Author: Roy Brindley
2016 Masters Snooker
Published: 14:24 07/01/2015
Snooker’s 2015 Dafabet Masters gets underway on Sunday with Shaun Murphy taking on last year’s runner-up, Mark Selby, at North London’s Alexandra Palace which has been home to the Masters since 2012.
All matches in the Masters are the best of 11 frames, apart from the final which is the best of 19, and with the competition featuring the sport’s top-16 players, the play will be of the highest calibre.
High-calibre snooker rarely offers much punting value – unlike the early rounds of smaller tournaments where huge mistakes are often made – as odds compilers have a plethora of form and statistics at their disposal.
The ante-post market is probably the place to look for opportunities and it is heavily biased towards 7/4 favourite Ronnie O’Sullivan. It features four other players bracketed between 7/1 and 8/1. It is 16/1 bar.
A look through the results of this event during the past decade gives one very good reason why to oppose the top-ranked O’Sullivan. For as much as he has won this title four times, he has never done so in back-to-back years. Additionally last year’s victory was his first since 2009.
The player with the best recent Masters record is Mark Selby. He was successful in 2008, 2010 and 2013 while finishing runner-up in 2009 and 2014. Ranked No. 2 he starts in the bottom half of the draw and cannot face O’Sullivan until the final.
Fancied players Selby can meet before the decider include 2011 winner Ding Junhui, who has never gone on to truly fulfil his early promise, and Judd Trump who has never made a Masters final table. Meanwhile O’Sullivan’s biggest obstacle en-route to the final looks to be 2012 winner Neil Robertson. The pair could clash in the semi-finals.
I really believe this will be the fourth O’Sullivan/Selby final in seven years and, despite ‘The Rocket’ riding high on the back of his UK Championship victory, the memory of his 2014 World Championship final defeat at the hands of Selby (18 frames to 14) might see the head-to-head Masters scales balanced once again, at two wins apiece.
Mark Selby to win the Dafabet Masters 17/2 (Boylesports)