We enter the main stages of the Bet Victor Welsh Open this week, with 48 players remaining at the start of Tuesday battling it out for the £60,000 winner’s prize on Sunday night.
Ronnie O’Sullivan Favourite
As is normally the case in whatever tournament he enters, Ronnie O’Sullivan is the bookies’ favourite to take this year’s tournament in the outright odds.
The World and Masters champion overcame Mitchell Travis in the qualifying round last week, but the Newport Centre doesn’t have the same sort of cauldron feeling about it that the Crucible or Alexandra Palace does, the type of arenas he thrives upon, so I’m not sure he’ll make it all the way.
I say this because there is a four-table setup at this tournament right up until the quarter-final stage, as there was in the UK Championship back in December where he bowed out at the quarter-finals stage.
The bookies don’t see it that way though, and title sponsors Bet Victor provide the best odds on him taking the title at 3/1.
Ding Junhui has certainly been the player of the season so far and is on the search for his fifth ranking title of the season in Newport this week, after securing the German Masters at the start of this month. Bet Victor again provide the best odds on Ding in the outrights, with odds of 15/2.
UK Championship winner Neil Robertson is also amongst the front-runners for the Welsh open title and SkyBet currently price him at 8/1.
After an uninspiring first half of the season, Mark Selby will be looking to pick up a title sooner rather than later and he is available at 9/1 with Boylesports.
The same can be said for Judd Trump, although the world number four has looked close to his best in recent weeks and wouldn’t be a bad punt at 9/1 with Paddy Power.
Stephen Maguire is the defending champion after winning the final 9-8 here last year and is already through to the last 32 after beating Sam Baird 4-3 on Monday. However, he revealed he’s struggling with back pain at the moment so would be unlikely to defend his title. Totesport offer odds of 11/1 on this.
But my BET OF THE DAY is on Shaun Murphy, who has definitely looked like the sharpest player on tour in recent weeks. He ended his year and a half wait for a title by winning the Gdynia Open European Tour event a few weeks ago and was available at 20/1 at one point for Welsh Open victory. However, the best price available on the Magician is now 14/1 with Bet Victor.
Selected Second Round Matches
The round of 64 continues tomorrow and the stand-out game from the morning session sees world number three Ding Junui face Stoke potter Jamie Cope. Cope was once ranked within the top ten in the game but a hand tremor issue has caused him to tumble down the rankings in recent years.
However he’s revealed that he’s working with a sports psychologist and is coping better with the competition but will have to play excellently to deny Ding on Tuesday. He’s best priced at 4/1 with Ladbrokes whilst William Hill offer 2/9 on Ding.
Catch this match live on British Eurosport from 10:30am.
In the afternoon session, popular local player Mark Williams takes on world number 58 Tian Pengfei on the TV table from around 1pm. Williams, a two time winner of this tournament, won 4-2 when the pair met in a European Tour event earlier this season and he’s 8/15 favourite with Bwin, with a number of other bookies, including Bet 365, offering 6/4 on Tian.
That match is followed by Neil Robertson’s clash with world number 47 Rory McLeod. Australian Robertson is 1/6 favourite with Boylesports whilst Bet Victor offer the best value on a McLeod win at 9/2.
Then from 7pm, tour veteran Barry Pinches faces tournament favourite Ronnie O’Sullivan in a clash of styles. Pinches is battling for his place on tour and has picked up some good results in recent weeks but is at long odds for victory in this match, with Bet 365 offering 8/1. An O’Sullivan win is priced at 1/10 by Bet Victor.
These latter three games can all be seen live on British Eurosport, BBC Two Wales, the BBC red button or online at bbc.co.uk/snooker.
See the latest snooker betting odds with BritBets.
You can also claim free bets with Bet Victor.