SNOOKER BETTING: Live on BBC2: 14:00
World number one and defending Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan is 4/9 to win this afternoon’s Masters final at Wembley against 9/5 shot Mark Selby.
Sam Leggott previews what is a repeat of last year’s final.
After tipping Ronnie O’Sullivan (4/9 William Hill) from the start, it’s good to see him get to the final with a combination of some brilliant snooker, and a little dash of luck. Standing in “The Rocket’s” way of defending his title is Mark Selby (9/5 Paddy Power) and the 2008 champion is on good form heading in to what should be a thrilling final.
Ronnie has admittedly not been at his best throughout this year’s Masters, relying on his opponents misses to get back into the game on more than one occasion so far. O’Sullivan is always highly critical of his own game and he said he honestly didn’t know how he managed to overcome the impressive Mark Williams in the semi-final.
He has dropped four frames against Neil Robertson, three against Peter Ebdon and five against Williams which shows to me; although he is doing enough and I fully expect him to win, that it won’t be a stroll in the park.
Mark Selby, ranked 7th in the world, has looked impressive so far in this tournament with his remarkable 6-1 thrashing of Ding Junhui in the opening round the highlight thus far. After winning in 2008 he certainly has the pedigree and the ability to challenge Ronnie on his day. If I was to bet on Selby here I would probably look at the Handicap of +1.5 frames at 11/10 (888Sport) just to cover myself as Ronnie has been known to start slowly and if his confidence is down Selby may just pounce on the opportunity.
Looking at a possible correct score bet, the favourite is O’Sullivan 10-7 at 13/2 (Ladbrokes) which looks a fair shout, but whatever you choose you are guaranteed a decent price. Personally I think Selby will start strong but Ronnie will come back strong in the evening session and it will be tight, with 10-8 to Ronnie at 7/1 (William Hill and Victor Chandler) I think that’s where my money will be going today.
If you agree that O’Sullivan looks a good bet but are put off from the 4/9 and don’t fancy a punt at one of the many combinations of correct scores I would recommend the handicap of Ronnie -1.5 at 4/6 (Hills). This gives a fair bit of value and means Ronnie just has to win by two clear frames which is well within the four time Masters Champion’s grasp.
Ronnie notched notable 106 breaks against Ebdon and Robertson along with other impressive scores which make him a good bet for the Highest Match Break at 8/13 with Sportingbet. However Selby will be no pushover in this market with a few breaks over 100 of his own and at 5/4 (bet365) he has every chance.
If you are looking for some more consistent prices, look towards the individual frame betting with O’Sullivan at 8/11 with Blue Square and Selby at 11/10 at Stan James to win the opener and the total points market in the first frame odd or even at 10/11 each across the board.
Snooker is a great sport for betting In-Play and we will be offering markets right throughout the day, this is where the real money is to be made as you can gauge the game. With Ronnie being so unpredictable it is hard to see which side of him will come to the table; if he is on top of his game he can tear any opponent apart easily and win 10-0 if he wants (100/1 for the more adventurous of you) but if he comes out and misses a few shots, becomes frustrated with himself and his head drops, Selby has every chance.
Ronnie on paper is the World Number One and stronger player and I expect him to breeze through this final, however I am always conscious of the off the table circumstances in his play so will enter the betting with caution.
Let’s just hope for a good game of snooker whatever the result.