World Open Snooker Betting Preview: One player to back from each quarter

Snooker player Barry Hawkins
Barry Hawkins is one of Paul's each-way selections

Paul Krishnamurty previews the World Open snooker, which will be covered on Betfair Live Video from Monday...

"Shaun is really rising to the challenge following a poor 2018-19 season. He's already won the China Championship and lost nothing in 11-9 defeat to Ronnie in the Shanghai final. There should be more to come."

Back Shaun Murphy 2.5u each-way @ 14/1

Although now largely in the UK stage of the snooker season, the tour returns briefly to China next week for the World Open. Established over many decades, this event has tended to produce more than its share of outsiders either winning or reaching the latter stages.

Ronnie attending for first time since 2010

One reason for that in recent times is that Ronnie O'Sullivan hasn't appeared since it moved to China in 2012. The Rocket, however, is here this time, seeking to add to the Shanghai Masters crown he defended last month.

Back Barry Hawkins 2u each-way @ 20/1

As usual, Ronnie and Judd Trump dominate the betting and they are seeded to meet in the final. Again as usual, there's no value to be had in backing both, however obvious their claims. Snooker is too competitive and simply not that predictable.

Judd hasn't got such a straightforward route either. I still regard him as potentially vulnerable to a switched-on, capable type in opening rounds. Sam Craigie could be that person in the last-64 and he's struggled against would-be last-16 opponent Joe Perry of late.

Hawkins stands out as clear second best and therefore a solid each-way punt. He's started the season better than usual, winning the Paul Hunter Classic, and is now rated well ahead of the main threats along his path to the last-eight - Ding Junhui and Luca Brecel.

Keep in-form Murphy onside

Back Shaun Murphy 2.5u each-way @ 14/1

Numerous cases could be made in this quarter, from resurgent English Open champion Mark Selby to likeable outsider Noppon Saengkham. John Higgins and Stuart Bingham obviously have the pedigree, if not the recent form, to warrant close consideration.

I'm happy to take them on with Murphy, whose route to the latter stages looks more straightforward. Shaun is really rising to the challenge following a poor 2018-19 season. He's already won the China Championship and lost nothing in 11-9 defeat to Ronnie in the Shanghai final. There should be more to come.

Back Scott Donaldson 0.25u each-way @ 175/1

This is definitely the weakest section. Mark Allen, twice a former winner of this event and in excellent form this term, is obvious but 8/1 is about as short as I can ever recall him in the pre-event betting. He's also in the tougher mini-section, with David Gilbert and Zhao Xintong.

Gritty Donaldson fancied in weak section

In contrast, the favourite to reach the quarter-finals from the other mini-section is the extremely opposable Stephen Maguire. Let's take him on with an old favourite of this column. Scott Donaldson reached two semi-finals last term, taking his career tally to five. He's a fine match player, still relatively young, and will get a change of luck at some stage.

Back Ronnie O'Sullivan 8u @ 3.7511/4

Finally at risk of creating a hostage to fortune, I really can't see O'Sullivan not reaching at least the last-eight. True, he's in the same section as Crawley conqueror Mei Xiwen, but evidently Ronnie doesn't like that venue. Given that he hasn't made this long journey before, one must assume he is well up for this event.

If so, only Kyren Wilson or Jack Lisowski will present a top-class obstacle before the semis and they must negotiate each other first. If you're looking for a big-priced alternative, take the 375/1 about Luo Honghoa - a brilliant prospect, worth persevering with.

Follow Paul on Twitter @paulmotty


2019/20: -38.5 units
2018/19: +154.5 units
2017/18: +106 units

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