants enter the tournament, and all games right through to the final are played in a best of five format. The proceedings start with seven players in Group 1, and each of them faces their opponent once.
The top four players enter the group’s playoffs, and the winner of that goes straight to the Winners’ Group. The bottom players are eliminated, and the remaining four are joined by three other players in Group 2.
The same cycle is repeated until Group 6 where we already have six contestants in the Winners’ Group. Group 7 consists of the remaining seven players, and whoever tops the group takes the last place in the Winners’ Group for a chance to win the whole thing.
For example, John Higgins won the tournament last year by qualifying for the Winners’ Group with the last chance possible. He didn’t manage to win a group playoff, but he qualified for Group 7, won it, and then went on to complete his victory by clinching a playoff spot in the Winners’ Group and prevailing over Zhou Yuelong in the final.
So, we are currently at the stage where 13 players — six in the Winners’ Group and seven in Group 7 — are still in it.
When Group 7 is settled, the remaining seven pros will commence battle for the final playoffs on March 13 and 14.
Hopefully, this brief explanation clears the air a bit. The important thing to understand is that guys in Group 7 are still in with a shot at winning, and sometimes they represent the best betting value.
Right, so let’s look at who has the best chance this year and whether we can expect some sort of surprise. I will go through the top candidates and some of the underdogs to see what value we can get out of them. The odds are courtesy of BetOnline.ag.
The Snooker Championship League Favorites
There are currently three players with odds of 6.00 or below to win this tournament.
Let’s take a look at their chances.
Judd Trump is comfortably sitting in the Winners’ Group and awaiting his next opponent. He has shown some tremendous snooker and was one of the first guys to qualify for the latter stages by winning the playoffs in Group 3.
The odds of 4.00 don’t surprise me at all. Trump is the most successful snooker player in the tournament’s history with three titles and one runner-up prize. He’s looking calm and composed and has every chance of winning it again.
The top seed took his time with it but eventually ended up in the Winners’ Group by toppling Barry Hawkins at the second time of asking. To be fair, Selby doesn’t have the best record in the Championship League.
He’s only been in the final twice and lost both games. And that was way back in 2007 and 2008. Since then, he hasn’t been anywhere near contesting the top prize. It’s true that he is viewed as the top snooker player at the moment, but when it comes to this particular event, I’m not convinced he is a smart bet.
The potting machine from Melbourne was the first player to secure a spot in the Winners’ Group this year. He topped Group 1 and then absolutely destroyed both Anthony Hamilton and Jack Lisowski in the playoffs. Both games ended 3-0.
So, he hasn’t played a lot of snooker in the tournament, but he has been ruthless around the table. The tough games are yet to come, but the Australian has a very good chance this time around. The format favors his direct style, and some of the other top contenders have been found lacking.
In my view, Robertson is not a bad early prediction for winning it — especially at these odds!
Other Snooker Championship League Contenders
Looking at the other ten players, the one that’s most interesting for me is John Higgins. He will have a tough job of winning Group 7 in order to book his place in the final stages, but as I said, he’s done that before.
He has won the event twice in a row and is very experienced in those types of situations. I wouldn’t be quick to rule him out. Also, the odds of 15.00 are a great value if you’re looking for a bit of a surprise.
Another interesting proposition is Jack Lisowski at 8.00. He was the second player to qualify for the Winners’ Group and is overall looking very positive since the start. The problem is he’s still very much inexperienced and hasn’t won a major title.
If you’re bent on looking for a high-risk bet, you would be better off going for Martin Gould at 13.00. He is also in the Winners’ Group and has the needed discipline and experience to handle the pressures of the final playoffs.
I would have been looking at Stuart Bingham as well but find that the 7.00 odds are a bit short. The guy has won the Championship League before and is now in the Winners’ Group, but there’s a lot of competition this year, and I don’t believe he’s playing the best snooker of his career right now.
Some familiar faces like Mark Davis, Steven Maguire, and Ding Junhui are also involved in the Group 7 scrap, but I consider them outsiders here. They are past their prime, and I doubt they will be able to overcome John Higgins or Barry Hawkins to get the last spot.
My Predictions and Picks
If I have to give a concrete prediction of how things will unfold, I would have to say I expect Higgins to grab the last place in the Winners’ Group and challenge again. His toughest obstacle will be Barry Hawkins, but Higgins has a great record in the tournament and is frankly the better player.
Among the favorites, it will be really tough to call. Trump is great in the Championship League, but Neil Robertson is playing very well in this edition. I expect Selby will come short, so for me, it’s between those two.
I like how the odds for Robertson are looking, so I will back him on account of the value this bet represents.
If you’re feeling adventurous and looking for an underdog win here, I guess the best bet is John Higgins. The guy has back-to-back titles in this tournament, and he was in the exact same place last year. As I said, he has what it takes to clinch the top spot in Group 7 and battle it out with the top guns.
Given that he is the reigning champion and the odds are crazy, I wouldn’t blame you if you get tempted. So, I’ll throw this one here as my extra pick.
I hope this piece has given you the needed insight to make an educated bet on the Snooker Championship League. It’s important to always understand the tournament format and history prior to wagering your money.
We are entering the most interesting part of the event, so it’s the best time to make some money off of it. I’m pretty happy with the picks I made and the value they represent. Do you agree with them? Let me know if you have another favorite or if you think that I’ve missed something.
I will expect your thoughts in the comments below and wish you a fun and profitable betting experience until the end of the tournament! Just remember to stick with trustworthy betting sites when you’re placing your wagers.