Betfair Masters Snooker Tips: One player to back from each quarter

The Jester from Leicester is good value for a third Masters title

Paul Krishnamurty lays out his usual trading plan for the Masters. By backing one player from each quarter, none can meet until the latter stages, with the dream scenario involving picking all four semi-finalists...

"As snooker's form man after winning both the UK Championship and Munich Open, twice former Masters champion Selby must be the pick and if he does reach the semis without much fuss, pre-tournament odds of 8.27/1 will look enormous." 

Back Neil Robertson 6u @ 8.88/1

The most obvious conclusion to draw from studying the Betfair Masters draw is that the tough half is more competitive. Defending champion Neil Robertson sets a very high standard, but the Aussie looks set to face four tough games if he is to retain the title. Just to emerge from this top quarter, he'll have to get past 2011 champion Ding Junhui before another likely tough challenge against Mark Allen. Any of this trio are plausible champions but, as argued in greater detail here, Robertson must be the pick on the basis of the exemplary standard he's brought to recent snooker majors.
Back Ali Carter 2u @ 25.024/1

Again it would be easy to make a case for any of the three principals in the second quarter, but from a value perspective, backing Ali Carter at 25.024/1 is a no-brainer. Granted, Ali has a poor Masters record although some of that can be attributed to his long battle with Crohn's Disease. Happily, an improved diet seems to have enabled Ali to cope better with his condition these days and the snooker dividends have been obvious. After reaching his second World final in May, running into an unstoppable Ronnie O'Sullivan, Carter looked nailed on to reach another major final at York last month when leading Shaun Murphy 8-4.

If Carter can pull off a very plausible upset against John Higgins in the opening round, he'll probably face Murphy again in the quarter-finals. On the evidence of all three men's form in recent majors, Carter has nothing to fear and looks to have been far too readily dismissed by the market.   

Back Mark Selby 7u @ 8.27/1

In stark contrast to the top half, the third quarter seems very weak. One of Mark Williams and Matthew Stevens must make the quarter-finals and unless one of them improves significantly on lacklustre recent form, their opponent will be licking his lips.

That place is heavily odds-on to go to world number one Mark Selby, who is bidding for a third Masters title and fourth final appearance in what will only be his sixth attempt. The Jester from Leicester clearly thrives in this event's one-table, slightly longer format, although it must be added that bang-in-form Stuart Bingham won't be a first round pushover. Nevertheless, as snooker's form man after winning both the UK Championship and Munich Open, Selby must be the pick and if he does reach the semis without much fuss, pre-tournament odds of 8.27/1 will look enormous. 

Back Stephen Maguire 3u @ 17.5

Judd Trump is by far the likeliest man to take the last semi-final place, but at just 5.69/2 for the title, there is little betting value about the Juddernaut. Lets not forget, the favourite failed to reach either the World or UK quarter-finals. A more promising trading alternative could be Stephen Maguire, who is scheduled to meet Trump in the quarters. Maguire beat him in last year's Welsh Open and, while he's never a man to take short odds about, the Glaswegian remains capable of thrashing anyone when on song. Given that Graeme Dott had done precisely nothing this season until last week's run to the latest PTC final, I expect Maguire to negotiate their first-round encounter at least and shorten somewhat from his current 17.5 odds. 

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