Despite becoming the latest member of snooker’s exclusive Triple Crown club by claiming the UK Championship for the first time in his career, world number one Neil Robertson is still not the favourite to win the upcoming Masters title at Alexandra Palace.
That honour falls to Ronnie O’Sullivan at odds of 3/1, even though the Rocket was sent plummeting out of the UK’s at the quarter-final stage by world number 10 Stuart Bingham.
However, Ronnie’s case for winning snooker’s most prestigious invitation tournament, which features only the top-16 ranked players in the world, is greatly aided by drawing 14th-seed and debutant Robert Milkins in the first round.
O’Sullivan destroyed Gloucester-born Milkins 6-0 in the last eight of the UK’s, meaning he’s virtually guaranteed a spot in the quarter-finals, reflected in his odds of 1/7 to overcome Milkins in successive matches.
Meanwhile, freshly crowned UK champ Robertson, who completed the career Triple Crown of UK, Masters and World Championships, is quoted as joint-second favourite at 11/2, alongside Mark Selby, the man he just fended off in that thrilling Barbican Centre final.
Tipped up by our good selves for that success, Robertson has, in fairness, been handed the toughest-looking opener of the top three seeds, as The Thunder from Down Under will face 11th-seed Mark Allen.
The Northern Irishman actually defeated Robertson in their last meeting in October, en-route to winning the Kay Suzanne Memorial Cup – though in the longer Masters’ format and on current form, the Australian is an understandable 8/15 favourite to progress in the match.
Reigning champion and number one-seed Selby will look to bounce back from his UK disappointment and at 1/5, looks almost certain to get the measure of 15th-seed Mark Davis in his curtain-raiser.
China’s snooker sensation Ding Junhui, is a 6/1 shot to get back on his one-man tournament winning train at Alexandra Palace.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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