Snooker Shootout Preview: Six selections for snooker's greatest lottery

Snooker player Shaun Murphy
Shaun Murphy is bidding for back-to-back ranking titles
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Paul Krishnamurty previews this unique event, which runs from Thursday afternoon on a rolling one-frame match basis, with coverage on Betfair Live Video...

"Kurt Maflin is another player whose natural style suggests he should thrive with a shotclock. The Norwegian made the quarters in both 2013 and 2014."

Back Kurt Maflin 0.25u e/w @ 125/1

The Snooker Shootout divides fans like no other. A one-frame knockout, played in front of boozy, singing fans, is never going to appease the purists. Personally I love it as entertainment but consider its fast rising status to be outrageously unfair.

Greater rewards equals strongest ever line-up

This event now carries ranking status, is part of the European Series and a £50,000 first prize. All a player needs achieve is seven straight winning frames and their ranking would be transformed.

No doubt, past results confirm the format to be a lottery. Of the ten previous winners, at least four were all but unpickable on rational grounds, let alone various unlikely semi-finalists.

Backing favourites is dubious strategy

It is therefore a fun betting heat, rather than one in which to get heavily involved, but there is some form to it. Evidently some players are comfortable with the shot-clock and atmosphere than others.

Whether you're betting on the match or the outright at any stage of the event, my simplistic advice is to back outsiders. Doing so in every match might well pay off.

Murphy preferred to Ronnie amongst market leaders

This renewal has by far the strongest ever set of market leaders. Ronnie O'Sullivan is 12/1 favourite. When the old Premier League used a shotclock, he was in a class of his own. Nevertheless those odds at best reflect the chance of him winning seven frames, punctuated by hours, on the spin.

At twice those odds, Shaun Murphy - utterly superb in Wales last week, beating Judd Trump and then destroying Kyren Wilson in the final - makes greater appeal. He's had a couple of good runs at this before and had Premier League prowess.

Besides 'The Magician', I'm backing outsiders each-way, with the place part to reach the semi-finals at a quarter of the odds.

A quintet of outsiders to back each-way

Tom Ford is the sort of fluent player who one would expect to go well, and he has before in campaigns that were much less productive than the current one. He's right in the thick of the battle for a top-16 place so not lacking motivation to retain focus.

Kurt Maflin is another player whose natural style suggests he should thrive with a shotclock. The Norwegian made the quarters in both 2013 and 2014. He's not without form this season, either.

Georgiou is a natural at this format

Michael Georgiou was so impressive when winning this two years ago - looking tailor-made to the format - that he must be backed again at triple-figure odds. Not bad considering he was a quarter-finalist (losing to Trump) in his penultimate event.

Two more even further down the betting, I'll take a flyer on a pair who have impressed with their fluency from time to time. I regard Elliot Slessor and Sam Baird as capable of a lot more in the game they've achieved.

Perhaps this random event and opportunity to make rapid progress will be the spark. Baird reached the quarters last year and last-16 five years ago, so he can evidently cope with the format.


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Paul Krishnamurty,

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