Paul Krishnamurty analyses today's Championship League and recommends bets in groups 1 and 8...
"The Chester man has the sort of natural, fluent style that one might expect to enable an immediate high standard despite the lack of practice. That has been a common feature among many of the group winners so far."
Short format defying lottery predictions
It must be said, these first few days back in the snooker betting groove have not gone to plan. I felt that the combination of very short matches and little or no practice would produce upsets galore, but it isn't working out that way.
Both group favourites won all three of their matches yesterday. Ronnie O'Sullivan was simply magnificent. Liang Wenbo and Gary Wilson also produced very high standards previously. Clearly some players at or near the top of the sport aren't suffering any ill effects from lockdown. The challenge is, obviously, to identify them.
Stuart Bingham would be a prime candidate. 'Ballrun' is one of the few with a full size table at home although I read that he hadn't been practicing. He starts at odds of 8/13 for Group 1, which I suspect will go to form in so far as it will boil down to a match between him and Ricky Walden.
The two outsiders in this group - Jordan Brown and Jamie Clarke - are both a long way down the snooker pecking order. One slight positive for the latter is a decent record in the single-frame Shootout. For what that is worth.
Walden's natural style could pay dividends
Regarding the big-two, I marginally prefer Ricky Walden at 9/4 for the group. The Chester man has the sort of natural, fluent style that one might expect to enable an immediate high standard despite the lack of practice. That has been a common feature among many of the group winners so far.
Group 8 looks a very close three-way heat between Jimmy Robertson, Ben Woollaston and Liam Highfield. Thor Chuan Leong is easily overlooked - he is one of the weakest pros on the circuit.
I must stick with my 275/1 outright pick here - Ben Woollaston. He is generally seen to much better effect over shorter formats. Robertson is far from dismissed though.
Try these two odds boosts
Interestingly, both Walden and Woollaston are the subject of Odds Boosts - 16/1 and 12/1 respectively to win all three of their matches. This sounds quite a tall order in matches where the draw is a big runner but, as we've seen, realistic. Six of the ten groups so far were won by players with 100% records.